Love in the Modern World

Of all the challenges that technology has brought to us. It’s impact on love has to be one of the very worst, or at least the most challenging. You might think that having all these possibilities at your fingertips is a good thing. We could see why you might think that but in reality it’s really not an enjoyable experience for anyone. The catalogues of partners you can now pick from don’t get you anywhere closer to finding someone truly right for you. Instead, like the endless rows of toothpaste at the supermarket, they render us dispassionate. If we asked you to pick between two brands, we’re sure you’d get quite into it, thinking about which one you really wanted. If we give you 100 however, you’ll likely just pick one quickly.

After all, no one has time for all of that. To get to know all the details about that many things just isn’t practical. Not only that, it’s not desirable. It’s not like you really want to spend so much of your life making decisions and weighing up all the options. Few people have ever said: I enjoy love but I want it to be harder. After all, it’s meant to feel easy and natural and right. We all know how that feels, when a relationship really clicks and nothing else seems to matter. When you can just enjoy yourself with nothing more than a night in, or when their texts seem to mirror yours in that delightfully back and forth way: like you’re having a secret conversation beneath the words.

Online dating can seem like that, but it’s a shadow, an imitation. It seems like something that you might want to do, but in reality digging deeper reveals it to be a superficial connection. You’re not really engaging with all of these “likes”. You’re just enjoying a silly little game, a half baked version of the real thing. It’s like eating low fat mayonnaise. It might look like it, and for a brief second you might believe it, but there’s something intangible missing. Dating is meant to be hard, to have trouble and strife. It’s meant to be a challenge because what you’re after is something quite difficult indeed.

So the idea that we all have hundreds of potential partners waiting for us, just on the other side of a screen, is ludicrous. We don’t forge the same connections, make the same emotional investment when we act like that. Instead what we do is we browse and we window shop. We turn people into products and services just like any other and then wonder why we don’t feel special. It’s not hard to see really, is it?

When we treat love like it’s just another app, another thing we can turn on and off and reset when we don’t like, we end up creating a world where it’s impossible for genuine human connections to actually be formed. The essence of love is that it’s deeply and maybe uniquely human, it’s the sum result of all of our flaws and insecurities, as well as our passion, lust and compassion for one another. It’s not logical, it’s not about optimising choice or compatibility but instead about the bonds that can be formed between two people if the circumstances allow. With that in mind, it might be time to stop trying to find more and more ways to increase matchmaking services, and instead return to what works. All it’s going to take is for us to believe in one another again.

January 5, 2018


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