As I navigate through the murky waters of life, I am forever reminded that love takes on a whole new perspective as each generation stakes its claim on this earth. Evolution can often redefine us but not always in positive ways. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s dating meant that you focused on one individual only. You learned pretty quickly whether this was someone that you wanted to take a chance with, so you became exclusive to that person. Future ideals of what you intended your life to look like had that person standing beside you. You dove in even if the person had some questionable flaws. You immersed yourself in your beloved and for better or worse, you set your coordinates for life together. Sure, the path was bumpy, or the road traveled together may have come to a dead end, but it helped you learn so much about yourself and how to improve as a human.
Everyone knew what the relationship was. There was no question of whether you were a darling duo. It was rare to find hook ups, no strings attached or friend with benefits arrangements. It did happen but not with people you ever saw yourself in a forever life with. It was not something you sought out but more of a bad decision made from too much alcohol on a night out dancing. The next day you would reflect on what went wrong and determined that the 6th Gin and tonic was probably not necessary and the cause of your indiscretion.
Life used to be about 2 people becoming partners and being there for one another – even on days when you didn’t feel like it because you knew one day it would be your turn to be needy. It was about building a solid foundation and learning to compromise. People don’t seem interested in compromising now. There’s not enough in it to make it worth their while. Sadly, it is all about how it affects them – not anyone else. Besides being a disposable society, it has also become a me society, where people feel entitled to whatever suits them and I say that as an observation.
I divorced in my early 40’s and was slapped in the face on how the “single” life had evolved or better yet erupted. The perpetual movement of love had created this disposable society. It became evident to me that age didn’t seem to matter either. The 40 plus age group grabbed on to this like a life preserver from the Titanic. Like having your way in a candy store and no one objecting to anything you ate. You can stuff yourself with no repercussions and not have to pay for a single item.
I’m sure their past experiences of losing half their pensions in the divorce along with half their home and savings had something to do with jumping on board with this newfound freedom.
Online dating, social media channels and equality has produced an environment rich in everyone wanting to be too social. They are scurrying around like rats in the subways all going here, there and nowhere. People are not bonding on a committed level. Rather they are constantly in search of the next best thing – including their mates. Treating love as a material object we have emasculated our emotions. We have allowed ourselves to treat people without feeling, without any remorse or empathy. We have become empty and guarded all while thinking this is okay.
I decided to try my hand at online dating. At the beginning I found the texting as a means to get to know me charming but then it became overtly annoying and impersonal. I guess if I had to offer constructive advice, I would suggest that texting be limited to saying you have arrived or that you are caught in traffic. Texting a woman randomly, saying hello and telling her how beautiful she is does not excite her nor does agreeing to make plans to meet and then drifting off for weeks at a time. It only confirms that a person is either married, living with someone or not truly vested in seeking out a real relationship – instead just having a lonely moment or trying to arrange a hook up.
Have we turned off our emotions or have we become such a crass society that having class has escaped out the window and is no longer something we aspire to? Have we become so vulgar to shield ourselves from emotional attachment that we no longer view our vulgarity as profound but rather as a way to protect ourselves from bad relationships? Have we become so tainted by what we have read and heard on the subject of partnering with someone, that we are no longer able to love? Or is it that we won’t let anyone into our castle unless they are perfect. Are there other reasons we have talked ourselves into not lowering the draw bridge?
Has equality elevated the playing field so that women no longer need to tolerate bad behavior from men? They no longer need to count on a man to live in a nice house, drive a new car or go on great vacations. Women are making their own money, having babies when they want to, securing great careers and a wide circle of friends – maybe even the odd friend with benefits to burn off some pent-up passion. It used to be that it took 2 people to be able to have nice things in life. Did we use love to get what we wanted? Are we finally owning up to the fact that we are a me society and always have been? Did we fake loving to advance ourselves? Are men now getting their just reward? Did women create the movement toward modern love because they were tired of men being in charge? They were over the excuse’s men used for why they cheat so they decided to become one with them?
Does modern love really give you the best of both worlds? Are your friends really that big of rock stars that they will stand by your side and take care of business when you have to bury your mother, or when you are undergoing chemo or willing to take care of you financially when you have been fired from your job? Do you know for absolute certainty that they are willing to take that on? If they can’t commit to a mate, why would they commit to you? The lines are blurred.
Today we rely on text messages and emails to deliver human emotion. Are we so emotionally bankrupt that we don’t understand the severity of this? Your dedicated mate used to be your remember when person, the person you shared your heart and soul with because you thought they were walking the same road as you. They were your past, present and future. Does a friend really replace this type of connection?
Nowadays it seems that we have no tolerance for anyone’s misgivings. Even the slightest fault gives cause for rejection. Like an ill-fitting pair of pants. Back to the store they go. Unfortunately, at my age I find myself joining this society and not necessarily because I want to. At this stage of my life, I have accepted all the bad behavior I plan to. From a man having bad credit, to too many young kids, to paying for child support or college so no money is left for basic living, to having bad hygiene, to not making enough money or having lost all his assets in his last divorce. I no longer think ahead about what we can accomplish together but whether I will get stuck in some financial mess with him. This is enough of a deterrent for me.
Are we finding love too much work, so we create a life that is filled only with the mechanics of the things that we enjoy doing? Are we psychologically broken and no longer possess the human tools necessary to even consider a committed relationship and all that goes into it? Have we lost all patience and tolerance for human beings placing their shortcomings first over their virtues?
Sex has become as easy as ordering a pizza. You send out a text from your laundry list of no strings attached contacts and voila, about 45 minutes later sex is at the door. Hot and steamy, ready to satisfy your inner thirst. An hour later your hunger met, you graciously escort your meal to the door with the sendoff that you’ll have to get together again soon. You try to soften the illusion of the coldness of what has just happened by telling them to have a great week. You aren’t even interested in having them spend the night for leftovers in the morning, because you can go back to your list and order up a new dish later. It really has become that shallow.
Modern love is similar to acts in a play. Players take on the roles necessary for the moment to fulfill each other’s needs and then back to their life they go. You can pretend to like the person and enjoy their company until the play ends and then off to the next performance with the hopes that you don’t cross paths with too many villainous rogues. Love used to be something that everyone aspired to attain. Love was just as important as a career, family, friends and so forth. Has modern love diminished our capacity to love? Has social media and cell phones made a mockery of love and desensitized our passions? History repeats itself. I wonder if someday we will return to committed love; to a time where people will care more about loving someone than what they will gain from it? I hope I live long enough to see love come back around.