By Ezinwanne Onwuka
Who wouldn’t agree that dating in the 21st century has become a great complexity?
We live in a society where relationships take on so many more forms than the bonds our parents and grandparents shared. These days, finding hookups are becoming preferred over committed relationships.
The evolution of the internet, social media and online dating apps has made our generation prefer hook-ups over traditional dating. I am not saying there is anything wrong with a hook-up here and there, the point I am stressing is that the quintessential desire to grow with someone and establish a life of prosperity together seems to be fading away.
The days of fighting to make it work with your one true love, are almost obsolete because you can find your next joint without leaving your current bae’s side! It is a bunch of savagery happening out here, and it is causing plenty of trust issues in relationships. I mean, why would you buy a cow when you can get the beef, milk, and steak for free?
It is the era of break-ups and divorce. A time where people “marry for love”, yet more than 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and break-ups happen like cash withdrawals at ATM machines.
This evolution on relationships may be overwhelming for some, but to others, like me, it is a nuance on the bland traditions placed on love in the past.
Admittedly, we all want to be loved, be in love, and be someone else’s “special someone.” However, the fact is that it is the pursuit of love that fascinates us, not what we do with it when we get it.
All love stories end with a wedding, but, whereas, once we presumed the lovers faded away into a “happy ever after”, now they just fade away.
Marriage moved relatively quickly from being a vow of impersonal loyalty and a commitment “in sickness and in health until death do us part”, to a personal and transitory vow “for as long as he/she meets my needs.”
This shift has made everyone a little nervous, and some people now feel almost obliged to break off a relationship (marital or not) if they no longer find their own image and values reflected in the other person in the way they expect: “How can I be with someone like this?”
There is no gainsaying that any attempt towards finding love in today’s day and age will be futile, purely because of the societal standards set around love and relationships.
Society frowns at ‘singlehood.’ It sees ‘singlehood’ as a failure rather than a success. In our society today, it is considered an inadequacy not have a significant other, dating or married, because the single individual is not “experiencing love.” Hence, the desperation and craze to find a lover; and, maybe, marry.
This explains why people are too quick to jump into relationships and say those three words. The love developed because of this social pressure, however, is merely fleeting, and is portrayed as a disillusioned belief which only leads to despair.
Moreover, the marriage that often accompanies this love, borne out of pressure, is merely a social institution committed to maximizing submission and minimizing freedom. Thus, with this mindset, adulterers can only be seen as rebels who are trying to assert their freedom from the domestic confines of love.
It upsets me to think that romance in our day has been damaged because of such societal standards, which, oftentimes, leads to depression.
The fact is, although love is an essential component of a potentially healthy life, having a partner to share that love with is not really necessary. I am not dismissing the fact that it is common to be in a loving relationship with a significant other, but love is a broad concept that is malleable.
For instance, love can be shared between an individual and his or her pet. A person can give and receive love from his or her family, a different type of platonic, familial relationship. In other words, other aspects of love should be considered because they can make people happier as well.
No doubt, today’s couple relationship has created an urgent and critical challenge to the stability of our romantic relationships. However, this challenge shouldn’t makes us view love as a cheap commodity. I still think it is important to value love and commitment despite the conundrum.