In the West since 1960 there have been more cultural changes affecting relationships than happened in the previous thousand years: the meaning of marriage, the way couples meet, the function of sex, the economics of partnership, rights about identity, gender, freedom and sexuality. All these mean that couples today face many contradictions and challenges when they intend to maintain long-term relationship and loving feelings.
Misunderstandings about what we are going into when we form partnerships are far more likely in this modern culture. An example would be when one partner thinks that marriage/partnership means a secure relationship that remains as it was at the outset, and the other thinks that personal development and relational change are part of contemporary life.
The following issues can be challenging for couples:
- Separation and divorce is on the rise; the possibilities around staying or leaving in a relationship are more readily enacted.
- Attitudes towards monogamy are changing; for example, an increasing number of people are considering open partnerships.
- Exploration of gender and sexuality increasingly affects our relationships.
- Other people’s happiness is constantly evident through social media and advertising. Esther Perel, in her book The State of Affairs, maintains that we now divorce, not because we are unhappy, but because we could be happier.
- The exploration of individual identity can be incompatible with the compromises involved in partnership. Differences between partners can become conflicts, supercharged with issues about rights, freedom and politics.
All these put stress on long-term relationships today. The belief that “Love will see me through” looks evermore delusional.
Today, even more than previously, we need both understanding about the meaning of love, and, relational skills in order to the manage the commitments we choose. This site aims to prompt thoughts and sharing about such issues. It puts forward simple, stimulating ideas so couples can think about and review their partnerships. It suggests practical actions they can take to improve the quality of their lives together.
With thanks to:
The State of Affairs by E Perel,
Getting the Love You Want by H hendrix,
Anatomy of Love by H Fisher,
Mating in Captivity by E Perel
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