Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and even though shops and restaurants are doing everything they can to promote this celebration of love, for many of us it may go by with little or even no effort.
We may send a card or flowers but often through a sense of obligation rather than real romance. Is Valentine’s Day simply an old tradition that’s dying out or is modern day living desensitising us to love?
There is no question about it, finding love in this modern world is harder than it has ever been. Today’s divorce statistics are enough to put anyone off the idea of love and marriage. In 1950, the total number of divorces recorded in the UK was just 30,870. This has now risen to a whopping 118,140.
Perhaps this is why people are choosing to settle down much later on in life. In the 1950s and 1960s, the average age a man would get married was 23 and for a woman it was just 20. Fast forward to 2016 and this is a huge contrast to the latest statistics which have revealed that the number of women marrying for the first time in their late thirties and forties has doubled in just a decade.
What exactly is making us so reluctant to settle down and even once we have taken the leap, why are we so quick to give up on love?
- We’ve developed unrealistic expectations
One of the reasons why it may be so hard to find love in today’s world is because of how we view relationships and what we’re looking for is very different compared to 50 years ago. People used to get married in their twenties and stay married because ‘that was what you did’, for many people it was also a question of security.
Today, people often want to meet someone because they’re seeking true love and fulfillment to help survive in a highly stressed world. Many think that meeting our ‘true love’ will eradicate all of our problems. Once the honeymoon period is over and life resumes as normal, people can be disappointed that their partner can’t provide eternal happiness and may start to question whether they’re right for each other.
Maybe Hollywood has given us unrealistic expectations about love, perhaps we should stop comparing our relationships to other’s e.g. on social media or it’s even a possibility that society has changed its ideals and we’re struggling to keep up with them. Whichever it is, many people will admit to putting far too much pressure on their relationship to be ‘perfect’.
- The Internet
An incredible two-thirds of Britons now use online dating to find love. Considering that less of us are meeting potential love interests at work, on nights out or through friends, these websites can be the perfect solution.
A problem of online dating however, is that people can end up judging and disregarding people before they’ve even met them.
When people get chatting in real life they get an instant feeling about each other, this is something you can’t achieve through a computer screen. Furthermore, when you’ve actually met someone, you’re much more forgiving. For example, when searching through someone’s online profile you might disregard them based on a number of factors such as their height, occupation or location. If you met this person in real life however, there’s a strong possibility that these wouldn’t be the first things you would consider and you may not care because you know they’re kind, caring and have a good sense of humour.
- Sex and love addiction
Sex and love addiction are both growing problems in the UK. Despite this, the majority of people still don’t take them seriously.
Sex addiction is in fact an illness like any addiction. It’s defined as any form of sexual activity that feels out of control and can range from being intimate with a partner to using pornography. For most people, these may be habits that don’t cause a problem in their everyday lives. However, sex addicts are unable to control their urges and are therefore likely to encounter problems in both their personal and professional lives.
Love addiction develops when someone becomes dependent on the emotional stability provided by their partner. They often have low self-esteem and lack self-identity and their addiction can result in obsessive, controlling behaviour. When someone is a love addict they are so consumed by just being with someone that they don’t even necessarily care who they’re with.
In both cases, very little emphasis is placed on the quality of the partner because all the addict cares about is the fact that they have an urge that needs to be fulfilled. This can result in emotionally and even physically damaging relationships not just for the addict but for the person they’re with as well.
We’re working longer hours than ever before and it’s taking a toll on our love lives. With less free time it can make it harder to go out and meet people. Additionally, when we do have time on our hands, we may be tired and stressed so all we want to do is relax or just catch up with friends.
Unlike the 1950s, modern young women have equal career aspirations to men and will be in full time employment. This can make it harder for couples to consider early on the idea of marriage and children because both partners are already committed to their work. As well as having other priorities to focus on, some people may not question if they want children until much later in life. With less emphasis being placed on children at an early age it can mean that people don’t feel a desperate rush to go out and meet ‘the one’.
Ultimately, unless we make an effort, the speed of modern life can mean that we forget to make time for love.
If you would like more information about conditions such as love and sex addiction or work related stress please feel free to contact Life Works and we will be more than happy to help.
If you think that you or someone you know needs support with a mental health condition, please feel free to visit our Treatment Programmes Page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.