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Why Modern Love Hurts So Much

The abundance of choice offered by online dating acts as an extension of capitalistic culture. We now approach relationships like a buffet table, hungry to satiate only our own desires.

What’s the Latest Development?

Modern love can be called ‘romantic misery and happiness’ driven by consumerist values, says sociologist Eva Illouz, no longer motivated by the sense of social duty and convention which once united couples. “The increasing choice from internet dating has encouraged people to act as ‘shoppers’demanding, comparing alternatives, constantly trying to get a better deal and killing off the gut instinct and chance that has always helped humans to find a mate.” Self-autonomy has become a value and self-involvement is its accompanying vice.

What’s the Big Idea?

While people see the current tension between sexes as remnants of the past, the degree to which men and women today suffer over love has never been greater, says Illouz. “We have all these choices and think it’s a type of freedom, but it’s not. A complex menu of options is not necessarily freedom.” Because modern people want romantic love while always keeping their options open, Illouz thinks we should seriously start considering a custom to replace marriage as a method of raising children.

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