My Take on Modern Love

Before I try to define modern love, I have to try and define love itself. Love comes in many shapes and sizes, in words spoken and words silenced. It is familial, romantic, dangerous, soothing, and enduring. Love is not one emotion, but rather the foundation for which all other emotions are built upon. To be in love is to give your everything to someone in the hopes that your everything will make them a little happier, a little less sad, and a little calmer. You know you are in love when you can no longer differentiate between your heartbeat and theirs, side by side in the same bed breathing as one. If you are in love, you will know it. You will feel it in your chest like a string tied to your heart, trying to pull it back down to the ground, back to reality. When your emotions overpower you that is when you know they are valid.

Photo Credit: Modern Love - The New York Times 

Modern love is, well, still love. But modern love develops much differently; it manifests itself in different areas of life, and it can be intrusive. Modern love is love born from a modern world, a world populated by teenagers and technology and instant communication. It can develop over the screen of a computer or a phone, words can become misconstrued, and people can fall in love with the idea of love instead of the reality of the situation. Modern love can be messy and confusing and oftentimes passive.

With the technological boom and the infiltration of social media into children and adolescents, communication has become exponentially easier and some may say it has become less valuable. So, in an age of instantaneous communication, those three words have become a whole lot easier to say without ever really saying them aloud. Typing ‘I love you’ has become more casual, while saying ‘I love you’ in person has become coveted and feared and a symbol of true commitment, a vow today’s generation seems to be unusually frightened of. Modern love encompasses a fear of commitment alongside technology that allows you to feel so close to someone without ever really committing to them or anyone else. Technology has given us the illusion that we are committing ourselves to people through things like Snapchat streaks, followers, and retweets when none of those things changes the fact that we’re still sitting alone when we could be sitting together.

Photo Credit: Clickfit 

Speaking from my point of view as a 19-year -old growing up in this minefield of social media and other modern influences, I have felt a lack of connection with those around me. When I was younger and did not have a cell phone, it was almost impossible to ignore someone because you would inevitably see them in school or around town. Now, however, “ghosting” people has almost become a norm. If you’re annoyed with someone or if you’re simply not interested, it has become all too easy to cut off a connection with that person instantaneously. In college, for the most part, you don’t run the risk of bumping into someone unexpectedly, so your main form of communication is usually through text or social media. This act of “ghosting” has made us desensitized to rejection, and, in response, desensitized to affection. With the knowledge that communication may become interrupted or completely abandoned quite easily, showing affection has become less valued and it has become harder to hold people's attention for a significant amount of time.

Photo Credit: Modern Love - The New York Times

Our generation (I think I’m technically Generation Y, but this is relevant for Generation X and Millennials as well) is flooded with stimuli from the news, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. This overload of stimuli has started to create baseline numbness as we become accustomed to these constant stimulants in our environment. This has manifested itself in our love lives and has resulted in a lack of passion. I know there are relationships out there that defy this norm and I applaud them, but I do believe they’re rare. And that’s a sad fact. Modern love is a different genre of love that our parents and grandparents might not recognize. That’s not to say that we should give up hope because we should never give up on something that defines what it means to be human. We do, however, need to change the norms of our communication and raise our standards quite a bit. Technological communication and affection do not mix well, and we have to remember that it’s too easy to correlate them using a false sense of causation.

To all my millennials and young adults, real love isn’t dead, but our modern version of love is slowly killing it. If you like somebody, talk to them face-to-face; actions speak louder than words typed out on a dimly lit screen.

Cover photo credit: The Odyssey 


Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!