Human bonds are becoming very fragile.
In our “modern times” a lot of people prefer these bonds to be very loose, so they can tied and untied as effortlessly as possible.
Because they need a lot of personal freedom, some people feel trapped as soon as the first signs of bonding appears. On the other side, for others this frailty inspires insecurity and the possibility of the dissolution at any given moment. But there will always be a conflicting desire between the need for freedom /identity and the need to belong.
We live in the era of instant gratification. We want everything, and we want it now.
A relationship requires time, emotional availability, effort and dedication.
Things like these are scarce in our times. A lot of people are immature or afraid to open up and trust again, due to past bad experiences. So, they prefer instead to satisfy their sexual impulses with new partners, instead of working on the communication and on their fears.
Our relationships have become CONNECTIONS. They lack depth! Since we have no many opportunities to love, should we stop at one?
This concept of “liquid love” has been introduced by the sociologist Zygmund Bauman about two decades ago. He talks about why love doesn’t last for a life time any more, like it used to be decades ago.
The union as it used to be understood, has lost it’s value. The most important thing nowadays is the INTENSITY on which love is experienced. The feelings have become secondary, and couples who chose to stay together do not make that decision based on emotions. Since they are OK together, they don’t take time to ask themselves if they still love each other.
Old fashioned love has been replaced by liquid relationships. They are build upon the desire to have exciting and intense emotions, and the desire to be free and independent. People meet in weekends or when they have time, but they do not live together. So, these relationships remain superficial, since they are centred on diversity, independence and sex. New people, new situations, new challenges.
This is just one of the huge changes happening in our society. We socialize mainly behind screens, and the way our modern society is build has drastically diminished one of the main human needs. THE NEED F0R CONNECTION. Behind the screen we feel less vulnerable, we present ourselves in the best light, but our relationships remain superficial.
The liquid society is based on UNCERTAINTY.
We consume relationships, the same way we consume food, alcohol, shoes, clothes, cars, technology. We will change them with a certain frequency, the one that allows us to feel instant and unrepeatable emotions. Discarding deep feelings, that require time and commitment.
Sexual connection is very strong in this kind of love. But it is a sexuality that is separated from emotions. It can be for performance, for impressing our partner with how great lovers we are. It seems that the less we feel for someone the better the sex. This Social media kind of love, tends to die pretty quickly in the lack of clear and real communication or different expectations.
This modern love is detached, measured, idealized, many times more virtual then real. The physical contact is lacking, like touching, hugging and caressing outside of a sexual context. Through touch we reveal out vulnerabilities, so better keep it minimal. The virtual interactions are meaningless, less and less personal, and leading nowhere. This love is dying of thirst.
Of course we cannot blame everything on social media. Like they say: “if there is a will, there is a way”: If we miss someone, and you need to see someone, you will find a way! But this has become an excuse, or maybe a refuge, or sometimes an escape room. Because it is easier to waste priceless time scrolling down on other people’s news feed, then it is admiring the difficult communication to our partner. We prefer to feed our ego with likes and admiration of strangers or virtual people, than to give our attention to our partner. Or to have the courage to say: I don’t want to stay with you any more, this relationship is over!
We are slowly loosing our capacity to love.
These liquid relationships can last for years, because they cannot find a shape.
We confuse them with love, but they are emotional dependency. There is a difficulty in growing up in both partners. To become adults. Because adulthood means confrontation and communication.
So we rationalize our fear of responsibilities, hiding it under the mask of the “need for adventure”.
Why are we afraid of emotional involvement?
Maybe we are afraid of losing our identity inside of the couple. When we become ONE, we have to give up the sea of possibilities. And also build a common project, and a life together not as separate being.
When you love, you become responsible for the other person as well. Our well-being depends, at least partially on someone else, and so does his. And not everyone is willing to accept it. If on the other side, you chose to live in emotional limbo, all these fears are not addressed , since you are never forced to make a choice.
There is no difference between men and women on the level of fear. It depends on the personal emotional abilities and past experiences.
Women choose liquid love, if they feel they cannot trust their partner. Maybe due to past bad experiences, they have eroded their ability to trust. They need the closeness, but not the emotional involvement. This is more emotional dependency and fear of abandonment than it is love.
Men chose this type of relationships, when they don’t want to grow up, take their responsibilities inside a mature couple. They feels that the passion and sexual intensity will diminish in a commuted and mature relationship. In their mind sexual passion is connected and fed by the instability of the relationship.
This belief is culturally reinforced, especially for males. Marriage was certainly not an environment that allowed passion to bloom. Marriage was for having children and building a family; and if they had time and energy left, they could find passion outside of marriage.
Sometimes behind this choice there is great amount of personal insecurity. The “Don Giovanni syndrome” hides a lot of shallowness and inability to love. Women are objects to be consumed. To reinforce a cracked ego. Sometimes it can be low self esteem and he feeling of not having anything to offer the partner. A man must perceive himself as a source of safety and emotional security for a woman before he is willing to commit.
Can this model be changed?
It is true that the values of society are shifting deeply. But even if we live in a liquid world, we still have a certain amount of control of our environment. We can chose relationships that fulfil us, instead of the superficial ones.
The first step is to ask yourself: What does the type of love that i am experiencing right now says about me? What do I get from it? Are my deep needs satisfied? Is there something essential to me missing? Is there something I can do to make this connection deeper? Is there a fear or two that I need to look at?
With a bigger awareness of our mental and emotional patterns, with a deep analysis of our benefits and costs of our relationship, we can make different decisions.We can live the life we want, getting from it what we want, choosing only people that are good for us, people that share our deepest values, expectations, and relational aspirations.