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Love in the time of handhelds

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 March 2018, 13:45 IST

Modern romance may not have a manual, but it has its own dictionary. New words are added to it every day, courtesy the way millennials date, mate and separate. Hanging out has replaced dating, tuning is the code for 'hitting on', slow fade is when the relationship suddenly fizzles and fades and breadcrumbing is the new flirting. Then there's ghosting, ummfriend, exing - and many more that are being added to the romance roster.

Now, the notion of love gets a turnaround every half a decade or so. But this time around, psychologist and relationship counselor Dr. Rachna K Singh says there's a "complete flip over, a 360-degree shift in the way we look at relationships". Singh says, "The 18-30 bracket has changed the love rules. Monogamy is not highly rated, marriages are not built to last, there's a steady outgrowing of partners, fewer taboos, even fewer boundaries. And of late, I see involvement in multiple relationships to satisfy various needs: physical, emotional and intellectual from different partners."

Romance is dead, long live romance

The dawn of couple hashtags is a watershed moment in romance. Says radio jockey Rahil Mehta, "Romance today is all about taking PDA to a new level altogether. Today, we believe in flaunting our partner. Gone are the days when a girl/boy would hide her feelings for someone special. It's all out in the open for people to see. Now, everyone wants to Instagram or Snapchat every moment spent with their partner."

In his book, Modern Romance, comedian and actor Aziz Ansari collaborates with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to understand the mechanics and machinations of romance today. In an article on NYU website, Klinenberg said: "There's this period of life that generations before us simply did not have: never before have people been able to spend their 20s and a good part of their 30s single, dating lots of people, experimenting in their careers and 'playing' at being adults."

In an article in Time, Ansari says, "Today, if you own a smartphone, you're carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket." Stand-up comic Kenneth Sebastian feels that we are losing the basic social experiences that made love that much more enjoyable. "The world was less connected before and that created longing. The more people we are 'capable' of meeting through the internet, the less value you might have for the person you are currently meeting," he says. But he's quick to point out the advantages: you do get to meet more interesting people and hear their stories.

First published: 13 March 2018, 14:13 IST