Why you should care
Because the more love stays the same, the more it changes.
It’s a curse to live in interesting times, but if we must do it, we might as well have a little fun. Welcome to the new decade, the 2020s. A century ago, the 1920s saw the invention of modern dating, when men and women stepped out together to the movies instead of chaperoned meetings. So the 2020s have a lot to live up to.
Get ready. Throughout 2019, we examined what may be coming down the pike in the world of love, sex and relationships.
This Is Your Brain on Drugs
Nobody’s advocating that we go back to arranged marriages, but there’s something to be said for not waiting to get hit by lightning. That’s part of the work of Brian Earp, an Oxford ethicist whose forthcoming book delves into the science behind drugs, like MDMA, that make you feel love and the possibility that we could manufacture those feelings in the coming years. Of course, that’ll plunge us into a debate about what reality even is, what it means to love someone, whether destiny exists. But Earp’s research could have even stronger implications for falling out of love — if you were able to stop having feelings for an abusive partner, or even just an ex you need to stop Instagram stalking, would you?
Get Your Heart Out of Your Face
To a certain extent, finding love will always have a physical component. But with the huge increase in online dating, it’s easier than ever to dismiss people based on looks — never mind running out of a restaurant when you see a Habsburg jaw, you just have to swipe left. That’s why some apps, with varying degrees of success, have been attempting to take photos out of the forefront of app dating. The problem so far has been that it’s hard to scale such interactions, and it doesn’t have the same gamified feel. Instead, it’s the hard work of really feeling a connection to someone — and the attendant real feelings if or when the relationship ends. “All this is focused on the conversation and getting to know each other little by little, incorporating the realism of the bond of all life: the emotion, the intrigue and the game of seducing someone,” says Juan Alonso, founder of photophobic app If Not You, Nobody. The 2020s may be roaring, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a slow ride.
And When It Ends …
Have you ever looked around at couples on the subway and thought, “Wow, all these people are probably gonna break up”? It’s true! But have no fear: A new industry is rising and it involves curing heartbreak.
It may never rival the wedding industrial complex, but it’s going to do its damnedest. In the future, when you get dumped, you’ll sign up for breakup bootcamps (already popping up across the world), you’ll go on retreats and download apps that give you advice on how to mend. Will these work as well as therapy? Depends on your therapist. Couples will even engage in specialized concierge services to help them unravel their finances and retirement plans. Whatever the state of your heart, you can count on an industry arising to take advantage of it (and maybe even help you).
Interesting times, indeed.