Maintaining Healthy Romance In 21st Century

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Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

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Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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Love in the 21st century is like Wi-Fi – it may come and go, but when it s strong, it connects us like never before.

In a world driven by technology, fast-paced lifestyles, and ever-evolving societal norms, maintaining a healthy romance in the 21st century can be both challenging and rewarding. The essence of love remains unchanged over time, but the way we navigate it has certainly evolved. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of modern love, explore how it differs from the past, and offer practical insights for maintaining a fulfilling and lasting romantic relationship.

Modern Love: A New Perspective

To examine the two in parallel — a conscious relationship feels like the antithesis of atypical romance. Open communication and conscious relationships don’t make for theatrical plots and are seldom represented in the media, though if you examine the prevalence of podcasts and topics of dialogue, it’s the framework many people strive towards and reference, particularly when navigating dating. Singles are searching for a soulmate connection that exceeds the ‘bells and whistles’ perception of romance.

We’re now in the era of multifaceted romantic relationships — where partnership meets nurture, self-awareness, and a willingness to educate, grow, and apologize for wrongdoings. At the crux is a healthy basis, which although may sound unromantic, is a sustainable and joy-filled medium.

The rise of relationship education has sought to demystify grandiose associations with romance, but that’s not to say that healthy relationships are mundane. Authentic connection inspires a level of closeness and vulnerability that comes with being seen at your core. Relationship experts are further delving into attributes that can sustain long-term relationships, and pulling into question relationship terminology that’s influenced us for millennia. We’re dissociating from the notion of ‘the one’ — a belief that there is a single person meant for another. ‘The spark’ is now recognized as a type of adrenaline and dysregulated nervous system, which pulls into question the requisite of a highly-strung animalistic attraction. Instead, healthy relationship attributes are linked to equilibrium, serenity, and intentionality — deciding to pick a person to love and a connection to nourish.

As a result of rom-coms and fairytales, the origin of romance revolved around something of a savior complex, or exaggerated notion of loving — the lavish gestures, overarching themes of lust and attraction, inexplicable events, and serendipity, as Chelsom’s film Serendipity suggests. In ways, we ve divorced ourselves from the fairytale narrative, in place of realistic portrayals of relationships. Blue Valentine and Marriage Story, follow similar blueprints of melancholy with relatable themes of dialogue. The relationships in both films cease, due to the absence of healthy dynamics. Themes of communication, love loss, and incompatibility are further explored with dramatic effect.

Millennials are now enjoying and expressing love in their own ways. Some have crossed the gendered boundaries and are fulfilling their deepest desires whether in committed, romantic relations, polyamory or multiple partners, or in long distance. It really does not matter! We are from childhood taught to repress our sexual desires and consummation is assumed to be possible only strictly after marriage. Another goal we are yet to achieve is that there are no rules or any specific roles. Rules are consensual and decided by the people in a relationship. Roles such as men have to ‘make the first move’, some women are ‘marriage material’, and others ‘girlfriend material’, these statements bind us into behaving in an artificial manner.

In the 21st century, our approach to love has shifted significantly from the traditional notions of the past. Unlike the old-fashioned love stories where courtship was often a slow and deliberate process, today s love can ignite with the swipe of a finger or a well-crafted online message. While modern technology has broadened our opportunities to connect, it has also introduced new challenges to maintaining healthy romantic relationships.

Success Story

A couple in their late twenties exemplifies the potential for modern love to flourish. They met on a dating app, their initial connection was sparked by shared interests and a deep conversation about their dreams and fears. Over time, they nurtured trust and emotional intimacy by being open and vulnerable with each other. The woman says, "We never rushed things. We took the time to truly understand each other s emotions, fears, and dreams. That emotional connection is the foundation of our healthy relationship."

Failure Story

On the other side of the spectrum, is a couple who succumbed to the pressures of unrealistic expectations. Influenced by social media s curated representations of love and passion, they believed their relationship should be an endless stream of grand gestures and picturesque moments. When reality didn t align with these ideals, their relationship crumbled under the weight of unmet expectations.

Maintaining Healthy Key Romance

Trust: Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy romance. In a world where skepticism runs rampant, building and maintaining trust is crucial. Be honest, reliable, and consistent in your actions and words.

Emotional Intimacy: True intimacy goes beyond physical connection. It s about sharing your thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with your partner. Create a safe space for open and honest communication.

Quality Time: Despite our busy lives, making time for your partner is essential. Disconnect from screens and distractions, and dedicate quality time to bond and connect on a deeper level.

Passion: Passion can fade over time, but it can also be reignited. Explore new experiences together, both in and out of the bedroom. Keep the flame of desire alive.

Consideration and Respect: Treat your partner with kindness, consideration, and respect. Be mindful of their needs, opinions, and boundaries.

Mutual Support: In a healthy romance, both partners support each other s goals and aspirations. Encourage each other to pursue dreams and be each other s cheerleaders in life.

Acceptance and Appreciation: Embrace each other s flaws and unique qualities. Express gratitude and appreciation for the little things your partner does.

Care and Attention: Small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can go a long way in maintaining a healthy romance. Show you care through gestures and words.

Love in the past vs. Love today

The concept of love has undoubtedly evolved over the years. In the past, love was often perceived through a lens of duty and social expectations. Marriages were frequently arranged, and individuals had limited agency in choosing their partners. While some of these relationships stood the test of time, they were often built on different foundations, such as family reputation and financial security.

Today, love is more about personal fulfillment and choice. People seek partners who align with their values, interests, and goals. The emphasis is on emotional connection and compatibility rather than solely practical considerations. However, this freedom of choice also means that relationships may face more uncertainty and change.

Old Fashioned Love

While modern love has its advantages, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the old-fashioned approach to romance:

Commitment: Traditional relationships often require a deep commitment, even in challenging times. The willingness to work through difficulties and uphold vows can strengthen modern relationships too.

Slow and Steady: The slow pace of courtship in the past allowed couples to truly get to know each other before making a lifelong commitment. Taking the time to build a foundation is just as important today.

Community Support: In the past, communities played a significant role in supporting relationships. Seeking advice and guidance from trusted friends and family can still be beneficial.

Endurance: Old-fashioned love stories often celebrate enduring love. While modern love can be transient, the value of sticking together through thick and thin remains timeless.

As we navigate the complexities of love in the 21st century, it s important to remember that the fundamentals of a healthy romance remain constant. Trust, emotional intimacy, quality time, passion, consideration, respect, mutual support, acceptance, appreciation, care, and realistic expectations are key to building a fulfilling and lasting relationship.

Incorporating aspects of both modern and old-fashioned love can create a robust foundation for your romance. Embrace the freedom of choice that modern love offers, but also recognize the enduring qualities of commitment and endurance. Remember that love is a journey, not a destination, and it requires ongoing effort and care from both partners.

In conclusion, maintaining a healthy romance in the 21st century is both a challenge and an opportunity. By prioritizing the essential elements of love and adapting to the changing landscape of relationships, we can cultivate relationships that stand the test of time. Love may have evolved, but its timeless essence remains the same—bringing two hearts together in a bond that transcends the ages.

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

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Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

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Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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