The Modern Aphrodite: Love Here And Now


Soul mates! Together-for-eternity! When did all this turn into romantic clichés that no one believes in anymore? In this era, so to speak, it is much convenient to think that any permanent relationship is a waste of time. People are busy. They don’t need anyone else.

But what about the others? In a world of two-month relationships what happens to those looking for the ‘happily ever-afters?’ It’s a question no one is comfortable answering, probably because no one knows how. Even for all our un-romantic bravado, most of us still want to feel that all consuming love and passion for that special someone, someone who will not only accept us as we are, but be undeterred by our weaknesses and flaws.

Love means different things for different people. For some, it is the reason to be better, to do better. For others, it’s a means to an end, a license to get their way, a source of power and self-validation. Or not that important at all.

Every kind of relationship has evolved (or devolved, depending on your perspective) into something different over the past few decades. People are more self-centrist, more busy and probably gearing up for the next best thing. We seem to have the attention span of a toddler. We glorify self-indulgence and instant gratification. No one has the time to wait for something good and significant anymore. Most people are as replaceable as gadgets. This is the view from my window out into the world.

Recently, my father was saying that he doesn’t understand the modern concept of romantic love. We have not only devalued our own belief system, we seem to have devalued people as well. I could not come up with even one argument against that. We do live in a time of Ashley Madisons, when infidelity is as fashionable as a pair of Jimmy Choo. For the skeptics, like me, wanting to believe in true love seems to be a fight for a lost cause.

The questions plaguing us wannabe-believers seem endless. Whom can you trust? How can you trust yourself while deciding whom to trust? After all, you did trust the ass you dated in college. How will you believe your boy/girl-friend when they say they love you? That phrase is as common as dust particles in the atmosphere. Should you stop trying completely? But then you will die alone. If you want to keep trying, after how many more heartbreaks should you give up?

The confusion, self-doubt seems endless. No one wants pain if it can be avoided. Does that make us prudent or just cowards?

The truth is, just like everything else in life, there is no guarantee for this either. Even though we have skewed the idea of romance into convenient one-night stands and flings and extramarital affairs and friends-with-benefit, you can still change your thinking, if that’s something you want. If you are looking for the thrill of the chase or a notch on your belt, something to brag about to your friends, if you already are what you want to be, then all is fine in your world. There are some others who like being alone. They have meaningful relationships with friends and family. They are simply not interested in or looking for long-term romantic relationships.

But for the rest of us, who are looking for meaningful long-term relationships, the going gets tougher each year.

An optimist told me recently, that even though it’s hard, the situation is not utterly bleak. Occasionally, you come across a couple who have been together for years, because they love each other. They enjoy each other and want to be together even after a few decades. They give you hope. You want to know their secret. You understand that even though you haven’t found that deep connection for yourself, it’s still out there. It’s not extinct, yet, just endangered.

Experts (behavioural scientists and researchers, doctors and psychologists) tell us that you have to actively look for the kind of partner you want. However, first, you need to know what you want, for yourself and in your relationship. To know that, you have to figure out who you are and what mental blocks you are nursing. It sounds very shrinky, but if it works, who are we to judge? You can ‘create’ your own true love with time and patience. You look for someone who shares your values and beliefs, someone who is open to work and not give up at the first trial.

Marilyn Monroe said,

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.

True love isn’t easy. Neither is fidelity. It’s why they are worth it. Navigate through life staying true to yourself. That’s all anyone can do. According to an article published last year (Evolution of the Human Brain: What’s Love Got To Do With It?), monogamy in romantic love is the most likely push that transformed ape brain to the human one.

Who is to say that the opposite won’t come about in the not-so-distant non-monogamous future?

Originally published at on March 24, 2016.