Lifestyle

Expert says the search for love is broken - and here's how we can fix it

Money Can’t Buy Love, but Sharing It Strengthens Relationships
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Dating and navigating the world of love can be wonderful as people explore and hopefully find the person they can potentially share the rest of their lives with.

There is also no instruction manual to dating, with some following the route of the old playground mantra "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes so and so and a baby carriage."

However, finding someone to pursue a full-fledged relationship with can also have challenges.

Some people have grown hesitant about dating and coupling up with people, especially when there are signs that someone is trying to catfish or openly admit to tricking someone.

This, in itself, can cause people to want to refrain from dating, getting married, deciding to have children before marriage, or just refraining from all of those factors altogether.

On the other hand, others may decide that finding a partner to love might not be in the cards.

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Aimée Lutkin, a writer, director, performer, and author of The Lonely Hunter: How Our Quest for Love Is Broken, has deeply explored this topic.

Speaking with Indy100, Lutkin said that she wrote The Lonely Hunter after being single and celibate for nearly six years. She said friends were "really resistant" to her, saying she might not meet that special person.

"I wondered what was so threatening about the idea that finding your true love isn't inevitable. After that conversation, I tried to figure out if they were right and I just needed to change my attitude or if love is more luck than destiny," she said.

Lutkin ultimately decided that people are keener to understand "how precarious life can be" when there isn't that "nuclear family unit around" in one way or another.

"I think that's wrong, and we should be able to talk about why without censure."

Essentially, this can cause people's sense of finding love in society to be broken. But how so?

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Lutkin said that our understanding is based on the outlook that "couplehood is a catch-all solution for loneliness."

"Romantic love is a really wonderful part of life at times, but couplehood is treated as the catch-all solution for loneliness, even though many people in relationships are quite lonely as well," she said.

"What people really are craving is a sense of community and purpose and relief from the constant pressures of capitalism. We're also often told that if we can't find love or if we feel lonely, it's definitely a personal problem."

She also said that there are a plethora of "structural issues" that prevent people from being able to connect.

"You are not weird or unlovable; you're living in a time where people have to work so hard to have less than previous generations. Everyone is exhausted and unsure of what to do next."

In terms of how this can begin to be fixed, Lutkin believes that there needs to be more acknowledgement that a significant amount of people "are single for large parts of their lives."

"Some get married and end up single anyway; some never marry or find a partner."

Lutkin also spoke on the need for change regarding the social and legal facets of the world that are "structured around couplehood."

"There are many financial repercussions to remaining single, from taxes to health insurance, and that means many people are coerced into relationships they might not otherwise choose. We need things like universal childcare, healthcare for all, and affordable housing."

She added: "Love would be a much more joyful pursuit if it were not so inextricably linked to survival. No one should be afraid of social isolation or poverty because they aren't married or don't have children."

For howpeople can deal with pressure from those who think they shouldn't be alone, she said to state boundaries around the topic.

"It's okay to say what you need and stick to it. For a lot of people, it's treated as common sense that anyone who is single is miserable and wants to be in a relationship ASAP. It may not even occur to them that their behavior is wrong or intrusive," she said.

And if people still aren't understanding or are being a "jerk," she said it's totally fine to "interrogate them" with questions.

Elsewhere, when asked what the best way to live authentically in this day and age is, Lutkin said that accepting "yourself and who you are now" is the understanding that you will "change and grow" as a person.

"Acceptance means compassion for all your past selves, some optimism for who you will become, and as much love as you can feel for who you are now. We aren't meant to be static, and there is no perfect form, even if everyone else says a relationship is the ultimate happy ending."

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