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Love: Is it a fad or a feeling?

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Spotlight Reporter Lois Barker investigates love in different eras and how it is portrayed in the media.

FALLING in love to some is the most incredible feeling in the world, but has it become more of a fad then a feeling in this modern age?  Most days when you visit your favourite apps, you are bombarded with photos of ‘loved’ up couples who portray the perfect lifestyle. Media has helped the evolution of society but why is it when we view these couples photos, we feel left out?

We see these perfect photos and we are left with a crippling thought that we will be alone forever. We fixate on the fact that we are single, even at a young age. The pressure to fall in love is outstanding, if people aren’t going out on extravagant dates and posting it online it must mean they’re not happy. Relationships are between the people inside those relationships, not their ‘viewers.’

Love, is it a feeling or a choice? Many people being in love will last forever and the feeling never goes away, but what if a part of love was a choice? I spoke to Barbara and Brian Cornhill who fell in love before the era of the internet to talk about their relationship and how it has lasted 60 years.

Their story is nothing short of romantic. After working together at the same company, Brian says “I was an apprentice engineer tin maker and Barbara was one of the gang producing the tins. She kept pulling my leg, “When we going out? When we going out?” And we did eventually we had a walk in Greenwich park in the April of 1957.”

‘Happily Ever After’ is a lovely sentiment, however, it installs in young people that the end goal is an easy relationship with no problems. As lovely as that sounds, it can’t always be that simple as Brian explains, “I think every marriage has moments don’t they? But we got over them, we have done in the past, touch wood we will do in the future.” Brian was asked how best to get over arguments when they had been going through a hard time, “Settle it before you go to bed!”

The problem with romanticists is that they believe that love is the cure for everything, ‘we’ll make it through as long as we have each other.’ But when you get down to the nitty gritty, there’s a lot more to prioritise over relationships. With the help of social media, we have lost the importance of independence. We rely on other people to like our photos and validate our existence but what ever happened to working hard for a career and being okay on your own? We’ve become a culture obsessed with having the world approve our lives.

Instagram is one of the worst culprits. Every day seeing photo after photo of people seeking validation, why does everything need to be shared online? That’s what photo albums are for.

If you’re going through a tough time, relying on someone else to make you happy isn’t the best decision. As cliché as it sounds, young people should take the time to know themselves before getting into relationships and need to find happiness within.

Barbara tells of her days with her husband, “We always go out together, you’ll never see one without the other. We are always together. I wouldn’t want to go out with anybody on my own without Brian.”

When it comes to social media they both agree that they are lucky to have missed the era of sharing your life online. Brian says, “I can’t keep pace with it [the internet]. I’m not an expert on it but it’s another world. Years ago we didn’t have any of that.”

Brian was asked if he believed love was a feeling or a choice, he responded, “I’d say feeling because the choice to me, I’ve got that choice, I’ve got to stick with it but with a feeling it’s there all the time.

Scott Fitzgerald once said “I love you and that’s the beginning and end of everything.” But is it the be all and end all of life?

“I think it’s more of lust over love thing.” 19 year old Sophie Blackmore states as she weighs in on modern day romance. “Oh, I can be in a relationship and it’ll be fun and cute but then you sort of come to the reality of it and it’s not completely what you wanted.”

As much as we would all like to say that love alone is what gets us through, Sophie says “I think it goes a lot deeper than being in love, there’s a lot of things like trust, you’ve got to be honest with each other, I think you’ve got to have things in common. So I think it goes deeper than just loving someone, you’ve got to understand them fully.”

Discussing more on the media side of love, Sophie believes that people often inaccurately represent their relationship online as they only post the positive parts.  “You’re not going to post online all the bad points of your relationship.” Therefore misleading their viewers and pushing unhealthy ideals into young people’s minds.

According to boredpanda.com, a relationship research website, it is estimated that romantic love, which is linked with euphoria, dependence, sweaty palms, butterflies and alike, only lasts about a year. After that first year begins the so-called “committed love” stage. The transition is linked with elevated neurotrophic protein levels in newly formed couples. So, is it a feeling or a choice?

Love isn’t black and white. It’s a lot of different shades of grey and that’s okay. We can’t always get the answers we want, love can’t always fix our problems. As long as you have a strong head on your shoulders and a life outside your relationship, isn’t that good enough? As long as you are making yourself happy, you can’t really go wrong.

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