Why Is Modern Love So Hard?

Our modern world is not without its challenges. Most of us work long days, have multiple demands on our time and are moving at breakneck speed. Is it any wonder, then, that relationships are difficult to maintain?

Esther Perel, a New York-based marriage and family therapist, speaks and consults regularly on the topic of relationships and sexual intelligence. One of her observations when exploring the concept of modern love relationships, is that there is a sense of anxiety for people seeking a long-term partner.

When we look for a life mate we have high expectations that they will fill all of our many needs. In her blog, Perel reflects upon the unrealistic wedding vows being made by new couples making promises that no one could realistically keep, effectively setting them up for failure. It’s hardly surprising that if we expect our partner to provide friendship, protection, compassion, reassurance, sexual excitement and financial partnership, we may be disappointed.

What can we do to keep love alive?

Perhaps, instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you imagine yourself writing a fulfilling story that ebbs and flows over the course of time. The story may not be perfect, but it can still be beautiful.  Expect that both of you will have to talk about your hopes, dreams and aspirations. Be realistic in your respective expectations of each other.  In addition, remember that being playful and maintaining a little mystery in your sexual life will keep your erotic energy strong.

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. For the relationship to flourish, both parties must share their feelings with one another. If this becomes a challenge, support from a professional may help. Perel’s research suggests that the more social resources we have, the more alternatives we have for talking about our issues in non-threatening ways.


Visit Esther Perel’s YouTube channel to learn more about relationships.