Say the word “love”, and every mind zooms straight to the idea of romantic love. There might be many kinds of love—and most of them less complicated than the romantic kind—but this is the kind everyone wants to talk about, yearn for, diss, push away, lose as well as find themselves in.
To borrow from a 1990s song, love is all around, from films and sitcoms to store shelves and supposedly well-meaning neighbours who ask intrusive questions about private lives. The quest for The One dominates a large part of people’s lives—whether they are the ones doing the searching or not. For many, it’s the driving obsession, for some it’s limiting and exhaustingly conformist, and for others—as we explore in our cover story this week—it’s a cause for risk.
At Lounge, we have been exploring friendship, joy, isolation, anxiety, burnout, and the many feelings of living through a pandemic. Dealing with isolation has probably been one of the harshest. Alone for days on end, many have signed up on dating apps, which start with promises of sunlit romance that are hard to fulfil. But in the online world, the idea of romance and its narrative—it’s about being swept off your feet, overcoming obstacles, sticking together through thick and thin, and all those lines from corny love songs and romcoms—can have darker consequences.
Many have fallen for scams, ranging from cons and phishing attacks to more toxic doxing and harassment, that leave them with broken hearts, mental trauma and empty wallets. It’s an old scam, to create a fake persona and sweet-talk someone into handing over their money or personal details, but in the online world, it all moves that much faster. Part of the reason people ignore all the red flags is the narrative of completeness we have been sold on. Apart from being aware and wary, without giving up on romance, maybe it’s time to stop putting everything into the quest for The One. After all, there are many kinds of love, all just as satisfying—but they need a different perspective to discover and cherish.
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