GENERATION Y were brought up in a world where Tinder dates are the new normal and reality TV promises true love in 24 hours; raised on the tech-lingo of #couplegoals and love heart-eye emojis. Wanting to find out whether romantic love has really evolved to nothing more than candid couple selfies, I spoke to millennials about what love means to them.
Are we a generation who still believes in ‘true love’ and ‘love at first sight?’
“I think you can be drawn to someone immediately,” says one 21-year-old, Samantha*. But love? “Strong physical attraction is the only thing that can happen just on sight, and it’s only one of the elements that you need for love,” explains Katie, 25.
So, what happens if that physical attraction isn’t there? If binge-watching Catfish has proved anything, it’s that it’s all too easy to fall for someone you’ve never even met before.
“It’s quite possible to feel like you know people you’ve never met. Love, after all, knows no reason,” reasons Samuel, 22.
This is not to say that online dating is derived of sceptics. James, 20, says the idea of loving somebody you have never met is “daft.” The physical aspect of romantic love is important, even between asexual people.”
“The physical aspect of romantic love is important, even between asexual people, ” he continues.
Another 20-year-old, Lewis,* acknowledges that whilst “you might think you love something, it’s more the idea of loving it.” Without face-to-face contact (apparently, Skype doesn’t count), the general consensus is that it won’t be ‘love’ if it’s no more than a screen directly in front of you: “you’re more likely to be loving the image of them which you have fabricated”, as one 18-year-old, Cara,* puts it.
So what puts the “true” in ‘true love?’ “It’s worth every ounce of sweat you put into it,” says James. Lukas, 18, adds, “I think saying “true” love is saying the same thing twice over because love can’t be untrue.” Reality TV hasn’t stolen our faith just yet – no matter how many times we watch couples be unfaithful.
“The most stable love is asymmetrical in its details, but symmetrical in its power,”
But is this lack of faith – perpetual cheating and scandal in the news and on TV – really that different from previous generations? Have our ideas really changed, rendering us more ready for multiple partners and less commitment? Perhaps not. “I think one person will always offer you more gratification than the other”, says Georgia, 20.
Samuel adds, “I personally have definitely felt romantic feelings for multiple other people at the same time. Of course… That’s never an excuse for cheating on someone with whom you’ve mutually decided to be exclusive.”
Others note that while you can be attracted to multiple people, you wouldn’t be able to love them all. “If you fall in love with a second person you weren’t ever in love with the first,” says another 20-year-old, Tom.*
When do you know you love someone? “It’s when you know you’d do anything for them,” says Ella, 19. “It’s unconditional.”
Some of Generation Y’s opinions were unanimous. Is love always a positive thing? No. Can you be in love with someone who doesn’t love you back? Yes, yes yes, “obviously.” “The most stable love is asymmetrical in its details but symmetrical in its power,” says James. “If you’re giving someone something that they’re not taking, it;s not love at all; it’s a waste of energy.”
Are we able to bounce back with a revenge snapchat and that good ol’ “there’s plenty more fish on Tinder” motto?
“Worst feeling ever,” says Katie. Maybe not.
“It can be poisonous and dangerous,” says Georgia. “Love is the most powerful human emotion there is because it works from either side of the spectrum… We take it for the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Today, whether you’re making last minute V-Day plans or treating it as another day on your calendar, it’s clear to see that although Generation Y no longer associates with Disney-fied love or Jane Austen narratives, the modern age of GIFs and hashtags hasn’t quite trampled on our aching hearts. After all, Generation Y is the generation of #LoveisLove, Love Trumps Hate, and #LoveHasNoColour. Don’t let the vapid millennial façade fool you: we’re not giving up on love just yet.
*some names have been changed
Join the conversation by using the hashtag #MillennialRomanceBeLike