But it’s not mere convenience that propels people online, or simply the desire to escape their own small worlds.
In an era of mass higher education, short-term contracts and portfolio careers, expanded geographical mobility and ‘vertical drinking’ in strings of heaving high-street bars, there are arguably more opportunities to meet people than ever before.
ow did people meet each other before the world got online?
A survey by the dating service uk at the beginning of this year claimed that two-thirds of the single people using a dating service in 2005 turned to the internet.
Why has love come to be seen as a problem, and what does it say about our society that intimate relationships have come to be seen as addictive, and somehow bad for our health?
In this sense, it is worth trying to separate what has changed about people’s experiences and expectations of love today from the sociological and political debate about love, and what it all means.It reflects a fundamental shift in how people are encouraged to think about their personal relationships and organise their personal lives, with intimacy acted out in public and subject to the contractual norms one might associate with buying a car, a house, a holiday.The fashion for finding ‘love online’ represents a redefinition of what we mean by ‘love’.An autonomous woman demands more from a free relationship than from a relationship in which she is subordinate; a man, stripped of his traditional breadwinner role, is less certain of his identity and more prone to questioning his own role.
Intimate relationships thus become fraught and temporary: so far as the family goes, ‘the child becomes the last remaining, irrevocable, unique primary love object. Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s book contains a great deal of insight in the extent to which it accepts the magnitude of changes that intimate relationships have undergone in the past quarter-century and the impact that this has upon the stability of the nuclear family.People seeking love online might not be looking to develop an emotional CV, but that is what the process sells them.