The Tinder generation
Recently the Telegraph and now Vanity Fair launched a serious critique of what the ‘Tinder’ generation means for us. They were asking if we have lost the ability to manage medium and long-term meaningful relationships, have we lost skills such that we shouldn’t expect relationships to last “till death do us part” anymore?
As a Wimbledon couple counsellor I come across couples with just this delimma. The model they are trying to live up to demands successful commitment to a lifelong relationship, in the marriage stakes anything less is branded by society as failure. Some come to relationship counsellors such as myself in the hope of finding a template they can use, to achieve what feels very unachievable to them - I am afraid I don’t think we have one. Of course we can and do help them with all the skills and exploration that keeps a relationship healthy, but sometimes that is not enough.
Let me explain. “Till death do us part" was launched at a time when the average relationship lasted a decade, or two if you were lucky. Childbirth, plague, viruses, warfare, bad health, bad sanitation, pre-health and safety and bad luck all took their tole. Anyone living more than forty years a few centuries ago was highly likley to be well into their second marriage. Now modern healthcare has changed all that. A young couple getting married in their mid twenties can probably count on at least sixty years together - that's a relationship challenge that the original promise was never expected to accomodate.
From my clincial work with over a thousand couples, I have learnt that when they really do want to stay together, they will. We form a team that makes sure that happens. However for some, keeping decades long relationships alive can be tough. Sometimes I find myself working with couples for whom seperating sadly really does make sense to them.
If you are not sure if you can keep that commitment, working with a relationship counsellor can be one of the best ways of making sure that the you are making the right choices. They are not there to push you in any particular direction, but help you engage with what you need to do.
As always this is Christopher MacGovern signing off with; “talk to your therapist”.