Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Whoever Cares Less Wins?

Is apathy the way to love in 2014?

Charlotte Lieberman has written a highly controversial article  for this Valentine's Day in this month's Cosmopolitan Magazine about the state of love and romance in 2014 American college campuses. She reports that the system of college dating "is broken." She quotes Occidental College Sociology Professor Lisa Wade that today's young college women are "approaching casual sex with a stereotypical masculine attitude"...of what Dr. Michael Kimmel termed "no fears, no doubts, no vulnerabilities."  Ms. Lieberman observes that, although a study by New York University Sociologist Paula England determined that both college men and women had roughly the same hopes that a hook up would turn into something more, the outward behavior is to hide that loving way. There seems to be a norm on college campuses across the country that being vulnerable and needing somebody is to be a weak and pathetic loser. She concludes that when it comes to modern heterosexual relationships in 2014, "whoever cares less, wins."

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Author Barbara Dafoe Whitehead has written extensively about the rise of "Chick Lit", which she defined as popular fiction "obsessively devoted to one theme: smart young women's frustrations with men and dating relationships." The character Carrie Bradshaw wondered a decade ago in the "Chick Lit" favorite "Sex In The City" about the then-emerging hook up culture, "Have women evolved into not having any feelings?" On campus today that prophecy appears to have come true, at least outwardly, according to Charlotte Lieberman.

Writer Sasha Brown-Worsham, blogging on the hook up now/get married later trend, observed that "no matter how successful we are, no matter how much money we make, without love, none of it really means anything. And that is what is getting lost here. We can say they will find love later, and it's true, they might. But when will they make time for it? When will love ever be the priority and something they are willing to sacrifice for?"

Writer Emily Esfahani Smith warns that the "empowerment" of the  emotionless hook up "is using someone else as a means to his/her own sexual pleasure." When the emotional switch has been turned off for so long and at such a young age, can the romantic feelings of men and women be magically turned back on at some day long into the future when it neatly fits into career plans? On this Valentine's Day week we should ponder whether the calloused romantic indifference of this generation as described by Charlotte Lieberman can be remedied. 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

more...

Subscribe to Repairing Relationships

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?