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The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on social media in early 2024 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

This site addresses what's changing, in our own lives, in our organisations, and in wider society. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 areas, ranging from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and very much else inbetween.

Halcyon's aim is to help you reflect on how you can better deal with related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Love

Love

 

Please see below selected recent love-related change.

 

See also:

 

February 2024

 

January 2024

  • More than a third of unmarried adults under the age of 50 in Japan have reportedly never dated, with many saying they see it as a waste of time and money.

 

December 2023

 

November 2023

 

October 2023

 

September 2023

  • When it comes to who we fall for, scientists say there’s little truth in the old adage that opposites attract. A study on romantic relationships found that for more than 80% of traits analysed – from political views to drug taking and the age at which people first had sex – partners were often remarkably similar. Tanya Horwitz, author of the study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, said: “Birds of a feather are indeed more likely to flock together.”

 

July 2023

 

March 2023

  • Couples that are stable and happy over time tend to engage in mutual soothing, make regular statements of appreciation and admiration for their partner, and accept influence from one another (avoiding power struggles). These couples also quickly repair ruptures in their bond and celebrate their success in overcoming difficult moments. When asked to narrate their history of ups and downs, better-functioning couples more frequently use the pronoun ‘we’ and have a greater sense of shared identity – whereas couples in distress tend to focus on you and me (or you versus me).
  • The School of Life noted that one of the big assumptions of our times is that if love is real, it must by definition prove to be eternal. We invariably and naturally equate genuine relationships with life-long relationships. It therefore seems hard to interpret the ending of a union after only a limited period as something other than a problem, a failure and an emotional catastrophe that is someone’s fault, probably our own. We appear fundamentally unable to trust that a relationship could be at once sincere, meaningful and important - and yet at the same time fairly and guiltlessly limited in its duration.

 

February 2023

  • Maria Popova pointed to humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm's observation that "There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love,” in his treatise on learning love as a skill. We fail at it largely because, given how profoundly shaped we are by our formative attachments, those who grew up with instability and violence from our primary caregivers - the people tasked with loving us and teaching us about love - can feel woefully handicapped at love, unconsciously replicating the emotional patterns of those familiar relationship dynamics known as limbic attractors, only to emerge with shame and self-blame for what feels like failing at love.
  • An international team of scientists surveyed 9,474 individuals from 45 different countries about how loving their relationships were. Participants in the US, Italy, Portugal, and Hungary reported some of the most loving relationships, while participants in China, Germany, Turkey, and Pakistan reported some of the least. The researchers also found that a country's modernisation, gender equality, collectivism, and temperature were associated with greater feelings of love in relationships.

 

December 2022

 

October 2022

  • One of the central requirements of a good relationship is a degree of affection for our own natures, built up over the years, largely in childhood. We need a legacy of feeling very deserving of love in order not to respond obtusely and erratically to the affections granted to us by adult partners. Without a decent amount of self-love, the love of another person will always be prone to feel sickening and misguided and we will self-destructively - though unconsciously - set out to repel or disappoint it. It is simply more normal and bearable to be rejected.

 

June 2022

 

January 2022

  • The real reason for break up lies in one or both spouse’s sense that they have not been heard, that something very important to them has been disregarded, that their point of view has not, at a fundamental level, been acknowledged and honoured. It doesn’t matter what the subject of this non-hearing happens to be: it could be that they haven’t been heard about their views on money, or on the way the children are being brought up, or on how their weekends should be managed, or on how intimacy occurs or doesn’t occur. It’s feeling unheard for our differences that is unbearable; it’s never the presence of differences per se, argued The School of Life.

 

July 2021

 

December 2020

 

September 2020

  • “There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love,” the humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm wrote in his 1965 workon mastering the art of loving. Maria Popova believes that one chief reason we flounder in this supreme human aspiration is our unwillingness to accept the paradoxes of love - paradoxes like the necessity of frustration in romantic satisfaction and the seemingly irreconcilable notion that while love longs for closeness, desire thrives on distance.
  • Big Think asked: does it matter more who you love or how you love? A large machine learning study analysed data from thousands of couples to identify which characteristics are most vital to predicting the success or failure of a relationship. Using artificial intelligence, researchers found that the individual traits of the partners had less to do with making the couple happy than the characteristics of the relationship itself. To put it another way – the dynamic of the relationship you create, with its shared experiences and in-jokes, is more important than the specific traits of the one you are with.

     

May 2020

  • What if virtual dating just stays around forever, asked Quartz? Covid-19 has already forced a pivot to video for many singles worldwide and there are reasons why virtual dating might outlast the pandemic.

 

September 2019

 

August 2019

 

July 2019

 

June 2019

  • News of the end of relationships tends to be greeted with deep solemnity in our societies; it is hard not to think of a breakup except in terms of a minor tragedy. People will offer condolences as they might after a funeral. This in turn reflects an underlying philosophy of love: we are taught that the natural and successful outcome of any love story should be to seek to remain with a person until their or our death and (by implication) that any break up must be interpreted as a failure governed by overwhelming hostility on one or both sides. But The School of Life believes there's another scenario in which we understand that we are separating not because our relationship has gone badly but, precisely, because it has gone well; it is ending because it has succeeded. Rather than breaking up with feelings of hurt, bitterness, regret and guilt, we’re parting with a sense of mutual gratitude and joint accomplishment.

 

May 2019

 

April 2019

  • The School of Life believes that our societies have a lot of patience for people who are in anguish, at the start of a relationship because they need to know if they are loved - but a lot less time for those who - deep into established relationships, have an equally powerful longing to know whether they are still loved. Yet sometimes, relationships just need to get re-started. People love one another but a lot has accumulated that they have not properly dealt with. Certain things haven’t been said, resentments may have built up, playfulness has been neglected and there is a lot that people should - but haven’t found the words - to express.

 

February 2019

 

December 2018

  • The Institute of Arts and Ideas pointed out that, from medieval legends to Hollywood endings to the horoscope, we are led to believe that lifelong love means happiness. But a recent survey of 814 separate studies showed single people to be happier, more fulfilled and less stressed. Is it therefore time to stop seeing romantic love as all-important? Could living by and for ourselves be radically liberating? Or is it the search for love that makes us human?

 

October 2018

 

September 2018

  • Most of us think we know what love is; we may just be looking for the right person to lavish our love on. But it's no insult, and indeed it might even be helpful to imagine, that we don't have much of a clue what love really is, not because we are deficient, but because our culture never investigates the subject as it should. The School of Life therefore offered a list of seven ingredients that it suggests lie at the heart of a proper understanding of love.
  • Love often strikes like a thunderbolt - inexplicable, unaccountable and often painful. Moreover, we sometimes think that to fall in love means to surrender both our freedom and our reason. But is this true? What is the relationship between love and other, ‘rational’ emotions, and does it mean surrendering our power and our freedom to another? A philosopher of mind and cognitive neuroscientist looked at our brain chemistry and psychology to reveal simple truths about this complex emotion.

 

August 2018

 

June 2018

 

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