Angela Poe Russell: Love is challenging in a complex time

Feb 15, 2024, 8:48 AM | Updated: Mar 27, 2024, 1:55 pm

Holding hands...

Finding love and keeping it seems to be more challenging for this generation. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

On the heels of Valentine’s Day another love event.

A new season of the popular reality dating show Love is Blind.

The idea is that singles try to find a match and fall in love without ever seeing each other face-to-face.

Dating shows have been around for a while.

I grew up watching the Dating Game, Love Connection and eventually learned what in the world “Whoopie” meant.

But these days, there are more than a dozen options.

The Golden Bachelor, Married at First Site, Love Island, 90-Day Fiance and so on and so on.

As dating shows expanded, it made me wonder what our love life is like in reality… like our actual life.

The bottom line is things don’t seem such a fairy tale or even straightforward.

More people than ever are single. In 1990, 29% of folks didn’t have a partner. In 2019, it was up to 38%.

And now, according to the Census Bureau, the number of people has jumped to almost half.

Some would argue this is a good thing.

There’s even a website to celebrate singleness and the gifts that come with it.

In fact, multiple surveys from credible institutions have found that almost half of single folks don’t even want to date. They are just not interested in a romantic relationship.

The top two reasons: Too busy. Feeling like it would be a distraction. Or because it didn’t work in the past.

Meanwhile, the dating apps are busier than ever. All those dating shows I mentioned — highly rated and doing well.

That makes the State of Our Unions a little confusing.

So what gives?

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Perhaps we are in love with the romance of a relationship versus the reality.

The reality maybe love in 2024 is more complicated.

Look at what could go wrong.

Taylor Swift has made a career of highlighting that. Meanwhile, we’re being trained with beige flags and red flags.

There are high divorce rates, custody battles, and the evil word — Compromise.

Because in 2024, we won’t settle.

Add in social media and the dating apps — where the grass is always greener and there are plenty of fish!

Something you don’t like? All you have to do is swipe, right?

But wait, once you’re past that — you might be judged on your activism.

According to Bumble Dating Trends — singles today expect their partners to not only care about social and political causes but to actively engage.

That’s exhausting.

So it just might be possible that dating shows are this generation’s escape. The way folks who still read have turned to romance novels.

At some point, though, we do have to reckon with reality.

Public health experts have sounded the alarm about America’s loneliness problem. At the heart of it, humans are wired for connection.

Technology and these new social norms made it easier and harder at the same time.

So in this season of love, I wish us all more connections however you manifest them.

Until then I know where you can find a happy ending — at least until the credits roll.

Angela Poe Russell fills in as a host on KIRO Newsradio and has been around Seattle media in different capacities for a number of years.

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Angela Poe Russell: Love is challenging in a complex time