Couple. Male name. Persons who are united by marriage, bound by a civil partnership or living in concubinage. The definition of Larousse has lived. The very word “couple” seems outdated.
More and more, 18-30 year olds – or Generation Y – are getting rid of it and inventing new forms of romantic relationships, neither really together nor really together. Serious and easy going. Romantic and realistic. In a pair without being in a pair. If the great love still dreams, life together gives cold sweat.
“A quote, in my opinion, sums up very well the situation of young people today: ‘We want the intensity without risk.’ It is impossible “analyzes Manon Aunay, certified personal and professional development coach, using the words of philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle. Armed with their parents’ relationship, the ‘divorce generation’, they now have a harder time getting involved, not because deep down they do not dream about it, but because they are afraid, afraid of getting stuck in a relationship, afraid to take it wrong choices, fear of failing, fear of losing their freedom, fear of divorce … They want stability with passion, freedom with a relationship, to be truly loved without having to give too much … We demand of the other , what we are not even able to give! ”
A love full of contradictions
Finished, therefore, “they got married, lived happily and had many children”, welcome to the era “at the same time” in love, where we want everything and its opposite, the great love without committing, happiness without frustration, butterflies in stomach without uncertainty. Faced with these contradictions, therefore, everyone creates their own romantic configuration, building their relationship in their own way, far from the codes dictated by the elders. “The stories are both serious and easy”, confirms sociologist Christophe Giraud, professor at the University of Paris-Descartes and researcher at the Center for Research on Social Relations (Cerlis) (1).
“We are starting something with a partner, and we do not know how it will develop. Love at first sight model is being questioned, we are not saying we are in love for a while. This period can last quite a long time, the time needed for a shared experience to know the other and to know their feelings. ” Christophe Giraud continues, qualifying as “realistic love” these relationships of a new kind. “Before it was very simple: there was a kind of evidence. If we felt good, we converted love into a story we lived together, eventually we got married. Today it is more complicated. The mating is very thoughtful and very contractual states the sociologist. The contract may terminate very quickly or, on the contrary, be renewed. » We look for guarantees, proof that we really mean something to the other. And at the same time, we swear nothing to each other, no cohabitation, no marriage, no baby. No long-term promise, but relational and sexual exclusivity. Not to a paradox, the macronists of love!
Emotions more than emotion
“There is a real desire to form a couple, much more than combining relationships”, says Carmen Bramly, 23, author (2). Yet love has become a sacred thing, and we do not agree to give it to the one who comes first. “My generation believes in love, but perhaps in a disillusioned way. We are also in a society that values emotion and not emotion. There is a refusal to engage. In my close circle, for example, no one is in a relationship no one has really loved. I’ve also heard people tell me ‘I’ve been with this girl for three years but I do not like her’ “, says Carmen Bramly again.
Who’s fault is it? To the parents and grandparents who separated and enchanted the myth of love forever? For dating apps that encourage consumption and lock in an infinity of choices and an abyss of uncertainties? Have an education that is too tolerant? For psychoanalyst Fabienne Kraemer (3), these difficulties in getting involved and dealing with frustrations are the result of the child king: “This created an inability to live as a couple. We want to avoid the routine, limit frustrations, enjoy without hindrance. Still, if it is not hindered, the enjoyment is less strong! » One thing is for sure in any case: we want to avoid taking risks. Then we take out insurance. “The couple is seen as a business to be led”, notes Paul Douard, 29, columnist on the Vice page. “The boxes must be filled. There is no longer room for doubt. Moreover, today, when someone describes the person he met, I hear more about criteria than emotions. »
Security before romance in the couple
At the time of the start-up nation, the partners are transformed into HRD and the relationship into a construction contract. “Those under the age of 35 are unsure or do not know where to go. The couple did not escape this: it is therefore necessary to ensure it. says Paul Douard. Then we are looking for someone who will never go wrong with. It never gets crazy either, but it’s reassuring. How many couples have been together for ten years, no longer love but are fine? A bit like when you turn fifty in the same box because it’s reassuring. One of my friends told me that he chose someone who reassured him rather than a crazy but risky story. ‘I have chosen security’, he told me. Today, what is sought is an agreement. The romantic partner becomes a mix between the roommate and the best friend. We become hiking friends. »
For the romantic it will be necessary to iron! Is generation Y therefore more unhappy, less satisfied than its older ones? Not sure. “Maybe she’s more optimistic than happy”Carmen Bramly tries. “Love is not dead!reassures Manon Aunay.
It just shows up in different forms. There are really “real couples”, people who are ready to commit, to go far, to live together and start a family. It is still a wish of many young people who may want to allow it later or who, despite the development of society, take the step, dare to open up, dare to trust and dare to love themselves. »
(1) Author of Realistic love, the new love experience for young women (Armand Colin, 320 pages).
(2) His last novel, Shock wave (JC Lattes, 220 pages).
(3) Author of Solo / No Solo, what future for love? (PUF, 240 pages).
Illustration: Natacha PASCHAL
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