In today’s world, when you think about love, online dating, one-night stands, male-female relationships that social media has given a completely different direction, love applications, how marriage changes content, open relationships and polyamory, what comes to mind when you talk about love in general? Where do you get inspiration from? Apart from the books you read, your personal experiences, the conversations you had with your close friends, and what they shared with you, what guides your thoughts on this subject? Or are you not caught in the Netflix storm?
It would be a very shallow understanding to reduce Netflix, which influences the whole world and Turkey and increases the number of its members day by day, to an online series and movie platform that only changes the habit of watching television. In addition to our social lives, Netflix definitely influences the way we live it, as well as the way we look at love and sexuality, with its endless array of romances where it locks people in their rooms, couches or beds.
BEST MEDICINE FOR LOVE PAIN
While Netflix turns into an addiction in our lives, the serials released in packages actually blunt the sense of curiosity and hit young people who live fast and can’t bear to wait, from exactly 12; one of the most primary results of this online platform. We can talk about a youth that quickly consumes relationships, friendships and business life, just like successive TV series. Those who watch six or eight-episode Netflix series in one sitting approach life with short and momentary excitements away from the feeling of patience. Netflix actually mirrors the world of those who want to have a feeling of quick satisfaction in every field, whose every request is fulfilled at that moment. With the introduction of Netflix and similar online media services into our lives, it is an undeniable fact that binge-watching, which is scientifically called binge-watching, makes people antisocial. An academic friend of mine who works with young people recently made the following observation: “In the past, when people were unhappy or in love, they went out, spent time with their friends, and drank to forget. Now he just shuts up in his room and watches Netflix.” By the way, considering that the watching rates of Netflix increase after 23.00 at night, we can assume that it also causes a decrease in sexual relations.
Relationship expert Esther Perel, in her two books below, explains the impossibility of a partner being a spouse, lover, friend, confidant, mother/father, and emphasizes that cheating does not always point to a couple’s death sentence, and that it can initiate new processes in the relationship.
I SHARE MY PASSWORD SO I LOVE YOU
Maybe we socialize less, but especially thanks to Netflix, which entertains us with its relationship and love series and turns into a love doctor, we learn a lot, we can consider love from different angles, we watch it first and then experience it, or we just stare. It would not be an exaggeration to say that especially young people learn about male-female relationships and sexuality from Netflix series. For example, we can say that the Sex Education series, which is about 16-year-old high school student Otis, whose parents are sexual therapists, gives advice about sex to his friends at school, can be a sex education and information center especially for young people, just as its name suggests. Of course, how and how young generations can apply what they watch and see is closely related to the socio-economic conditions in which they live. But it’s clear that Netflix has become today’s guide to consuming love and relationships. According to a study conducted by the French consulting company Ipsos, 25 percent of Netflix viewers identify their soul mates based on the characters of the TV series they watch. The same research reveals that 58 percent of viewers try to impress the opposite sex by adding the names of their favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix to their social media accounts. In the first meeting, TV series and movie preferences are at the forefront of the topics discussed. In the past, the seriousness of a love affair was measured by its longevity, adherence to principles such as love, trust and loyalty, but now it is evaluated by the sharing of the Netflix password. Also, for most couples, watching a Netflix series together in bed on cold winter nights is a very romantic move. Note that Airbnb rents rooms in New York with a huge double bed, a fridge stocked with beer and snacks, and a Netflix account. In Wanderlust, a new 6-episode series of Netflix, a married therapist named Joy Richards, a mother of three, is looking to keep her relationship with her husband alive, to question whether monogamy is possible while watching her new adventure to end the monotony. Thinking about it again shows how Netflix can shape our perspective on relationships. Another Netflix series Easy, while scrutinizing how a group of couples living in America approach the concepts of love, sex, marriage, family, culture and technology, makes the viewer say “what would I do”, “would I act like this”, a landscape of relationships and offers alternatives.
Let’s not go without reminding that Netflix, which permeates every aspect of our lives, stamps not only our love life, but also our social world, shapes our feelings and thoughts, has started a netflixsitation period.
DOUBLE AND MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIP MODELS
While contemplating love and relationships, it is essential to mention Esther Perel, the famous Belgian relationship expert, whose two TED talks were watched over 25 million times and her podcast titled Where Should We Begin reached 15 million listeners from 140 countries.
While emphasizing that polygamy is even older than the concept of marriage, Perel explains that today, monogamy has turned into being dependent on only one person in a part of life, as emotions such as speed, desire instead of duty, consumerism, impatience and the urge to always have more have gained importance. This “one episode”, on the other hand, can get shorter and shorter in line with expectations and disappointments, and relationships cannot go beyond living as if they are consuming TV series.
Perel says that too much is expected from a relationship, too many roles such as a lover, a good lover, a friend, a friend, economic power, and mother/father are assigned to the other party, and when these cannot be realized, being a couple becomes shaky. Perel said, “The success of being a couple is not measured by the length of time lived together, but by the ability to overcome difficulties together. Being a couple is a life project, but this project may not last a lifetime, it may cover different areas of life and association with different people,” and reminds how a lifelong relationship or marriage that brings unhappiness becomes meaningless and is doomed to end.
The fact that a single partner cannot (can’t) take everything at the same time, emphasized by Perel, highlights the fragmented models in relationships. One of them is “monogamous” or open relationships, which American sex counselor Dan Savage uses to describe a relationship in which the couple is connected but allows experimentation with others. Therapist Mark Kaupp, on the other hand, explains the term polyamory as having multiple, romantic and sexual partners. Educator and activist Mischa Lin said, “It’s about our kids saying, ‘One of them has to go. Do we say ‘There is no room for two children in my heart’? It is quite interesting that when we make a new friend, do we explain to others, ‘Sorry, I have only one energy and capacity’ and throw them away? Relationships that are perceived as a kind of “business and pleasure” oriented, which are consumed for a short time and in rapid succession without emotional attachment to anyone, are also derivatives of fragmented models.
In today’s vast sea of relationships, it’s clear how the meaning of couples and love has changed radically. To put it simply, while the once-in-a-lifetime monogamy goes out of circulation, even being attached to one person in certain parts of life is considered one of the most basic achievements of being a couple. Moreover, even when sticking to one person, love mazes and relationship arrows that go in different directions can be found. As long as you don’t get lost in the labyrinths!
ARTICLE : Selin Miloshian
Taken from ELLE Turkey March 2020 issue.