« Relationships have changed, and we need to ask ourselves what kind of commitment might replace them. »
DAS ENDE DES ROMANTIKDIKTATS
(The End of Romance)
by Andrea Newerla
Kösel/PRH Germany, June 2023
Our relationship with other people, closeness and intimacy has fundamentally changed. This is due not only to the « safe distances » and lockdowns of the past couple of years or so, but to a social trend that has merely been intensified by the pandemic – as evidenced by rising divorce rates, an increase in polyamorous relationships, the rising number of single households and political discussions around « responsible communities ».
The concept of the romantic couple – our current gold standard for closeness and connection – is showing its cracks. Now more than ever, we ask ourselves: what kind of a relationship would make me truly happy? Sociologist Andrea Newerla examines the emergence of new relationship models, and shows how the monetisation and digitisation of the dating market is chipping away at existing norms. Yet she also reveals the opportunities that are emerging in the realm of friendship, ethics of care and chosen families.
Using original research as well as her personal experiences, Newerla inspires us to reflect more deeply on our relationships, and to ask whether there are different kinds of commitments we could be making.
Andrea Newerla is one of the best known voices in the field of intimacy research. She has a PhD in sociology and is a senior researcher at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg, specialising in non-heteronormative intimacy, online dating and relationship patterns. Her study of intimacy behaviours during the pandemic prompted her to take a new approach to intimacy research, and her observations of changing social currents provide the basis of this book.