10 things we learned about romance this year


What a year for love! From a royal wedding to arguments about what the #MeToo movement means for dating to the revival of the romantic comedy, a lot has happened in the world of relationships. Here are 10 things we learned from others’ love lives in 2018.

Consent should be clear-cut. But people are still confused

In January, Babe.net published an anonymously sourced account of a young woman’s first date with comedian Aziz Ansari, which she says wasn’t consensual, but he thought it was. Before that, Ansari was considered a millennial dating guru. His comedy specials, his book Modern Romance and his Netflix show Master of None all explore the frustrations of trying to find love in the swipe era. In those works, many singles saw their foibles, joys and struggles reflected on screen.

After Babe.net’s story published, debate roared about whether the #MeToo movement had gone too far.

Actor Aziz Ansari arrives at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni – TB3EC1A1TJ7XC

Dating has become more political

Dating apps such as OkCupid saw huge increases in users including political terms in their profiles. Similarly, the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed daters to have difficult conversations about assault and consent as early as a first date.


Friends setting up friends can actually work

Sure, sometimes when your friends try to set you up, it can be annoying or come off as meddling. But it worked for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! Shortly after the couple’s engagement,January it came out that Prince Harry’s childhood friend Violet von Westenholz had set them up.


That first meeting isn’t everything

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith discussed how it took them a while to become a couple. On Red Table Talk, Jada’s popular Facebook Watch show, the couple revealed that the night Will Smith went to a taping of A Different World, ostensibly to meet Jada, he ended up meeting someone else instead – Sheree Zampino, whom he went on to date and marry.


Forcing a meet-cute narrative on strangers is creepy, not sweet

Remember the #PlaneBae story that captivated social media for a few days? In July, Rosey Blair, an actor, writer and photographer, asked a woman to switch seats with her on a flight from New York to Dallas and then aggressively documented the woman’s conversation with the hunk sitting next to her. Over the course of the flight, Blair spun up a story of romance and intrigue, which at first many thought was adorable. Until the tide of social media opinion quickly turned, branding Blair as invasive and coercive.


The romantic comedy is not dead after all

From Netflix releasing a stream of rom-coms to Crazy Rich Asians being a smash hit on the big screen, this was the year it became clear that the movie genre isn’t as moribund as critics had previously declared. Instead, the rom-com is getting an update – the characters in these movies are more ethnically and sexually diverse, the plot lines are more politically correct – and viewers are responding by watching and rewatching.


Getting engaged after a couple of months is risky

So many lightning-fast engagements this year! Remember when fans were cheering on singer Ariana Grande and comedian Pete Davidson, who got engaged after a whirlwind romance? They didn’t last, but we all got a beautiful souvenir in the form of Grande’s catchy breakup anthem Thank u, next.


Janelle Monae taught many people a new word: Pansexual

This was a big year for Janelle Monae. Her album-plus-film Dirty Computer was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year. Glamour honored her as one of its women of the year. And she introduced a wider audience to a sexual orientation many were learning of for the first time: pansexuality.


Don’t interrupt your partner’s big accomplishment to propose

Public proposals are fraught. They can be seen as cute or manipulative. But when a man infamously interrupted his girlfriend who was running her first marathon, it was just annoying. It served as a reminder to couples everywhere: When your partner is achieving her dreams, your role is to cheer her on – not interrupt her and make her moment all about you.


And don’t publicly pressure her to take you back

Another celebrity couple attracting attention for their tumultuous relationship is rappers Cardi B and Offset. This month, on the same day that Cardi B revealed pictures of her baby Kulture, she announced that she and Offset had split. He may have cheated on her – and then tried to win her back by interrupting her set at a music festival to apologise.

The Washington Post

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