How We Love Now
Long-distance relationships, office romances, and marriages arranged online are new items on the romance menu.
Long-Distance Marriages on the Rise continued...
Compared to generations past, today's lovers are more likely to meet while
crisscrossing the country or globe, he says. "People travel for their work,
they commute farther, they generally travel more than we did just a few decades
ago. All of these things make it more likely that they'll fall for someone who
doesn't live nearby."
The web fuels the trend, too. According to the center's web site, "The
rise of Internet dating services predictably contributes to 'coast-to-coast
couples' -- those who live on opposite ends of the nation and met on the web,
but have a real, not just a virtual, relationship. Society has finally started
accepting long-distance relationships as a viable alternative."
Long-distance marriages do have drawbacks, though. Warranted or not, couples
do tend to worry more about infidelity. Furthermore, if
children are involved, one partner shoulders almost the entire burden of
Still, "Commuter marriages are becoming a little more commonplace
because people are willing to try them," Guldner says. "Part of that is
technological. People think that what's out there now -- email and Internet and
so forth -- makes it easier."
Office Romances No Longer Taboo
Is the office romance still taboo? Look no further than Bill Gates and
Melinda French for the answer, says Patricia Mathews, MBA, president of
Workplace Solutions. The founder of Microsoft met his wife, a Microsoft
employee, at a company event in New York. "That's an example, perhaps, of a
workplace romance that worked out very well," Mathews says.
Once feared for its potential to spark sexual harassment claims, the office
romance is losing its stigma. According to a 2006 Workplace Romance Poll by the
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com,
restrictions against office dating have relaxed.
"Workplace romance is dropping the negative stigma that was associated
with it in the past," the report read. "It appears that employees have
become more open-minded about relationships between their colleagues." Most
employers now permit office romances, even though they discourage it, the
survey also discovered.
And more workers are warming to the notion personally, the same survey
found. About 40% of workers polled said they engaged in an office romance at
least once in their career, up from 37% in 2001.