Making Modern Love

HuffPost UK bloggers and staff share honest, heartfelt accounts of what it means to be in love in the 21st Century

This February The Huffington Post UK is running Making Modern Love, a fortnight-long focus on what love means to Britons in the 21st Century. Built on the three themes of finding love, building love and losing love, HuffPost will feature human stories that explore exactly what it is to be in love in modern times

Valentine's Day 2016: Why Online Dating Is a Lot Closer to Arranged Marriages Than You Think

Nitya Rajan - Tech reporter, The Huffington Post UK

To most modern singletons, having an arranged marriage is a dated route to finding love. Today, one in five people start their relationships online, proving that we're more interested in falling in love with a swipe, click or wink emoji. This video proves that the modern tools helping us find love are closely related to the old traditions underpinning arranged marriages...

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Bodies, Brains and the Political Incorrectness of Falling in Love

David Bainbridge - Reproductive scientist at Cambridge University

It is actually quite easy to study heterosexual men's preferences for visual aspects of the female body. The general trend is that straight men like hips which are noticeably wider than waists, bodily and facial symmetry, and various other indicators of health, youth and femaleness including straight legs, small hands and feet, smooth skin, luxuriant hair, and a rosy oestrogenic blush. 

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I See You Every Day, But I Haven't Looked at You in Months

Stephanie Whittington - Mother

Sleep deprivation played a major role in the struggles we faced as a couple, and after weeks of barely two hours sleep each night, we found ourselves in a haze of tiredness. With heightened emotions, our patience and acceptance understandably wore thin. We were now two separate beings, working together, coexisting together, but with minds two worlds apart.

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How The Rise of Viral Proposal Videos Is Having a Long-Term Impact On Our Relationships

Rachel Moss - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post UK

Once upon a time, marriage proposals were modest affairs with one person (usually the man) getting down on one knee to pop the question. If a couple were feeling extravagant, they might go as far as announcing their plans to marry in the local newspaper. But oh, how times have changed. In today's social media-led society, proposals have increasingly become about creating a spectacle worth sharing.

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Why We Need Social Media Break-Up Coordinators

Caroline Sinders - Digital ethnographer and artist

The point is is that as users we are still figuring out what the 'right' things are to do, and what social protocol is. It's hard to suss out what what is 'right' and what is 'wrong.' The point of Social Media Break Up Coordinator sessions were to help people figure out what they wanted to do so we could figure out how to do it. Blocking or unfollowing an ex-friend, an ex-lover, a foul coworker or a racist uncle isn't wrong if it causes you pain.

But there are a lot of societal and cultural norms that can be violated, so its a balance of what kind of pain is my client/participant going through, and what is the bigger pain of providing or not doing x, y, z suggestions. 

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HuffPost Staff Recall Their Worst Dates

Rachel Moss - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post UK

They say the path to true love never did run smooth, but that's a bit of an understatement for some of the team here at HuffPost UK.

From head-butting a date in the face to being stood-up and having to lie about it, they've seen and done it all.

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My Very Own British Romcom

Philippe Ladvocat - Video programmer, AOL

"I'm a bit nervous", he said. And when I asked why... "Because I've never done this before". And by 'this' he meant kissing or dating a man. Suddenly it was not only awkward, it was very confusing.

Fast forward two years and now I happily speak to his grandparents and father in Portuguese while he doesn't really understand a thing, and he nicely speaks to my dad in French while I wonder what they are talking about. And in a cold morning on the top of the highest hill on a beach in Dorset, we sealed our engagement after I proposed. Eat your heart out, Love Actually.

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Finding, Nearly Losing and Finally Building Love Across Two Genders

Emma Flowers - Parent, partner, writer

There is no easy way to tell the person you love that you are not the man she thought you were; that, in fact, you are not a man at all.

No easy way to tell indeed. My previous experience of doing just that had ended my marriage a few years previously, after which, I had shamefully and desperately tried to shake off the "psychological problems" that I had become convinced I had, to lead a male life.

The telling though is easy compared with the hearing. While I waited for what I assumed was the inevitable end of my relationship, she was left to try to piece together being lied to- not maliciously, but lied to nevertheless.

Her reaction? Calm confusion was the public face that belied a stomach-churning silent reality that her life had suddenly been turned upside down.

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Why It's Important To Keep Your Friendships Going Even When You're In A Happy Relationship

Natasha Hinde - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post UK

When you embark on a new relationship, things are incredibly exciting. You fall in love and want to spend every waking hour with this new person who occupies 90% of your thoughts.

As time goes on, you stop spending as much time with your friends and family, your habit of forgetting to text people back worsens and, before you know it, you’re living a hermit's existence - albeit with another person in tow.

For a period of time, you’re happy to let that happen. But what starts off as blissful captivity soon turns to isolation. And the price for this can be high.

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You're Amazing... So Why Are You Still Single?

Vicki Burtt and Selina Barker - founders of Project Love

Self love is the magic that attracts in the right person for you. It is the energy that has you love with your whole heart, knowing that you don't need to hold back and hide who you are anymore. It is that inner wisdom that tells you to walk away from the guy who will never commit. It is the fuel that will help you bounce back after you've been rejected. It is the space from which love grows and the absolute belief in yourself, that you are worthy enough for love. Right here, right now. Exactly as you are.

You've been running around looking for love when all along the love that you were longing for, without even knowing it, is the love you already had within you. And you finally realise that love isn't something you get from another person, it is something you cultivate from within.

When you become the source of love in your life, it changes everything.

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We Asked Londoners: 'What Does Love Mean To You?'

Rosy Cherrington - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post UK

What is love? (Apart from that maddeningly catchy Haddaway song, of course.)

Ahead of Valentine's Day, we took to the streets of London to find out what people really thought about love - from the true meaning, to how they first knew they'd been struck by Cupid's arrow.

Definitions of the big L may differ, but it's still the one thing that unites us all.

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Women Who Proposed: Three Married Women Describe The Life-Changing Moment They Got Down On One Knee

Natasha Hinde - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post UK

In 2016, most women wouldn't think twice about taking ownership of their own destiny. We'll ask for a pay rise and demand the same rights as men, but when it comes to asking the person we love to marry us, it's like we're living in the Fifties.

We become afraid to tell a man we love them and spend years waiting for our partners to say four little words - despite knowing wholeheartedly that we are ready to take the next step.

We spoke to three women who proposed to find out how and why they did it...

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My Advice to Other Single Parents: Never Give Up, Never Give In

Neil Anning - Single parent

Remember to keep smiling, good news always has an unexpected beginning and if you wait for the right time to grab hold of all the happiness when it arrives, all the heartache, sadness and dark days will all be worth it, it's just a matter of time!

Stay strong and have your voice heard, don't be afraid to ask for help, it's not a sign of weakness, it's actually a sign of true strength, knowing you're willing to do whatever it takes to survive, because we all need a little help sometimes! Life is never going be easy but if you stick at it and give it your all, I swear it'll be totally worth it!

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Finding Love on TV

Jo Boyd - Twenty-something retired Quidditch player

It is a couple of weeks since my Take Me Out episode aired and I am still asking myself why I did it.

Being one of 30 girls all fighting for the attention of one man doesn't exactly sound like a recipe for love, but it is the basic premise of the show - which I recently appeared on, against my better judgement.

Getting to meet someone new is always a fun experience in my eyes, and as a result dating is rarely awkward. As it turned out, my TV date was probably the most uncomfortable dating experience I have had.

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Why Sleeping in Separate Beds Made My Marriage Stronger

Jennifer Adams - Author

When we were in the early throes of romance, the last thing either of us thought would be a distinctive feature of our relationship was heading to separate rooms each night. But it is, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Essentially - he snores, I sleep lightly, he wakes (very) early, I love a lie in.

After making the decision to have separate rooms, we also made the decision to make our relationship be fantastic and everything WE wanted it to be. For the readers - yes, we still have sex, we spend time lying next to each other in bed (either mine or his) chatting, catching up on the day's events, lying next to each other in silence, and all the other 'normal' couple's bed-related activities. But when it comes to actually sleeping - we choose OUR 'normal'.

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Love In A Hopeless Place: Meet The Couples Who Beat Desperate Situations With Devotion

Louise Ridley - Assistant news editor, The Huffington Post UK

In a world where violence, fear and insecurity dominate the news, one constant remains.

Amid the most challenging of situations, people still manage to fall in love.

As part of The Huffington Post UK's Making Modern Love series, we're telling the story of eight couples who are examples of emotion triumphing over adversity. Whether the obstacle was war, poverty, torture, or the migration crisis, nothing could keep them apart.

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There Is Life After Domestic Abuse - But Not Necessarily as You Know It

Anna J Lawrence - Author of Fools' Words

Lots of things after domestic abuse stink. Dating is one of them.

Yes I know. There will be many of you in the Over-40s Club (of which I am a fully paid up member) saying it stinks regardless, not to mention plenty of other causes waving their hands up in the air stating that it's not the only group that is suffering out there. I'm not making that claim. I'm simply speaking out for this one because it's the only one that I have my own ingrained experience of.

I personally chose to take the long route. The one that involved keeping my head down for years, determined to work on the self-healing and now I've done as much of that as I can alone, I find myself wondering about future, potential relationships and whether such a thing is doable.

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The Ways Disabled People Love

Tuppy Owens - Founder of the Outsiders Club and the Sexual Health and Disability Alliance

These are stories from two of the projects I run: a national club, Outsiders, for people with physical and social impairments to make friends, enjoy peer support and find partners; and a website for disabled men and women to find responsible sexual services.

Me and my other Outsiders volunteers (we all work for free as we can't get funding) have enjoyed watching the members of Outsiders find partners and sometimes shared their grief when the partner has passed away. It is quite common for disabled people to die earlier than the rest of us. Members say they get more support from Outsiders than either their families or other friends!

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Self-Marriage and Self-Love

Grace Gelder - photographer and filmmaker

I married myself in 2014 and after an article in the Guardian went viral six months later, the story about my decision was featured in press around the world. I've been interviewed about the topic time and time again, for radio, TV and print.

It wasn't until a recent walk in an Austrian forest though, that I felt I had much to share on the topic of self-love. Since marrying myself I often felt uncomfortable with people telling me that what I did was an act of self-love. I saw it as a commitment towards more of that in my life, but certainly not a sign that I had figured out how to live from that place.

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Introducing Making Modern Love

Stephen Hull - editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post UK

This year on The Huffington Post UK we've had a think about the Dia dos Namorados and have reimagined it from a different perspective. Our Making Modern Love series will look at what love really means to Britons in 2016. Built on the three themes of finding love, building love and losing love, the HuffPost UK will explore human stories to inspire, empower, entertain and inform our readers. We'll be chronicling the stories of those who've found love in a hopeless place, we'll be looking at why couples are obsessed with making their declarations of love go viral and touch on why you people should nurture all relationships, not just the romantic ones.

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We've Come Far at Home, But the Global Fight for the Right to Love the One You Love Continues

Lord Michael Cashman - actor, former MEP and Labour peer

As you contemplate that St. Valentine's celebration this month, make sure you take it in a country where your rights are recognised and protected - including your family and spousal rights. Because what happens to other citizens in their countries will happen to you as soon as you land there. If you wouldn't want it to happen to you, don't let it happen to someone else.

The depiction of LGBT lives on our screens has changed dramatically, and I am proud to have helped change that, but the reality can be very, very different.

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I Was Never Falling in Love Again - No One Was More Surprised Than Me When I Did

Helen Bailey - author and blogger

When I finally revealed that I was dating in my blog, Planet Grief, some widows were angry with me, disappointed that I'd gone back on my earlier conviction that I'd never fall in love again. 

It's now over four years since Ian and I met. Two years ago we bought a house together. We plan to get married. New love doesn't erase old loss and cure grief, but brings with it complicated emotions and painful reminders. It's not easy living in a household that has only come together because of the death of other people, but losing those we love has made us cherish what we have now. 

I was never going to fall in love again, and no one is more surprised than me that I did.

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Our Relationship, My Transition and Not Enough Support

Fox Fisher - writer, filmmaker, activist, transguy

When I came out as trans, I noticed that, like any life changing event, some people faded out and others faded in. Ultimately, you find out who your friends are. Unfortunately, my romantic relationship didn't last beyond the first few years of my medical transition...

Prior to her, not one partner previous to my medical transition was in favour of me changing my body in any way. They couldn't adapt to how it would redefine their own labels and they enjoyed a part of me which would often bring up disphoria, a disconnection and repulsion of my own body. Eventually, I relinquished my heart to take the leap in loving myself.

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