Can relationship anarchy create a world without heartbreak?

aeon, November 2018

Can you imagine a world without heartbreak? Not without sadness, disappointment or regret – but a world without the sinking, searing, all-consuming ache of lost love. A world without heartbreak is also a world where simple acts cannot be transformed, as if by sorcery, into moments of sublime significance. Because a world without heartbreak is a world without love – isn’t it?

More precisely, it might be a world without love’s most adulated form: romantic love. For many people, romantic love is the pinnacle of human experience. But feelings don’t exist in a cultural void. The heartbreak-kind of love is a relatively new and culturally specific experience, masquerading as the universal meaning of life.

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