I’ve been asked by many of my clients what the future of long-term relationships could be. And it is not surprising. Considering developing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, self-driving and flying cars, the dominance of internet, the expansion of social media, the changing job market, as well as growing demands and social pressure, our relationships as we know them may well change in the future.
I would like to share my thoughts on this topic, and specifically what I think would be the relationship trends of the future. Here I would like to make a remark that these are simply my thoughts put in words, there is no proof this would happen so please take this into account as you are reading them. I encourage a healthy discussion and thought-provoking reflections. If it inspires you or triggers you think about your life from a different perspective, appreciate what you have and ponder how you can make it better, my mission is accomplished.
- Divorce rates will continue to grow. Although finding a long-term partner is still on the agenda for most people on this planet, once ‘found’, marriages are going to be further tested by women’s increasing financial independence. Higher standards and growing demands from their ‘beloved’, that women did not express in the past, are going to be one of the main ‘marriage breakers’. “If I can’t be happy with him, why stay together?” – says Catherine, a top executive in an investment bank in London. Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements would become more common, and 3 to 5 years renewable marriage contracts could be introduced to eliminate complicated marriage divorce cases.
- “Successful single female” syndrome will be on a rise. Taking the above point into consideration, not only will overall divorce rates continue to be high, but also the number of successful single women over 40 will grow. That will change the retirement choices and greatly influence the industries that cater to this sector. Some of the important needs of these women like connection and a sense of belonging will have to be met in other ways. One of the options would be finding a community of like-minded women to retire together.
- Relationships will become more open. The relationships spectrum will broaden. More people will be willing to accept other forms of relationships other than monogamous. Bisexual, swinging, transgender, humanoid, pansexual, polyamorous and open relationships will be more widely spread around the planet.
- Infidelity will be redefined. What was once known as ‘infidelity’, i.e having sex with a person from outside of the monogamous relationship, will be redefined based on the new relationship model. As more polyamorous open unions and tribes will be created, more conscious and amicable understanding of infidelity will be accepted. Infidelity = breaking the agreed rules of what can be allowed sexually. These rules could vary and be discussed and amended.
- People will have less sex with people. The wide introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) will influence our perception of intimacy. People will start using a mix of human and humanoid partners both for pleasure and for intimate connection. AI humanoids will be equipped with emotion censors and sophisticated software (like the one in the movie called Her), and partnering with a human-like robot will be much easier and practical, even for raising children (as weird as it sounds!). Sex with humanoids will be more widespread, leading to a decline in prostitution and sex exploitation.
- Fewer children will be born in developed countries. The middle class in the Western world will have fewer children leaving developing countries such as India and China continue to lead the way in the number of births per year. This will have an impact on the family and social dynamics as more couples will adopt and foster children from other countries. Cross-country (cross-planet too!) travel and different home-base settlements will be introduced to allow travel around the Earth. This will have an impact on education as children will primarily study online and only meet in special experiential hubs.
- People will look more homogenous and gender neutral. Everyone will be able to choose elements for differentiation, but on the whole, they will look similar (unisex). More emphasis will be given to soft skills, emotional intelligence and advanced executive function brain skills, rather than to how they look or even to their technical skills. People will be able to repair and modify body parts with more available solutions like 3D body printing for example.
- More virtual relationships. 4D experience and holograms of their beloved will become accessible to more families. Connecting through various devices, apps, gadgets and social media will become the new norm for starting and maintaining relationships. Face-to-face meetings will be reserved for special occasions.
- Emotion-senses will grow in use. Emotions will be sensed, understood and modified. Pulse devices like emotion-reading smart watches will be introduced to detect and show your emotional state to others. People will be more aware of the energy balance of people around them. They will be able to sense the aura and make decisions based on whether that person is someone they want to be with, or if an environment is something they want to belong to. This will have big implications for work ethics, dating, relationship-management, health-care and communication.
- People will keep craving for the real touch. Although the advanced technologies will be there to support people in their relationships online, the human touch and connection are going to be most wanted and most valued. A genuine hug, a passionate kiss, a night of love-making on a beach under the stars… precious human connection while travelling and discovering new places together; spending time in a retreat setting for a transformational journey.
With all the variety of choice and changes coming our way, we will still want to be loved, be liked, to belong, be appreciated, be respected and be connected. These in-depth values and principles for making relationships work will lead us into an exploration of what’s possible in a new era of the technological progress.
I personally think the future is bright and positive although I do have some concerns in regards to how the relationship landscape is going to be shaped by virtual realities, especially for young adults and teens and their ability to experience ‘real’ relationship challenges and go through them. As with anything, we are strong beings full of adaptability and perseverance and these are going to be a widely requires skills of the future. My hope is that we will learn fast enough to adapt and still use our mind and heart to make decisions for our families and relationships in general.
What are your thoughts on the above? I would like to hear from you at email@example.com or just leave a comment below.