It’s nice to believe that love comes always as a magical thing, a proverbial bolt of lightning across a crowded room. It’s comforting to imagine that this most human of emotions has been with us forever, ageless and unchanging. Yet the history of romance reveals something very different; something driven by the technologies that define our era as much as by the chemicals that fuel our brains.
Yes, we human beings have been falling in love since time began. Yes, we probably feel the same rush of excitement and desire that drove our ancestors to distraction, too. But how we find our loves, how we live with them and mate with them and leave them for another, has changed repeatedly over time. And now, with the future crashing into us at ever faster speeds, the ways we live and love and mate are poised to change again—more dramatically, perhaps, than ever before.
How we got here
Throughout most of human history, love and marriage were only accidentally connected. Beginning with the…