Are We a Society of ‘Relationship Consumers’?

Have relationships become just another thing we ‘consume’? This question came to me because I began to wonder how and why we have such a high rate of divorce and long-term relationship breakdown these days?

In western society we live in what is predominately a capitalist culture and economy. At its most basic level, for this system to survive we need to keep buy, or consuming, products and services. It seems to me that meaningful and intimate relationships have become just another one of those things we consume until we reach a point of dissatisfaction and then we move onto the next ‘product’. Could this be a consequence of a bombardment of media programming sending us constant messages that are a mixture of both FANTASIES and INSTANT GRATIFICATION?

Think about this for a moment.

If you want people to keep consuming ‘stuff’, isn’t that the perfect formula? Step 1 is to create fantasies in people’s minds that will never ever be experienced and then step 2 is sell them something that promises an instant gratification to just get them through the moment with a ‘quick fix’ until they come across the next fantasy.

Is this what is happening with relationships these days? hm . . .

Take a look at what’s on TV at the moment. Have you noticed how many relationship reality shows there are at the moment? These are not reality at all but are created and edited in such a way to create fantasies about relationships. The inevitable consequence (whether we like it or not), is that our idea about relationships is being programmed (by television programs) and influenced. When the true reality inevitably fails to live up to that fantasy, we then feel empty, frustrated, cheated and then start looking for the next person and/or relationship to consume as an ‘instant gratification’ for the last one which didn’t live up to the fantasy we had in our head. We’ve even given this type of relationship a name, it’s called a ‘rebound’. Or perhaps it DID live up to that fantasy during the lovely ‘honeymoon phase’, but then, as all relationships do, it started to change as we got to know the REAL person underneath.


“Is the ‘rebound’ one of the ways we consume relationships?”


Perhaps instead of consciously (or unconsciously) seeing relationships as some sort of product to consume until you’re unhappy, perhaps we should see them for what they truly are: an opportunity to see the reflection of ourselves in that other person. This includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Intimate relationships are the ultimate reflector of ourselves which offer us the chance to become aware of and dissolve the very things within ourselves we are not willing to look at or heal – hence why we attract those people into our life.

This is a high level concept to grasp, but if you just sit with it in deep contemplation for a short while rather than instantly reject this idea, you may well have an ‘ah-ha’ moment or two.