Modern Romance Ch. 7- Conclusion

modern romance

This is the last post in the series of posts reviewing Aziz Ansari’s bestseller, Modern Romance.

Chapter 7 is titled Settling Down, and is generally an review of what science has offered as the trajectory of love and passion in relationships. After that Ansari delves into the whys and wherefores of those who hesitate to take the plunge and vow to forsake all others. One of the most compelling “arguments” Aziz offers for why it makes sense to remain single is so that every couple of years or so, one gets to experience the high of new love without ever having to deal with the inevitable waning of passion that befalls all long term relationships. It is of course, filled in with an equally valuable if less intense, companionate love:

Well, in good relationships, as passionate love fades, a second kind of love arises to
take its place: companionate love. Companionate love is neurologically different from passionate love. Passionate love always spikes early, then fades away, while companionate love is less intense but grows over time.
And, whereas passionate love lights up the brain’s pleasure centers, companionate love is associated with the regions  having to do with long-term bonding and relationships.
Presumably, faced with the high of passionate love’s being replaced by the drudgery of companionate love, many couples find monogamy burdensome. Ansari spends some time dissecting the challenges that such couples face
As much fun as the former (early passion) was, and it was a lot of fun, the latter (companionate love) comes with its own benefits, blessings and pleasures. There are still flows of passion, and ebbs have the memories of the passionate flows at attached. I was slightly disappointed with Ansari’s inability to fully appreciate this given his testimony of his own parents’ marriage.
In the conclusion, he rounds up what he learned from his research and travels with a few key points. My reactions to his thoughts will be in parentheses:
  • Finding someone today is probably more complicated and stressful than it was for previous generations— but you’re also more likely to end up with someone you are really excited about. (I can’t disagree with completely him on that but I wonder if he’s missing the fact that in earlier generations, reasonable expectations meant it didn’t take as much for people to get excited)
  • Technology hasn’t just changed how we find romance; it’s also put a new spin on the timeless challenges we face once we’re in a relationship. (This is true only insofar as one or both of the people involved have character issues.)
  • Treat potential partners like actual people, not bubbles on a screen. (I agree with this 100%)
  • Don’t think of online dating as dating—think of it as an online introduction service. (Again, I agree)
  • With so many romantic options, instead of trying to explore them all, make sure you properly invest in people and give them a fair chance before moving on to the next one. (I agree that expecting lightning to strike in one exchange or meeting is not the best route to finding someone compatible.)

I forgot to add content advisories with each review. I beg the reader’s pardon for that, but I hope that identifying the author as an American comedian and the book as decidedly secular offers some indication that there are smatterings of profanity throughout the book. It’s not pervasive, given the highly researched nature of the book, but it shows up when Ansari decides to be funny.

Grade: B for being a book that does an fairly good job of identifying the issues in the current dating culture, even with its inherent liberal biases.





3 thoughts on “Modern Romance Ch. 7- Conclusion

  1. Bike Bubba says:

    Regarding staying single and the excitement of a new relationship, what Ansari is effectively doing is taking James Dobson’s (Focus on the Family) argument that repeated fornication reduces the ability to form permanent relationships and spinning it as a positive. To quote the noted philosopher Mr. T, I pity the fool, and my prediction is pain.


  2. Elspeth says:

    In the end, he seemed to have decided at the age of 31 (he is now 34), that it was worth the risk to dive in and “commit” to his current girlfriend. And at the time of publishing it was all gravy, LOL…


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