Love’s dark (open) secret
MANILA, Philippines – Beneath all the fluff that’s been said about it throughout the ages, by generations of smitten poets and laymen alike, love remains conditional.
There is irony in the fact that society encourages all people to love and at the same time puts several conditions to determine what’s “normal” and, therefore, acceptable. Whoever said love is easy had been lucky enough to experience the kind that’s celebrated by society, or at the very least by their family and friends.
Love is an instinct. A basic universal emotion. Still, many feel the need to tuck theirs in hidden corners, far from cold, judging eyes – if not forced to sever ties altogether.
Barriers to love
Closeup launched the #FreeToLove campaign in September 2018 as part of its new social mission to advocate for closeness and the freedom to love and help young adults “turn mutual attraction into action, free from self-doubt and judgment of others.”
Its centerpiece is the study, Will Love Always Win? A Close-up on the Freedom to Love. It aimed to discover the major barriers that the youth in Brazil, India, and the Philippines face in managing their relationships, as well as the consequences on their physical and mental well-being.
Overall, the study puts forward the sobering finding that these young people, despite their spunk, thirst for life, confidence, and desire to follow their heart, don’t feel as free when it comes to love as one would expect them to if their love is against what their religion, society, or economic class deems is proper.
Because they are pressured and afraid of judgment, discrimination, public shame, and disapproval from family and friends, many end up hiding their relationship.
According to the research, this causes 30% of youths in the Philippines to feel guilty towards their family, 22% of youths in Brazil to feel like they are living a double life, and 22% of youths in India to feel that it is safer this way.
For some, the secrecy becomes too heavy of a burden so they are left with no choice but to end the relationship.
The study was done in stages by scouring academic papers, news, reports, and films and conducting interviews with representatives from the academe, media, NGOs, and of course, young people in “unconventional” relationships themselves. It was conducted between August 2016 and September 2017.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Will Love Always Win? A Close-up on the Freedom to Love presents all its findings in a whitepaper, which can be downloaded here.
A world without barriers
It’s not all gloom and doom, however. The good news is that the world continues to evolve, with more and more people becoming accepting and understanding.
And it all starts with family and friends. Even if society remains less forgiving, people in unconventional relationships are comforted by the thought that the people who matter most to them have their backs no matter what.
Love is beautiful. It’s only right that everyone gets the chance to experience it, no matter who they choose to love. – Rappler.com
Closeup’s #FreeToLove advocates for closeness and the freedom to love and help young adults “turn mutual attraction into action, free from self-doubt and judgment of others.” To find out how you can become part of the movement, visit freetolove.closeup.ph