They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I will tell you where there is a lot of green… the industry of love: finding love, keeping love, and breaking it up!
According to Marketresearch.com, the Dating industry was a 2.1 billion dollar industry in 2012. According to Business Week the Wedding industry is a 51 billion dollar industry, and according to eHow, the Divorce industry is a 28 billion dollar industry. That is a lot of money spent on the idea of love, an actual relationship, and the dissolving of said relationship.
These figures probably do not take into account all of the money each of us spends on clothes, “primping”, dining out etc. I mean really, I am willing to guess that Victoria Secret is not making all of its money because they brand their bras and underwear are super comfortable. I am quite certain that comfort is not the point of their fashion show. Everyone is in on the love game, and we are buying it! Why? Because the industry brilliantly plays on our emotions and we are emotional buyers!
We spend a great deal of money on what people tell us is going to make us happy, feel good, feel sexy, and feel complete. We then spend even more money on ending what didn’t really make us happy. Take a stroll down the self help aisle of the bookstore and you will find a book for every issue: how to save your marriage, how to end your marriage, why you are still single, why you should stay single, how to be single and happy, how to have a happy marriage. If you do not want to buy the whole book, surf the Internet; I am certain you will find an article or blog that has 7 to 10 ways to do all of the above.
My single friends talk a lot about dating, as did I when I was single. I often hear dating described as a “necessary evil”, and most have a love/hate relationship with online dating. On the flip side I hear a number of “attached” people complain about their relationship/marriage. “Marriage is hard.” And then of course, anyone who has been through a divorce or major break up, even if you were the one choosing it, knows a divorce/split is painful and expensive on many levels.
I see attached people listen longingly about a single person’s lifestyle. I listen to single people talk about their wish for a partner, someone to come home to, do things with. Of course the grass looks greener to both sides. People in relationships know how hard it can be; however, they forget about how lonely the alternative can be. Single people feel the loneliness and forget about how relationships really do take work. We spend all of this time and money on the idea of love and on the notion that, that idea, will make us happy; or ending it will. Are we truly prepared for it? Is it what we want? The love industry certainly wants us to believe so.
Are we going about this all wrong? Are we happy in all other areas of our lives? Are we looking for that special someone to be an addition to our life, a substitution, or to fill a hole? Do we want that someone special or are we just looking because we are told we should? Are we unhappy in our marriage or relationship because of the relationship or because we are internally not happy? During this season of stress, parties, and spending, our emotions tend to run high and our checking account balances start to run low. Before buying into ANY area of the love industry, take a step back, think about you, your situation, and what you want. Take a break from what everyone is trying to “sell” you, think about things from all angles. Hopefully, in turn, you will become a more insightful and discerning love industry consumer.
~From those who have been there, done that, fallen down, and are still doing it!
Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC