Terrorism and

The terror attacks of September 11 have also changed the social landscape forever. The realization that life could be so dramatically fleeting and unpredictable meant folks rethought relationships suddenly: broke up, or committed to one another foregoing — perhaps forever — the sense that we all have all the time in the world. Dating in this context has taken on a level of intensity and urgency, with people often looking for instant meaning in an inappropriate way — make my life meaningful, make me happy, make it all worthwhile — a heavy burden indeed for a process that was invented to be light, delicate, and lengthy. Modern dating has always worked best as a carefree, pleasant, experience, at least initially, but that evaporated after September 11. Questioning whether coupledom or bringing children into this world was a good idea was offset by the questioning of the willingness to be alone if the world was about to end. The simple question of "Am I willing to spend the rest of my life with you?" has been altered by the fear factor in general and by the threat of terrorism on a daily basis. Intellectually, people may have understood that anybody could perish at anytime, but September 11 drove home that point in a dramatic and tragic way.

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