The Modern Couple, All’Italiana: Living Separately, Fewer Kids

Italians joining modern living trends of LAT love, and DINK couplehood

A couple in St. Peter's Square (Rene Cunningham)

Twenty years ago, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow scandalized the world with their decision to live in different apartments, despite being a couple with lots of children. As we all know, that story ended how it ended, with a mess of a love story between Allen and Farrow's adopted daughter.

But the more relevant fact today is that there are 600,000 couples in Italy alone who live under two different roofs: LAT love, as the Americans say, Living Apart Together. We live together, but separately. Not because of work considerations, or health needs, or family problems, but by choice.

And if the ‘DINK" couplings (double income, no kids) have increased to 650,000, there is an ever more radical growth among the ‘child-free": those couples that have no interest in diapers and sleepless nights and who bombard the Internet (often with biting humor) with different lists of reasons to not procreate: money to travel, more leisure time and better physical fitness.

There are an estimated138,000 pairs with this accreditation in Italy. To be sure, six percent of Italian women between the ages of 20 and 30 years say they have no intention of becoming a mother. While on the contrary, 40 percent of infertile couples now turn to assisted fertility techniques that work in an estimated 35 percent of cases.

A whole new galaxy of acronyms, trends and news forms of relationships are documented in the Italian book "Vivere Insieme" ( Living Together) by the psychologist Alex Salerno, a professor of the theory and techniques of family dynamics at the University of Palermo.

The book is a compendium of years of investigations by a team of researchers led by Angela Maria Di Vita, a professor of clinical psychology. The team set out to answer one crucial question: what are the new forms of the family? "Up until a few years ago there were three broad categories within which to identify individuals who were of marrying age: single, cohabiting partner or spouse. Now the picture has grown much more complex," said Salerno. He says it is much harder now, paradoxically, because the contemporary concept of marriage is based based on love, with all its hopes and its vulnerabilities. Two or three generations ago, there were other factors on which to build a marriage: escape from the family of origin, social respectability, children, or economic stability.

"It wasn't an easy choice and every day I ask myself if it was the right one," says 44-year old Chiara who is half of a classic ‘DINK" couple. Chiara works as a lawyer in Milan and her husband, Marco, is an information engineer. The two opted not to have children for professional reasons. "Simply speaking, we take what life has given us: Our trips, our friends and our economic serenity," she said.

Various new forms of relationships are replacing the traditional model. Starting with the idea of distance and the number of definitions abound: ‘weekend couples', ‘intermittent cohabitation", ‘alternating living partner with dual residences', ‘love commuters', ‘long distance love", ‘part-time love."

"The new technologies along with the dissemination of low-cost flights now make it possible to shorten the distances and maintain a form of mutual sharing of everyday life," said Salerno. "Research has shown that physical distance does not coincide with an emotional distancing."

There are three macro-categories for those who choose two hearts and two huts: Those who exit from a matrimonial experience with their bones and heart more or less broken and who do not want to repeat the experience; The undecided who never feel ready for that big step of mixing books and slippers with someone else's; And finally the former partners who have taken the famous period of reflection during a crisis. They found that distance works best.

Read the original article in Italian

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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