Relationship lessons from ‘Modern Love’ editor Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones
Romantic love in four words: “being good to someone.”
Credit: Phoebe Jones

Ever since the New York Times started its “Modern Love” column nearly 10 years ago, editor Daniel Jones has been inundated with love stories. From the unbelievably romantic to the flat-out unusual, he’s pretty much seen it all.

Though he says he doesn’t have all the answers to love’s big questions, Jones has learned a thing or two about the subject, which he’s sharing in his new book, “Love Illuminated,” which was released last week. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we called up Jones and got him to share some of the biggest love lessons he’s learned after reading the roughly 50,000 love stories that have landed in his inbox.

If the idea of dating overwhelms you, get offline.

“There’s this belief that the more people you meet or go out with, the more chance you have of finding that one special person,” Jones says. “But from what I’ve seen, people have much better luck starting with a small group instead of searching for that perfect person within dozens and dozens.” Jones tells us that even with the popularity of online dating, people are still falling in love the same way people did in the past: by meeting people through friends, work or hobbies. “Less is more,” he says. “Go on a trip with a small group of people or join a club based on your interests.”

If whenever you meet someone great you still have the sneaking suspicion that someone even better is out there, Jones again makes the case against online dating. “Everything about online dating is encouraging you to seek perfection in someone. … Someone you fall for in real life may be the least likely person you’d choose if you saw him or her online,” he says.

love illuminated
“Love Illuminated” is out now.

 

Recognize the difference between a sign and a coincidence.

One thing Jones has noticed is that even though finding love is getting more mathematical and scientific, people are grasping onto signs of fate more than ever. So how do you know if something is truly a “sign” that you’ve found the perfect person? “A sign is meaningful if it says something about you or what you want in a relationship,” Jones says. Sharing the same birthday or having a random friend in common doesn’t say anything about you; it’s just a coincidence.

 

There’s no substitute for physical chemistry.

Thousands of people have written to Jones about falling in love online before meeting in person. While not doubting the very strong emotional bonds made, he warns it doesn’t always translate into physical chemistry, even when you expect it to. “Sharing your deepest emotions online just feels so close, but it’s not,” he says. “It’s a controlled relationship that only exists in one narrow area. A real relationship involves the whole person.”

 

Fragmented relationships can be fulfilling… but not forever.

“In the dating world, it’s easy to break yourself up into pieces and have sex with someone without caring about that person and then have a really deep connection with someone you don’t have sex with,” Jones says. And it isn’t always a bad thing; it just shows you aren’t ready to be in a full relationship. “When you’re in school, in your first job or your 20s, not everyone wants the responsibility of a full relationship,” he explains. But if you do want the real thing, you have to give it your all.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.