In Why Love Hurts, Eva Illouz suggests the individual navigates their way through complex social structures and institutions which frame the rules around and cultural rituals of love, drawing on the resources which they have personally accumulated. It is this social-psychic trajectory which she posits as the modern condition of love; an experience that is shaped through inevitable suffering. 

In the exclusive article below, Dr Jacqui Gabbis, who is currently researching the experience and understandings of long-term couple relationships (visit the project website for more information) interrogates the arguments laid out by Illouz. Read more below and share your views using our comments facility. 

Thinking Allowed is on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays at 4.00pm and repeated on Monday mornings at 12.15am. Full transmission details, and listen again links, can be found on