It's not long ago that societies were founded on the notion of a nuclear family, the parents an embodiment of values and expectations reflected in communities more widely. Social scientists often draw parallels between the domestic structure and how this reinforces broader hierarchies.
But with the push for gender equality leading to questions about traditional gender roles, the notion that monogamous partnerships should be the cornerstone of civic living has been superseded. Not only is the perspective on families more progressive, attitudes towards amorous relationships have been liberalised.
This isn't simply a greater acceptance of divorce as a frequent (if unfortunate) outcome of marriage, but engaging with numerous partners is now conscionable where not long ago it would be taboo. Of course, secretive affairs remain deplorable, yet Belgians are increasingly open to polyamory.
Could this spell the end for love undivided? Certainly, the high rate of divorce in Europe (in Belgium 50%) indicates that monogamy is an unsatisfactory demand; and that's without accounting for those who are unhappy in marriage. Might an association with several people be the solution to a fulfilling love life? Even if your partner really is "one in a million", that leaves another 7,999 eligible soulmates out there...
Are you still looking for "the one"? Or have you flirted with the idea of multiple engagements at once? Or is it all just too much effort?
Let @Orlando_tbt know.
Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your coffee break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:
1. Armed suspects in European Quarter: Two people arrested following assault and kidnapping
Two people were arrested in the search operation that took place in the European district on Monday evening, less than ten days after a stabbing took place in the Schuman metro station in this area. Read more.
2. 'It's a liberation': Belgians increasingly open to polyamorous relationships
Over the past sixty years, the marriage rate among Europeans has declined by 60%, while the divorce rate has more than doubled. Liberals typically applaud these figures as indicative of Western citizens' increasing personal freedom and ability to make key lifestyle choices; conservatives, meanwhile, tend to denounce them as symptomatic of Western society's broader cultural decline. Read more.
3. 'Only logical': Belgium to phase out energy support from April
Belgium's Federal Government reached an agreement on the energy bill reform: higher excise duties will be added to people's bills from April causing them to rise slightly, but the VAT rate will remain at 6%. The extended social rate will also be phased out. Read more.
4. Turkey and Syria earthquakes: Still no information on Belgian casualties
Belgium's Foreign Affairs Department still has no information on Tuesday about whether any Belgian nationals were injured or deceased after deadly earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria. The death toll has already hit 5,000 and continues to rise as rescuers sift through the rubble. Read more.
5. Over half of girls in Belgium have received unsolicited pictures, often from strangers
Young people aged 15 to 25 in Belgium very regularly received unsolicited sexual content online, with half of the girls in this age group indicating they have already received a so-called "dick pic." Read more.
6. Belgium's Royals: Stuck in the past or a family for the future?
Despite being a constitutional monarchy, support for Belgium's royal family is low compared to other European monarchies. The country won't become a republic anytime soon, but with just 58.2% of Belgians in favour of the monarchy, does the family need to reinvent itself? Read more.
7. Today in History: Death of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone
On this day, 7 February 1894, the Belgian inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, died of pneumonia in Paris, afflicted by poverty. Read more.