Couple smiling making a heart shape with their hands

Freedom to love

Can we all be #freetolove?

Celebrate the freedom to love, no matter who you fancy

For true romance, you need to be free. Free to date someone of your choice and free to love whoever you like… It’s hard to drop your ‘filters’ and be authentic when you risk being labelled unkindly. So how can you stay true to yourself and feel #FreeToLove?

Dating dramas

Couple looking and smiling at each other

Many couples have a tough time being accepted because they are different races, skin colours or religions. Wealth, class and caste can cause conflict. Same-sex unions also face prejudice, especially in countries where they’re still illegal. Atypical hook-ups threaten society’s dictates, often forcing traditional folk out of their comfort zone. Cue freak outs!

Couple kissing each other

The freedom to love is sadly not a universal right, as the 2017 Closeup survey of 3,000 young people across Brazil, India and the Philippines discovered. Less than three in five youths believed they could get close to someone they were attracted to, with 75% reporting that they didn’t feel completely free to choose who they dated.

One in two confessed that they would keep their relationship a secret due to their parents’ disapproval, with 53% fearing discrimination, judgment and public shame when in an unconventional relationship – the most challenging matches being mixed-race (Brazil), inter-caste (India) and same-sex (Philippines). The result was guys and girls forced to lead a double life, feeling guilty, frustrated and unhappy.

Ditch the filter and be real

While it’s great to respect family, it’s dope to decide who you love for yourself, rather than being pressured into one. After all, it’s your life, your body and your heart. Be open about your love, share your true self with others. Sure, it’s easier to hide your real identity, pretend you’re single when you’re taken, or settle for an underground affair. But being honest and out in public busts the stress of putting a fake spin on your relationships. As Lady Gaga sang in Born This Way: ‘Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set.’

Squad goals: call in your tribe

Cultivating an ace support network makes a massive difference to coping with an unconventional relationship, so seek help from your fam. Perhaps it’s your girl squad who’ve got your back or a BFF you can talk to. Maybe you’ve got a sympathetic aunt in your corner or a grandparent who is more liberal than your mum and dad.

Parents can be your biggest fan club – if they show publicly that they’re cool with your choice, others usually fall into line. Remember, you’re more likely to score a goal with a tight-knit team around you, so try to get your posse on side. They can fight for your relationship when doubters rain on your parade.

Take on the trolls

If you know a friend denied the right to love, you can be a vital support, lending them a listening ear without prejudice. They may be lesbian, gay or transsexual, or dating someone outside of their usual circle, such as a mixed-race match. Whatever their sitch, they should be able to go public without fear of bullying, humiliation or trolls. Work your social media networks to rally your peers, raise awareness and boost tolerance.

Modern love inspo

Things are looking lit, with the enlightening study by Closeup revealing that eight out of 10 young people hope to build a world without barriers to love. There’s an optimistic, inspiring desire for change, with 90% wishing for future generations to be free to be with the person they fancy – goals! It’s about shattering social barriers, so everybody can be #FreeToLove.

Get up close and personal with Closeup

Looking and feeling good helps you get more out of life, especially with a winning smile. Breath-freshening Closeup toothpastes encourage you to date with attitude, giving you confidence to hit on your crush or move from friend zone to bae status. Born in the 1960s sexual revolution, Closeup is the world’s first gel toothpaste infused with mouthwash. Its zingy buzz means you can enjoy being in the moment and seize those ‘up close and personal’ opportunities to act on mutual attraction.