There are many differences that set Millennials apart from earlier generations; things such as average household income, level of education, etc. But, one of the most distinct factors between Millennials and the generations before us is the decreased rate of marriage. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in early 2014, only 26% of Millennials are married in comparison to 36% from Generation X and 48% from Baby Boomers.
After decades of progress towards gender equality, innovations in technology and medicine, higher education and a multitude of other factors, the pursuit for serious relationships, marriage, and childbearing has significantly dropped to the bottom of our priority list.
But do we even still want those things anymore? Love and marriage?
My thought is that deep down, we do.
Though there are the vast majority of individuals who are relieved that marriage and having a family can be completely removed the equation, there are still those hopeless romantics who want a committed relationship.
The spike in article topics written by Millennials in relation to this phenomenon is evidence in itself. Hundreds of thousands of individuals in their twenties and even early thirties are all having the same conversation. They talk about their awful dating experiences, gut-wrenching heartbreaks, and utter confusion as to why they are still single.
So, this raises the question as to how and why many of us are still single even though we claim that we really just want to just settle down already.
Why is it that we don’t just settle down then? Is it because we truly are searching for “the one”? Is it because we’re not yet financially stable? Is it because we’re too involved in our career? What is it exactly that is stopping us from committing to one person? If there are so many single people out there, then there is clearly no shortage of people that you could potentially like.
I’ve had these conversations with so many of my friends who have gone on an abundance of dates that have led to absolutely nowhere. Some hardly made it past the first date. And when I ask them what happened, it’s the same reason over again. It kind of just “died”. After a certain point, both parties started losing interest, they just naturally move on.
But, how could someone go on 10-15 first dates in just one month and not meet a single person that they are even remotely interested in?
Some of you may be familiar with the famous Actor and Comedian, Aziz Ansari, who has recently had his book published titled, “Modern Romance”. In an excerpt published on Time, Aziz writes,
“It’s easy to find and get the best, so why not do it? If you are in a big city or on an online-dating site, you are now comparing your potential partners not just to other potential partners but rather to an idealized person to whom no one could measure up”
The thing is that there are now a multitude of factors that have changed our attitude and perspective on dating. We have endless options for how and where to meet people to the extent that it clouds our judgment and hinders our ability to choose just one person.
Earlier in his essay, Aziz talks about his parents’ success from their arranged marriage and he compares it to dating in modern time. He relates the phenomena to a situation where he had to choose a dinner location in Seattle. He writes,
“Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year…The stunning fact remained: it was quicker for my dad to find a wife than it is for me to decide where to eat dinner.”
Now, I am in no way, shape, or form siding with the notion that arranged marriages should be enforced, but the truth is, sometimes we actually don’t know who is right person for us. Most of the time, we don’t know even know what we want. And now that we have the freedom to choose, we’re lost more than ever.
Therefore, we shouldn’t solely blame outside factors for the reason as to why we are single. You see, we aren’t afraid of being single, we’re afraid of being in a relationship. We’re ingrained with the mindset of “FOMO” or “fear of missing out and in my opinion, that’s just sad.
Instead of looking at what we could lose from our single life, we should be a little more optimistic as to what we could gain if we enter a relationship. Of course, there is a lot at stake when you put your heart on the line and as we get older, heartbreak becomes a lot more difficult to deal with.
I’m aware that many people may not side with my position in the conversation, but I think we need to be a little less close-minded about the people whom we reject. Those “nice guys” or “nice girls” could be the right one for you. And they could surprise you in the same way as those who have broken your heart in the past.