It is widely known that millennials have a very different outlook to their careers than the generations before them. They often career hop, looking for an area that fills their passion and makes them feel worthwhile, rather than stay in the same role for years and try to slowly climb an individual ladder. Many of them start their own businesses, not satisfied with what they find elsewhere and have a passionate interest in travel and creating never ending bucket lists. It made me wonder if we (as millennials) apply the same logic to relationships. I watched a video yesterday of a couple that had been together for 86 years who were discussing their marriage, I also spoke to my grandma who was married to my grandad for 50 years before he passed away. Both sets of couples met early in life and married fairly quickly ( by today’s standards anyway), and like so many other couples of their generation, made it work for a very long period of time.
It made me look at the way my friends and I view dating, relationships and marriage and try to spot the differences within the two generations. The most stark difference I noticed was the expectations millennials have of not just relationships but their partner. I can guarantee that when my grandma, or other women of her generation met their husbands they weren’t looking for a man who had a successful career, was intelligent, had an interest in travel, had a good family, was sociable, had lots of hobbies, was selfless and always put her first could talk for hours on end. Yet that is exactly what we expect, we look for a partner that ticks every single one of our boxes and disregard them if they don’t meet every one of our demands. The expectations have changed from those of meeting someone that you get along well enough with and you work to compromise on your differences and dislikes, someone that you tackle the hard times with even if they drag out over years, to a more on demand, quick to dispose generation where we pick up and drop people before you can say, ‘nexxxxt.’
We are more inclined to find someone that is the ‘finished’ product, and requires no hard work, rather than accepting people that are a ‘work in progress’ (aka all of us) and agreeing to work together to change and grow as a couple. Perhaps this reasoning gives rise to the declining number of marriages. An Urban Institute Report recorded that if the declining rate of marriages continues, more than 30% of millennial women will be single by the time they are 40 – which is twice as many as women from Generation X.
I believe this change in attitude has risen from our general change in society of having everything available, immediately, at the touch of our fingertips. From booking a holiday in 60 seconds, to ordering an Amazon parcel that arrives the next morning, to finding an endless list of potential dates at the swipe of a finger, we are growing more impatient and in need of immediate gratification and are slowly losing the desire to work harder for something, namely because we don’t need to.
Whist I’m also of the understanding that we shouldn’t ever settle in relationships, I’m certain that there is a balance between someone ticking enough of our boxes to make the effort involved to make a relationship last, worthwhile.
To my lovely readers – what are your thoughts?