Much to my mother's dismay, I am in no rush to get married anytime soon, despite the fact that I'm in a perfectly happy relationship. You see, I'm 24, my boyfriend's 26 and, as far as I'm concerned that's just way too young to be making a commitment as huge as marriage. We took six months to decide to officially date! Why would we rush into something as serious as marriage? Well, a new report claims that, perhaps, we aren't the only ones in our generation with this outlook. In fact, an eHarmony report finds millennials are getting married later in life.
It turns out millennials are really in no rush to get married, and the eHarmony report has the stats to prove it. While my parents dated for a year before my mom gave my mom an ultimatum and demanded they get married because it had been way too long for them to be "just dating," this report finds most millennials are perfectly fine "just dating." In fact, many couples deicde to get to know each other for the better part of a decade before getting married.
If you're more of a numbers person, let me put it to you like this: couples between the ages of 25 and 34 typically know each other an average of six and a half years before deciding to marry. Now, without a comparison that number may seem insignificant but let me put it to you like this. People in every other age group wait just five years before tying the knot. That means millennials are waiting a full year and a half longer than other generations.
"Fast sex, slow love" is a term coined by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies romance and a consultant to the dating site Match.com. Fisher uses it to describe the dichotomy between the casual, carefree, millennial attitude towards sex compared with our more cautious attitude towards marriage.
And it's not just marriage we're holding off on. Millennials are in no rush to reproduce, either. In fact, a government report released Thursday found last year the U.S saw a decline in birth rates for women in their teens, 20s and 30s.
The birth rates for women in their 20s have fallen four percent, making them hit record lows. Conversely, women in their 40s were actually more likely to get pregnant as they were the only group of women whose birth rates increased in 2017.
One of the young couples cited in the New York Times piece covering the eHarmony report explain their hesitance to get married has to do with the fact that neither of them have reached their goals financially and professionally. Julianne Simon, 24, and her boyfriend Ian Donnelly, 25, have been together sine high school, and have lived together since graduation college, but say they'd like to pay down their student loans, travel, and explore different careers before they take the next step in their relationship.
"Sociologists, psychologists and other experts who study relationships say that this practical no-nonsense attitude toward marriage has become more the norm as women have piled into the work force in recent decades," reports the Times. "During that time, the median age of marriage has risen to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women in 2017, up from 23 for men and 20.8 for women in 1970."
And just because we're getting married later doesn't mean that we don't care about marriage. In fact, Benjamin Karney, a professor of social psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, tells The New York Times he believes it's a testament to how much we value marriage. “People are not postponing marriage because they care about marriage less, but because they care about marriage more,” he tells the Times.
Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins, uses the term "capstone marriages" to explain how many millennials see marriage as sort of the icing on the cake that is adulthood. “The capstone is the last brick you put in place to build an arch,” Dr. Cherlin tells the Times. “Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood. Now it is often the last."
Personally, as a child of divorce, I think waiting until you are absolutely positive about someone before deciding to tie the knot isn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, this new trend makes me more proud than ever to be a millennial.
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