Bad Girl, Good Business

“I Do!” or “I Wanna Hook-up?” Millennial Mating Calls (Chapter 6)

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How do millennials view dating and marriage?

This morning at the gym, a young woman was showing off her wedding ring to a friend and gushing about her honeymoon. She could have been of any age or any era. The wedding industry is huge — $300 billion globally (and $55 billion in the U.S.).

Online dating (which generates $22 billion in revenue), Pinterest-driven wedding planning, and same-sex marriages (up 100k since the Supreme Court ruling) have all changed the way in which we get hitched. But are millennials fundamentally any different from the generations before them in terms of their relationship perspectives?

One would think so. Here’s why…

  • 64% of millennials are single and the marriage rate seems to be declining.
  • So, you might think that because of that fact, they are all “getting a lot of action” (as we said back in the day). Not true! Millennials have fewer sexual partners than previous generations. As noted in the same article, they are way more comfortable with casual sex (as in “friends with benefits”).
  • Online dating has produced a syndrome called FOBO (as in “fear of better options). This great article from Psychology Today discusses how the sheer number of available prospects on sites may cause people to eliminate options based on superficial characteristics. Although younger (and older) populations are jumping on the online dating bandwagon, the whole process may be turning into a virtual reality experience rather than a true quest for intimacy.
  • Sadly (for this die-hard romantic writer), the good old fashioned date with a nice dinner and a kiss at the door is obsolete. Here’s a great glossary of millennial non-dating etiquette.

Taking Vows…and baby makes three…

Despite the above statistics, some millennials ARE choosing to wed. And they are becoming parents too!

  • Have you heard of the “starter marriage?” ‘Til death do us part is no longer the rage, as many couples (43% in fact) believe that the institution should be evaluated and re-upped (or not) after a couple of years.
  • But some couples hang in long enough to reproduce. Millennial parents are a rapidly-growing population and they are actually rather traditional. A whopping 48% of them believe that children are better off with a stay-at-home parent. They are also not “helicoptering” the way Boomer parents often do and are proponents of unstructured playtime.

As long as the average life expectancy keeps increasing, the notion of a soul mate for life may, like dating, be an outdated concept. Love isn’t dead. It’s simply been hacked.

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