From the adaptation of a more sexually liberal frame of mind, to the support of major social issues like gay marriage and women’s equal pay, Millennials have proven themselves to be more forward thinking than the more conservative and traditional generations before us. This new mindset is very clearly exemplified in our approach to how we date. In previous generations, finding someone you could spend your life with, settling down, and raising a family was often a priority, so men and women pursued all interests with extreme seriousness. In modern times, marriages are not at the top of our “to-do” lists; therefore pursuing relationships aren’t as essential. Millennials have a different set of priorities to focus on; we would rather focus on pursuing our goals and dreams than settle down. It’s not as though we are skipping getting married altogether. We are still walking down the aisle; we just aren’t as young as previous generations. When our parents were growing up, the median age to get married was 21. In 2010, the median age jumped to 27. So what has changed with the Millennial Generation and why aren’t relationships as important to us?
How we were raised had a huge impact on how we developed relationships and may also explain our desire to wait longer before getting married. Millennials were raised in a fast-paced environment. Unlike older generations, we grew up with constant changes and technological improvements. Our lives now evolve around the yearly iPhone and Mac book upgrades, but growing up, our lives evolved around the new cell phones that kept coming out, such as the once popular Motorola RAZR to the Blackberry everyone had to get. This fast-paced mentality not only affected how easily we accessed information, but it also affected all aspects of our lives, including dating and our ability to form relationships. The mindset resulted in the hook-up culture that has permeated our society. A prime example of this is how Millennials now use “Netflix and Chill” as a way to say, “Let’s watch a movie and have sex.” We have become incredibly comfortable with brief, meaningless hook-ups that we would rather choose convenience and ease over passion and commitment.
We are choosing convenience and ease because that is what we are familiar with.
Growing up, we never had to commit to something. If we did not like one sport, we dropped it and picked up another. Our parents were so adamant about us having our schedules packed with after-school activities so as children, we were involved in many things at once. We never had the opportunity to focus our attention on something we truly cared about. This is now how Millennials look at relationships. If issues arise, we don’t need to sit down and confront them because there will always be another person out there. Once we get bored with one individual, we simply move onto the next. Not only do we with struggle slowing down, and putting work and effort into our relationships, but we’re also so distracted and unable to focus due to our own goals.
To illustrate how Millennials approach dating, let’s think about Taylor Swift. Taylor, a Millennial herself, epitomizes the way my generation responds and reacts to relationships. When a relationship fails, she’s on to the next. We support her decisions by buying her songs about the breakups and cheer her on for being a woman in charge of her career and applaud for her forward ways of thinking.
The cool thing about Taylor though is that we all know she is a true romantic deep inside. It’s pretty obvious in her music and is why Taylor has become so popular in pop culture and music; she’s relatable and Millennials understand her struggles and frustration when it comes to dating. With her focused career goals, passive-aggressive dating style, and deep-set romantic fantasies, Taylor is a classic Millennial.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the hook-up culture and would rather be in a relationship. Call me old-fashioned but I love the dating part about dating. I like going out to restaurants and museums, and going on picnics in the park and exploring. I like getting to know someone, the butterflies in my stomach when I realize I have feelings for them, and I love being able to care about someone and love them. Loving is easy, and so is caring, but the hookup culture makes it much harder for individuals to love and to care. They become emotionless, pleasure-seeking robots.
We need to retrain ourselves to slow down and appreciate the special people that pop into our lives. Millennials seem to forget that anything that’s worthwhile takes time and effort. Society and technology may have increased the speed at which we access information, but it cannot change the rate at which humans form relationships.
Born and raised in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, model, blogger, and hopeless romantic Felisa Wiley always knew that she was a city girl at heart. After leaving her comfortable island life behind, Felisa landed in Allentown, PA where she is currently a senior in college. Passionate about Millennials and anything that has to do with her generation, Felisa is the founder of AverageMillennial.com and uses her blog to explore and write about how social media, technology, and society shape and influence Millennials lifestyle.