Why Millennials Are Waiting Longer Than Ever To Get Married

Not long ago, there were very obvious social expectations when it came to settling down and getting married. Women especially felt the pressure to start a family as young as possible and many women sacrificed their career goals to do so.

Nowadays, the tide seems to be changing in terms of how people view marriage, and many young people are waiting until they’re a bit more mature and established in their own lives before starting a family.

People Are Developing Modern Perspectives On Marriage

Bride's shoes and groom's shoes
Photo Credit: Marc A. Sporys / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Marc A. Sporys / Unsplash

Marriage is not for everyone and that’s okay.

On the flip side, for those people who have dreamed of walking down the aisle with the perfect person for their whole lives, it’s understandable to want to get married sooner than later.

Dr. Helen Fisher Is Conducting Research On Singles And Human Attraction

Dr. Helen Fisher attends the Match.com Dating Confessions Panel Hosted By Patti Stanger on February 8, 2014 in New York City
Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images for Match.com
Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images for Match.com

Over the last decade, trends have shown that more and more young people (aka “millennials”) are deciding to wait before jumping headfirst into marriage.

Dr. Helen Fisher is one of the leading experts on human attraction and her studies focus on interactions between singles as well as people in relationships.

Millennials Have A Different Approach To Commitment

Young people take pictures on roof
Photo Credit: Yaroslav Shuraev / Pexels
Photo Credit: Yaroslav Shuraev / Pexels

The data collected by Dr. Fisher’s current study with Match.com has revealed that millennials seem to have a different approach to commitment.

It’s not necessarily that the younger generation is against the idea of commitment, just that some of them are more selective with it.

Young Adults In Our Culture Grew Up Around Divorce

Young family in kitchen, mom baking, two kids helping
Photo Credit: Meruyert Gonullu / Pexels
Photo Credit: Meruyert Gonullu / Pexels

Dr. Fisher says that young adults in our culture have become overly familiar with the consequences of divorce.

It is not uncommon for young adults to have been born into a family that has experienced divorce or grown up around parents who would eventually go through one.

There Is A Longer “Insurance” Period For Dating

Couple holds hands walking away
Photo Credit: Vladimir Kudinov / Pexels
Photo Credit: Vladimir Kudinov / Pexels

According to Dr. Fisher, “Today, people are very cautious to enter into relationships because they’ve seen so much divorce.”

As a result, dating has evolved into a lengthier process that has more of an “insurance” period, so to speak, that helps to protect each partner from potential disaster down the line.

Bad Relationships Are Easier To End When Marriage Is Not Involved

Man and woman sit on bed turned away from one another
Photo Credit: Alex Green / Pexels
Photo Credit: Alex Green / Pexels

Since the earlier stage of a relationship is extending, Dr. Fisher says that bad relationships have a better chance of ending before a marriage occurs.

She highlights how in traditions of the past, marriage was often the beginning stage of a relationship, whereas now it is seen as a sort of finale or end goal.

Millennials Are Practicing What Dr. Fisher Calls “Slow Love”

Young couple in kitchen, woman hugs man from behind
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

Young couples’ reluctance to get married, instead preferring to lengthen out the dating process, has been termed “slow love” by Dr. Fisher.

She says this phenomenon allows people to fully get to know their partner before deciding whether they are worth fully committing to.

People Want To Get To Know Each Other Personally And Sexually Long Before Marriage Is On The Table

Couple cuddles in bed with pillows around
Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Dr. Fisher further explains that during this period, people are interested in getting to know one another in the streets and in between the sheets.

Millennials’ dating lives often evolve into a “friends with benefits” sort of dynamic that has the potential to grow into something more serious, like moving in together and eventually getting engaged.

Independence Is An Important Personality Trait In A Partner

Man sits on cell phone at computer in coffee shop
Photo Credit: Austin Distel / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Austin Distel / Unsplash

It’s more common now for young people to value independence in their partners.

Dr. Fisher’s study revealed that 89% of the people surveyed wanted a partner with a sense of independence, which can take years to develop.

Millennials Are Experiencing “The Clooney Effect”

Photo Credit: Clemens Bilan / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Clemens Bilan / Getty Images

Dr. Fisher calls the desire to settle down later in life “the Clooney Effect” after celebrity actor George Clooney who famously settled down and started a family in his mid-50s.

The Clooney effect isn’t restricted to just bachelorhood though and many women are also choosing to put off the family life for years longer in favor of a career.

Relationships That Take Longer To Form Tend To Be Stronger

Bride and groom running and laughing together
Photo Credit: mentatdgt / Pexels
Photo Credit: mentatdgt / Pexels

Conclusively, Dr. Fisher says she does not believe that the number of committed marriages is decreasing.

Instead, she says that relationships are taking longer to form, leading to happier marriages in the long term. It seems like good things do come to those who wait.