According to Avvo’s recent survey on relationships, 42% of Millennials believe marriage is a life goal and 82% disagree that marriage is an outdated institution. On the other hand, a Pew Research study shows 25% of Millennials are likely to remain unmarried by the time they reach their mid-40s to mid-50s. The Pew report predicts that more people than ever before will never marry. Which begs the question: If Millennials believe in marriage, why aren’t they actually getting hitched?
There are lots of reasons marriage isn’t in the cards for this group. More than a quarter of Millennials say they aren’t financially stable. This group of young people is carrying the heaviest student loan debt in history. Despite having college degrees, only 20% of Millennials feel their education has prepared them for their jobs. They’re struggling to pay their loans and to find career stability, factors that make marriage seem unrealistic or impossible.
Lack of independence
Some 43% of male Millennials are living at home with mom and dad – the largest number of young adult men still residing with their families since the days of the Great Depression. There’s a theory that Millennials have introduced an entirely new life stage: emerging adulthood. They’re taking longer to mature and become independent, remaining reliant on their parents longer than ever before. In fact, 22% say they just aren’t ready to settle down, which reflect this additional stage of growth.
Thirty percent of Millennials say they aren’t getting married because they haven’t found the right person. Dating as a Millennial is actually harder than you might expect. While there are dating apps and endless ways to meet people online, a Match.com report says that social media has actually made it harder to date. People so carefully curate their social media that it is difficult to really get to know someone that way.
And while it is easy to stay in touch with people online today, there is less face-to-face contact. In an interesting contrast, technology makes it possible to stay in constant touch with other people, which may impact the texture and direction of relationships (there may be too much contact, too soon).
Marriage is for someday
While Millennials say they believe in marriage, they are more likely than any previous generation to simply move in together without the “I dos.” Twenty-five percent of this group are living with a partner. While it may sound like a great idea to get to know each other well before tying the knot, one study shows that couples who cohabitate before getting engaged are more likely to divorce. Millennials in general have a fear of divorce since so many come from broken homes. Their personal experience with divorce leads many to put marriage on the back burner.
A little perspective
While Millennials appear more “marriage averse” than earlier generations, even the Pew study predicts that about three-quarters of them will have married by middle age. And before they do, they might want to consider a prenup—you know, just in case things go south.