by Anna Jeffries
I don’t know about you, but when I go to a restaurant, I prefer the menu to be limited. Being faced with too many options stresses me out; have I made the right choice? Shall I try something new or stick to what I know I like? Granted, these are very much first world problems, but they’re problems I think this generation face in all aspects of life. We are exposed to so much potential and possibility. We can go to the moon, set up a company, contact world leaders and influencers all at the touch of a button.
We can tone our legs, bums AND tums at the same time. The likes of Instagram and Facebook are constantly reminding us of how much everyone else is getting done and giving us ideas about the next things we should be doing, places we should be going, food we should be trying. We are in a world of unending choice and possibility and sometimes it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
But how does that translate into our love lives? Apps like Tinder are a prime example of how society allows us to be picky not only in day to day life, but also romantically. Serial dating is now much more acceptable and the moment when a couple decides they want to see each other exclusively is becoming later and later. People want to keep their options open and committing to one person is a thought which makes many of us want to run a mile. After all, why would anyone choose to have a simple cheeseburger when you could have a big mac with extra bacon and a side of fries? Typical FOMO syndrome!
In the 1950s, half of all men and three quarters of all women were married by the age of 25. In 2012, the average age for marriage was 36 for men and 34 for women. Greater social liberation for both sexes, as well as the fact we’re living longer means that many people feel less of a need to tie that big scary knot and when they do, often miss out the “’til death do us part” bit.
My friend Rosie is an example of someone who missed out the forever from her vows. She said she prefers to see marriage as being on a rolling, renewable basis, to be reviewed every 10 years to check you both still want it. With a possibility of being alive for another 60 years, she said she thought this was a more realistic approach.
What’s interesting is that the statistics are showing a paradox. Despite people of this generation showing an unwillingness to commit, since 2010, numbers of couples aged between 26-35 seeking couples’ therapy has never been so high. This suggests that we’re all yearning for Mr or Mrs Right, we just don’t know how to go about sucking up our FOMO and committing to them in a serious way. Cate Campbell, from the charity RELATE, sums it up well, “young people today are brilliantly liberated, because they have so much freedom, but also incredibly oppressed because that means they have to find their own rules and they’re confused.”
So is marriage soon to be a thing of the past? Match.com’s Kate Taylor reckons we don’t need to worry. She says most modern daters still prefer to commit to someone, rather than multi-date. They just want to be confident it’s the right person. The way to find this out, check you’re both on the same page and work towards happily and confidently committing to someone is to communicate. Avoid waiting 5 months to have the “so what are we?” conversation and instead lay your feelings on the table a bit earlier. Talk about how much time each of you needs alone, talk about your sex life and check that both of you are happy with the way things are going. Half an hour of awkwardness is worth it for a potentially long and happy committed relationship.
And if your partner reacts badly, then you have your answer.
Anna has recently graduated with a Masters in Law. She has joined the rat race but is a firm believer in having a good work/life balance. She counteracts her love of good food with her love of fitness. Anna is always reading something, preferring non-fiction to fiction. She's fascinated about different cultures and is slightly addicted to learning languages. She tries to maintain a glass half full approach to life and, in the words of Newton Faulkner, believes people should smile more!