Finding love ― and sustaining a relationship ― has always been hard, but it’s a little more complicated for millennials.
“Unlike previous generations, millennials have grown up in a world full of dating apps. Gone is the day of simply meeting and marrying the boy or girl next door,” said Tara Griffith, a therapist and the founder of Wellspace SF, a San Francisco community of licensed therapists, nutritionists and certified coaches. “The sheer amount of choice present in today’s dating scene can make commitment even harder for a generation who has been conditioned to have it all.”
Below, Griffith and other therapists share the most common relationship concerns they hear from patients in their 20s and 30s.
“Millennials often fall victim to decision paralysis. In the information age, the dating world is shaped by a plethora of platforms to search for ‘the one.’ This can often lead to the choice paradox and feeling extreme anxiety and fear of missing out by choosing the wrong person. Instead of feeding into the anxiety around searching for the right partner, I help clients refocus on being the right partner. When you redirect your energy into being the kind of partner you would want to have, you can energize the piece of puzzle you have control over. This often relieves some of the dating anxiety and allows you to grow by sharing yourself.” ― Liz Higgins, a couples therapist in Dallas who works primarily with millennials
“During their 20s, many millennials are choosing to prioritize other facets of life such as education, career, travel or life experiences before they settle down with a partner. Some find a partner later in life, when they’ve already created independent identities, careers, and sources of income. It’s also much more acceptable to have children without being married. Some millennials don’t see much benefit from obtaining a marriage certificate and potentially complicating things. Others may also devalue marriage due to being raised in a broken home themselves.” ― Tara Griffith
“Text is the primary mode of communication for millennials but so much gets lost in translation. Interpreting tone or intention based on nothing more than a word or a piece of punctuation is frustrating at best and disastrous at worst. In addition, many of my clients drive themselves crazy trying to craft the perfect text response and ultimately waste immense amounts of time and energy. The majority of our messaging comes through non-verbal communication like tone, facial expressions and body language, so millennials (and all people, for that matter) would be better served by communicating by phone or face to face.” ― Jess Hopkins, a certified life coach who works with millennials in Los Angeles, California
“A lot of millennials are starting to see friends get married and even have kids, but they themselves are perpetually single. Even though people are often marrying and settling down later, it still bothers a lot of millennials that they either can’t find a relationship or don’t feel ready for one.” ― Rachel Kazez, a Chicago therapist and founder of All Along, a program that helps people understand mental health and find therapy
“Many of the younger couples I see bring up finances as an area they want to explore, especially before marriage. Money can often signify control or a power imbalance, which are both undesirable qualities in relationships. People don’t want to feel controlled, judged, or dependent when it comes to finances. What works best is to explore financial expectations, playing out scenarios (for example, what would it look like if one partner were to be a stay at home parent while the other worked?) and discussing boundaries. Many couples have found that it works best to have their own bank account with one merged couple account. What’s most important is that each unique couple find out what works best for them and their relationship goals.” ― Liz Higgins
“I’ve seen so many straight millennial women complain that they’re ready for a serious relationship, but their boyfriends still want to ‘hang with his boys’ and play video games. She wonders if he will ever grow up and if she should stay with him and wait for him to change his behavior and make her his number one priority or simply move on with her life.” ― Joyce Morley, a marriage and family therapist in Decatur, Georgia
To read about what big life issues millennials complain about in general, head here.