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The Changing Face of Millennial Relationships

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House, Baby..then Marriage?

I’m 32 and still check the single, no dependents box on my taxes. You may be having contradictory thoughts-either envying my lifestyle or thinking to yourself, what’s wrong with her? Instead of taking a trip down the aisle and making babies, I went to graduate school, focused on my career and refused to settle until I found my soul mate.

About a year ago, I was lucky enough to meet the man who made all the bad dates and tears worth it. I moved out of my apartment that I shared with a roommate and into his place in the city.

I recently read some statistics done by the Pew Research Center and realized I’m not alone. Two thirds of Millennials are playing house before making it official, if they decide to tie the knot at all. Only 1 in 5 is married, much fewer than previous generations at the same age. 30% rate a successful marriage as their highest priority, compared to 51% who rate good parenting skills as most important. Could this be due to the fact that half are products of divorce, so naturally they’re more cautious?

When Dr. Friedman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a study to see if Millennials had children in their life plan, he was shocked with his findings. Less than half foresaw themselves having kids, due to student loan debt, an over packed work schedule and anxiety about the future. Although, they would like to have children, they couldn’t see how they could make it work realistically. Others are embracing the idea of a childfree lifestyle.

Trying to avoid becoming another statistic or focused on their careers, our generation is taking their time before committing to marriage. There isn’t as big of a fear to commit to real estate, however. According to US News, increasing numbers of couples are signing a mortgage before signing a marriage certificate, with many commenting that a house is the new engagement ring. Sorry, guys!

The BF and I are discussing marriage and having children. Unfortunately, the sound of my biological clock is ticking loudly in my ears. The imminent pressure is on to speed walk down the aisle and get the baby factory in gear. I hate the fact that women have a deadline looming over their heads, but that is reality. At least for now.

With life expectancy increasing, will women naturally evolve to have babies at an older age? That could become a reality according to biologist and genetics expert, Dr. Aarathi Prasad. She explains that in an age when life expectancies are longer and women remain healthier for longer, it is not necessary to go through menopause. “The mood of scientists working on this and looking to the future is we will either technologically or scientifically evolve out of the menopause,” she states. Amazing news for future generations of women who are expected to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time.

Following a different timeline for major milestones, Millennials are changing the face of relationships. With traditions falling to the wayside, new norms are being constructed. Only 15% of Millennials cite living a very religious life, so without society or religion dictating choices, there is a freedom to forge our own path and create a future that is an ideal fit for us. The beauty is, it’s our choice.

About Erica Portillo

Erica Portillo, MSW, is a clinical social worker and editor of girlzone.com. Her great loves are writing, being in love and naturally, writing about love. She hopes to give you a glimpse into her over analytical convos with friends, that usually take place over a mimosa or glass of wine. Read more of her random thoughts at girlzone.com/blogs/erica's-inspirations or follow on twitter @GirlZoneGZ.

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