Millennials, just like other generations before them have dating and relationship challenges that are unique to them. I have had an ear in several conversations where people have discussed how difficult dating is for this generation. I have also been privy to conversations with older people who express nothing but harsh criticism about our difficulty to create and maintain strong relationships.
A casual look at people’s timelines reveals a litany of people’s despair regarding dating and relationships. This got me thinking, are there really no positives about dating for millennials? I did stumble upon the positives but those are few in comparison. Today, I choose to focus on the negative and how best we can navigate these issues.
Let us start with the fact that we all have different goals. We are not in a time where everyone is expected to be something generic like a lawyer, doctor or accountant (no disrespect to those fine professions). Our goals are more colourful, more explorative, we dream beyond the scopes of society and that may sometimes make it difficult to settle into a relationship.
You both want extremely different futures which is fine and recognise there is no rush to settle into a marriage and start a family immediately. Some of us do not want children and that is okay; some of us want to establish our careers first before we get tied down to the responsibilities of family and some of us crave those very things. Because our options are more acceptable than they were for previous generations, it makes it easy for us to duck out of relationships whenever things get even a little bit difficult.
While this may be perceived as problematic I am wholeheartedly in support of people choosing situations that do not compromise their dreams.
We are the positive vibe gurus, so much so that some of us have forgotten or never had to deal with communicating about conflict; we feel like it does not align with our energy so we do not engage which can be how to handle certain situations but that is not how to navigate and deal in partnerships.
Sweeping conflict under the rug or ignoring it to deal with itself only sets precedence for great dissolution. We also do not know how to communicate our needs and desires to our partners and expect them to magically know which causes a lot of strife. I blame technology particularly social media for this. Our friends’ timelines are awash with their partners’ acts of thoughtfulness which we believe ours should be able to do too.
Cheating has also undoubtedly been made easier, so monogamy in many circles has lost its essence. There are apps created for the sole purpose of organising hook ups and while we all do not fit into a particular mold when it comes to exclusivity, we have seen the death of monogamous relationships as a result of the availability of casual sex.
We end relationships with no resolve, a term some of you know commonly as “ghosting”.
Ghosting is the act of ceasing communication when things no longer work for you without any explanation. I have to be honest I have been both a perpetrator and victim of this. Over time, I have realised it is a cowardly way to live and progressed from that place. Apart from causing a lot of unnecessary pain, there is never any resolve and you carry that into the next relationship, setting it up for failure.
As a generation, we have become extremely comfortable with being alone; it is easier for us because we do not have anyone to answer to, our time is solely ours, we find fulfillment in our friendships, our families, full lives and our physical needs are met quite easily by the tap of a button on the right app or other casual situations.
We often do not see the need for companionship and as such, make no effort to try and secure it, we have formulated happy and rewarding relationships with ourselves that the addition of another party in your life may be seen as an inconvenience. It is an incredible feeling to love yourself and enjoy your own company but it is quite possibly the main contributor to why millennial relationships are viewed as difficult as they are today.
I think we just need to make compromises and changes where a relationship may bloom otherwise we might become known as the generation that killed love.