Long gone are the days of earning your diploma, walking down the aisle, and quickly filling your house with kids—often before you can legally take a sip of champagne to celebrate. According to new research, millennials are taking their sweet time to tie the knot.
An eHarmony report on 2,084 long-term, heterosexual couples between the ages of 25 and 34 years old says that Americans are waiting an average of six and a half years before saying “I do.” The reason for their extended courtship? They want to first establish their careers, figure out their finances, and travel before settling down—and develop a really strong, healthy relationship (and friendship!) with their partner in the process.
“With this long pre-commitment stage, you have time to learn a lot about yourself and how you deal with other partners.” —Helen Fisher, anthropologist
With a longer courtship, couples can really take the time to dig deep before rushing into anything, which is so important because successful relationships take work. Yes, you want to feel at ease (and completely yourself) when you’re with your partner, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your homework—like figuring out your love language so you know the best way to communicate, or thinking about how your parents’ relationship shaped you so that you better understand your expectations for your own potential marriage. Maybe you also need to learn to love each other’s faults.
And there’s one more benefit to pumping the brakes on your journey to ever after: “With this long pre-commitment stage, you have time to learn a lot about yourself and how you deal with other partners,” anthropologist Helen Fisher told the New York Times.
A secure, healthy relationship begins with you—knowing your needs, your weaknesses, your goals. And that doesn’t happen overnight.
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