First Comes Love, Then Comes…TBD Depending on the Year You Met, Says New Survey

Photo: Getty Images/Luis Alvarez
Ever feel just not on the same page as your your parents or adult children when it comes to beliefs about relationship progression? Having to "break the news" of plans to cohabitate with an S.O. to parents who would rather their kiddo be "married and settled down" is a common story, these days. While in this scenario, everyone essentially wants the same thing—a happy, committed, stabile situation—the image of what it looks like includes different features depending on the generation you belong to. Now, not only are people meeting in different ways than in, say, the '70s (hello, online dating), but according to new research, entire phases of a relationship are totally different. The paradigm of meet, start dating, get married, move in together, and maybe have a few kids, is totally passé.

A recently published survey called, "How Couples Meet and Stay Together," published by Stanford University, included more than 3,500 people who entered relationships between the '70s and 2010s. It sought to establish patterns on how couples met, how long it took before things turned romantic, when or if they started living together, got married, or reached partnership status. And according to the results, times, they are a-changin'.

For example, in the 1970s after four years of dating, 74 percent of couples were married (or had a partnership status), and 2 percent were unmarried and living together. In the 2010s after four years of dating, on the other hand, 44 percent of couples were married (or had a partnership status), and 24 percent were unmarried and living together. And when couples reached the 10-year mark in the '70s, 96 percent of couples were married while the same is true for just 76 percent of present-day couples.

Basically, the survey shows that couples today are waiting longer to get married—if they plan on tying the knot at all. It makes you wonder what the typical relationship roadmap will look like 30 years from now—and whether "I do" might just be replaced with moving trucks and real estate contracts.

BTW, these are the most common problems couples face, according to a therapist. And here's some advice on how to find "The One," straight from matchmakers

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