College Relationships, Millennials versus Baby Boomers

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for the past five months exclusively, after a solid five months before that talking to each other. We share a lot of the same interests and hobbies, love doing new things together and experiencing new places. I love being in his presence, sharing my day with him. I talk about him constantly, my family and friends are probably annoyed with how incessant it is.

 But this break, I was thrown through a loop. While my mom was lecturing me about my attitude and tone of voice- as she typically does, in the same way she always does, saying the same words she always does, she said something new that took me by surprise and caught me off guard. Her words “someday when you and Ryan* are married you’re going to use this tone with him too.” Whoa- wait, married??? We’ve been dating for 6 months….? We’re still in college and you’re talking about marriage? Yeah. I was, as us young kids say “shookith”

After my initial shock however, I began to think some more about why my mom said this and what would lead her to say this. And honestly, now I can see why she said it. According to Business Insider in a 2013 study, approximately 28% of married couples met in college, that’s a pretty solid amount, considering 15% of married couples met in high school. However, the more I thought about it and thought about my mom and her age and generation and values, I understood even more why she would come to this conclusion.

We have come a long way in the past 70 years in a lot of aspects of life. It was not that long ago that women attended college for the sole purpose of meeting a future husband. People would go to college, found someone they liked, be engaged near the later years of their college career and then upon graduation marry; this was if they hadn’t already settled on a high school sweetheart. While there is nothing wrong with this process and it is something that still happens today, I would not consider it the norm.

Once I considered how people used to meet and I started thinking about today’s romance, the modern romance, I really began to understand why she would think marriage. Think about it, how many of us have ever used an online dating website or app? You may think you’re not included in this group, laughing and thinking to yourself that dating websites are for old people, well what about Bumble or Tinder? Those are dating sites and at the tip of your fingers, you can swipe left, or swipe right all in a matter of seconds. The availability of the casual hookup is more accessible than ever before. No longer do we have to work for sex or go through what some see as agony to have a conversation with others. Heck, we don’t even have to have cheesy pickup lines anymore, a simple emoji winky face or subjective string of emoji’s can convey our intentions.  It seems any more that people are either too self-absorbed to dedicate the time to put into a relationship or too impatient or too enthralled with the idea of casual sex to dedicate the time with a formal, exclusive relationship.

So, after a very long analytical process, I see why my mom would think this. In a lot of senses, our relationship is kinda special in that way. Maybe we’ll be a part of that 28%, maybe we won’t but for the time being we’re enjoying each other’s company and enjoying sharing our lives together.

*names have been changed

Jacobs, Peter. (2013). 28% of People Marry Someone Who Went to Their College. Business Insider.