Dating as Millenials vs. Our Parents

My parents met on a New York City subway. They rode the same line and saw each other a few times before one day my dad asked if the seat next to my mom was taken. Ten months later they were engaged and 31 years later they are happily married with two fabulous daughters 😏.

There is definitely more to the story, but there’s also a few things that didn’t happen during their courtship. My mom didn’t screenshot texts from my dad to her bffs. My dad didn’t show pictures from my mom’s Instagram to his boys. They didn’t collectively stalk each other’s Facebook pages back to their creation. My mom did not wonder why my dad watched her Snapchat story, but didn’t respond to her text.

It was a simpler time. My dad called my mom on a landline to set up dates. They would walk from Queens to Manhattan on foot just talking and exploring . The only people who knew what happened on those dates was them because it wasn’t shared on social media. Their engagement had little fanfare and people found out through a phone call or by seeing them in person. There was no “I said yes!” post and their wedding didn’t have a hashtag.

In the good old days people missed phone calls all the time. They were at work. They were in the shower. They were unable to get to the phone in time. Someone may even have taken the message and forgot to pass it along. While getting a hold of each other was probably frustrating at times, non-millennial couples definitely didn’t face the drama millennials do in regards to phones.

Photo: eDreams Hotels
Photo: eDreams Hotels

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard myself or someone else say, “He still hasn’t texted back which is crazy because I know he’s always on his phone!”. This anxious feeling only worsens with each passing hour. Then finally we get, “Sorry was :insert activity: and forgot to reply”. What?! We thought you were dead! 🙄

Another stark contract between millennials and our parents is how leery we are when it comes to settling down. My parents knew each other less than a year before they got engaged and I’ve been with my boyfriend on and off for five years. See the difference?

The median age for millenials’ first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. I’m 27 and four years older than my mom was when she got married. I’m also two years older than she was when she had me and one year younger than she was when she had my younger sister. I’d feel strange if I was alone, but only one of my close friends is engaged. None are married.

Photo: NY Daily News
Photo: NY Daily News

Is it a fear of commitment? Is it because we are much more focused on our careers than our parents were? Are our standards for Mr. or Mrs. Right just too high? Is it financially driven? The answer is unclear.

I can’t speak for all millenials, but I do want to get married. I’m also paying off a  mountain of student loan debt and not exactly where I need to be career wise. If my boyfriend asked me today I’d say yes, but in the back of mind I’d think how are we going to pay for all of this? What about next steps like buying property and having children?  Can we afford that yet?

I know that takes the romantic aspect out of it, but I started college during a recession so for me the sky is always falling. I also know that marriage doesn’t mean the house and 2.5 kids need to come right after, but I want them to. So why rush into it?

You’re probably asking what brought on this millennial rant? Well, it’s a segue into a series I’ll be launching about millenial love stories. We may not be getting married as young. We may not be meeting the way our parents did. We may have a some tech/social media drama. We are finding love though! I woud like to explore that.

Here’s the semi-brief version of my millennial “love story”…

I met my boyfriend at his fraternity’s house party. I was sitting on a couch and he was standing in front of me. Our versions differ, but he claims I grabbed his hand. I dispute this. Regardless of what happened, we got to talking and exchanged numbers.

We met in February. Two months go by, he still hadn’t texted me. Even though every time I saw him at a party or the bar he asked when we’re hanging out. Then one day during the end of March Madness (beginning of April), he asked me again. I started telling him never because he is never going to ask, but he interrupted me by kissing me. From that moment on we were inseparable.

We even made it work when the relationship shifted to being long distance. After two years of making it work, he called me and told me he couldn’t do it anymore. I hated him for it, but he was right. It wasn’t fun anymore.

A year goes by and I see one of his friends post on his Facebook wall about them becoming roommates in the city. I tell myself, you’re not going to text him! You’re finally “over” him. It’s over. One night a couple months later after one too many adult beverages I texted him, “Hey what’s up?”

When he hadn’t responded in the morning I started to thoroughly regretting my life choices, but then he replied and immediately informed me that he had moved to the city. In true form, it took us a little while to meet up. We finally did though and have been back together for the last two years.

He teases me mercilessly, tells me like it is, and annoys me like it’s a second job. He is also my best friend. Can’t imagine a life without the guy.

Photo: Bustle
Photo: Bustle

I’ll be interviewing other millennial couples so stay tuned!




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