Millennials Struggle To Find "The One"
For many years, I have been coaching professionals in their late 20s who come to me wanting to discuss their careers. However, over time, it becomes clear that there is a more pressing issue they are struggling with - the pressure to find someone to settle down with. There is definitely something about progressing towards your 30th birthday that gets the biological clock ticking louder than ever. Many of my clients comment that when they were younger, they thought they'd be married with children, a family car and house by the time they were 30. After all, their parents were married with children way before that. And that I feel is the crux of this rising anxiety - millennials are comparing themselves to the journeys of their Baby Boomer parents, who followed a completely different trajectory to our current society's.
Especially for those working in London - their careers take priority in their 20s and early 30s. They want to get ahead. Life is busy in the city, working hours are long, and social life is hectic and all consuming. We desperately try and balance our careers, friends and family, whilst fitting in time for exercise and all the amazing opportunities London has to offer. Our heads are down for many years and suddenly we're looking at 30 candles on the birthday cake, wondering if it's OK to still be single. Around the table are our married friends and their screaming babies. Where did I go wrong? Is there something wrong with me? Why can't I find someone to settle down with? After all, if I want to be able to buy a property these days, I could really do with a double income. And surely it's not right to be house-sharing like a student/still living at home with my parents at this age?
All these fears and anxieties are compounded by the pressure from parents, constantly asking the dreaded question, “When are you going to meet someone and settle down?" Perhaps it stems from a need to see their children settled down, grown up, and taken care of. The result is an individual who feels they are somehow letting their parents down by remaining single, which is heart-breaking when it's not an intentional state of affairs. Some are trying very hard, getting online and dating till the cows come home (when they can fit a date in - that is) to no avail.
Are we getting picky in our not so old age? Something I've noticed with Generation Y is the desire to strive for the very best in every area of life, including the compatibility of a future partner. They'd rather remain single than settle for second best and a relationship that's not quite right. Of course, this results in remaining single for longer, which deep down, I think they're OK with. It's the people around them that find it hard to understand - “but she's so pretty, thoughtful, and kind. I don't understand why she's not found someone yet."
Perhaps it's that they just don't need someone these days. They'd like to meet someone but there's no rush. They can support themselves these days, emotionally and financially. In the meantime, they have their career, friends, fitness, and partying to keep them busy; a trend supported by the rise in marriage age of women from 22 in 1970 to an average of 30 in more recent years. What's more, in 2012, records showed that more than half of women under 50 have never been married - double the figure recorded 30 years ago.
If it wasn't for the invention of the internet, I would most certainly still be single. In my late 20s, there were no suitable partners to be seen. There was no one at work, I'd met everyone's friends, and their friends, and men I met in bars or on holiday weren't generally interested in a relationship funnily enough. I made an active decision to join an online dating site and 'find' my man. I was tired of waiting and I figured I spent a lot of time and energy pursuing a great career, why not put the same into finding a partner? We got married last year, and yesterday I turned 32. You'd think that would keep the pressurising questions at bay; nope. Now it's “when are you going to have kids?"The pressure is on again, especially as many of my married friends are now having babies.