The following opinion article was published on Elite Daily, a news website for Generation-Y.
Marriage. We’re sick of the word. Sick of talking about it, looking at it and thinking about it. We’re sick of hearing about it, liking Facebook photos of it and worrying about it.
While we’re trying to have a career, make new friends and establish ourselves in a new city, we’re weighed down by this looming inevitability. It is inevitable, isn’t it? We’re going to get married someday, right? Right?!
While every woman refuses to admit it’s even on her mind, it’s sitting there, like a nagging parrot on our shoulders, whispering in our ears, reminding us that this is the time. This is when our parents were meeting each other, settling down and starting a future.
So, why does it feel like we couldn’t be further from it? Why does it feel like every boyfriend, hookup and one-night stand is just another step away from it? Why does it feel like all the men we’re meeting are just immature boys?
Unfortunately, scientific evidence has proven that that’s exactly what they are: immature. And for women everywhere, the wait for marriage may be that much longer — 11 years longer, in fact.
Research commissioned by Nickelodeon UK reports that men do not reach maturity until 43. Women, on the other hand, are proven to reach maturity at 32, a whopping 11 years before their male counterparts.
This looming feeling that we’re never going to find a man to settle down with isn’t just a paranoia, but a proven problem. Contrary to the way men make us feel, we aren’t crazy for thinking that every guy we meet is just an overgrown child.
Unless you’re dealing with men 11 years your senior, you are indeed chasing boys. Boys who aren’t ready to talk about keeping the seat down, let alone marriage.
There’s a silver lining though. You’re not the only one sitting in the pew as your 20-something friends get married, wondering when you’ll be next. In fact, they’re the exception, the odd ones, the outliers.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, only 26 percent of Generation-Y is married, and it doesn’t look like the rates are going up anytime soon. If it feels like we’re bucking the trend, it’s because we are.
At just 26 percent, we’re at almost half the marital rate of our parents: 48 percent of the Baby Boomers were married between the ages of 18 to 32. Almost half their generation was tying the knot at our age, while only one fourth of ours is taking the plunge.
It makes sense, however, with the later maturity rates of men and more findings that Millennials don’t really trust one another.
Pew Research also reports that on top of the wide maturity gap, Millennials have lower levels of social trust than any other generation. It’s not surprising that only 19 percent of us believe that people can be trusted, compared to 40 percent of our parents’ generation who had faith in one another.
Social media, high divorce rates and the innumerable crimes against humanity we’ve witnessed in our short lifetimes have left deep scars and, as any of our psychiatrists might put it, some serious attachment issues.
Unfortunately for women, as our maternal instincts and cravings for a life partner start kicking in, the men we long to tame are years behind and may never actually be ready to give us what we want.
They’ve got no money
According to a report by CNN, marriage rates fell drastically during the great recession; in time of financial hardship, finding a job is the top priority, trumping any idea of finding a partner and paying for a lavish wedding.
We’ve seen the results of the recession trickling into many areas our post-grad lives; however, marriage rates may be the most noticeable effect. People just don’t want to get married when they don’t have money, not to mention that Generation-Y is the most indebted generation ever to come out of college.
According to Pew Research on social and demographic trends, Millennials are also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles. Not only are we going to be single for a long while, but also completely broke.
They're still living with their mamas
They just don’t have it together.
On one end, it’s not their fault. As mentioned earlier, the recession affected everyone and the level of student debt is astronomical. Women, however, have found more ways to crawl out of this hole than men.
One of the biggest turn offs for women is men who not only don’t know what they want, but don’t know who they are. While we have careers, goals and aspirations, they are content to just live at home with their parents and wait for a career to fall in their laps.
According to Pew Social Trends, in 2012, 36 percent of Generation-Y were still living at home. That’s 21.6 million Millennials in their basements, still letting their mothers cook for them, still refusing to grow up.
The study also confirmed that men of this generation were more likely than women to be living at home, with 40 percent of men refusing to move out, compared to only 32 percent of women.
This feeling that guys just don’t have it together, can’t take care of themselves and will never be ready to take care of you isn’t a paranoid delusion, but the cold hard truth.
They’re Scared Of The Unknown
Kids, mortgages, divorce.
Men, like children, are scared of what they don’t know or can’t understand. They let the horror stories of the older kids scare them into corners, afraid to come out until they know that they will be caught by the right arms.
According to bachelor Carl Weisman in an article with Reuters, “Men are 10 times more scared of marrying the wrong person than of never getting married at all.” This is a generation that’s grown up around divorce, it’s only natural that the fear of a bad marriage outweighs the fear of perpetual bachelorhood.
This includes the financial issues that also come into play with failed nuptials. The idea of losing the money they worked so hard to earn is a major fear of Millennial men, learning from the mistakes and empty bank accounts of their predecessors.
Women, however, have more faith. According to a report from the “Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization," women are more trusting than men, scoring consistently higher on scales of trust than men on personality inventories taken from 1920 to 1992.
The ironic nature of the situation is that as men give us more and more reason not to trust them, we still remain the more trusting of the group.