Relationship problems are something that every generation experiences. However, there is a certain set of relationship issues that is specific to millennials today. Although the dating challenges our grandparents had to deal with (i.e. having to ask your date’s parents for permission) may no longer be the norm, in their place are technologically-fueled relationship debacles the likes of which no other generation has ever seen.
From keeping close tabs on your SO online to dating FOMO, here are the seven relationship problems every millennial can relate to.
Forget private investigators. Nowadays, sleuthing can be done with a mere internet browser. However, “clues” on social media are rarely enough to give you a full picture of what’s happening. The person you’re seeing could be cheating, or you could be inventing a false scenario in your head based on shaky evidence. Either way, this kind of drama didn’t exist pre-internet and cell phones, and some millennial couples where one partner is a wee bit paranoid might be better off if a database of information wasn’t accessible every time they look at their phones.
2Vague AF texts
Texting is either the best or worst thing to happen to relationships. On one hand, there’s no need to ever leave an awkward voicemail. On the other, text messages often leave a large amount of room for interpretation. A heart emoji is fairly straight-forward, but what does a waving hand and two dancing ladies mean exactly? At least one corporation has decided to hire an “emoji interpreter,” so clearly there is a need for deciphering texts. What does it mean when someone responds with a: “k 😬🔥”?
3Always being chill
Playing it cool has been a long-established paradigm of dating wisdom. But millennials have taken it to the next level with “being chill.” This implies that our very beings need to have the emotional range of an ice cube, and that we can never express our emotions, lest we come across as “crazy” (for women) or “sensitive” (for dudes). Combine this with a poor primary outlet for communication (i.e. texting), and it’s no wonder that so many twenty-somethings would rather ghost than try to work on a relationship.
Blame it on FOMO or YOLO or whatever acronym millennials come up with next, but people in their twenties and thirties today are always after the BBD (the bigger, better deal). When it comes to their work, pursuing the BBD leads to career success. But when applied to their dating lives, the BBD ensures the millennials are constantly swiping on dating apps, afraid to settle for a good enough relationship when thousands of other potential relationships are just a DM away.
In the past, relationships typically progressed from dating to being in a relationship to being engaged and then finally married. Millennials have now created a zillion more in-between ways to label their relationships; that is, if they label them at all. Having to “DTR” (defining the relationship) is now a Big Thing because simply sleeping with someone, seeing them on a regular basis, and exchanging “I love you’s” can now happen at any stage…or it could mean absolutely nothing at all.
There’s no universal rule for when certain relationship milestones should happen and what level of commitment they imply. So, now, in addition to traditional labels, you could be someone’s hookup, a friend with benefits, or a “dating partner,” which apparently implies more longevity than a hookup and more emotional intimacy than a FWB.
Perhaps millennials are commitment-phobic because so many witnessed their parents’ marriage falling apart, but the labeling (or non-labeling) can be frustrating and may end up taking an otherwise blossoming millennial relationship down.
There’s no shortage of research about the effect that free and easily accessible porn has had on our sex lives. But especially for millennials who’ve known nothing else, this has changed not just how we have sex, but the expectations we place upon ourselves and partners. Most couples do not have sex daily, swinging from the chandeliers in their Red Rooms, but that’s the impression porn and movies like 50 Shades of Grey have given millennials, making it seem like if you’re not doing this there must be something fundamentally wrong with your relationship. In reality, Americans are having much less sex than people would believe.
7“Always Be Closing”
As Alec Baldwin once said in the 1992 film “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a good salesman is always closing, and it feels like so much of dating and relationships now require this same mentality. From crafting the perfect online dating bio to curating an Instagram account, it feels like we’re always have to sell ourselves. This can lead to a lot of pressure and resentment that might not otherwise exist.