The average marrying age is now later than ever, at 28.
Only 26% of us are actually married right now.
70% of men expect their wife’s career to take a back seat to theirs.
Over 50% of marriages end in divorce.
81% of us say people can’t be trusted.
25% of us will likely never be married. In those with a college degree, that number is higher.
It appears as though the odds are stacked against me. I am a white female, single, come from a divorced family, and am very well educated (as it turns out, I actually know everything).
However, statistics show trends, not finality. Although the average marrying age is 28, that also means that a good crop of people are getting married younger (and later) than 28. 70% of men expect their wife’s career to take a back seat to theirs, but 30% of men do not. Over 50% of couples are now getting divorced, but that also means half of those are not. The statistic says 50% of couples get divorced, but that does not necessarily mean that I get divorced. Statistics show trends, but that is all they do.
EVERYONE is writing about this issue right now, as if this social change is concerning, and as a Millennial, every time I see one of these “statistics” mentioned, I immediately go into a panic. Like, here I am, sitting on my computer at 25, according to statistics, getting really closer to being considered an old maid with every clock tick, and no potential suitors whatsoever, and the idea of becoming the Crazy Cat Lady becoming ever more attractive (I obviously have my own predictions as to why this trend is occurring, but you will have to read Happily Never After to find those out).
I recently read this article by Amanda Bradford, the creator of the dating ap ‘The League’, in which she talked the difficulties of dating when being an alpha female. She writes, “I am not an elitist; I am an alpha female”, and talks about how, being well educated and career driven requires her to be more selective in the dating scene. After struggling with some not-so-good dates, she created ‘The League’, a dating ap for women of her similar stature to meet men who are also well educated and career driven.
As Millennials, I think we have this huge epidemic of serial dating. We feel that, in order to find our “Prince Charming”, we must date a whole bunch of people, because as statistics suggest, the more people we date, the more likely we are to find our future husband. But, reality (and marriage union laws) tell me that I am marrying ONE person; I could date 50 people, or I could date two, and most likely, I am going to end up with the same person.
Part of this really might stem from growing up in the Digital Age. We see numbers everywhere: the number of followers I have, the number of ‘likes’ and comments on my posts, the number of times I click that person’s profile (well, actually, hopefully that number isn’t available because it could be embarrassing). Even when marketing my book, its all about numbers: the number of views on my video, the number of followers on my social media, the number of clicks on my blog. I can’t tell you how many agents said, “We LOVE the idea of Happily Never After, but a publishing company would never buy it without 100,000,000 followers” (I am slightly against this trend for a myriad of reasons. First of all, I can buy “likes” and “followers”, so then the publishing game becomes about how much money I can expend on my cause, and many of those views could be inauthentic. Second of all, I don’t necessarily always believe what is #trending is quality material. People like trash and gossip and Kim Kar-trash-ian and Farrah, and THAT’S what is #trending; not always good writing). So when we are playing the dating game, we except the same thing to happen: the more people I date, the more ‘followers’ I have, the more likely I am for at least one person to comment on my status, the more I feel my existence is noted (because, at the end of the day, that is our sole purpose: to feel like our time on Earth is NOT anonymous and that we ARE valid creatures).
I agree with Bradford about being more selective about dating. In fact, the better I know myself, the less time I have to waste dating people who I know will not work for me, the more time I can spend doing the things I want to do. For example, I have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor, that doesn’t work for everyone. So, I know if you don’t laugh at my first few jokes, then its probably not going to work, and I don’t need to spend six months dating you to find that out. The fact that I am NOT accumulating numbers of dates really means nothing. This is slightly why I am against online dating. For some people, who travel, are introverts, have very selective criteria, online dating works. But, I also think what online dating does is give us access to a database of people, an infinite number of people, and we think that, by being in this infinite pool, we are increasing our statistics. We hope that by looking at 100 profiles, we chat with 20 of those, go on first dates with 10, and end up marrying one. Yes, we are increasing our statistics, but statistics really are just numbers.
In this case, the statistics may be stacked against me, but that means diddly squat. There is always the case that I can be the outlier to the trend.
(But, of course, if you read Happily Never After, you will also know that I am also against just doing NOTHING if you plan on getting married someday).