Dating Is Hard

Are Dating Rates Truly Declining Among Young Millennials?

Dating and hooking up have always been fundamental parts of life, however, since the pandemic brought mingling to a screeching stop, many young people have been slow to jump back into the dating pool. While the pandemic is partly to blame, it appears that dating, in general, was losing steam years before the word “COVID” ever entered our vocabulary.

A Gallup poll suggests that these issues might not be entirely unfounded. The research firm discovered the following data during a 2014 study:

  • 64% of those surveyed were single/never had been married.
  • 16% were currently married.
  • 14% were living with a partner.

This compares to the following breakdown from 2004:

  • 52% were single/had never been married.
  • 29% were currently married.
  • 15% were living with a partner.

Interestingly, the proportion of married people had dropped by roughly half in just ten years, and the number of people living with a partner had also fallen somewhat. These results suggest that millennials aren’t as eager to jump into a relationship in more recent years.

There’s no question that many young people are indeed postponing their romantic/sexual life for other pursuits. So, what are the root causes of this progressive shift?

Busy Schedules

It’s fair to say that people have always had busy schedules, yet they always found the time to date or hook up. However, it’s fair to say that the newer generations face higher societal expectations, which may be why they choose to postpone their emotional and physical needs. Many millennials find themselves dealing with:

  • Longer work weeks.
  • Social obligations.
  • Taking care of younger siblings.
  • Networking for another job.
  • Attempting to practice self-care.
  • Taking care of regular tasks that everyone has to deal with.
  • Social media.

With so many responsibilities, it makes sense that individuals need to move sex and love to the bottom of their list of priorities. In many cases, putting dating on the back burner is the only way to keep everything else moving forward.

Too Many Options

There’s certainly some paradox to this, but people have many options for dating nowadays that it might all feel a little overwhelming.

Dating apps allow us to browse thousands of members worldwide. While you think that would be enticing, that’s not always the case. Some young people find themselves paralyzed by the number of available choices, and they just can’t seem to pick any one of them. A feeling of indecisiveness sneaks in, and the thought is always in the back of one’s mind that there might be someone even better out there for them. People don’t always want to settle on the first person they come across because they worry that they might be giving up other opportunities. This constant state of second-guessing themselves leaves people frustrated, and some simply give up on dating entirely.

The Economics Of Dating

Life is expensive, and the cost of living doesn’t allow much wiggle room for luxuries like dating. Data suggests that the average millennial earns just over $47,000 per year. That doesn’t stretch very far when millennials try to pay for dates and other social activities in addition to rent, gas, and utilities. These budget limitations force millennials to choose their “extras” more carefully. For many, this means that they give up on dating. They view it as a non-necessity, and they would prefer to focus on the things that actually bring them value and help keep them sheltered and safe. Understandably, many millennials feel this way when one considers how much they have had to go through just to survive every day.

Pursuing Other Interests

Some millennials say that a big part of why they don’t date is they simply want to pursue other interests. The job market