Mandy Kloppers

Traditional and modern relationships

Breaking the Mold: 4 Ways Relationships Are Evolving

Over the last half-century or so, gender roles in relationships have evolved. In today’s culture, there are many traditions regarding relationships that are vastly different from what our previous generations experienced. Online dating, cohabiting before marriage, waiting longer to get married, and combining money before marriage are just a few of the many ways that relationships are evolving. Finding a balance between old traditions and modern ones is possible.

Keep reading to find out how relationships are “breaking the mold” and becoming more unique.

1. Online dating is on the rise

In that past, the idea of looking for love online seemed silly and was even seen to be taboo or frowned upon. However, over the past few years online dating has increasingly become a more widely accepted way of meeting a future partner. A study done by eHarmony, revealed that online dating is the second most popular way to meet new partners. In fact, as many as one in five relationships are believed to begin online. It’s estimated that by 2040, 70% of couples will have met their significant other online.

While not everyone may be onboard with the idea of online dating, many people prefer trying to find a partner online as it allows them to find and meet people outside of their circles. Other popular reasons for seeking partners online are:

* Many people are not fond of common places for meeting new people such as bars and clubs.

* You are able to search for specific characteristics you desire in your partner: hair color, eye color, height, ethnicity, age, etc.

* Some people are too shy to approach a guy/girl they could be interested in and have trouble expressing themselves verbally. Online dating is a great way for introverts to get out there and meet new people.

2. Couples are moving in together before marriage

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more couples are choosing to live together before they get married. Not only are more women than ever living with a partner before they get married, a quarter of all women move in with a romantic partner before the age of 20.

Between the years 2006 and 2010, nearly half of women (48 percent) between the ages of 15 and 44 lived with a partner before getting married, an 11 percent jump since 2002 and a 41 percent jump since 1995. Just 23 percent of women claimed they were married when they first lived with their partner, down from 30 percent in 2002, and 39 percent in 1995.

This trend reflects that marriage is increasingly becoming more and more optional in adult life. However, people are not shunning marriage completely. Over a three-year period of the study,

40 percent of couples living together got married, 32 percent stayed together while 27 percent broke up.

3. Couples are waiting longer to get married

With that being said, the average couple is dating for a longer period of time before getting tying the knot. A study by Bridebook revealed that couples are dating an average of 4.9 years before getting married, including dating for 17 months before moving in together, living together for 22 months before getting engaged and being engaged for 20 months before getting married.

Why are millennials getting married later than their parents did? Part of the reason is that there is a mindset among millennials that you don’t have to be with someone in order to be happy. Millennials are living in a culture of individualism, preventing them from committing. Another reason is that nowadays, there are so many avenues and options when it comes to finding a partner that millennials are taking their time exploring these options rather than rushing to the altar.

There has also been a “new definition” of marriage. In the past, many marriages were formed when you found someone decent to start a family with. Today, it’s much deeper than that and more about finding the perfect person who you truly and deeply connect with. Marriage expectations are changing and millennials are even doing premarital counseling to ensure they are doing everything they can to avoid divorce later on.

4. Finances are being combined before marriage

A recent survey by Credit Karma revealed that half of married millennials had either fully or partially merged their finances with their significant other before marriage, compared with a third of baby boomers. More than a third stated that they either relied entirely on joint credit cards or had at least one joint credit card along with individual cards, prior to marriage.

Not only are couples merging their finances before marriage, they are also splitting the bill on first dates. OkCupid found that 35% of millennial women would split the bill with their partner on a first date, 9% more than women of previous generations. On top of that, some couples are even splitting the cost of big purchases – including engagement rings.

In 2013 a study conducted by The Knot revealed that 46% of participants would be willing to split the cost of an engagement ring with their partner. The reason for many being that they already split the costs of bills and other items and shared accounts with their partners, so what’s the big deal? With more and more couples choosing their rings together and often splitting the cost, online jewelers like Blue Nile are making it even easier for couples to shop for engagement rings online.

As you can see, modern relationships are fleeing old traditions while creating new ones. From online dating to buying an engagement ring with your partner, there are so many ways that couples are creating unique, new age traditions to suite their very own special relationship.