Eventually, they get engaged."In previous generations there was this idea that you transition to adulthood in this way. "There's this expectation with Gen-Y that they will stretch that process out and won't get married until later.
It's the idea they have a right, in their 20s, to see what's out there."The nonrelationship These nonrelationships exist now because sex in dating has become divorced from a committed relationship.
Generational theorists say that Gen-Y is a "civic generation," similar to the GI generation, which was raised in the Great Depression and served in World War II.
Civic generations are generally more group-oriented than other generations and worry about being financially stable because they come of age during difficult economic times or war, says Mike Hais, a market researcher, consultant, and coauthor with Morley Winograd of "Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation Is Remaking America." And the average age for marriage in the GI generation was higher than for the two generations that followed."Civic generations just don't feel they are necessarily ready to get married as soon as other generations do," says Mr. Civic generations also don't wait around for the phone to ring.
They met in graduate school, dated for a while, and began staying over at each other's apartments."We were spending so much time together it just seemed silly to pay two rents," says Ms. So the two moved in together in 2006, but she says she was wary: "I think I saw living together as a test run, in a way."Four years later Monticello, age 29, and Mr.
Indeed, in a 2007 University of Denver study of about 800 20-to-30-year-olds in an opposite-sex relationship of two months or longer, 93 percent had been sexually active at the time they were interviewed. Rhoades, a senior researcher for the university's Center for Marital and Family Studies, has been following this group of young people for four years, as part of an ongoing study of relationship habits."About half of them say that in their current relationship they had sex with the person before they had a relationship with them," says Ms. "That's a pretty big change from previous generations, when if you slept with someone, it was usually the start of a relationship."Laura Leischner, a single 25-year-old living in Harrisonburg, Va., describes her current situation as "occasionally a physical relationship with someone, but without a commitment or a relationship. And this is the way it is for a lot of my friends." Although marriage is a part of the future Ms.A Pew survey captured what it calls the generation's "wary eye on human nature": Two-thirds say, "You can't be too careful" when dealing with other people.The research also shows that this generation values children, family, lifelong commitment, and, yes – despite trepidation – marriage.While Millennial courtship rituals are distinctly different from those of previous generations, say those who study the scene, survey after survey indicates that Millennials do want to be married, they do want the house in the suburbs and the kids.But they also want to be careful – they are postponing marriage longer than any generation before them."Millennials believe in marriage and lifelong commitment but are also more relaxed about sex, dating, and living together" than their Generation X and boomer parents, says Pamela Smock, a professor of sociology and director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.