Because dating is fucking scary, but not worse than commitment …
The dating scene is a nightmare
As anyone who has read Aziz Ansari’s darkly funny Modern Romance can tell you, dating in the new age is a bona fide nightmare. Seeming too eager or not interested enough is a serious dilemma for millennials looking for love, and playing the game just right can be exhausting. When sending the wrong emoji is enough to ruin a relationship, it’s easy to see why 20-something women are extra cautious when committing to something serious. Simply finding someone you want to be serious with, who also wants to be serious with you, is a hazardous mine field that most daters are still learning to navigate. When our parents were getting together love was as simple as finding someone quasi attractive who lived in the same town. Now that OKCupid, Tinder and J-date are in the mix, finding someone to settle down with is a lot scarier.
They’ve been ghosted
Speaking of the hell-scape that is the dating scene, most 20-something women have probably been ghosted by some asshole on their journey to find love. The essay’s on ghosting and the psychology behind it are endless, so I’ll sum it up using a little anecdote. I have a lovely, single girlfriend who we will call Charlie. Charlie is a gorgeous, smart, driven woman who was asked out on a date by a handsome, successful looking man at a bar one night. They went on a ridiculously good first date, on which the guy seemed to be completely smitten with her. He even mentioned them someday vacationing in Ireland, in reference to her shock of red hair. Two weeks later, they had been texting non-stop and she invited him to my birthday party. After the party, he headed home early and asked her to stop by his place after she was done. Cut to her, on his doorstep, calling him to let her up. No answer. Nothing. She heard from him THREE MONTHS LATER. And even that amount of closure is more than what most women get after a ghosting. She took a little hiatus from dating after that, and really, who can blame her?
They haven’t figured themselves out yet
Your 20’s are increasingly seen as the time to explore what you want out of life, a time to travel and job hop until you find your passion. In previous generations, by the end of college you were well on your way toward a career and family, but extended adolescence has changed all that. 20-something women are often afraid to commit to someone because they aren’t sure they have their own lives figured out. They either aren’t on their career path yet, or are exploring their sexuality, or just taking some time to travel around and see the sights. 20 something women can’t commit to a guy for the rest of their lives before they have their priorities figured out and have explored everything being single has to offer.
They’re afraid of broken homes
This one may not be universal, but I know plenty of women who grew up in divorced homes, and aren’t thrilled at the idea of ending up with the wrong person. Not that divorce is the end of the world, but millennials were one of the first generations to come from just as many broken homes as committed married parents. They have experienced divorce first hand, and know how hard it can be on the family unit. Taking some extra time before committing might mean the difference between the one forever or your first failed marriage, and 20’s women are more than happy to take that time.
They won’t have me time anymore
As women increasingly come from smaller families, and experience life in their 20’s on their own, they have grown accustomed to being self sufficient. Having brunch with girlfriends on the weekend, having a wine and reading night, or going on a solo trip to japan are all things solo 20-something women are ready and willing to do on their own. Many women are afraid that committing to a partner will mean less time to be their own person, and it keeps them from fully committing to new relationships.
There are so many options
Going back to tinder and ghosting, women aren’t the only ones being played on the dating scene. Plenty of guys get ghosted by 20 something women, and ladies have learned to play the field like a man. As women have more and more options available it becomes harder for them to justify settling down with one guy. If a guy doesn’t have all the things the woman imagines her dream guy having, all she has to do is hop back on a dating app and scroll through the hundreds of messages they receive daily. Knowing that you’ll get another hundred messages tomorrow makes it hard to say no to another potential dream guy.
They know their career will suffer
Something men never worry about. Women know that if they eventually want to start a family, they will be the ones carrying a baby for 9 months and taking time away from their career. The choice to get married and eventually start a family is something 20’s women take very seriously and more and more of them are choosing to put it off. As careers become more demanding on your time and energy, women are giving just as much as men traditionally did in the work place. If a relationship means losing focus from a demanding career, women might choose to not fully commit until they absolutely have to.
It might work out
Going through relationship after relationship in your 20’s that failed spectacularly can leave ladies scarred and scared. The idea that this one might work out after all, and that this might be the one, can be a leap of faith that millennial women are just to afraid to make. Self sabotaging is something plenty of women do, but is even more prevalent among younger women. When you are used to your love life failing, you might be afraid to commit even when things seem to be going well.
Jasmine Romero is an NYC based writer/actor/singer/avocado enthusiast. She enjoys discussing theoretical physics, tackle football, and biting her nails down to pitiful nubs.
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