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Divorce Across Generations – What Does it Look Like, Then and Now?

Divorce Across Generations – What Does it Look Like, Then and Now? It’s no secret that there are vast differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Everything from style to opinions to where they eat for brunch vary a great deal. It might be expected that the way Millennials date, marry, and divorce are very different from Boomers as well; but why? Is it because Millennials are as young and brash as Boomers think? In fact, Boomers may have only themselves to cite as the cause of changing dating habits and lower divorce rates among Millennials. From ghosting, to dating apps, to polyamory, to the ever changing roles of gender, Millennials have many new and challenging hurdles to jump over in today’s dating world.

Millennials killed the divorce rate?

Well, they didn’t kill it, but they certainly have dealt an injurious blow to the divorce rate. The most recent census polls show that the divorce rate is down 18 percent, thanks to Millennials who are waiting to get married until they are educated and financially stable. Patience is not the only thing helping lower the divorce rate. The way in which Millennials meet, date, and break up all contribute to the declining rate.

When Boomers or Gen Xers wanted to meet someone, and possibly date them, they may have looked for someone in their local cafe or bar, perhaps a mixer or party. They may have looked to their circule of friends, or even their work colleagues. There weren’t a whole host of options to choose from, so they had to make do with whomever they met at an event, and see if they could make it work. For Millennials and Generation Z, the dating market is literally like fish in the sea. Dating apps and social media provide an ocean of people to choose from. “Trying before buying” allows for a Millennial to find just the right person for them, providing a better fit in their future relationship, and possibly lowering the possibility of divorce.

Dating for Millennials is much more fluid than it was for Boomers and Generation X. For those raised in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, once you were seeing someone, you were officially dating. Going steady. A fraternity pin on your best girl’s sweater. These days, there’s much less ”dating” and more ”hanging out.” Dating has become a far too committal term to apply to a new relationship among Millennials. This style of dating puts less pressure on people to stay together and perhaps marry when it’s not the right fit.

Another reason why Millennials are divorcing less is that breakups are less of a huge deal. Often, there’s no meeting up in person, no going to a restaurant and gently telling your significant other that it’s time to end things. These days, people often simply cut ties and communication without saying a word. This is called ghosting. Simply put, when someone doesn’t wish to continue their relationship, they ghost their partner: block them on social media, on their phones, and do not contact them again. This may seem brutal, but it makes moving on to someone new, and perhaps someone better suited for them easier. There’s less pressure to stay in a bad relationship if you can simply just disappear from it.

For Boomers, getting married and having a family (preferably two children) was a goal. A milestone in life. That was what was expected of you. These days, that expectation is less as some Millennials see and experience what that expectation did to their parents. With Baby Boomers marrying and having children at younger ages than Millennials, it made separating and getting a divorce a far more messy prospect, if a more likely one. Many Millennials grew up in a household of divorced parents, creating an atmosphere of stress and hardship for the Boomers’ children. Having experienced this, Millennials are less likely to get married so quickly or at all, and therefore, less likely to get divorced.

Seeing how their parents struggled with a monogamous relationship or marriage, many Millennials have grown to seeking out open or polyamorous relationships. The thought process of relationships has changed over the years, stressing less on possessiveness and jealousy of their partners, and adopting a more open style of relationship. When done appropriately, this sort of relationship can lead to a more fulfilling sort than is offered by a monogamous one.

Finally, in today’s society, gender roles are growing increasingly more vague. Men don’t have to pay for dinner for both himself and his girlfriend, women aren’t necessarily stuck at home taking care of the children by themselves. Stay-at-home dads and working women are far more common these days, and often roles are shared by the couple. This may create less stress between the people in the relationship, and therefore bring down the rate of divorce as there may be less conflict.

What does the future hold for Generation Alpha?

The next generation – Gen Alpha – will comprise people born between 2010 and 2025. Its members are, obviously, too young to date (some haven’t even been born yet), but we can make some assumptions based on data trends. This generation will have grown up in an online world, where everything and anything is accessible with the flick of a wrist. The Cranfield School of Management predicts that Generation Alpha “will be the wealthiest, the most intensely educated and most dynamic generation that human society has yet seen,” based in part on their relationship to technology and a tech-based life. They will also start to mature at a time when the world population hits almost 9 billion people – and where “the most common households will be couples and the child-free, with the highest proportion of over 60s in recorded history.”

So what does this mean? With a whole world at their fingertips, Gen Alpha stands to make the world a richer and much more diverse place. “Dating” someone from halfway around the world may be the norm, not the exception. A generation that is likely to grow up in single-family households may not think twice about remaining single their entire lives.

the Baby Boomers helped Millennials lower the divorce rate by trudging through a social media-free society and attempting to find love and romance in a smaller, less-connected world. While the divorce rate is lower, it does not mean that divorces don’t still happen. Even the younger generations need help when it comes to getting a divorce. If you find yourself in need of a divorce, the Charlotte family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC can help find a settlement that works best for you. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Concord, Boone, and Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.