Everyone understands what marriage is from a young age, but millennials are redefining holy matrimony. Under a third of millennials are married, which says a lot about changing values and expectations. Unfortunately, millennials are still experiencing the common centuries-old relationship woes and some unusual reasons to file for divorce.
Marriage is a trending topic for millennials, who are currently between the ages of 23-38. According to a recent study by the University of Maryland, the overall divorce rate in the U.S. declined by 18 percent between 2008 and 2016. The shift can be attributed partly to millennials, who are handling marriage differently their divorce-happy elders.
And sure, millennials are more successful at marriage than previous generations, but why are they still crashing and burning?
Whether marriage crumbles due to babies, stigma, or a college degree, millennials haven’t riddled their way out of relationship messes. Are divorce rates down because millennials are living together prior to marriage, or is it because millennials haven’t hit the ripe age of 40 yet?
Experts have plenty to say about the common reasons millennial marriages drift apart, but divorce lawyers, divorced writers, and couples counselors all have different opinions. Here are 21 common reasons millennial marriages end in divorce, according to experts.
21Many Millennials Reported Feeling Too Constrained By Marriage
A common reason for divorce today is ‘feeling constrained’, according to divorce lawyers and couples counselors. Today, people in their 20s (predominantly millennials) feel their marriage is holding them back from achieving their true potential. Whether it’s professional or dating options, millennials report feeling limited in many ways.
It might sound vague, but counselor Elly Prior cites ‘significant differences’ as a top reason for divorce. If spouses differ on relationship boundaries, those fights could be categorized under significant. Finding freedom in a marriage can be difficult at any age, which is why millennials will look to divorce to unshackle themselves.
20Experts Say Selfishness Will End In Divorce For Millennials
Everyone is a little selfish at times, but did you think it could end a marriage? Divorced freelance writer Paul Goodman suggests millennials are too selfish when it comes to love. A major reason for divorce, Goodman says, is “one or both of the partners are selfish. They prioritize their own needs and wants, and disregard, neglect, or minimize the requirements of others. There always has to be some caring and compromises by both parties for a relationship to work.”
Outgrowing selfishness comes with maturity, and many millennials are still very young. But can you blame millennials for being individualistic, especially after the way they were raised?
19Unfortunately, Unrealistic Expectations Top The List Of Problems
When you’re in love, romance can feel like a fairytale. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Couples counselor Elly Prior has seen multiple marriages end due to one partner still thinking their spouse is a princess or a knight and not seeing the real human being. Human beings are flawed and make mistakes. When mistakes are made it can break hearts.
So if you thought your partner would never hurt you, this inevitable break in trust can implode the marriage. Young millennial marriages are particularly vulnerable to this breach, especially when they take a fight or flight response to problems. Readjusting expectations could be a marriage’s saving grace!
18Some Experts Suggest Millennials Realize They’ve Been In Love With Someone Else… And This Is More Common Than You Might Think
It’s a tale as old as time, and it’s still a heartbreaking reality. Sometimes you marry the wrong person. Many divorce lawyers note a spouse will want a divorce when they’ve fallen in love with someone else. Perhaps a spouse will even realize they’re partial to a different gender.
Couples counselor Elly Prior says jealousy is a major cause for divorce. When your spouse’s eyes begin to wander, it’s rarely a surprise. The jealousy is often the final straw that leads to separation. Love triangles might be worshiped in television soap operas, but they tear apart millennial relationships. Make sure you marry the right person!
17A College Degree Could Be The Make It Or Break It Element In Your Marriage
If you’re college educated, you might have the inkling your degree could impact your marriage. Well, you’re right! Studies show unions between college-educated people are more successful than those without degrees under their belts. Married millennials without a college education will have to fight the odds. While it isn’t a direct cause of a divorce, a lack of education can lead to divorce.
“The marriage rates for highly educated women have increased steadily over the past 25 years,” an article for Bustle states, adding “The reasons are unclear, but economic factors definitely seem to play a part, as those who are more educated tend to make more money and thus have more financial security to offer a partnership.”
16In Younger Millennials, New Marriages Ended Due To Ego
It can be hard to shake a big ego. Freelance writer and millennial Elizabeth Arthur suggests ‘thinking you’re too good for the other person’ is a major reason for millennial divorce, especially in new marriages. If you love someone but have the occasional thought that ‘you’re too good for them’, it could manifest overtime. These negative thoughts often blow up into regretful mistakes.
Sometimes you fall in love with someone who might actually not be good enough for you. But perhaps if these thoughts are floating around your head, you shouldn’t marry them! It won’t be a successful millennial marriage.
15Could Cohabitation Actually Increase Your Risk Of Divorce?
According to experts, this one is up for debate! While a 2009 study provided evidence to support the link between premarital cohabitation and a reduced risk of separation, some experts suggest it is quite the opposite. Living together before tying the knot isn’t foolproof!
Couples counselor Elly Prior states ‘life stages’ is one of the top five reasons for divorce. Cohabitation before marriage may work through certain life stages, but that doesn’t mean you won’t grow apart later in life, even after marriage. Some couples even report tiring of each other sooner in marriage after cohabiting before tying the knot.
14Rushing Into Marriage For Religious Reasons Won’t End The Way You Were Hoping, Experts Report
Millennials have reported making the mistake of rushing into marriage for religious reasons. Some religions prohibit living together before marriage, which can be an upsetting obstacle when you’re in love. While most millennials are now past the age of making that mistake, it is still an issue many of them have experienced.
When you’re in love, of course you want to live together! A couple in love will find their way around any barrier, even if they should have obeyed it. This has been a common reason for millennial divorce… will they continue to make this mistake? Will future generations learn from them?
13Dating Online Is Linked To Higher Divorce Rates
If you are married and dating online, that is obviously problematic. That’s not what we’re talking about here. But if you get married to someone you metonline, experts say you might not live happily ever after!
While online dating is a convenient way to meet people, the connection may be artificial. Couples counselor Elly Prior suggests boredom is a common cause for divorce. Many people choose to online date out of boredom, and even if they find someone to excite them, that boredom is still rather likely to return. Online dating could wind up in divorce more than we would have predicted.
12For Younger Millennials, Financial Instability Can Be A Deal Breaker
A major red flag for marriages in younger millennials (those still in their 20s) is money problems. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, love can suddenly go up in flames.
Couples counselor Elly Prior points to prolonged stress being one of the most common reasons for divorce. Financial instability is a major cause of long lasting stress. While many people get married for love AND the financial benefits, some people don’t consider how important the financial benefits are. If you’re a millennial, you might want to wait until you have some money in the bank before you tie the knot.
11Millennials Aren’t Viewing Divorce As A ‘Failure’ Anymore
The stigma around divorce is biting. Luckily for millennials, they’re kicking the stigma and choosing to believe divorce to be ‘okay’. When divorce is no longer considered to be a failure, it’s not so intimidating anymore, right?
In previous generations, toxic marriages would last to avoid the stigma of divorce. According to couples counselors, they are reporting less fear from couples considering separation. While no one ever wants to plan on getting divorced when they first fall in love, millennials are striving towards a world where divorce is seen in a positive light if things happen to just not work out.
10A Difference In Cultural Backgrounds Could Take Millennials By Surprise
When you come from different cultures, unexpected obstacles will be in the way. The polarizing differences in families, friends, and religious beliefs may seem cute when a marriage first begins. Love can conquer anything, right? Unfortunately, it only takes a couple of months of suppressed beliefs and opposing opinions to rot a marriage from the inside out.
Millennials are getting married during an era of increased acceptance, but that doesn’t mean millennials are better at communicating than previous generations. Lack of communication and differing beliefs can quickly end a marriage… just ask divorce lawyers. Of course, keeping an open mind is the first step toward making things work.
9Millennials Prioritize The Independent Self More Than Previous Generations
According to the Washington Post, millennials are less about ‘we’ and more about ‘me’. When stuck between the choice of partnership or individuality, more millennials would rather be on their own than tied down. Whether they’re happy with their cats, want to travel the world by themselves, or are simply uninterested in what marriage provides, marriage is no longer the goal.
Unfortunately, some millennials realize this too late. Divorce lawyers point towards couples realizing too late that there is more to life than marriage. Sometimes you don’t realize you want to be on your own until you’re trapped, as many divorced millennials can attest to.
8Having Children Too Early Impacts The Chances Of A Lasting Marriage
Having a baby in the first year of a marriage can spell doom, according to experts. It can take years to fully get to know someone, and if you add a baby into the mix too soon, it can ruin the fragile facade of love.
Having children early on isn’t the only thing threatening millennial marriages. Babies in general are! “The first year of our baby’s life was the worst of our marriage,” says writer Cynthia Hanson from Parents. And she isn’t alone in feeling this way. Be careful about deciding it’s time for a bun in the oven, and consider putting it off for a little longer if possible.
7The Age You Get Married At Will Likely Predict Everything, Experts Say
Back in 1963, the common age a woman got married was 21, and the common age a man did was 23… but a lot has changed since 1963! The average age of the first marriage for a millennial has increased to 27 for women and 29 for men, according to a Pew Research survey. And experts report that age can dictate the success of your union.
Yes, predictably, the younger you tie the knot, the more likely you are to divorce. Perhaps the millennials who married their high school sweethearts at 19 can attest to this? We know you’re out there!
6Millennials Forget That Love Is A Verb
According to freelance writer Paul Goodman (who has been married and divorced), millennials will forget how to express their love. Love is bound to fizzle out if both people in the marriage neglect to actively display their affection. In the early years of love, this might sound impossible. Unfortunately, as a marriage lulls, it’s easy to take the other person for granted and forget why you ever wanted to be stuck together forever.
This has been a common reason marriages flounder for centuries, but millennials are not immune. A lack of romance is a common reason millennial marriages become unhappy and all but fall apart, too.
5Millennials Have Changed The Definition Of ‘Commitment’, Which Impacts Their Married Life
Commitment means something different to everyone! You have friends who comfortably lie to their boss and call in sick because they don’t want to work, right? On the other side of the spectrum, you have friends who would skip a funeral rather than miss work. Marriage and work aren’t all that different.
A common reason millennials realize they’re no longer compatible with their spouse is when commitment gets in the way. If you have a wife who cares too much about her job and a husband who needs constant reassurance that he’s the priority, the marriage won’t last—they have different definitions of commitment.
4Every Millennial Has Different ‘Relationship Goals’
Falling in love is easy, but staying together for the rest of your life is a grueling task. The millennial marriages that are lasting usually have two partners with shared goals. Both of you want to settle down and have kids? Great! Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple for most millennials.
Between professional goals and an increased focus on individualism, a common reason for millennial marriages to fall apart is a difference in ‘relationship goals’. As you grow, you realize what you want is totally different, says couple counselor Elly Prior. Divorce isn’t always far off once your goals take different paths.
3Many Millennials Who Marry Later In Life Have Learned From Mistakes
The average age of marriage has gone up in the past decade, but just because millennials are marrying later in life doesn’t mean they haven’t made mistakes. It’s common for ‘later in life’ marriages to be deliberately late, as they are divorcees remarrying after at least one previously crumbled marriage.
But just because the overall divorce rate in the US is down 18 percent, according to the University of Maryland, doesn’t mean millennials have solved the marriage riddle. The oldest millennials out there are only 38. Who’s to say these late marriages won’t eventually become another common reason for divorce?
2This Problematic Adult Habit Is Hurting Marriages
Many divorce lawyers are pointing to an adult habit that is leading to divorce. When someone in a marriage watches films with adult ratings, this habit can destroy a marriage. Many women report experiencing PTSD when they discover what their partner, usually their husband, has been watching.
Divorce lawyers have commented on a rise in women pointing to this habit when they choose to separate from their partner, particularly women in their late twenties to early thirties. While every millennial has their own opinion on what is okay to watch, this is turning into a more common reason for divorce.
1Millennial Divorces Could Increase In The Next Decade…
This ominous prediction makes a lot of sense. While under a third of millennials are married, millennials are still very young. According to experts, the median age for divorce is 40 for both men and women. The oldest millennials as of late 2018 are 38. While this isn’t technically a common reason millennial marriages are breaking apart, it does point to the fact that millennials aren’t safe yet.
Experts will have plenty to pick apart over the next decade! Do you have a prediction for what the most common reason for divorce will be in ten years?