When I interviewed, Michaiah Dominguez, mental health counselor and relationship coach about the key differences between baby boomer and millennial marriages, she also informed me that, amid a few stark disparities, there’s one thing both generations have in common: No one gets married to get divorced. “Each generation approaches marriage with seriousness and with the expectation of ‘till death do us part,’” she told me. But when I asked her if she noticed a marriage trend that she wished either generation would stop doing, she had one plea:
Millennials: Stop moving in with your partner without committing to marriage or an agreed-upon life together.
Says Dominguez: “It actually decreases the likelihood that you will marry and increases your chances of divorce after five years.” That “decreasing the likelihood of marriage” refers to the hotly coined “millennial divorce,” aka the breakup of non-married cohabitating couples. Serena Smith reported for Vice, “Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of cohabiting couple families is growing faster than married couple families, with an increase of 25.8 percent between 2008 and 2018.”
Long story short: Millennials have moved in together at higher rates but are getting married at lower rates. While that isn’t a problem if you’re happy, if you do want to get married (and stay married), you’re getting in the way of your own desires for the future. And then if you do get married, but you never had that tough conversation, you’re more likely to end up in divorce.
So how do you avoid the “millennial divorce” or an actual one? Dominguez advises couples to decide goals as a couple before they pack up that U-Haul. Bring up the big questions and leave the judgment at the door. This is about transparency, so dig up the tough answers you’ve been afraid to ask your partner and yourself:
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Do you want to be married?
- Do you want kids?
- When would you want kids?
- Where do you see yourself living long-term?
- What are your priorities? Career or family?
The list goes on and depends on your specific relationship and concerns. Jot down those nagging questions in the back of your mind that maybe you’ve been nervous to address but most definitely should before you say “I do.”
…To moving in together, that is.