Why millennials are afraid of marriage

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Anja van den Berg


Young couples are holding back from taking the plunge and getting married because they are worried about suffering the strains of a divorce, research has shown. More than two-thirds of the cohabiting couples that participated in the study admitted they were worried about the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of marriage breakup.

A related study revealed that half of American adults believe that marriage is irrelevant in modern life. A recent report shows that married adults are soon becoming a minority. “According to Pew Research Centre, 51% of adults 18 years or older are married, says psychologist Deborah Khoshaba. “That’s down from 57% in 2000 and 72% back in 1960. Marriage rates have fallen most dramatically among those 29 years old and younger”.

Distrust in intimate relating and in the institution of marriage has led some young adults to value sex over intimacy, fun over seriousness and sexual hookups without emotional attachment, Khoshaba explains. “Millennials have lost faith in the sanctity of marriage. With an increase in divorce rates, incidences of cheating partners and people opting for live-in relationships, for most young people, marriage no longer remains a priority”.

The traditional form of marriage involved a substantial amount of compromise by both parties, and Millennials are not very excited at that prospect.

“The general perception of marriage among the Millennials is that it clips one’s wings. I see this conclusion as an expression of our youth’s despair, rather than of uselessness of intimate relating to their happiness,” Khoshaba explains.

“Perhaps, the decline in marriage rate results more from young adults’ growing inability to cope with life’s failing ideals and difficulties. It seems that a growing number of young adults have lowered their expectations of being able to cope effectively with an ever-increasingly insecure world. They’ve reduced themselves to the lowest common denominator in coping ability, and in vision and meaning”.

Marriage does not have to stand in the way of self-fulfilment or in the path of self-discovery, Khoshaba says. “Instead, reaching your full potential might just be more fulfilling when you’re in it with someone else. There is a certain security and stability in marriage that no other relationship can provide”.



Damien Gayle, 2011, “Why young couples aren’t getting married – because they’re afraid of getting divorced”, Mail Online, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076013/Why-young-couples-arent-getting-married–fear-ravages-divorce.html

Deborah Khoshaba, 2011, “Young Adults Are Deciding Not to Marry Today”, Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201112/young-adults-are-deciding-not-marry-today

Manimanjari Sengupta, 2015, “Here’s Why Our Generation Is Scared To Get Married”, ScoopWhoop, https://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/generation-scared-to-get-married/


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