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Opinion: New technology exacerbating millennials’ fear of commitment

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Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at askogonna@gmail.com and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna.

askogonna2I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely participated in the trending hashtag “#foreveralone” on more than just Twitter.

In the words of Aziz Ansari, “We’re part of the rudest flakiest group of people ever … No one wants to commit to s— because they’re terrified that something better’s going to come along.”

Think about your Friday plans. Not the ones you might have, but the ones you do have. Nonexistent, right?

I am a self-proclaimed victim of OBO-syndrome. That is, “Or-Best-Offer Syndrome,” where I never say “yes” and never say “no” but always say maybe because I want to make sure I’m making the most of my options. Even when I do say “yes,” it’s only temporary until I can come up with an excuse that doesn’t offend my first offer, but also allows me to get out of my original plans.

In Ansari’s “Live at Madison Square Garden,” he notes that we are the least isolated generation because we are always connected with texts; when we see people in real life, it’s not that big of a deal.

So what do we do?

We live in the moment now, which is great to an extent. But how can we expect to build relationships with others if we can’t commit to spending time with them because of our fear that another option will happen during that time? It’s kind of a twisted expectation.

In Time magazine’s September story titled “Why 25% of Millennials Will Never Get Married,” Belinda Luscombe analyzed the reasons why this notion is likely for millennials. A study central to the story sampled single people, and 30 percent said they haven’t found the right person, 27 percent of the participants said they are not financially stable and 22 percent claimed they are not ready to settle down.

The researchers who conducted the study, Wendy Wang and Kim Parker, had this to say: “When today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (roughly 25%) is likely to have never been married.”

Now, I am not one to rush marriage. Marriage is one of the most serious commitments one can make in a relationship. However, I am channeling these statistics to be useful for all relationship commitments, both romantic and platonic.

Alas, I do believe there are remedies for this “commitment-phobia,” if you will. We often think decisions we make now dictate the rest of our lives, but most times, your weekend plans will not.

While many outside factors play into the reasons why we don’t commit, I also believe there is an underlying factor that plays into our fear of commitment.

When we commit, we feel as though we are giving up control. Now, this can become a serious issue when it relates to couples. While on the surface, it might look as though all relationships are a power struggle, it’s really about determining grounds for compromise: You do not always have to be the one to make plans first — let the other person take control sometimes and encourage them to do so. Speaking with the person to let them know you want them to feel their ideas and values are valid goes a long way in relationships.

Because I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t reference a Beyoncé quote, I will leave you all with this excerpt from her song, “Pretty Hurts.” In the song, Queen Bey sings that, “Perfection is a disease of a nation.” She might have been singing about beauty standards, but it’s true as well that we constantly strive for this ideal situation where the love of your life (as in that person you’ve been crushing on from a distance for about a week) calls you up and whisks you away for a romantic date at a bar on High Street singing show tunes during karaoke night. What we really need to start doing is waking up from our daydreams, and realize that while our perfect situation or Friday night plans might not be plausible, we can make the best out of what we have right in front of us.

When it comes to relationships, I advise being grounded in values and goals, and not settling for the next-best thing. But also opening your eyes to the fact that Jimmy Fallon, Channing Tatum, Will Smith and Beyoncé are taken, so let’s try and get rid of fantasies and focus on reality. Depending on the people you surround yourself with, reality can be just as sweet.

2 comments

  1. Very thoughtful and well written article. Thanks for an insight into how millennials are thinking.

  2. Girl, I’m a millenial myself and am going over some major frustrations about how I can never make travel plans with my friends because they are just so flaky. They claim it’s about money issues but I know it’s really just about FOMO. This well written article assuaged my frustrations.

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