9 Relationship Problems Millennials Face The Most Of Any Age Group, According To Therapists
There's no doubt that millennials tend to date differently than other generations, and with this new world of dating apps, postponed marriages, and frequent hook-ups comes its own set of common conflicts. Although all generations have their issues, there are specific millennial dating problems that this generation experiences the most. That's not to say that millennials are worse off when it comes to relationships, but they have their own problems unique to their age group — and as you can imagine, many of them have to do with the new technology that define their generation.
"The argument I would make is that millennial relationship problems aren’t really any different from those of any other generation, they just look different," Matthew S. Mutchler, Ph.D., LMFT, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Delaware Valley University, tells Bustle. "This is related to a concept in couples therapy differentiating content and process. Phone and social media use affect millennials more than other generations, but the how of this effect is a tale as old as time."
Contrary to popular belief, the way millennials get together and date isn't all doom and gloom, but they do have certain problems in common when it comes to their relationship troubles. Here are nine relationship problems millennials face the most out of any age group, according to therapists.
1. Different Goals
Millennials have many different options when it comes to their futures. They don't have to settle down and get married right away, which means they may prioritize careers or travel more — and sometimes this can translate to not having the same vision for their future as their partner. "[Many millennials] make plans without their partner in mind — whether it's short-term plans or plans for the future," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle. Of course this isn't the case for all millennial relationships, and a talk with your partner about what your future goals are is key to parsing out these differences early. But the ever-expanding new choices millennials face may be to blame.
2. An Inability To Communicate About Conflict
Because so many millennials rely on texting to have conversations, experts say they tend to have in-person communication problems. "A common thread throughout many of these conflicts is how couples don’t know how to communicate their needs and desires to their partner," clinical psychologist Dr. Ryan Hooper. "They are communicating a ton of information to each other through social media and texting, but many of the most important things are going unsaid." While this may not always be the case, if you are finding it difficult to communicate with your partner in person, remember that more heavy conversations should be handled face-to-face rather than over text.
3. Jealousy Over Social Media Actions
Not surprisingly, little social media actions can have large consequences in millennial relationships. "This has shown up in my practice in the form of upset feelings if a 'like' is supplied to a photo by someone unknown to the partner," Dr. Laura Deitsch, a licensed clinical professional counselor, tells Bustle. "This will almost always have devastating results, as jealousy serves no productive purpose." While social media has given us another platform with which to conduct and evaluate our relationships, it is important not to read too much into your partner's online actions. Unless you have firm reasons to believe they're cheating, your partner likely isn't hiding anything from you on social media.
4. Anxiety About The Future
"Perhaps something fueling relationship issues among millennials is the nearly ever-present anxiety many of them are feeling about their futures," says Deitsch. "They lack the security of previous generations in areas such as housing, financial, and employment situations. The uncertainty they face makes it hard to relax, trust and have the calm needed to nurture a relationship." If anxiety about the climate we live in is affecting your relationship, there are strategies to help you cope with that anxiety, and keep your relationship healthy.
"Phubbing" is when a person snubs their partner by being on their phone instead of interacting. "Couples are focusing on other things and ignoring their partners when they are together," says Mutchler. "It sends a message that the partner is not the most important thing in the moment — that we’d rather focus on something else." The solution? Create no-phone guidelines within your relationship. For example, if it's date night, keep the phone in pockets or bags to make sure you both remain present in the moment.
6. Oversharing On Social Media
It's not unheard of for people to share too much information about their partners or relationship through the various forms of social media. "Again, this sends the message of devaluing the partner or the relationship or of violating the trust between partners," says Mutchler. "In the past, this happened as well — we all have talked to our friends about our partners and relationships. The difference now is that it is easier for the partner to find out what you’re saying and that the information is going to a much wider audience." While there is nothing wrong with being an active user on social media, there are certain aspects of your relationship that should remain private to you and your partner.
7. Cheating Has Been Made Easier
Cheating is not a new relationship problem, but the Internet has created newer ways to allow cheating — in all its forms. "This is made much easier by social media, especially with apps and websites that exist for the purpose of arranging hookups," says Mutchler. The increased methods of cheating doesn't mean all millennial partners are destined to stray, but new resources have made it simpler.
8. Living With Parents Or Other Roommates
Sharing a space is great for saving money, but it can change the dynamics of relationships. "More millennials live at home longer or with multiple roommates," Shani Graves, LMHC tells Bustle. "It is hard to have a more mature and grown-up relationship when you have to follow by parents rules or sneak a partner in the apartment."
9. Problems Budgeting
With rising housing costs and overspending on avocado toasts (kidding), millennials are having a harder time budgeting when it comes to living on their own or with their partner. "They get in the habit of sharing expenses with roommates and are not well-versed in how to budget for themselves," says Deitsch. "This makes cohabiting a hard transition."
Although these problems do not exist for every millennial, experts say a digital age fraught with a tumultuous financial and political environment has had an impact on the way we interact with others. But this doesn't mean we're doomed to being phone zombies incapable of connection — by becoming aware of the issues millennials typically deal with in relationships, we can face them head-on and have successful partnerships like past generations.