Here's What Young People Really Want In A Partner Compared To Older Generations

by Kristine Fellizar

There are so many different ways to meet people today, whether you do it IRL, online, or have someone fix you up. Unlike dating apps that typically use algorithms to find your perfect match or friends who like to pawn you off to their other single friends, matchmakers work with you to figure out what you really want in a partner in order to find the best possible match for you. According to matchmakers, there's one thing millennials really want in a partner above everything else.

Three Day Rule, a full-service matchmaking service backed by Match, recently conducted a study of over 3,000 dates they put together. Although going to a matchmaker isn't something you hear everyday, it might surprise you to know that over a third of their clients are millennials and a huge majority of them are male (80 percent versus 20 percent female). That's not a typical thing either. The majority of their Gen X and Baby Boomer clients happen to be female (60 percent versus 40 percent male).

After working with people across different age groups, Tina Wie, matchmaker and COO of Three Day Rule, tells Bustle that millennials do approach love and relationships much differently than previous generations.

"The way that millennials define what it means to be in a relationship is quite different than their parents," Wie says. There is no 'right' type of relationship. You can be cohabitating together but not married, you could be in a polyamorous relationship, and you can have children on your own without a committed partner. They're less anxious about marriage and building a nuclear family, and they place less importance on the institution of marriage and more on the quality of the relationship without the official certificate."

Since young people aren't as traditional in their views on what a relationship is, what we look for in a partner is so much different as well. Here's what young people really want in a partner and how it differs from previous generations:


An Equal

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"Millennials want someone to be their equal and their partner in every way," Wie says. "They have very high standards around this." It's the number one thing millennials want.

They want someone who can be their lover, their co-founder of a company, their travel buddy, and their intellectual equal. "This is evidenced by the age gap data particularly among heterosexual millennial men who have more successful dates with women their own age," Wie says.

Gen X and Baby Boomer males, on the other hand, most successfully match with women an average of nine years younger than them.


Someone With A Sense Of Adventure

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Spontaneity is the second trait millennials tend to prioritize when looking for a partner. That's because millennials are very experiential, Wie says. They're more interested in dating someone with a sense of adventure, who's willing to try new things and isn't set in their ways. "We see this in the types of dates they prefer," she says. "Millennials don't want to just go on a regular dinner and movie date. They prefer museum dates, hiking dates, dates where you learn a craft, etc. There are even a lot of apps out there for millennials that focus on travel buddy dating."


Authenticity And Passion

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Being true to yourself, your values and what you believe in is super important for millennials. Same goes for having a genuine passion for something. Unlike previous generations, Wie says, "Millennials value partners who have genuine interests, hobbies, and passions that they follow whether it is activism, or a strong belief in something to make the world a better place (i.e. protecting the environment, women's rights, LGBTQ+ activism)."


A Different Type Of Status

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For older generations, "status" is all about the tradional things like the size of your house, your job title, and the type of car you drive. But according to Wie, millenials chase a different type of status.

"It's understanding and embracing what makes them unique," she says. "It's being authentic to who they are and following their own hopes and dreams. It's less about climbing the corporate ladder and more about carving their own path, which feels good to them and their own values. It's their distinct individualism." So millenials are less about finding someone for the material things and more about finding someone who feels good about themselves.

You've probably heard how millennials are horrible at dating and don't value relationships as much as other age groups do. But according to Wie, that's not true. "Millennials just have a checklist for everything and high expectations for what they want in a partner," she says. "Their ideal is someone to share their hopes, dreams and aspirations with — on every level." Unfortunately, that's not exactly the easiest thing to find.

This just goes to show you that millennials may not be so bad at dating and relationships after all. It all just comes down to finding the right partner for you.