For a lot of people, marrying your college sweetheart is the dream. It’s how a lot of our parents met, and how their parents met. Before women were taken (somewhat) seriously in the workforce, it was the norm: Get into a good school, get your MRS degree, have kids, stay home, numb the pain with a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol, die young. A perfect six-point plan.
Now that cis-het white dudes aren’t the only ones allowed to have thriving careers, settling down straight out of college is trickier. We have no idea where we’re going to be in four years. It’s common to move across the state, country, or even globe for grad school or a job. And even with technology as advanced as ours, long-distance marriage lands anywhere from stressful to impossible.
Despite all these obstacles, however, love springs eternal for some of us.
According to 2013 a study conducted by the Facebook Data Science Team, 28% of married couples over 25 meet in college. The study doesn’t factor in when they got married, nor any divorce rate. Still, that’s almost one in three — not too shabby. You meet people in college — more specifically, your major — who share your interests and belief systems. In fact, the Zuck’s data shows that partners who both went to religious schools were more likely to get married.
But just because we’re still likely to find “the one,” doesn’t mean we’re likely to marry them anytime soon. Millennials are waiting longer to get married than generations past. The Pew Research Center gathered that since 1963, the average age to get married has risen from 23 to 29 for men and from 21 to 27 for women.
We may catch flak for it from previous generations but the divorce rate has dropped 24% since 1981, so apparently we’re doing something right. Meanwhile, cohabitation rates (or “living in sin,” as your grandmother calls it) have increased 55% since the ‘60s. Coincidence? Probably not. Marriage rates are also down in general. That’s in part because millennials are exploring other avenues of relationships —polyamory, for example. More importantly, it’s a result of first- and second-wave feminism. What used to be a socio-economic tool that treated women like bargaining chips is now a choice to express your love and commitment — and to get tax benefits.
What’s important to remember is that even though meeting your spouse in college might be an upper-class boomer love story, it doesn’t have to be yours. If you marry someone you met here, that’s awesome! If you wanna see what else is out there in this big, beautiful world of ours, that’s awesome, too. Maybe you don’t want to get married at all. Just go with what works for you, allow everyone else to do the same and, no matter what, do not marry into a hotline cult.