Michael K. Spencer
The Convenience Paradox UtopiaPress

Photo by sept commercial on Unsplash

Money can’t buy you love when debt overwhelms and non-monogamy attracts

We live in a crazy world. Millennials say dating has gotten ‘way too expensive,’ 30% can’t even afford love.

How can this be?

How do Millennials adapt to the 2008 recession? It hits them in the heart more so than you would expect.

While dating has almost always cost money, millennials have to deal with a new dark web of circumstances including

  • Student debt,
  • Inflating living costs
  • Changing social norms like today’s hook-up culture
  • Delayed homeownership and career stability
  • All of which can (and does) delay a romantic relationship.

Listen, I’m not going to “settle down” if I don’t have my shit together. And if I don’t have my shit together at 30, I may have to wait till I’m 40. For many young people (under 50), 40 really is the new 30.

While we wait, Millennials and Gen Z (especially) are showing a marked interest in non-monogamy practices and a fast-paced life where we prefer to live and sleep alone (literally).

In times of economic uncertainty, individualism is hyperextended. In better times of human history, famine and hardship meant relying on each other. But in the app economy world of Tinder, it means hooking up and having sex less than ever before in human history! Hmm. Or rather, wtf!

  • Accessible Porn
  • Swiping culture
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Increasing debt ratio to cost of living
  • Lack of housing and homeownership

All of these things lead to a worse dating market and poorer romantic opportunities. You can’t buy love in a world this cheap. Millennials know it, and Gen Z understands that there’s no time for dating in such a ruthless world.

In fact, 30% of the connected generation feel as though their financial stability is having an effect on their readiness to find a true relationship, according to Match’s latest new Singles in America survey.

Obviously, time on mobile is inversely correlated with face to face time going on dates. We “meet online”, but these aren’t relationships that are going to change our life necessarily.

Indeed, 70% of Gen Z respondents and 63% of millennials said that finding a steady relationship was their end goal. However, real economic hardship and missed connections are holding them back. Lacking social skills, lacking a world humanized for courtship? That’s for sure.

What do you do when the app culture and the bar scene are both dead? Spending more time swiping on Tinder-like apps, is probably not the answer! A world where looks matter doesn’t sync with our instinct to find true connection. So what gives?

When you meet someone nice, you want to take that person somewhere nice. But what if you cannot afford it? What happens when women become more successful than men on average financially and career-wise? The pool of desirable men to “marry up” into is limited at best.

Women can live it up single, but the youth-wall comes fast. So does the fertility dive. It’s a lose-lose scenario for even the most successful professional woman.

Experts say that millennials are holding off on dating because the concept of courtship has evolved over time. Some Millennials and Gen Z (those under 25) are even exploring non-monogamy until they find the right person, which can take years or might never occur in such a dating marketplace where “online” actually hurts the real-life libido.

What happens to young men who grew up with porn? What happens to young women who prioritize career over matters of the heart? Some of us know the answers. Millennials who struggle with economic uncertainty also have less “hope” to through the motions, so many of us literally “opt-out”. We do this thinking we are strong, but sometimes it’s just being stupid.

The world is not what it once was. Millennials are very ambitious yet underachievers due to no fault of their own, so where does that leave the instinct to mate and find a total connection with someone? In such a self-actualization pyramid, things like porn and hook-up apps are likely bad for finding genuine fulfillment.

We are terrified of catching feelings and getting into relationships that they can’t (financially or mentally) manage. Many of us recognize the signs, we are too fucking poor for love.

Two-thirds of people in their 20s still live at home. Gen Z is savvy and street-smart, but not necessarily experienced emotionally or sexually. It’s a new breed. Digital natives aren’t getting any, or much! Old milestones are thrown out the window, “love” is delayed like so many other rites of passage. But until when?

Match, formerly Match.com, also found that 22% of singles say a potential partner’s financial situation has held them back from pursuing a relationship with them, and nearly a third of singles say their own financial situation has held them back from pursuing love in the first place.

That’s not a good love story with technology and mobile devices, that’s just sad. No wonder female Millennials love to travel so much, it’s the escape from the economic and romantic failures of our lives as a generation. Nobody wants to admit that it’s an uncomfortable truth.

We’re just too poor for love.

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