I’ve been invited to more bridal showers and weddings than club events and if that doesn’t say something about the shift then I don’t know what does…
Is it just me or is literally EVERYONE getting engaged and all at the same time? One minute we are gossiping about the latest celebrity scandal or trying to finally organise that girls' trip to somewhere just as fun but a bit classier than Ibiza ( I mean we are adults now after all) and then BAM. Post after post with an “I said yes” caption, a huge ring and a man I didn’t know existed or had enough time to cyber stalk to see if he had a single brother…
Suddenly it seems everyone has gone from being 18 and carefree, straight into having their lives figured out and I’m trying to understand exactly when I missed the fiancée recruitment call.
Is it just ‘that time’ towards the tail end of your 20s / early 30s or are people really popping the question in droves? According to the think tank Civitas, the number of marriages is decreasing. They predict that by 2062 only 1 in 400 British couples will get married compared to the current 1 in 100. On the flip side, the global wedding ring market is growing year on year. In 2018 it was evaluated at $66 billion and is projected to grow up to $107 billion by the end of 2027. In addition, the latest statistics from the ONS ( Office of National Statistics report that the average age for marriage has starkly increased to approximately 34.3 in men, 31.9 for women in 2019 as compared to 1975 when the average age sat around 28.8 and 26.2 years respectively.
So what’s the truth? I had the pleasure of speaking to sex and relationship expert Dr. Tara for her thoughts on the topic. Dr. Tara is a tenured professor at California State University, Author, Speaker, & Coach.
"People are now craving in-person interactions and they're much less inclined to spend a lot of time on dating apps without setting up an in-person date. Dating apps are great for initiation but it's not sustainable to be on it hours a day. Meeting IRL is becoming more preferred again after years of covid restrictions."
"Yes, definitely. People are now much more aware of their mental health, relationship functioning, and sexual satisfaction. It's also a lot more acceptable now to see a therapist and coach as compared to 10 years ago. In a way, it's to show that you're emotionally healthy."
"Yes! I mean, I'm in my 30s so a lot of my friends are engaged. It's interesting because most millennials still want to get married but a lot of Gen Zs are not interested in marriage as much."
So it seems to be a mixture of a lot more people getting engaged especially post-pandemic as well as our peers opting to pop the question as they get older, which is something I tend to forget I’m doing. Along with the shift of having easy access to all these life updates. We are no longer checking the wedding announcements section in the newspaper or receiving a Save the Date in the post from our childhood friends. Instead, the message is being fast-tracked to our phones through Whatsapp messages and promoted on our social feeds by friends, acquaintances and even influencers we follow so intricately we feel we know them personally.
Despite the Millennial generation en masse choosing to reach the same milestones their parents and grandparents did later on in life or some, not at all, there is still the societal pressure to keep up with your peers. Social media and its nature to only show everyone's best parts and highlight reels can make it seem like we are missing out or aren’t doing what we are ‘supposed’ to be doing. Like you’re suddenly behind in the race of life you didn’t actually know you were running competitively. But it’s not a race and if seeing all these announcements does start to make you see the green-eyed monster, take a moment to wonder why that might be. Is it the ring, the sudden wave of attention or is it that they have found someone to spend the rest of their life with?
Dr. Tara says you shouldn’t let the pressure get to you. “Some people are single by choice and I think that's great because you know what's best for you during that phase of life. If you're actively dating and can't seem to find the right person for yourself, try going out more. Read at a coffee shop and strike up some conversations with people, join a hiking group or a nice gym, join an entrepreneur club, something along this line to meet people IRL”
If you’re looking to put romantic love at the centre and take your current relationship to the next level, she recommends being open and honest. “Have a conversation about what your relationship goals are and why you're ready for a more committed, one-person relational structure. This will show that the decision is more intentional and based on love rather than standard societal pressure.”
According to Pew Research Center, 75% of current daters think dating is difficult and 56% of women find it hard to meet someone who's up to their standards. So don’t feel stressed if the first person you swipe right on isn’t your perfect match.
If settling down and getting married isn’t on the top of your priority list if at all, figure out what is. Is it starting a business? Reading more books? Figure out what is actually important to you, what really puts a fire in your belly and go after that. Plus you don’t need a partner or to be engaged to buy yourself something nice. Rather than waiting for someone to buy you a ring, why not invest in something for yourself that you love or have even designed yourself?
Ultimately, none of us are on the same schedule and one person’s journey will not be the same as yours. I for one am not ready and would rather focus more on my career and hobbies for now. I will still continue to build my ‘Dream Wedding’ Pinterest board, for entertainment purposes only of course 😂