Love & Relationships

Inside the Millennial Mind: Why We Struggle So Much with Relationships

Have you ever been in a situation where you think you had gotten the perfect dinner dress, unleashing your inner grunge girl with a slip gown, but upon stepping on the red carpet, you end up ogling at the blonde lady in the sexy black bodycon?

Do you feel squashed, the pleasure draining out of you, forgetting how gorgeous you felt in your beautiful slip dress, and you suddenly lose interest in everything?

You lose interest in your dress! And you feel like running back to that fashion store to get a dazzling bodycon. You give up the bird in the hand and pursue the one in the bush.

It sounds familiar right? Welcome to the millennial world where everything centers on the need to compare, envy or even be up to standard in the first place!

While some of us, the under – 30s are still being defined by Insta – stories, dating apps, hookups and hangouts, some others – the slightly older 30s – are experiencing the first bloom of success with more money, comfort, less parental interference and reaching some sort of stability in their relationships, aspiring to be #couplegoals while taking mini breaks and telling everyone who crosses their path that “It’s nothing serious”.

Of course, what else do you expect from a “bratty” millennial? We never call our relationships “a relationship” because we never see them as one.

So what happened to those “not so serious” relationships that happened to have all the ingredients of a real relationship but just didn’t make it to the aisle? “What’s the rush anyway?”

Well, there’s the exquisite “sex and the city” life where sex is a commodity to be purchased by anyone and everyone; the sexual freedom that affords us the luxury of sleeping and hooking up with anyone and not feeling bad about it.

This exciting life of the liberated millennial; just too good to give up, isn’t it?

On the other hand is the untold ambition of the millennial; the rush to graduate from Uni, get a high-paying job, climb the corporate ladder, float a start-up, start a talk show, become successful while not letting long-term commitments to relationships stall our dreams.

But amidst the hurly-burly of metro life comes the yearning for a stable relationship with the one who makes us laugh and even makes breakfast; the one from which we can feel warmth, and affection and ease away from the stressful life.

It turns out that we, millennials don’t quite know what we want. We can’t keep changing our dinner dresses based on what looks good on the girl standing a few meters away.

We can’t guarantee that the bird we’re eyeing in the bush will meet our parameters right?

We need to assess why exactly we’re struggling to remain committed to relationships. And this is exactly what we’re going to be talking about.


We may choose to blame it on FOMO, but we, millennials are always after the BBD (the bigger, better deal). We are afraid to settle for a good enough relationship when a couple of potentially great ones are just a DM away.

This is not necessarily a bad thing; but when applied to relationships, it may be catastrophic. When it comes to work, pursuing the BBD could lead to greater career success.

However, the effect in relationships is not the same. Because most Millennials have made dating and relationships similar to closing a business deal; crafting the perfect online dating bio and curating an irresistible Instagram gallery now gives us the false illusion that the next person is the bigger, better deal.

It only gets us constantly swiping on dating apps and hopping onto the next available person only to find out that they were not worth the hype in our heads.

The Sex Interview

Millennials have great “sexpectations”! Yes, we do. Co-author of a chapter on “slow love” in the 2018 anthology “The New Psychology of Love,” published by Cambridge University Press, Dr. Fisher says “sex has become the getting-to-know you phase of courtship amongst millennials”.

In a study conducted for, Dr. Fisher’s findings revealed that amongst a representative sample, 34 percent of single millennials had sex with somebody before the first date.

In my days, you went out on a first date with someone you didn’t know very well, and you went to dinner or mini golf,” She said in an interview with The New York Times “The first date has changed — it’s time consuming and expensive. Now they have a sex interview with a person to see if they want to invest in a first date.

We place too much expectation on sex due to the impression porn and movies like 50 Shades of Grey have given us.

It makes it seem like if we’re not doing this, there must be something fundamentally wrong with our relationship and we are so quick to let go of a potential partner if we find one or two areas of discrepancy, ignoring all the other areas in which we sync and are in tune with each other.

Little wonder why we wouldn’t mind hopping onto the next available person whom we think would have a better sex game.

The DTR Frustration

We millennials also have a problem with DTR (Defining the relationship). In previous generations, relationships took the form of a linear journey, progressing from dating to being in a relationship to being engaged and finally to be married.

But with us, this is no longer the case. We don’t label our relationships and can’t seem to define them because having sex with someone and seeing them often can now happen at any stage… or it could mean nothing at all.

You could spot a Millennial with the same girl twenty times and they would still tell you that “It’s nothing serious”. So with millennials, you could be someone’s hookup, a friend with benefits, or a “dating partner,”

One reason why we are scared of commitment could be that majority of us watched our parent’s marriage fall apart.

However, the reluctance to define a relationship may end up taking an otherwise rosy millennial relationship down.

So it appears we’re in a bubble; a vicious cycle of non-committal relationships. What do we do? Communicating our struggles and assessing our situation through the lens of the problems discussed above will be the first step.

Talking to a relationship coach or therapist could also be a wonderful opportunity to start afresh.

Wardah Abbas

Wardah Abbas is a writer and journalist with over six years experience. She writes on Lifestyle, Social Justice and Mental health.

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