Not forever alone: 6 insights from the Millennial Love Expert Samantha Burns
Not #foreveralone: Samantha Burns explains why she's optimistic about love for the millennial generation.
Millennials are known as digital natives, and technology and social media are used for everything from activism to romance.
But when it comes to love and dating, what are the particular challenges facing Generation Y?
One woman has made it her mission to find out. Samantha Burns is the millennial love expert based out of Boston, Massachusetts. She is also a millennial herself.
Samantha shared these insights when it comes to millennials and dating:
What makes millennial dating frustrating?
"I think that they are very frustrated right now with the lack of commitment that they're seeing in relationships to some degree early on. So once they're in relationships, they're really good about maintaining long-term relationships, but just getting into them is the place where they are struggling."
On what has shaped this generation's ideas about love an commitment:
"I think the big answer is obviously the online dating and app dating. The online dating sites have been around since the 90s, but with smartphone technology, we saw the boom of the Tinders, the Bumbles, and all of these different dating apps where literally this next relationship is at the swipe of a finger away, and that's really changed the dynamic of finding someone."
The biggest dating complaint from millennial women:
"Millennial women complain the most about not getting commitments, and they feel as though the guys are only looking for a hookup. But research actually shows that only a minority of people are actually sleeping together on a first date, and the majority of dating app users report wanting a relationship. So they're frustrated, feeling like no guy out there wants a commitment. There is a shift between college-age millennials and the slightly older, post-grad millennials. More people are looking to settle down as they age, but definitely college students are frustrated with the lack of commitment — college women, I should say."
And what about millennial men?
"I think they're frustrated with online dating because they don't always get a lot of messages back to their initial messages, so I tell people that, first of all if you're only messaging and matching with really attractive women, they're probably getting a ton of messages, so they're being selective in who they're responding to. And if you yourself haven't filled out the profile fully, why should they want to invest in you if you're not showing that you're a quality person? So No. 1, if you're one of those guys with this complaint, fill out your profile so that people can see if they actually like you. And then also, don't just say hello. You know, send a thoughtful message where you're engaging in a question based on their profile information, or saying something witty is obviously fun. So I tell people to almost jump in, almost as if you've known this person, and crack a joke with them, or tease them a little and insert one of those winky-face emojis, because obviously it's hard to tell if you're being sarcastic through text messaging."
Why there's nothing wrong with waiting to marry the right person:
"Millennials are the generation of soul mates, because we are the first generations in thousands of years that aren't getting married just to have babies or to buy property together, we're getting married because we are looking for that one person that we think is our lifelong partner. And this is really great because it allows us to focus more on the quality of the relationship than all of those external factors like baby-making."
What she has to say to those who don't believe millennials are capable of love and commitment:
"I'm actually really optimistic about long-term commitments and marriage for the millennial generation. We've been seeing a trend of cohabitation where millennials are living together for longer before marriage, and this is actually really great because it allows them to test out the relationship, to figure out if they can work through conflict, if this is the person that they really want to be with. So naturally, some of those relationships are going to end or dissolve, and that way, they don't have to deal with the legality of marriage if it didn't work out. And the people who are choosing to get married have then kind of tested out their relationship for a while before getting hitched. So, I feel optimistic that we're going to see a trend of longer, happier marriages, it's just going to start later in life than it has in past generations."
Samantha Burns is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in treating couples and individuals with relationship issues in her Boston-based private practice. You can follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.