The Millennial generation has their own take on marriage. Just like a test-drive in a new car, many beta-test relationships before making a long-term commitment. Almost half of those between the ages of 18 and 34 expect to live with their significant other and beta test the relationship before they head down the aisle.
They are the largest generation in history – 80 million strong. With more force than the Baby-Boom, they’ve charged into history upsetting apple-carts and changing everything as they go. They created social media and keep morphing it every year or two.
Hannah Seligson is a Millennial reporter and author and says beta testing actually defends the notion of marriage by troubleshooting out the not so good relationships.
“There are many permutations of the Beta-marriage. I think some people have formal agreements and say, ‘We’re going to test this out for X number of years before we agree to get married,’” Seligman tells KTRH News. “I think usually it just ends up being an informal arrangement where two people who like each other say, ‘Let’s move in, and if it goes well we’ll get married.’”
Perhaps unrealistic expectations of finding an ideal mate are fueling the freedom to keep options open. In a nation where half of all marriages end in divorce, perhaps they are trying to gin the odds in their favor of forever happiness. Perhaps their lives have been lived in a state of flux where permanence may take a little getting used to. Perhaps they have created a model that will work.
“Many people live together for long periods of time before they get married, because it’s socially acceptable, it takes people longer to reach financial independence, young people are putting off marriage for longer periods of time, and all of those factors lead to Beta-testing,” says Seligman.