Generation Z, people born between 1995 and 2012, are entering adulthood. While older generations assume we are a group of entitled, depressed, technology-addicted antisocialists, we are simply learning to live by our own rules.
Known for our independence, wit, creativity and charisma, Gen Z-ers are a highly individualistic group that crave freedom and adventure. It is no surprise, then, that our generation has rejected the values of older generations while creating our own rules for love in the digital age.
Gen Z has veered away from the previous societal gender norms within relationships, even writing new guidelines as love expands to the LGBTQ+ community.
But what is it that sets our generation apart, especially from Millenials?
I asked a group of around 170 college students and recent graduates, the older half of Generation Z, a series of questions about various aspects of relationships. The results were shocking.
Attachment versus Apathy Issue
Gen Z, commonly known as iGen, are the first digital natives having grown up alongside technology. It is often assumed that we have our faces stuck in our phones too much to know how to properly communicate with each other.
However, Gen Z is actually more connected than any other generation.
In fact, the dependency on connecting online created an environment in which constant communication is expected and desired in long-term relationships, which 86% of the student group said is something they presently wanted.
At the same time, Gen Z is in no rush to find that special someone. According to Vice, “only 1 in 10 Gen Z-ers say they are committed to being committed.”
This idea is confirmed by Jazmin Mackey, a first year student at Florida A&M University.
“Our generation doesn’t prioritize real relationships, or dating. No one wants to commit, ” Mackey states.
Gen Z is also more likely to believe that there are multiple soulmates for one person. Apparently the idea of commitment is intimidating to many of still fairly young Gen Z-ers.
Cash before Carats
Pew Research Center states Gen Z was in line to inherit a strong economy and the lowest unemployment rate compared to past generations. Yet, Generation Z have higher debt and financial struggles than any other generation before.
Unfortunately, this desire to shake financial burdens is so strong amongst Gen Z that it is affecting how and when we look for relationships.
When I asked in what order Generation Z would prefer events in their life to occur, a whopping 139 versus 37 students and grads wished to achieve financial stability and financial independence before marrying and having kids.
GenZennials continue to disappoint their parents, as they wait to settle down longer than past generations in order to reach ultimate independence, pushing the median age for marriage to 27.
Unsurprisingly, more than half of Gen Z aspire to be entrepreneurs, according to Forbes, and accumulate multiple sources of income in hopes of having greater financial control and lower debt.
…But We Still Want a Wedding
Although the accumulation of wealth matters to Gen Z, the majority of the generation still desires to get married and live in a two-parent household with their children.
However, Gen Z does not look to their parents as a model for what love should look or feel like. Although 66% of Gen Z grew up in a two parent household, according to Pew, many are skeptical about having a similar love story.
It seems, when thinking about relationships, Generation Z are fully aware of what they want and do not want and have a general understanding of “toxic” traits they refuse to overlook.
Unlike past generations, it is important to Gen Z to have a deeper emotional connection with their partner. Included in that connection is the quality of intimacy, which plays a huge role in the longevity of a Gen Z relationship.
Sadly, our generation exhibits hurdles to forming relationships that we impose on ourselves.
For example, Generation Z give in so much to “clout culture” that the premise for many relationships are based on the relationships of other people and celebrities Gen Z sees online.
Kamiiya Cargle, a freshman at FAMU, agrees saying “[Relationships are] too heavily based on social media instead of learning who you and your partner truly are.”
In the end, Gen Z is a group of non-committing, money hungry, independence seekers who are all looking for that rom-com love story, but not anytime soon. We are going to need lots more practice if we ever plan on settling down, but there is still hope for us yet.