By Andrea Syrtash, Glamour
Relationship norms are changing as rapidly as the world around us. As we enter the second half of the second decade of the century, we have more chances to connect (or disconnect) digitally and more choices than ever before. How does this affect our relationships? I've rounded up a few of the nation's top experts to weigh in on six new relationship trends for 2016.
The number of American singles continues to rise year over year--in 2016, we'll have more unmarrieds in this country than ever before. Research shows that millennial women (roughly 18 to 33 years old) are more educated and less interested in marriage than in previous generations. According to the Pew Research Center, "About seven in 10 millennials (68 percent) have never been married, and those who are married have put marriage off until their later adult years. In 1963, the typical American woman married at 21 years of age and the typical man wed at 23."
So, the next time you get pressured by others to settle down, let your nosy relatives or friends know that you're actually on-trend as a single woman!
Couple Messaging Apps
Tech often gets a bad rap when it comes to relationships; but there are ways that technology can enhance your real-life connection.
NBC's Today show tech contributor and host of #NeverSettleShow, Mario Armstrong, notices more apps designed to help couples communicate with each other. Armstrong says, "An app like Couple gives you the ability to keep all your moments more private. You can text, share photos, videos, share calendars, plan an evening out or send live sketches to your partner, like if you want to draw a pretty flower to make up for something. All of the content you upload ends up flowing like it's own timeline of your relationship."
Breaking Up Will Be Easier to Do...on Facebook
Let's face it, social media adds an awkward and unfortunate layer to a breakup. You have to figure out if you should unfollow, untag, hide, or block your ex and you may drive yourself crazy seeing pictures of him or her loving life in your news feed. To address this, Facebook rolled out a new breakup tool at the end of last year that makes moving on a little easier, and many users will be thankful for it this year. The network now allows users to change their relationship status privately and prompts them to unfollow and untag where necessary so that they don't have to worry about managing their digital profile while moving on IRL.
Political Date Debates
We've all been told to avoid talking about religion or politics on a first date; but with the upcoming federal election, it may be tough for many of us to keep quiet.
When you're trying to enjoy a romantic night or make an intimate connection, you may not want to hear your date rant about a particular contender--especially if you feel differently! What Manners Most etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley agrees. "Why would either of you spoil an otherwise fun evening by inviting the candidates (and potential acrimony) into your conversation?"
If your date goes there, however, you may want to steer the conversation away from politics without being rude. "Do what you can to dissuade the Beltway babble with a line such as: 'We can discuss the election another time if you like; for now, let's get to know more about one other,'" suggests Farley.
According to recent research, approximately 25 percent of married women out-earn their male partners--up from four percent in the 1960s. Farnoosh Torabi, author of When She Makes More, sees this trend growing even more in 2016. "If you and your partner have widely disparate incomes, it's tough to feel like financial equals," she says. "It's easy to feel like the person earning more wields more financial 'power.'"
So how do you level the emotional playing field when the financial one isn't balanced? "Make sure to give each person's money meaning--especially the person earning less," Torabi says. "For example, the person with the smaller paycheck can save for long-term goals in the relationship, like as a down payment on a home or your next big vacation. It will feel like a major contribution and can be a source of financial pride."
An Increase in Fertility Treatments Has Impact
Chances are that you or someone you know has had a fertility treatment or has considered one for the future. The face of motherhood is changing as many first time moms are older and better educated than ever before.
And fertility treatments aren't only for couples--the number of singles are freezing their eggs is on the rise (egg freezing procedures were, according to recent data from the U.K., up approximately 400% last year). This trend will continue into 2016, and has an impact on all relationships, from romantic to professional. Millions of women undergoing treatment will have to navigate who to tell (do you mention it to a date or employer?) and will discover how to balance work, life and love.
The final trend of 2016: People will stop asking you inappropriate and personal questions about your relationships! Just kidding. Sadly, that trend may never end.
Andrea Syrtash is a Relationship Expert and the author of the new Audible book, He's Just Not Your Type (and That's Good Thing)