I am such a cliché.
That was my first thought when I heard about the Census Bureau report on marriage and divorce rates, breaking the data down by region.
It’s like the Census Bureau only looked at one Census form – mine – and was able to write a whole report on marriage trends.
“The report, from the U.S. Census, finds distinct regional differences, with states in the Northeast having the lowest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates for both men and women, and states in the South having the highest.”
“In the South, people tend to marry earlier and often have less education, both of which increase divorce risk, a Census official says. Those in the Northeast tend to have more education and marry later.”
Except, Virginia, my state of residence, is not really in the Northeast, despite my geographic idiocy and continued insistence on referring to everyone up here as “damn Yankees.” Virginia had the highest rates in the DC metro region for both marriages and divorces. So in that way, my cliché hypothesis doesn’t hold up, but since I consider the DC region to be the northeast, allow me to continue.
I, originally from Texas, married my first love at the ripe old age of what, 21, I think? I was divorced by 24. At that time, I had a high school diploma to my name, and a trailer park upbringing complete with two parents (one I knew, the other I didn’t) who have both been married four times a piece (and counting). Those two really like that wedding march song.
I moved to northern Virginia in 2002, with a bachelor’s degree firmly clutched in my ambitious little paws. I met the love of my life, moved in together, and got my master’s degree soon after. And, while the Census says an educated couple like us will get married later in life and would be less likely to divorce, we’ve actually decided to opt out of that game. Neither of us wants to get married.
And, apparently, a lot of other Americans feel the same way.
“As a whole, marriages are now at a record low, with just 52 percent of adults 18 and over saying they were joined in wedlock, compared with 57 percent in 2000, according to census data released last September.”
Yep, seems that more people are avoiding “the marriage fog” entirely and just shacking up like me and my domestic-bliss-partner, XFE. (I love this headline by the way. I love it so much I want to not marry it.)
“[Relationship author] Whiddon said after the third or fourth year of matrimony, couples often enter what he calls “the marriage fog.” That’s about the time when all the feel-good chemicals that surge through your body when you’re newly in love sputter and die.”
Wow. That sounds just AWESOME. “Sputter and die?” No more feel-good chemicals? That kinda blows.
Then there’s this other thing altogether called “stayover relationships.”
“A recent study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that ‘stayover relationships’ are a growing trend among college-aged couples who are committed, but not interested in getting married or moving in together.
Researchers examined alternatives to fully cohabiting couples are spending three of more nights together a week and still maintaining their own homes, which could help to explain recent U.S. census data that indicates people are getting married later.”
That’s pretty interesting. Kids today. They’re just so cool and smart.