So, in my last post, I mentioned that there were some issues with dating 'Generation Me-ers.' Think I'm ready to start working through that; so, here's the first in a 4-part series on my thoughts as of now (because I'm a GenMe, too... and it's all about me, right?? :p)...
The Basic Background Stuff
I should start with the glaringly obvious: -I- am a 'Generation Me Chick'... as is most of my dating pool. "Generation Me" refers to those born in the 70s through the 90s; and the common core of this generational population is that the needs of 'self' and the individual should come first... even above duty. This is the first Generation to have this belief as a common identity. This group has also been labeled the "Entitlement Generation" and accused of starting a Narcissism Epidemic... and to some extent? They're probably right; I know that it's a common complaint heard in dating.
Think about it, though: we've been taught, as 'Me-ers' from an early age to "Love Ourselves" and "Be All that We Can Be" (1) and "I Have to Love 'Me' Before I Can Love 'We'"... as a collective group, we're programmed to put ourselves first. Our needs, Our Wants, Our Job, Our [fill-in-the-blank]. They're not just rationalizations for past actions or things we tell those lacking in self-esteem; they're firmly entrenched beliefs 30-some-odd-years in the making.
Now, factor in those of us in our 30s and hitting 40 who've been through a divorce: this is an automatic trigger for self-centeredness, at least for a time post-event. That's not necessarily a bad thing because we need the self-reflection for change; but not all of us shift out of that. Between the two? Dating this age group can be a real challenege. We're more confident and assertive (2) than most of our previous generations... but, we're also more entitled, lazy, and miserable. Why? We're more money-focused, less willing to take personal responsibility, (3) and have a strong desire of immediate gratification... the "I WANT WHAT I WANT and I WANT IT NOW, THANKS" attitude. And if we don't? The tendancy is to abandon ship - where our 'older and wiser' generations were more prone to stick things out and working through stuff. The biggest issue I see with this is that for all our positives? The aforementioned negatives make the GenMe crew less adept at personal communication; because it's uncomfortable and noone likes that, right? Which is maybe ok if you're ordering in the drive-thru or dealing with the dry cleaner... but, not so much in a relationship.
The Relationship Background Info
And speaking of relationships, GenMes are seeing the relationship more as a temporal state-of-being and less permanent. This is best seen in the decline of the number of marriages - down 40% between 1970 and 2002. The reason for this is two-fold: firstly, GenMes have been the hardest hit generational group by divorce. Of the elder GenMes, nearly 50% have already been divorced. The younger GenMes (4) cite potential for divorce as a reason to avoid it. Around 52% of the 20-somethings have stated that they see "so few good marriages that they question marriage as a way of life." (5) And their response leads to the other reason there has been a decline in Marriage: GenMes? Are used to "trading up."
We live in an outdated society. Yes, that's what I meant- almost as soon as a new technology is released? A better one comes out that makes it antiquated. Fashion lines go out of style literally the month they're released... even our food is only good for a week or two. Life is built upon disposable, replaceable things. Our cars are traded out every few years; as are our homes. So why not our relationships? GenMes seem to agree; and so many have started down the road to what Professor Phillip Gray, chairman of the Sociology Department of the San Diego State University, as "the age of serial monogamy" - essentially, trading up to a newer, shinier relationship as problems emerge rather than dealing with them.
And that's a Ton O' Fun for those of us on the dating scene... :p
(1) Wait, that's The Army... but eh, close enough
(2) As a group.. there are definitely still some 'Beta-Boys' that fill the exception gap
(3) This is not necessarily true in the workplace; though there is more shifting of blame in a 'GenMe' than from their predecessors. This is likely because GenMes were raised with a high pressure from parents to achieve academically; which later translates into the workforce.
(4) Those in their 20s
(5) National Marriage Project, 2002