When it comes to dating and relationships, men and women have more choice and freedom than ever. No longer are racial, religious, and family of origin or "class" considerations as liable to doom or determine whom you decide to spend your life with. But with all of the advantages comes one big disadvantage -- it's become harder and harder to find that elusive committed, long-term, maybe even lifetime relationship. I know many women -- as well as men -- who have their pick of the opposite sex, but who just can't seem to find someone who wants to cut off their options and make a commitment. Here are 9 reasons commitment can be so hard to find these days.
1. Sex. Once was a time when to have regular sex, you had to get married. Thanks to the 1960s, and the birth control pill, unless you are in a strict religious sect, that is no longer the case. Both men and women are able to freely partake of sexual relations with a variety of people without it much impacting their reputation -- though certainly less so for women than men. But, hey, even Kim Kardashian, who had a sex tape, found three husbands.
2. Social norms. Men and women who reach 30 or beyond and are still single aren't shunned, whispered about, or pitied the way they used to be. It can still be somewhat that way for women -- especially in certain parts of the country -- but a guy who stays single past his 40s is no longer automatically considered a closet homosexual.
3. Children. People have them much later now. Women know they can get into their 30s or even 40s and still have kids. Guys, hell, they think they can wait forever. So there's no longer that urgent biological imperative to settle down in your 20s.
4. Equal rights. Women may still not earn as much as men on average, but there are cities where women actually out-earn men -- and at least half of homes now have a female breadwinner. That means women can support themselves, canceling out their need to get married so a guy can pay the bills. They may even be wary about having to support a man.
5. Divorce. At least half of us have seen the divorce of our parents up close or been in a divorce ourselves. More than that have seen friends or other members of the family divorce. We're much more wary about marriage than we used to be -- and commitment in general, since many of us fear that a commitment will have to lead to marriage.
6. Freedom. Once upon a time, people rarely left the towns where they were born. Now, it's not uncommon for people to switch cities and even countries several times during their life. All of that moving around makes it harder and more scary to think about settling down with one person.
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7. Online dating. It's incredibly common now for singles of all ages to be on dating sites, and the massive amount of promising profiles too easily gives the impression that there are hot, intelligent, successful singles everywhere -- and they all want to meet you! Commitment is difficult when you think someone better is just a click away.
8. Social media. Most of us are so accustomed to communicating by social media or the Internet now that it's actually become difficult to get to know someone intimately. I don't care how much you text message someone, it's not giving you the information you need if you are thinking of committing to this person. Additionally, our reliance on digital communication has made real communication -- the kind necessary in relationships -- a dying skill-set. No wonder people are flummoxed when someone wants "more" and starts talking about "commitment." Most of us don't even know what that entails anymore.
9. Longevity. Let's face it, it was a lot easier to imagine spending the rest of your life with one person when there was a good chance you and that person would be dead by 45. (At the turn of last century, this is when most people, men and women, died.) Now, with people living into their 80s and beyond -- it's understandable why most people want to put off commitment until their 50s or even later!
What things might stop someone from committing?
Image via Jens Nieth/Corbis