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Modern romance: Gen-Y is late to the wedding, but wants marriage

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That ambivalence is also seen in the whole new world of courtship created by her generation – Millennials or Generation Y generally includes those born between 1980 and 2000. This is the first generation to come of age with social media, instant – even constant – Internet and phone connection, and relaxed pressures to marry early. It is responsible for terms like "hooking up" (nonrelationships known to previous generations as one-night stands) and "friends with benefits" (a sexual relationship without emotional involvement).

While Millennial courtship rituals are distinctly different from those of previous generations, say those who study the scene, survey after survey indicates that Millennials do want to be married, they do want the house in the suburbs and the kids.

But they also want to be careful – they are postponing marriage longer than any generation before them.

"Millennials believe in marriage and lifelong commitment but are also more relaxed about sex, dating, and living together" than their Generation X and boomer parents, says Pamela Smock, a professor of sociology and director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They don't wait for the phone to ring

Today, just 20 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 are married, compared with nearly 60 percent in 1960, according to the Pew Research Center. When Xers were the same age, 30 percent were married; for boomers it was more than 40 percent.

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