Inside the millennial brain: Why is the current generation so resistant to commitment?

Anjoo Mohun
Anjoo MohunJul 23, 2019 | 15:59

Inside the millennial brain: Why is the current generation so resistant to commitment?

Millennials cannot process anything with more than two syllables — relationships being one of them.

Have you been in a situation where you order a sumptuous meal but end up ogling at what is being served at the next table? Do you feel deflated, the excitement draining out of you, forgetting what you had wanted to eat with a nice wine but the spread across the table looks more inviting and you lose interest in what you have on your plate? You lose interest, your appetite, heck you may change your order. But why does all that comparing, envying and matching still leaves you without satiation?


Hook ups, hangouts, Insta moments and dating apps define the under 30s. Technically, 20-somethings now qualify as teenagers so we will give them a brush past — they do not have the mental agility to understand any complex issue which contains more than two syllables — relationships being one of them.

The slightly older 30s, who may be experiencing the first flush of work success, money, comfort and lack of parental interference, may be reaching a point of some stability in dating. Heck, they may even be taking mini breaks and without explicitly saying so, some sort of continuum may be creeping in. Would you call that love (we over the 50s would)? But, not the bratty millennials —they wouldn’t call it anything, actually.

Truth be told, millennials are not mature enough to understand something as complex as relationships. (Photo: India Today)

So, what happens to these non-relationships between not-really-committed couples which seem to have all the essential ingredients but do not result in a final dish? It is called an evaluation process whence, the best of pros and cons are being debated by each protagonist.

On one hand is, of course, the fancy-free and footloose life à la Sex and the City, when you can sleep or hook up with anyone who crosses your wine-dulled vision. Good for the boys and girls. Everyone should get some insight and experience before making a long commitment. Then, there is the ‘what’s the big hurry’ argument. But, both people seem to forget the alchemy of emotions: that unpredictable ingredient which puts a spade in the best laid plans. For example, you start liking the person, a lot. You start missing their presence. You get envious if you see them with anyone else. If this isn’t a budding relationship, God knows what is.


At that moment, the millennial mindset really kicks in. One is that of untold ambition, and how cool it is to be nonchalant — not appreciating what you truly have (the parents’ 50 year-old marriage is so yesterday). You don’t want to tie yourself down, eeew who does that? We can hold on to this and see where it goes. Where it goes is actually downhill because undefined relationships are unsustainable. You cannot keep on changing your order based on what looks good on the other table. One day, you have to sample what is on your plate. What is this millennial resistance to commitment?

All millennials want a ‘Sex and the City’ esque life, where they can sleep and hook-up with anyone. There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as it doesn’t become a lifestyle. (Photo: Poster of Sex and the City)

Then comes the ‘it’ moment. Somehow, the two overcome their own emotional infancy and come to a decision to be together. There is the familiar family drama of meetings and greetings and what not. Yet, the boy and the girl, (no, they cannot be called man and woman yet) keep on feeling that they, perhaps, could have done a little better. Maybe, they should have waited. Maybe, this isn’t where life stops. Isn’t this where a life of boredom begins? The moribund marriage and relationship laws are so yesterday. In that Befikre moment, they decide to play with new toys a lot more, especially if those toys belong to someone else, are more expensive and irresistible.


What does this tell you? A bird in the bush vs the one in hand — can we guarantee that the one we are eyeing in the bush will meet our parameters? Is living in a liberated, without-commitment and exciting bubble an alternate reality? It is just that — a chimera — exciting and tingling from afar.

Living the ‘Befikre’ life: Why eye the bird in the bush always? For once, value and appreciate the one in hand. (Photo: Yash Raj Films)

Now, there is no rule against chasing all that excitement and tingling. I would take a tingle anytime and in a jiffy. But, I would do that with the realisation that the tingle is just that — a momentary distraction. Unless you chose to lead your life as an urban distraction and it needs solid mental strength to strike out on your own, just on adrenaline, know this — happiness with a partner in the long term means stepping down from your social media perch. Not every moment will have that ‘selfie edge’. But, you will have the joy of waking up next to the one who gets you, perhaps makes you laugh or even makes you breakfast.

But that is me — you can, of course, choose to keep your phone on auto select and beam out a version of your unreal life which only exists in your dreams. And, that guy, well, he is entitled to change his mind like you do. Anytime he wants to.

The rules are the same for both men and women.

Last updated: July 23, 2019 | 15:59
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