The Relationship Timeline Continues to Stretch

We know that people are marrying later in life, but that’s not the only shift. The whole relationship timeline is stretching. From the first time couples meet, the timelines below show the median number of years after until relationships turned romantic, couples lived together, and eventually married.

Relationship Timelines After Meeting

Comparing the median path to marriage per decade.

Meet

Romantic

Live together

Marry

1960s

Living together and getting married often happened at the same time.

1970s

1980s

Waiting longer to get married…

1990s

2000s

One more month before turning romantic. Maybe more ways to meet now?

Now it’s common to live together for years before getting married.

2010s

0 years

1

2

3

4

5

6

Meet

Romantic

Live together

Marry

1960s

Living together and getting married often happened at the same time.

1970s

Waiting longer to get married…

1980s

1990s

2000s

One more month before turning romantic. More options?

Now it’s common to live together for years before getting married.

2010s

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

years

This is based on estimates from the most recent release of the How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey, administered by the Michael J. Rosenfeld, Reuben J. Thomas, and Sonia Hausen.

Shifts in How Couples Meet

Watch the changes over six decades. Meeting online now reigns supreme.

Notes

  • The HCMST dataset continues to interest. You can download it here.
  • I analyzed and charted the data in R. There’s a timeline tutorial if you’re interested.

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

Join Now

Favorites

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.

Peak Non-Creepy Dating Pool

Based on the “half-your-age-plus-seven” rule, the range of people you can date expands with age. Combine that with population counts and demographics, and you can find when your non-creepy dating pool peaks.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute …