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.

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