By Nicolle

If I get married, I want to tie the knot with someone who is career-driven, but who will also help out with vacuuming (my absolute least favorite chore – I’d rather clean a toilet), cooking and laundry. Given the fact that we just launched into the second decade of the 21st century, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I’d also like someone who’s taller than me, likes animals, wants to travel, can dance and doesn’t mind that I’m occasionally (read: usually) indecisive. Still not that much to ask, right?

According to Jillian Straus, author of Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We’re Still Single, such a checklist could be part of the reason Generation X and the Millennial Generation are postponing marriage – and having a harder time finding love.

Straus, who was once a producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show, took it upon herself to tour the nation to interview 25 to 39 year olds in an attempt to get to the bottom of why so many of her friends and acquaintances were unsuccessful at finding long-lasting relationships.

Along the way, Straus uncovered what she calls “The Seven Evil Influences” that effect how Gen X-ers relate to one another in relationships. The influences, which range from our “multiple-choice culture” to the “divorce effect,” have given us unrealistic expectations for what our romantic relationships should look like.

Instead of being willing to put in the time required to build a lasting relationship, we’re more likely to “upgrade” to something easier. If something is “missing” in a relationship, we’re more willing to explore other options because we have an ideal relationship in mind, one that might not actually be attainable.

Straus explores how culture and generations before us have influenced our notorious fear of settling by giving us too many options and convincing us that we should never have to suffer in a relationship. She also dissects how our tendencies towards casual sex have taken a toll our ability to engage in long-term relationships.

The first three-fourths of the book could be depressing; Straus’ findings could lead to a hopeless feeling that any attempts at finding love are futile based on all the influences actively fighting against our desires for relationships. Instead, the book is enlightening, refreshing and mind-boggling. While reading it, I would occasionally yell out loud, “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!” or “Why doesn’t everyone know this?!”

Unhooked Generation should be required reading for anyone above the age of 18 and below the age of 45. Part of what is killing our relationships is a lack of self-awareness – and this book makes it clear that we have more control in the game of love than we think.

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