During early adulthood, friendships and romantic relationships take center stage as people become more independent of their parents. Watch this lesson to find out about gender differences in friendships and what makes a marriage successful.
Allen is 31, and he's in love. He and his girlfriend Joanna are happy together, and he's planning on proposing next month when they're on a ski trip. Allen and Joanna are in early adulthood, which is the time between adolescence and middle age. Roughly, this means that early adulthood lasts from ages 20-40.
Early adulthood is a time of many changes. Usually, people finish college during this time, and they begin their careers. People are often at their best, physically and mentally, during early adulthood. Much of early adulthood revolves around intimate relationships with others, either with friends or in romantic relationships. Let's look closer at friendship and marriage in early adulthood.
For many people, friendships are very important, and Allen and Joanna are no exception. They each have their own friends that they can hang out with. Joanna loves to have girls' night with her friends, and they all talk about their boyfriends and their issues at work or home.
Allen, though, takes a different approach to his friendships. He and his buddies like to play softball together, go kayaking or do some other fun activity. They don't really talk about issues that they're having or how they feel about their romantic relationships. In fact, Allen hasn't told any of his buddies that he's planning on proposing!
In general, women are more intimate in same-sex friendships than men are. Women tend to share feelings with their friends, while men share activities with their friends. As a result, women often have a more solid support system than men do. They know that they have many friends they can go to if they need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on.
In opposite-sex friendships, men tend to get more therapeutic support than women. This might just be because men don't tend to get emotional support in their same-sex friendships, whereas women do. Thus, women can spread out the need for support among their friends, while men turn to female friends but not male ones.
Allen is really nervous about proposing. He wants the proposal to be special and for Joanna to say yes and is scared that something will go wrong with the proposal or (even worse) that she won't agree to marry him.
Marriage is a major part of socioemotional development in early adulthood. People at this age, like Allen and Joanna, begin to settle down and move from dating into marriage. But there's a very high divorce rate in the United States. So how can Allen and Joanna know if their marriage will last or if they'll end up in divorce court?
There are four major things that can predict marriage success. They are:
1. Relationship patterns in childhood
Everyone learns how to relate to others in childhood. If Allen, for example, comes from a solid, loving family, he is more likely to be able to maintain a solid, loving romantic relationship as an adult. On the other hand, if he comes from a family where abuse or neglect was the norm, he might have problems, in general, with relationships.
2. Age at marriage
In general, the older a couple is on their first marriage, the more solid the marriage tends to be. Marriages of people under the age of 25 have a much higher divorce rate than those of people over the age of 25. Since Allen and Joanna are both 31, they've lived a little more and are a little wiser than they were 10 years ago. As a result, their marriage is likely to be stronger.
Being able to weather financial, emotional, career and life difficulties is a big part of success in life and relationships. If Allen starts to fall apart at any problem and then takes out his stress on Joanna, they are likely not going to have a successful marriage. On the other hand, if he is resilient enough to deal with his stress without bringing it into their relationship, they have a better chance at a strong marriage.
4. Number of past marriages
In general, remarriages tend to be less stable than first marriages. No one knows exactly why this is, but it might be because people bring bad habits from past relationships into their new ones or because once a person has been through a divorce, it seems like a better option. Of course, it could just be because the people who have strong marriages stay married, while those with weak marriages keep remarrying. Either way, first marriages tend to be more stable. The good news for Allen and Joanna is that this will be their first marriage for both of them.
Early adulthood lasts from age 20-40. During this time, much of a person's life centers around relationships with others. There are gender differences in the way that people relate to their friends, with women being better at intimacy with same-sex friends. Meanwhile, many people during this time get married. There are four major predictors of marriage success:
- Relationship patterns in childhood
- Age at marriage
- Number of past marriages
When this lesson is complete, you should be able to:
- Detail the common characteristics of early adulthood
- Identify the need for friendship and how men and women behave differently
- Describe the four predictors for a successful marriage