So why has the sprint to the altar been replaced with a much slower gait?

We want it all. We are looking for someone to be our gym buddy, career counselor, best friend, lover, creative inspiration, and therapist. In short, the intimacy expectations of young people today are off the charts. The soul mate fetish has given way to lines like: “I want to be as excited to see him in 30 years as the day we first met.” According to the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, an overwhelming majority (94 percent) of never-married singles between 20 to 29 agrees, “when you marry, you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost.” And that quest for “certainty” and that magic mix of qualities can take years of dating to uncover.

Fear of divorce. The divorce culture, pioneered by the Baby Boomers, is shaping the dating landscape today. With the memories of custody battles, acrimonious dinner tables, and a general atmosphere of family unrest being a not-so-distant flicker in the past, Gen Ys are resolute about not repeating the mistakes their parents made, breeding a rigorous evaluation process for prospective mates. “I want to be sure” has become their Greek chorus and a way to go into marriage with all the right armor.