7 Uniquely Gen-X Perspectives That Can Transform Pretty Much Any Relationship

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two middle aged women laughing

It is said that Gen-Xers are the ignored middle child, quietly positioned between the Baby Boomers and the Millenials, invisible and underappreciated. But, unlike most middle children, the Gen-Xers don’t really care, because being overlooked made us who we are today.

In case you haven’t heard of us, let me share a bit about who Gen-Xers are.

The Gen-Xers were born between 1965-1980 and grew up in a time when divorce and two-income families were becoming more the norm than the exception.

We were latch-key kids, arriving home to an empty house. It wasn’t unusual for parents to come home and find that their kids had fed themselves, done their homework and happily settled in front of their Atari.

And, what kind of people did those Gen-Xers become?

According to one site, Gen-X’s core values include diversity, self-reliance, practicality, informality, work/life balance, flexibility, and an interest in technology.

And it is precisely these traits that have made Gen-Xers, in general, successful in relationships

One marketing firm explains that Gen-Xers “are more likely than any generation to be married or living with someone within a relationship (66 percent, vs. 62 percent for millennials and 56 percent for boomers) … and 73 percent of Gen-Xers agree, “I am a romantic.”

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Here are seven unique Gen-X perspectives on love that will instantly change your relationship

1. The importance of loyalty

When it comes to love, loyalty to their partner is super important to Gen-Xers.

And I don’t just mean not cheating on their partners. It means being there when their partners need them. It means supporting them in their life goals. It means never giving up when the going gets tough. It means committing to them for a lifetime.

In this day and age, when we live in a society where everything is disposable, and social media offers an unlimited buffet of potential partners, Gen-Xers believe that steadfastness in love is the key to happiness.

2. A phone call is better than a text

This is one thing I have to say to my clients over and over and over. If you need to talk to someone, especially about emotions, call them. Don’t text!

Many of my clients, especially Millenials, just can’t conceive of this. All other communication is done through their phone, why not this one?

After all, telling someone how you are feeling is easier by text. You can think out what you want to say. You don’t have to be scared of your person’s reaction because you won’t be in the same space with them. You can even break up with someone without having to feel guilty.

But, as I tell my clients, communicating about emotions via text is not only a huge waste of time but it’s also totally counterproductive.

When talking about emotions in a relationship, it’s important that there is a discussion, a give and take. Texting doesn’t do that. One person writes how they feel (which is often misinterpreted) and the other person writes how they feel in turn. They are two people throwing their own thoughts at the other without truly understanding what is being said.

Furthermore, we are way more likely to say things in a text that we wouldn’t say in a conversation, which can only make matters worse.

So, if there is only one thing that you take from this article, it’s that Gen-Xers believe in picking up the phone instead of texting and that leads to a healthier, longer-lasting relationship.

3. It’s OK to be alone

As I said before, we Gen-Xers often came home to an empty house. Our parents were working and we were on our own.

Because we did have to spend so much time solo as kids, we are not only OK with being alone but sometimes even relish it.

And it is this trait, this knowledge that it’s ok to be alone, that can make a Gen-Xer great in a relationship.

These days it’s very hard for people to be alone. With social media, we feel like we are always connected. When we find ourselves alone, it can be very uncomfortable.

But Gen-Xers, who not only didn’t have their parents around but also had no social media, are comfortable with being alone. This means a relationship is not a necessity. And it also gives partners the opportunity to live their own lives outside of the relationship.

Embracing this in your relationship will only make it stronger.

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4. They can take care of themselves

According to Emma Singer, writing for, “If there’s one defining characteristic of this generation it would be their self-reliance. Helicopter parenting, lawnmower parenting, snowplow parenting…none of these over-involved forms of child-rearing apply to the Gen X generation, many of whom were left to microwave their own dinners and glued to Saved by the Bell for hours after school.”

While we did have sports and afternoon activities, because we were on our own, we had to get ourselves there. Everyone had a bike and many of us rode them many miles every day, getting to school and back and to our friend’s house after school.

Furthermore, we were handy around the house because there was no one to help us fix what was broken. I know my brother fixed the toaster oven more than once because he couldn’t cook his after-school egg roll snack.

Because Gen-Xers are self-reliant, they aren’t reliant on their partners to take care of them. While, of course, everyone likes to be taken care of if a Gen-Xer’s partner leaves them on their own to deal with something, they don’t take it as a personal affront. They buckle down and take care of it and get on with their day.

Know that if you can embrace this Gen-X trait of self-reliance, you will see that your relationship will only get stronger!

5. Divorce is the last option

I don’t know a single kid who I grew up with whose parents weren’t divorced.

According to Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, “From 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate more than doubled ... and approximately half of the children born to married parents in the 1970s saw their parents part, compared to only about 11 percent of those born in the 1950s."

The introduction of the no-fault divorce, the sexual revolution, higher, non-realistic expectations of marital relationships and an increase in women's work, leaving them freer to leave marriages, were all factors in why so many children were left in broken homes.

As a result, for many Gen-Xers, divorce is a last resort. They saw the effect that divorce could have on a family, on the kids, and they were determined to do things differently. And they did.

If you want to have a relationship that lasts, take your lead from the sandwich generation and know that divorce is the last option. Period.

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6. Living life is the priority

According to, Gen-Xers are keen on maintaining work/life balance.

A whole generation of kids watched as their parents, the Baby Boomers, become workaholics.

Their parents gave up everything – their families, their mental health, their interests – in the pursuit of a successful career. And the Gen-X kids watched them do that and felt the consequences.

Furthermore, Gen-Xers started working in an era where there was limited electronic communication – all work had to be done in the office, usually face-to-face. When it was time to go home, people went home and left their work behind.

As a result of these things, Gen-Xers have a better work/life balance. They are willing to close their computers at 5 p.m. on Friday and not open them again until Monday morning. They use the weekend for what it should be — to relax and recover.

I do believe that this work/life balance has led to lower divorce rates. These days, couples who are consumed by their work and its related technology 24/7 just can’t be connected in a way that leads to a long-term relationship.

So, to keep your relationships strong, step away from your work and enjoy your life with your partner.

7. It’s important to have fun

Unlike the generation before them, Generation X did not have a strict and formal upbringing. Instead, they were raised to be independent and creative thinkers.

This was the "MTV generation” and Gen-Xers were, in the absence of their parents, prone to be influenced by the MTV culture. They did drugs and had sex without a worry. They started the technology revolution, changing the world.

They also were witness to some of the country’s greatest tragedies — the 9-11 terrorist attack, the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the Jonestown mass suicide, the Lockerbie flight bombing (which killed 190 Americans, many of them college kids returning from a semester abroad), the Rodney King beating, the AIDS epidemic, among others — which inspired them to live their lives to the fullest because who knew what was ahead.

As a result, Gen-Xers know how to have fun and they partake whenever they can. You are more likely to find a Gen-Xer out living their lives than sitting around on their phone, living vicariously through others.

Doesn’t having fun sound like it would be a good thing to have as a part of your relationship?

In this world where talk of Baby Boomers, Millenials and now Gen-Zers is ever-present and ongoing, Gen-Xers are often overlooked.

And we are okay with that. Not being the center of attention allows us to lead our lives just the way we want to.

And living our lives we have been. And most of us are in happy relationships as a result.

I would definitely recommend looking at the Gen-X perspectives and applying them to your relationship. You might be amazed at the difference doing so could make!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be in this crazy world.