Four in 10 women confess to 'Bridget Jones' love life
Four in 10 women in their late 20s fear their private lives resemble Bridget Jones's Diary, having already loved and lost Mr Right, according to a study.
Rather than being left on the shelf in their 30s, like author Helen Fielding's fictional singleton, women increasingly want to marry and have children sooner, researchers found.
Today’s 20-somethings said the optimum age to tie the knot is 26, with their first child being born a year later.
The findings contrast those of a decade ago, when the majority of women felt putting their careers and social lives first and waiting until after 30 was the recipe for blissful matrimony.
And despite being the offspring of failed marriages, more than 80 per cent of women with divorced parents said they dream of walking down the aisle.
Of the 2,000 women in their mid-20s who were polled, 78 per cent said marriage was the "ultimate commitment" beyond having a baby or buying a house with a partner.
Fifty-five per cent said couples give up on marriage too easily, according to the Marriage and Wedding Survey commissioned by More magazine.
A study spokeswoman said: "Young women's attitudes towards the age they marry are coming full circle – only 15 per cent of young women now think 30 or over is the best age to marry and only 27 per cent think it's best to have a first child after 30.
“Times are changing fast. Just 10 years ago, young women were saying the opposite."
Chantelle Horton, editor of More, added: "Young women today no longer want to be party girls throughout their 20s only to reach their early 30s and find they've loved and lost Mr Right.
"They don't want to fall into the Bridget Jones syndrome and view their future through an empty wine glass.”
The survey found that 99 per cent of women think it is foolhardy to marry before the age of 21.
Six out of 10 think it is essential to be married before having children, while women felt they should have around five sexual partners before marrying.
Brides in London and south east England spend the most on their weddings – an average of £9,168 – compared to the Welsh, who are the most thrifty spending £4,898.