Living Together: Not Such a Good Idea After All

Whether you call it €śliving together, €ť €śshacking up, €ť or €śliving in sin, €ť cohabitation is on the rise. Sadly, so are the consequences of sharing a home without the commitment of marriage.

Try as you may, it's not easy to defend cohabiting as €śjust the same as marriage. €ť The following myths and truths paint a compelling picture.

Myth: €śThis is just temporary. We'll be getting married when we feel ready. €ť

Truth: Only 30 percent of couples who live together actually get married. 1

Myth: €śWe want to try each other out. We'll have a better chance of staying married if we live together first. €ť

Truth: The dissolution rate for couples who lived together before marriage is 80 percent higher than it is for couples who didn't. 2

Myth: €śWe'll get along better once we're married. €ť

Truth: Thirty-five out of 100 couples living together experienced a physical assault in a 12-month period; that's more than double the rate of violence among married couples, which is 15 out of 100. 3The top three problems for couples who live together before marriage are: drunkenness, adultery and drug abuse. 4

Myth: €śWe just want to get a head start on our finances before we get married. €ť

Truth: Men who live with their girlfriends before marrying them are more likely to be underemployed (before and after the marriage) than men who have not cohabited. Women who live with their boyfriends before marrying them are more likely to need to be employed full time to compensate for their husbands' underemployment. 5

1 Only 30 percent of couples who live together actually get married. John D. Cunningham and John K. Antill, €śCohabitation and Marriage: Retrospective and Predictive Comparisions, €ť Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 11 (1994), pp. 77-93.
2 Ibid.
3 From a nationwide survey conducted by the University of Rhode Island, quoted in €śLive-in Relationship More Prone to Violence, €ť by Robert Haddocks, South Coast Today,
4 Michael D. Newcomb and P.M. Bentler, €śAssessment of Personality and Demographic Assets of Cohabitation and Marital Success, €ť Journal of Personality Assessment, 1980, p.16.
5 Cunningham and Antill.

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