Monday, January 19, 2009

Jan/ Chapter 3: Living together

So a friend has been pushing me about making a post about living together. I have no idea why, but I decided to research it anyway.


For those familiar with the stats, living together is meant to increase the chances the couple will get divorced if they married, compared to couples that didn't live together first.

I've known this stat for a while, but it seemed strange. Surely if two people already got to know each other then there is less chance of divorce later? Living together afterall gives the relationship a trail run before marriage.

Divorce isn't the only worry. Seems like it affects a lot of other things as well:

Living together results in higher chance that the couple has more negative communication in their marriages later.

People who lived together first have lower martial satisfaction.

Infidelity rate is higher.

Physical abuse rates is higher.

So why does this happen? It's pretty significant finding considering lots of people these days live together prior to marriage.

It seems that it's not actually the experience of living together that changes people, rather the people that live together before marriage already have characterisitcs that put them at risk of divorce and unsatisfying marriages. Many people want to try living together because they are already more worried about divorce or less faith in marriage as an institution. They worry so want to try living together.

So their attitudes set them up for failure.

Also, when people live together, because their lives get intertwined, it makes it much harder to leave the relationship. Therefore a less commited couple is forced by the situation into marriage. They're not really as commited, but decide, well since they've been together so long, might as well get married anyway. They've shared their lives together, have common friends, finances and property may have been shared. They share so much together it's hard to split up. Constraints have propelled them forward, not dedication.

Those at the greatest risk are those that are in love but aren't sure about a future together, because then when they are no longer in love, they find it much harder to leave. Engaged couples don't seem to be affected by these forces as much.

If you're living with someone then don't freak out. But be aware that if someone has to be dragged to the altar, it's indication of many more draggings to come. A mate who commits reluctantly (because of living together) does not make for a good marriage.

5 comments:

J said...

It's the obligation to marry him/her after living together for N years... sigh.

Carlton Bradshaw said...

Yeah, so that's the counter intuitive point.

You would think that living together before marriage means that the marriage would be more likely to succeed.

But it's the opposite. Living together forces some people that are not well suited together into a marriage they never would have been.

DOUBLE CHIN™ said...

a gf's french bf insists she'll have to move in with him for at least half a yr before he proposes. i wonder wots the logic to it.

Carlton Bradshaw said...

To answer that I would have to make a new post.......

Jamie said...

Wow! I'm really suprised at this research! But after thinking about it, I guess for a lot of people that would be the case. i.e. hard to get out of a relationship because they feel they have taken it so far already.

Luckily for me, it is the opposite. My husband and I lived together for a long time before getting married and got all the shit that pisses each other off out of the way....or actually we just learned to live with it :)

My thing that pisses him off is that my hair goes everywhere when I brush it. His thing is every room he goes into, he turns on all the lights and opens all the cupboard doors - and I'm constantly closing them and turning lights off. But we don't even mention it anymore. hehehe.

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