Those who live together before marriage are the least likely to marry each other.
A Columbia University study cited in New Woman magazine found that “only 26% of women surveyed and a scant 19% of the men married the person with whom they were cohabiting.” A more comprehensive National Survey of Families and Households, based on interviews with 13,000 people, concluded, “About 40% of cohabiting unions in the U.S. break up without the couple getting married.” One of the reasons may be that those who cohabit drift from one partner to another in search of the ‘right’ person. The average cohabitant has several partners in a lifetime.
Those who live together before marriage have higher separation and divorce rates.
Psychology Today reported the findings of Yale University sociologist Neil Bennett that cohabiting women were 80% more likely to separate or divorce than were women who had not lived with their spouses before marriage. The National Survey of Families and Households indicates that “unions begun by cohabitation are almost twice as likely to dissolve within 10 years compared to all first marriages: 57% to 30%.” Another five-year study by William Axinn of the University of Chicago of 800 couples reported in the Journal of Demography that those who cohabit are the most accepting of divorce. In a Canadian study at the University of Western Ontario, sociologists found a direct relationship between cohabitation and divorce when investigating over 8,000 ever-married men and women (Hall and Zhoa 1995:421-427). It was determined that living in a non-marital union “has a direct negative impact on subsequent marital stability,” perhaps because living in such a union “undermines the legitimacy of formal marriage” and so “reduces commitment of marriage.”
Those who live together before marriage have unhappier marriages.
A study by the National Council on Family Relations of 309 newlyweds found that those who cohabited first were less happy in marriage. Women complained about the quality of communication after the wedding. A physical relationship is an inadequate foundation upon which to build a lasting lifelong relationship. A study by researchers Alfred DeMars and Gerald Leslie (1984) found that those who live together prior to marriage scored lower on tests rating satisfaction with their marriages than couples who did not cohabit. A study by Dr. Joyce Brothers showed that cohabitation has a negative affect on the quality of a subsequent marriage (Scott 1994). Cohabitors without plans to marry were found to be more inclined to argue, hit, shout and have an unfair division of labor than married couples (Brown and Booth 1997).
To be continued.