Dating period before marriage

30-Sep-2019 07:15

Compared to married couples, cohabiting couples argue more, have more trouble resolving conflicts, are more insecure about their partners’ feelings, and have more problems related to their future goals (Hsueh, Rhabar, Morrison, & Doss, 2009). Turns out, unmarried couples have very different motivations for living together.

These findings are concerning for couples considering pre-marital cohabitation, but a closer look shows a much more complicated picture. For most people (61.2 percent), the number one reason to cohabitate is quite positive: they want to spend more time with the person they’re dating (Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2009a).

A survey of over 12,000 heterosexual women aged 15-44 between 20 showed that approximately half (48 percent) of women cohabitate prior to their first marriage (Copen, Daniels, & Mosher, 2013). In addition to frequency, the average cohabitation duration has increased.

These days, the typical length of cohabitation has grown from 13 months in 1995 to an average of 22 months.

The inertia effect may explain the heightened divorce rates associated with premarital cohabitation.

I am not in the least interested in whether couples are engaged or not, married or not.

Substantial evidence associates cohabitation with negative relationship outcomes.

Pre-marital cohabitation is viewed as a risk factor for divorce as it predicts later marital instability, poorer marriage quality, and less relationship satisfaction (Kamp, Dush, Cohan, & Amato, 2003; Stanley et al., 2004).

In general, being a fast or slow moving engaged couple predicted the highest relationship satisfaction.

Second, couples who cohabitate seem to be most successful when they’ve already committed to each other.

Engaged couples who live together before marriage are not subject to the slippery slope of the inertia effect, which pushes two people who might otherwise not marry, to marry.

In the former case, women tend to perceive the couple as having less relationship confidence and less dedication.

In the testing situation, both men and women report more negative interactions, more psychological aggression, and less relationship confidence, adjustment, and dedication (Rhoades et al., 2009a).

In general, being a fast or slow moving engaged couple predicted the highest relationship satisfaction.

Second, couples who cohabitate seem to be most successful when they’ve already committed to each other.

Engaged couples who live together before marriage are not subject to the slippery slope of the inertia effect, which pushes two people who might otherwise not marry, to marry.

In the former case, women tend to perceive the couple as having less relationship confidence and less dedication.

In the testing situation, both men and women report more negative interactions, more psychological aggression, and less relationship confidence, adjustment, and dedication (Rhoades et al., 2009a).

The couples with the least happiness and satisfaction were the reported the least relationship conflict, not surprising since they also reported a high degree of relationship satisfaction (Willoughby et al., 2012).