Cohabiting before marriage leads to divorce

Danger for couples who live together before tying the knot

Couples who live together before tying the knot are more likely to get divorced than those who wait until after the big day, a study shows.
 
Sharing the same home can pressurise people into getting married for all the wrong reasons, according to scientists.

In the UK more than three-quarters of couples live together before marriage – and one in four children is born to parents who are cohabiting.
 
A survey of over 1,000 married men and women in the US found those who moved in with a lover before engagement or marriage reported significantly lower quality marriages and a greater potential for splitting up than other couples.

About one-in-five of those who cohabited before getting engaged had since suggested divorce – compared with only 12% of those who only moved in together after getting engaged and 10% who did not cohabit prior to the wedding bells.

Psychologist Dr Galena Rhoades said: ‘There might be a subset of people who live together before they got engaged who might have decided to get married really based on other things in their relationship – because they were already living together and less because they really wanted to and had decided they wanted a future together.

‘We think some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting.’

Study co-author Prof Scott Stanley said: ‘It seems wise to talk about commitment and what living together might mean for the future of the relationship before moving in together – especially because cohabiting likely makes it harder to break up compared to dating.’

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