April 16, 2012

"I am not for or against living together, but I am for young adults knowing that, far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness..."

"... moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake — or of spending too much time on a mistake."


roesch/voltaire said...

The problem I found with this study and the article as there was no comparison with how long couples lived together and then married before breaking up, in relationship to just how long first time marriages last-- I suspect they are much closer than folks might think.

leslyn said...

The only statistics cited are old--2001. I know I've read that this is changing. In the meantime, here's a story from the UK that concluded the opposite.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

One more salvo in the 'war on Women'.

Shame on you NYT.

edutcher said...

The numbers are pretty good despite what the Lefties say.

The maturity factor is what counts.

The Blonde and I lived in sin for 13 years before she finally said, "Yes".

We haven't killed each other yet in 3 1/2 years. But we were in our mid-40s when we met.

Insta also has some thoughts.

Joe said...

I highly question the numbers. Seems a whole lot of confirmation bias is going on.

Correlation does not equal causation. It is more likely that people, mostly men, who insist on living together tend to be commitment averse--they want to be able to bail--but then are manipulated into marriage or decide what-the-hell. Then there are those marriages that happen solely because of pregnancy.

(I do think there are many women, though who knows how many, who use living together as a blatant manipulation tool to get married. I know several men who fell into this trap. I also know a woman who did it is now the one regretting doing so.)

William said...

If there was a sure fire way of doing this, someone like Charley Sheen would have discovered it by now. Catholics seem to have better luck than most, so maybe Santorum is on to something by wearing sweater vests and not using condoms....Why not just accept marriage as a transient state that works when it works and then, sometimes, stops working. There are just too many variables to accuratedly predict the outcome, and, as the saying goes, measuring the quality of a marriage by its duration is like judging the quality of a wine by the size of the bottle.

leslyn said...

Maybe this is the one I was thinking of.

Report: Cohabiting has little effect on marriage success

Freeman Hunt said...

It makes sense to me that if two people who are not engaged decide to cohabit, they're more likely than they otherwise would be to end up in an Inertia Marriage.

David R. Graham said...

Cf. Maggie Mead on "trial marriage."

jimbino said...

It would seem that folks cohabiting are much less likely to breed, which means that their breakup does not involve children.

That fact alone would favor cohabiting for several years over marrying, sparing the public all the negative externalities caused by breeding.

Lyssa said...

Freeman: "It makes sense to me that if two people who are not engaged decide to cohabit, they're more likely than they otherwise would be to end up in an Inertia Marriage."

That's the problem that I see, too. Once you move in together, it's a lot harder to split up, particularly if you don't have a really good reason. Also, I've seen a lot of women my age and a little younger who want to get married and have kids spend their entire 20's with someone who's not looking for that, but they just never get around to leaving until all of a sudden they're 30ish and realize that their bio clocks are ticking.

rhhardin said...

Mark Simone, filling in for Imus, says that you can always tell married couples in restaurants. They bring reading material.

He doesn't say cohabiting couples.

Partridge said...

What I take from this article is that much of the problem with cohabiting is in the lack of clear signals. As the author says, people "slide in" rather than deciding to get in, and then find that maybe they have different expectations about what is going on.

Yet another reason why it seems to me that traditional marriage and the values surrounding it are the way to go. Is it maybe less romantic to say "We'll wait until we're married"? I don't know since this is one issue we can only get one chance to try and hence, can never really compare. But what makes a lot of sense to me is that it's the clear signal about a relationship change that is important and the lack thereof that leads to problems and regret.

Everybody understands the relationship change of marriage. People may not have thought out well why they're doing what they're doing but there's no confusion about what it's all supposed to mean or when it's entered due to the clear social signals and often, involvement of other people. Cohabiting not only itself is a state in which the relationship status may be fuzzy but it also makes the one relationship status change that should be clear to everybody well, less change-y.

Scott M said...

In the meantime, here's a story from the UK that concluded the opposite.

Given that the British are forced to overcome their initial revulsion at their partner's teeth, everything is a cakewalk afterward so you would expect these results.

Would you rather be overweight or have awful teeth?

~N. said...

I have to agree with Partridge -- it's the sliding in, the lack of serious thought and discussion beforehand, that are probably more likely the cause of failure down the road.

Tarzan said...

I have to agree with basic premise that you really shouldn't move in with someone you're not already pretty much dead set on marrying.

Ladies believe this, of course, but don't say so for fear of scaring the man away.

The man doesn't want to believe this, but avoids saying so for fear of pissing off the lady.

The couples where both partners are already on the same page can do no wrong. Cohabitate or not, they're already married in their own hearts and the issue is settled.

If you don't KNOW for absolute sure that the issue is settled for both of you, then the warning this author gives is very real. You can waste a LOT of time and are likely setting yourself up for a LOT of regrets later on, whether you end up married or not.

Tarzan said...

"Inertia Marriage"

YEESH! That says it all right there.