Why You Should Just Say 'No' To Living Together Before Marriage

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What you should know before giving that milk away for free.

We've all heard that antiquated warning about "giving the milk away for free". Cohabitation has long been a taboo thing to do in American culture. These days though, talking about shacking up is about as risqué a topic as picking out wall paper. If anything, many millennials have developed an attitude counter to the "marriage first" ideal so held by their parents and grandparents. Living together has become quintessential, near crucial step for couples wishing to take their relationship down a more serious path of commitment. While others might use it as a stepping stone towards tying the knot for some, it's even become the ultimate step of commitment.

As America sheds the stigma of "living in sin" and sees an increasing number of unmarried couples head to Ikea in search for the best bed to share together a greater question is beginning to take shape. Are these couples stacking the cards against themselves and headed towards a greater chance of divorce?

A study conducted by the the non-partisan organization Council on Contemporary Families is shrugging the question off. Their research says moving in before marriage isn't a stairway to hell.Doing it too early in age, however, could be.

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According to a research study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania it's the age of the couple when they say their "I dos" that can be a stronger predictor or divorce. The findings discovered that people who marry at a younger age are more likely to get divorced than those who were older. As it turns out, maturity plays a huge role into the success of our decisions. Big surprise there, right?

Digging a little bit deeper into the more popular trend of cohabitation before marriage, the researcher of the study used data from the U.S. governments 1995, 2002, and 2006 National Surveys of Family and Growth, looked into over 7,000 individuals who had, for a time, been married. While some people still stuck together, others divorced. Eventually the study narrowed in on individuals and the age they were when they made the decision to move in without a ring involved versus getting married.

Here's where things get interesting: the study found that people who waited longer to get married after moving in had a greater chance of having a successful marriage. Also, they discovered it's also all about age.

The study discovered that couples who chose to take make the big move-in step with each other at age 23 (after they've graduated college and started settling into becoming an adult) had a dramatic drop off at the rates of divorce. Couples who waited until 23 saw a divorce rate of nearly 30 percent. Couples who chose to commit to getting married or doing the under-the-same roof bingo had a 60 percent rate of divorce.

In the past 50 years, the number of couples choosing to shack-up together in the U.S. has shot up to almost 900 percent. The social stigma has seemed to been shed by most; only 27 percent of Americans in a survey said that they were against pre-marital cohabitation in 2007 according to a USA Today/Gallup poll

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Oddly enough, cohabitation is still getting slapped with a label of "wedding destroyer." But, get this: studies are suggesting it's not the actual act of living together that's ruining marriages. And it's not just age either. It's that so many couples obtain an adversity to making a clean break if things don't go well while living together. They've already bought the expensive couch, adopted a rescue, and have a tricky lease they just can't seem to get out. Toss in unexpected pregnancy and the pressures of friends and families to finally tie the knot don't help either. So, they settle. It's here that individuals should remind themselves before moving in with a partner that things just might not work out and that that's okay. Oh yeah, and that birth control is your friend.

So move in together before you get married, or don't. Either way, proceed with caution.

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