Living Together Before Marriage Doesn't Doom Relationships After All

Living Together Before Marriage Doesn't Doom Relationships After All

When I was a graduate student studying the psychology of romantic relationships, I remember learning about “the cohabitation effect” in a few of my courses. Relationship scientists coined this term to describe the increased risk of divorce that seemed to accompany living together before marriage. At the time, several studies had been published in major journals supporting this idea.

Interestingly, however, recent studies suggest that “the cohabitation effect” is a thing of the past—and may have never even existed at all.

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What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

What Does (And Doesn’t) Predict Divorce, According To Science

Social scientists have long been interested in the factors that predict divorce. Over the years, they’ve identified a number of things that seem to increase the odds of a couple dissolving their marriage; however, the evidence hasn’t always been consistent across studies, with some effects being more reliable than others. In this article, we'll review some of the most interesting findings from this area of research.

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Does Living Together Before Marriage Increase the Risk of Divorce?

Does Living Together Before Marriage Increase the Risk of Divorce?

When I was in graduate school studying the psychology of romantic relationships, I learned about something called “the cohabitation effect.” This was the term scientists were using to describe the increased risk of divorce that accompanies living together before marriage. At the time, several studies had been published supporting this idea.

Recent research has challenged it, though.

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A Surprising Look At Millennials' Sexual Attitudes (Infographic)

A Surprising Look At Millennials' Sexual Attitudes (Infographic)

Millennials are often portrayed in the popular media as an extremely liberal bunch when it comes to sex. The impression given is that, among other things, millennials are totally cool with homosexuality, they love their casual sex, and they're shunning the notion of marriage. However, this doesn't quite match up with the data. Believe it or not, millennials' sexual attitudes may be a little more conservative on average than you've been led to think.

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Same-Sex Marriage Is Good For Gay and Lesbian Health

Relationship scientists have known for decades that married people are healthier and live longer lives than their single counterparts.1 However, virtually all of the research conducted to date has focused exclusively on the health benefits associated with heterosexual marriage. Given that more and more countries have started extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, has there been any effect on the health of gays and lesbians? Two recent studies suggest that there have been some positive changes.
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Living Together Before Marriage Still Illegal In 4 U.S. States

Historically, cohabitation (i.e., the act of an unmarried romantic couple living together) has been rare. In the modern world, however, it has almost become a precursor to marriage. In fact, nearly 60% of married U.S. adults now report that they shared a residence with their partner before tying the knot.1 Coinciding with the rapid rise in cohabitation has been an increase in acceptance of this practice. Few people refer to it by derogatory names any more, such as “shacking up” and “living in sin,” and parents no longer disown their children who choose to cohabitate. In light of these dramatic social changes, you may be surprised to learn that cohabitation is technically still illegal in 4 U.S. states.
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Is Jumping Into Bed Quickly Harmful To Relationships?

Are couples who start having sex right away not as happy in the long run? A new study has found that heterosexual romantic partners who had sex within the first month of seeing each other reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction, communication, and commitment compared to partners who waited six months or longer to begin having sex [1]. However, these effects held only for women, not men, meaning that timing of sexual activity was not related to how men felt about their relationships. The popular media has jumped on this study running headlines such as “How Leaping Into Bed Harms Relationships” and “Sex Before Marriage Adversely Impacts Relationships.” These media reports go on to claim that early sex “stunts” relationship development and causes “unhappy” marriages. However, if you look at the actual data, it will become apparent that these reports are sensationalized and that it is far from clear whether early sex is truly “harmful” to our romantic lives.
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