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Study Cohabitating Couples No Longer Should Feel In The Wrong

Close to half of all marriages will end in divorce within the first twenty years, according to a new government study, and it stands to reason that living together, first, might help to reduce these odds.

This new survey, which queried some 22,000 men and women, found that while living together once predicted a higher rate of divorce, that’s no longer true. Today, living together is no longer an unusual thing, but rather, the norm, with some 60 percent of all couples cohabitating before marriage.

Co-Director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green in Ohio suggests that the common nature of living together plays a role in why this is no longer a significant factor for predicting divorce. Unlike 50 years ago, there are few conclusions one can draw regarding a couple that lives together before marriage. Cohabitating is just the next natural step for many who get engaged and/or are focusing on education or work rather than marriage.

At 15 years, the divorce statistics are nearly identical between engaged and living together before the wedding to those who weren’t. Interestingly, couples that were engaged while living together do tend to go a longer distance.

The firm marriage commitment seems to be the big decider here. Couples with lax attitudes towards commitment are more likely to get divorced in the long run, taking their relationship for granted, it would seem.

In any event, this new study only helps to prove just how different the world is today from that which the Baby Boomers grew up in. Where so-called “living in sin” was once a 10 percent margin of the population, today it makes up what some might call the wise majority.

Source: ABC News, “Move-in Before Marriage No Longer Predicts Divorce,” Mike Stobbe, March 22, 2012