Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
So, you’re considering moving in with your S.O. — but will the shared space lead to a stronger relationship or a breakup down the road? While it might seem like the obvious next step for you as a couple, even the progressive-minded likes of The New York Times and The Huffington Post have voiced concerns about cohabitation before marriage, citing stats of higher divorce rates among people who live together first. What’s a modern couple to do?
Luckily, a few recent studies have cleared up the confusion. According to The Christian Science Monitor, it’s not about if you move in together before getting married, it’s about your age when you do so.
Arielle Kuperburg, a professor at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, points out that one of the reasons people thought cohabitation led to divorce was because couples who live together before marriage tend to be younger than those who wait until they're married to share space. But, when researchers looked at the data more closely, the deciding factor was age: Couples who lived together before the age of 23 (whether they were married at the time or not) were more likely to get divorced.
The findings make sense, since emotional maturity has a huge impact on relationships. “People who think they are going to get married act the same as people who are married,” Kuperburg explained to the Monitor. “People who are not sure, they act very differently. They have different work habits, health habits. But, living together to ‘test drive’ the marriage? According to my research, that shouldn’t hurt marriage at all."
So, if you’re considering moving in with your S.O., don’t panic. Just know that waiting until you're a confident, capable adult and making a mature, thoughtful decision about living together will give your relationship the best chance of survival. (The Christian Science Monitor)