List of Pros and Cons of Cohabitation Before Marriage
There is a lot of advice circulating the internet regarding relationships most importantly, how to make them better to last the test of time. For anyone in a long-term relationship, you have probably heard sources advising you to live with your partner before settling down for marriage. Other sources warn that moving in together before engagement is not a good idea and it will only stall the relationship. You will also get the information from magazines and TV talk shows, and it can leave you confused on which direction to take. In this guide, we will explore the pros and cons of cohabiting before marriage.
Both sides of the divide hold a bit of truth to it but what you do when faced with the decision of whether you should or should not move in with your partner can make or break your relationship. In an online survey, over 70% of couples in the US in long-term relationships live together before marriage. The average cohabitating time is at least 24 months up from 14 months at the turn of the millennium. Of all the cohabitating couples, a mere 40% had transitioned into marriage, 32% were still cohabitating, and 27% of the relationships had ended. This shows that moving in together can result in any of the three outcomes.
Why Couples cohabitate
Presently, unmarried couples have varied reasons for moving in together. According to a 2009 study, over 60% of the couples want to spend more time with the person they are dating. 18% claimed that it makes better financial sense to live together given the rising cost of living and only 14% want to test where the relationship might end up.
In a study done in 2011 by Dr. Sharon Sassler, one of the professors at Cornell University and a social demographer interviewed 122 people on cohabitating, and the results indicated that two-thirds of the respondents revealed a fear of divorce. The overall result from the study is that many of the cohabitating couples did it to have a test run of marriage life and screen their partner’s real character.
Such test runs might prepare you for married life; however, several studies have shown that cohabitating unmarried couples start to have negative interactions, physiological aggression, less confidence in the relationship, and more. These red flags have the potential to break a relationship that took years to build before the toll of the wedding bells.
The biggest problem with test run marriages is that it starts to feel like you are running towards a finish line and you might end up in a rut trying to run for the next finish line. When a cohabitating couple winds up in a bad marriage due to emotional and financial investment to make the relationship work, then this is relationship inertia.
The inertia is primarily relevant to couples who are not engaged to be married. However, for both the engaged and non-engaged cohabiters, there is a general feeling of less dedication to the relationship by both partners, which lead to reduced confidence in the happy outcome of the relationship. Compared to those who wait to live together after getting married, the rate of failed relationships in cohabitating couples is considerably higher.
However, it is not all dark and gloom for cohabitating couples. Let us explore the pros and cons of cohabitating before marriage.
List of Pros of Cohabitating before Marriage
1. Know your Partner Better
After getting married, most couples report seeing a side of their partner they did not know. It also comes with pressure from your in-laws and parents telling you what to do. However, cohabitating gives you the chance to know your partner better. It is an opportunity to know how to deal with each other when you get into an argument, and how to prop each other up after a bad day.
2. Better Financial Management
The economy is very volatile in the present age and managing finances can be an uphill task when you are alone. Both of you will learn to plan how to budget and spend your incomes to create a comfortable lifestyle. Living together allows you the chance to learn how to split financial responsibilities, and this is an important aspect of marriage.
3. Better Bonding
You can never learn a person until you have lived with them. When in a long-term relationship, it is advised to live together to strengthen your bond before your marriage. After the first few months, it becomes comfortable to think regarding ‘We’ and not ‘I.’ you will hardly get time for bonding after getting married given all the responsibilities you will take up, especially children. The bond created during your time of living together will continue into your marriage.
4. Better Prepared for Marriage
If you were to ask any wedded couple, they would tell you that marriage takes a lot of work. Many people end up getting divorced because they did not gauge its seriousness. Cohabitation helps you to get into the right mindset for marriage, and after a while, the idea of marriage ceases to seem scary.
5. Freedom to call it quits
Not all relationships end up with a happy ending, and you can easily pick up the signs of a failing relationship when you are living with your partner. Cohabitating is a better option than to realize that you married the wrong person. Cohabitating before marriage gives you the freedom to end the relationship without the stamp of divorce. It makes you wiser on how to choose the ideal partner for marriage after one relationship does not work.
List of Cons of Cohabitating before Marriage
1. Psychological Trauma
Breaking up of a long-term relationship has untold psychological trauma on both parties. Cohabitating requires a lot of investment, emotionally, as well as financially, and when the relationship fails, it leads to emotional imbalance and trust issues.
2. Reduced Passion
Getting used to seeing your lover on a daily basis can smother the passion in the relationship. Cohabitating can easily make both of you get bored with each other. It forces you to work harder to maintain interest in your partner who might not be ready to sweat to rekindle the passion.
3. Nowhere to Escape
When tensions flare up during the cohabitating phase of your relationship, there will be arguments and fights. You will have nowhere to escape to after such incidences since you are already living together. During these periods, you cannot go to your house to avoid the confrontations.
4. It Becomes the Norm
Statistics show that now more than ever, unmarried couples who live together can get used to just cohabitating. Especially for unengaged couples, the chances are that they put off tying the knot to concentrate on more pressing responsibilities and this makes cohabitating a norm.
5. Dulls Marriage
After having lived together for a while, you will not have the excitement once you get married. Couples who have never lived together before their marriage wait with excitement for their wedding night and the rest of married life. Getting married after cohabitating will not have any new source of excitement, and it will not be a big deal.
Overall, it comes down to having the maturity to deal with the highs and lows of cohabitating is the secret to a happy marriage. You will learn a lot that will prepare you for marriage. However, it can leave one in a worse emotional and financial state after the failure of the relationship. Set goals as well as time limits for when you are supposed to tie the knot, and you can keep score on the future of the relationship. This will pinpoint the pitfalls early before they arise and you will be prepared either to move on from your failing relationship or to start planning your wedding.