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Shacking Up No Longer a Major Divorce Predictor

Yet another reason to live in sin.

By Kristin Wong Mar 22, 2012 4:49PM

Photo: Jordan Siemens/The Image Bank/Getty ImagesA new government study finds that men and women who live together before marriage no longer run a higher risk of divorcing like they did in years past.

Oh, but I should mention….being engaged helps.

"[Living together before marriage] is not playing as big a role in predicting divorce as it used to," said Casey Copen, the lead author of the study.

But the study, which surveyed 22,000 men and women, found that the divorce rate is higher if the shacking up couple isn’t engaged. So if you’re living together and marriage isn’t in the works, but you do eventually end up getting married, that marriage is more likely to end. How much more likely? About 7 percent.

If a couple is living together without an engagement, the chance of the marriage lasting more than 15 years is 53 percent. For an engaged couple living together, that number is 60 percent.

To explain the trend, Copen said the non-engaged couples might not take commitment seriously or have family histories that made them pessimistic about marriage.

So commitment seems to be the key word here.
Hillary Mickell first moved in with her husband when they were both students at Boston University. They now live in San Francisco.

"I sort of knew he would be part of my life long-term,” Hilary says of moving in with her husband before they were married. “I wasn't thinking, `He's moving in with me, is he ever going to marry me?'"

So it looks like living in sin won’t hurt your marriage…as long as you do plan on getting married.

Other interesting statistics from the study:

* Men and women with Bachelor’s degrees are more likely to stay married for at least 20 years. However, they also delay marriage.

* Asian women are more likely than other races to have a first marriage lasting longer than 20 years.

Mar 28, 2012 3:08AM

Instead of focusing on marriage - the focus should be on two people who want to combine their lives together for a common purpose (usually kids); however, a piece of paper doesn't make anyone more likely to stay together.  The key is to remain friends even when you can't stand to be by each other.  Committ to each other and the rest will work itself out - with or without the beneti of marriage.


Mar 28, 2012 2:39AM
Sorry to hear your life sucks, Man745. Bet did never occurred to you that maybe you're no day at the beach either, though, did it? If you have a lousy marriage, that's all on you and your choice of spouse. Getting married had nothing to do with it. I've been married to my best friend for over 20 years and we're more in love than ever. We have commitment, complete trust, a true partnership and beautiful children. That's the reward, but you do have to earn it.
Mar 28, 2012 2:36AM

love is a choice. We get married because we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. Sickness and health, better or worse, richer or poorer. Til death do you part. It is not suppose to be all about you anyway. If each person could get past themselves and put their all into the marriage divorce would not be on the table. My spouse isn't always pleasant to be around but it doesn't stop me from loving them. We expect what the media shows us a marriage should be like and it just isn't reality.Most couples are selfish and spoiled, that's why it doesn't work out for them.

Mar 27, 2012 10:51PM
Whether a couple lives together before marriage or not, the chance of a long-term successful marriage is improved with common goals and priorities.  Couples contemplating marriage should honestly talk about, and agree upon, such things as children, money, faith, family ties to extended family, and other issues that commonly become divisive at some point if agreement is not there.  You will not change someone after marriage, and you can't spend all your time in bed.  You have to develop an attitude of trust and support with each other, and commitment to a lifetime relationship.  Otherwise, you are headed down the road with multiple marriages, ex-spouses, etc. and divided relationships with any children involved.
Mar 27, 2012 10:07PM
I have no problem with people living in sin as long as there are no children from previous relationships involved. Women, if you have children from past marriages or from previous relationships, please get a sitter before dragging another man's kids to his house to partake in a 'booty call'. Nothing is more degrading to a child or children than to see his/her mum shagging with 4 different men in a weeks time OR having to explain this to the children when they come home to Dad with questions. I would say, Moving in with one another has got to be the dumbest idea ever AND marriage has definitely lost its appeal when a man is continuously raped in Family Court.
Mar 27, 2012 9:42PM
I agree with Man745.  I spend longer hours working just to avoid being proposed to.
Mar 27, 2012 9:36PM

What I'd like to see is a study on how owning a computer with an Internet connection affects a couple's chances of staying together.  That also includes Smart Phones. 

Mar 27, 2012 9:30PM
add me to the living with future ex wife before marriage...but it would not have been any different had we not lived together.  I would say a better indicator is age.  And even that is still probably too vague but it may be better than living together only because of life experieinces...but flipside, i know a lot of 40 year old brats both male and female.  I will say this:  For me the biggest turn off is when a spouse doesn't have your back in best or worst of times...not sure which time is more offensive though when a spouse bad mouths the other...
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