It's more common than ever to see girlfriends and boyfriends move in together before they get married or even engaged. Most people believe this is the best way to test out the relationship and make sure your partner is marriage material.
As common as cohabitation is, recent studies suggest that you might actually face a reduced risk of divorce if you choose not to live with your partner before marriage. Especially if you're in your 20s. More than 50,000 women participated in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), and some of the results were eye-opening.
Women in Their 20s Who Don't Cohabit Have Lower Divorce Rates
This study found that women between the ages 22-30 who married their partner before moving in together had some of the lowest divorce rates out of all the participants. This sounds pretty crazy, especially because we've heard many times before that it's better to wait until your 30s to get married so you can get to know your partner better, experience the dating pool, and live your life to the fullest before you settle down. Turns out that's not always the best advice.
More specifically, religious women in their 20s who get married without moving in first with their husband have the lowest divorce rates. It's not surprising that religious women are the least likely to cohabit before marriage, and they're also the youngest ones getting married, generally. There is certainly a strong correlation between being religious and finding success in marriage.
Religious women in their 20s who get married without moving in first with their husband have the lowest divorce rates.
Overall, It's Not a Good Idea To Live Together before Marriage
Research also found that women who cohabited with a man who didn't end up being their husband had a higher likelihood of getting divorced once they did eventually marry. And those women who did cohabit had a better chance at marriage if they waited to get hitched until they were 30 or older.
The Wall Street Journal reported on this research and clearly stated that there is a lot of data to suggest that Americans who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced (15% more likely, to be exact) and less likely to be happy in their marriage.
Americans who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced.
“We generally think that having more experience is better," a psychologist at the University of Denver named Galena Rhoades said. "But what we find for relationships is just the opposite. Having more experience is related to having a less happy marriage later on.”
One reason cohabitation may work against you is because the deep value of marriage is lost when you simply live together. Why would you tie the knot when you can get all the benefits you want from marriage without actually doing the paperwork and making the lifelong commitment?
Whatever age you may be, if you're single, all the research suggests that you'll have a better chance at long lasting love if you keep your apartment just for yourself.