According to LiveScience, the CDC reports that more and more couples are cohabiting. About 30 percent of these living arrangements will result in marriage, 27 percent of couples will break up and 32 percent will continue to live together.
This tells me that some couples are using it as a test run for marriage, while others are not necessarily "practicing" marriage but are thinking about marriage as a possibility. So how do you know if it's the right decision for you? Here are 7 reasons why living together first is a really good idea for most couples.
1. Young Adults Are Taking Longer To Secure Financial Independence
More and more young adults are living with their parents, and even those who live on their own are still financially dependent on their parents. Therefore, young people are less likely to commit to marriage until they're somewhat sure of their financial stability. Living together provides an attractive alternative.
2. People Are Living Longer
The average lifespan for people continues to increase. This means that committing yourself to a person when you're 25 years old means you're most likely committing yourself to at least a 50-year marriage if you stay together. This can complicate your decision. Do you really want to commit to one person for the next 50 or more years? Living together first can really give you a better perspective of what your significant other is really like.
3. One Person May Not Satisfy You Forever
The person who satisfies you when you're in your 20s is not always the same person who satisfies you in your 30s and beyond. You will likely find that your needs and preferences will change as you mature, and you may want someone different for your life partner as you continue your metamorphosis. Living together for a number of years before thinking about marriage gives you both the chance to see how you grow together as a couple. (Check out these relationship assessments to determine your compatibility.)
4. You Will Change
This connects to the previous point, but speaks to the idea that both of you will change. The hope is that you'll mature in the same direction, but you may mature in opposite directions. After a few years, cohabitation makes it easier to see if you're both headed on the same path. After all, you don't want to have a lifetime commitment to someone who's an entirely different person later in life.
5. It Provides Some Insight Into A Future Marriage
Older studies found that couples who lived together prior to marriage were more likely to divorce than couples who didn't. New research shows that this is no longer true. Although, while living together won't hurt your chances of having a successful marriage, it doesn't help them either. It seems living together has no predictive effect on whether or not your marriage will last. So you can't really considered living together a dress rehearsal for marriage, but it does allow you to access behavioral patterns in your partner. This can help you see your partner's faults more clearly so you can decide if they're ones you can live with. If not, you can call it quits before you exchange rings.
6. The Social Stigma Is Disappearing
There was a time not too long ago when living together without the benefit of marriage was cause for scandal. You'll still likely have grandparents and possibly great-grandparents who will judge you for living together without being married. However, this is much more acceptable today than it was in the past, so you likely won't have to cope with the shame and blame like those who cohabitated before you.
7. It Saves Money
One of the best reasons I know for cohabiting, particularly in our present financial environment, is that one household is less expensive to maintain than two. If you want to live independently from your parents and can't afford it, get a roommate. Often, this roommate is your romantic partner. (Saving money on bills is one thing, but please consider your exit strategy so it doesn't end up costing you more in the long run.)
Without an exit strategy, you may find yourself homeless or in the difficult situation of asking your "roommate" to leave when things aren't working out. Quickly having to find alternative living arrangements is expensive. Will you move back home with your parents, find your own apartment, try to afford the one you already have on your salary alone, find a new roommate? These are all questions you and your loved one should discuss before moving in together. After all, the statistics don't lie. There's at least a 27 percent chance this will not work out.
Simply put, being prepared and having options will prevent you from committing to someone who isn't right for you for the long haul, and living together before marriage allows you to do just that.
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