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Entries in cohabitation (13)

Friday
Jan312014

Marriage-Free, Not Fancy-Free

As a relationship scientist, I frequently consider research findings when making personal decisions in my life. The most recent personal decision I’ve made was to move in with The Consultant, a man I have been dating for some time now. Unfortunately, most of the research out there about cohabiting doesn’t quite map onto my particular situation. Although some research findings do seem to apply to us, such as cohabiters being more liberal, less religious, and more egalitarian compared to their married peers,1 other findings do not apply so clearly. 

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Tuesday
Nov122013

Weddings: Size Matters…For Some More Than Others

One of the more surprising things about the scientific literature on dating and marriage is that there are very few studies of the events that signify the “beginning” of dating and marriage relationships. For example, we still know fairly little (on the scientific front) about how relationships form in the real world. We can look at processes in the lab, and even simulate events (e.g., speed dating studies) that should, presumably, lead to relationship formation. But, for all our efforts, capturing real relationships as they develop has proven a formidable challenge.

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Wednesday
Oct232013

Living Apart, Together: Why Some Couples are Forgoing Cohabitation

First comes love, then comes…? These days, the answer may be a U-Haul truck. For many couples, moving in together is a key decision that transitions them from a dating relationship to a long-term committed partnership. However, a small but growing minority of long-term couples across a number of Western countries – such as Britain, Sweden, and Canada – are choosing to forgo cohabitation entirely, preferring to keep their separate homes. This phenomenon is referred to as living apart together, or LAT.

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Wednesday
Jul102013

Are Cohabiting Men Less Committed?

Friday
Jun142013

Have We Been Dating Too Long?

I've been in a relationship for over 5 years. We are both still young and plan to get married eventually in the future. I was wondering if there are any down sides in having long-term relationships. I feel very secure and confident in our relationship, but just as I've heard that short relationships (or courtships) can be a bad thing, I'm wondering if it works the same for long lasting relationships? -- V.N.

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Wednesday
Jan232013

Late to the Game, Happier in Relationships

According to a recent study published in Psychological Science,1 teenagers who wait longer to have sex experience different kinds of romantic relationships later in life compared to teens that start having sex earlier. This 15-year longitudinal study (beginning in 1994 and concluding in 2009) tracked teenagers’ sexual activity and long-term relationships into their late 20s/early 30s. Those teens that had sex before age 15 (23%) were considered “early” sexual bloomers. Most teens (60%) had sex for the first time between the ages of 15 and 19, which scientists consider normal for American teenagers (thus, “on time”), and 16% of teens reported having sex for the first time after age 19, and were labeled “late” sexual bloomers (8% of the sample did not report having sex at all in their lives).

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Tuesday
Oct022012

How Thoughtful Are You about Your Relationship Decisions?

There are lots of decisions to make when you’re in a relationship. Some are mundane: what to eat for dinner, which movie to go see, or where to go on vacation. Other decisions are more important for the development of the relationship: when to say I love you, when to have sex, whether to move in together, and whether to have children.

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Tuesday
Sep112012

Two’s Company. But Is It Necessarily Bad Company?

Last week we were fortunate to publish a post on cohabitation guest-authored by two of the foremost experts on the topic. Their research addresses one of the more controversial and hotly-debated patterns of findings in the relationship science world: the marriages of couples that live together (cohabit) before tying the knot often fare worse than the marriages of couples that do not cohabit prior to marrying (commonly referred to as “the cohabitation effect”). There are a number of possible explanations for this effect, (and remember, correlation does not equal causation), but the purpose of this follow-up post is not to dig into those explanations (for now). Rather, I want to put the authors’ key conclusion in context for all those who might be second-guessing their decision to shack up after reading this post.

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Tuesday
Sep042012

Should We Live Together? A Question Worth Asking

Many people believe that living together before marriage is a good idea because it helps couples test out whether they are a good fit and ready for marriage. Is he too messy? Does he leave the toilet seat open? Is her mother too involved? Is she a neat-freak? Can we manage finances well enough together? Many think that cohabiting will teach us something important about each other that we need to know before tying the knot. It’s counterintuitive then that some research indicates the living together before marriage, particularly before engagement, is associated with higher risks for divorce.

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Tuesday
Apr242012

Fact Checking Cohabitation and Marriage

Recently, people in the mainstream media have been talking about how cohabitation (living with a partner out of wedlock) impacts marriage, beginning with a New York Times article, continuing on Slate.com (here and here) and The Daily Beast. The question at hand concerns the so-called “cohabitation effect,” or the idea that the mere act of living together causes less marriage satisfaction later on and increases the likelihood that those marriages will end in divorce.

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Thursday
Aug112011

"Honey…Have I Gained Weight?"

A recent study suggests there is a connection between how long couples live together and the incidence of obesity and obesity-related behaviors. Specifically, women’s chances of becoming obese increase significantly after the first year of cohabitation; men’s chances are highest between the first and second year of shacking up. Possible contributing factors: increased socializing (e.g., lots of food), decrease desire to maintain weight (i.e., why bother?), and extra snuggle time (i.e., decreased physical activity).

The, N. S., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2009). Entry into romantic partnership is associated with obesity. Obesity, 17(7), 1441-1447.

Thursday
May192011

Ask Dr. Loving: Have We Been Dating Too Long?

I've been in a relationship for over 5 years. We are both still young and plan to get married eventually in the future. I was wondering if there are any down sides in having long-term relationships. I feel very secure and confident in our relationship, but just as I've heard that short relationships (or courtships) can be a bad thing, I'm wondering if it works the same for long lasting relationships? -- V.N.

Dear V.N.;

I am presuming that when you ask about downsides of long-term relationships you are referring to whether or not the length of a premarital relationship (what researchers and your grandparents refer to as “courtship”) affects marital outcomes if and when the couple marries. You have heard correctly.

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Tuesday
May032011

Visualizing the State of Marriage

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: WE LOVE DATA. And we really like data when it's visually captivating. Here's an interesting graphic representing tidbits about marriage in the United States over the last five decades. One of the more alarming trends is the rising divorce rate for those with low socioeconomic status relative to the economically privileged, also known as the "marriage gap," proving once again that being poor sucks.

<-- click on the image to the left to supersize it.

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