Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Pointing Fingers, Just Pointing Something Out

posted by Michele Olson

Does it matter if you live together? The answer is Yes and No.

Does that clear everything up?

A recent Washington Post article by staff writer Ellen McCarthy talks about living together and gives some good info from Denver psychologist Scott Stanley, who has spent the past 15 years trying to understand why pre-marital cohabitation seems to lead to lower levels of satisfaction in marriage and more likelihood for divorce for some people.

Many co-habitors will point to great success stories from co-habiting or tell of being saved from a lifelong union to someone who turned out to be a nightmare. But statistically from a study he conducted, almost 19 percent who lived together before getting engaged had at some point suggested divorce compared with 10 percent for those who waited until marriage to live together. This study mimics other reports that find the same trend in outcomes.

Stanley has coined the phrase: Sliding vs. Deciding and even has a blog by the same name. There seems to be a difference between someone who is thinking about a lifetime commitment and getting engaged and cohabitating, as compared to people who just sort of fall into living together as a next step in their relationship.

The bottom line that is particularly interesting and may be something to consider: cohabitation may make some risky relationships more likely to continue. For some people, living together is not harmless and it will affect their future in detrimental ways.

That means if you are going to cohabitate, you owe it to yourself to understand it before you just do it to save some money on bills, or assume it’s not a big deal.

Knowledge is power. Be powerful and intentional in your relationships whether you cohabitate or choose to not live together until marriage.

Are you cohabitating? Did you slide or decide to live together? Are you considering whether or not to cohabitate?

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