The “Cohabitation Effect” No Longer Applies to the Success of Marriages

The “Cohabitation Effect” No Longer Applies to the Success of Marriages

According to a new study, the cohabitation effect may no longer be the governing law surrounding cohabiting couples and the likelihood that their marriage will succeed. The cohabitation effect is a theory put forward by sociologists detailing an association between living together or cohabitating before a marriage and the likelihood that the marriage would fail. The cohabitation effect stated that living together before marriage actually made the marriage more likely to fail as a result due to heightened expectations from living together and disappointments that marriage did not change the couple’s behavior.

The Flaws of the Cohabitation Effect Study

In a recent study, however, the opposite was found to be true. The problem: the numbers in the original study looked at all couples but did not account for changing trends in our society. The original study grouped couples who had been married during the ‘50s and ‘60s, with young couples who had married more recently. The major difference: the trends of our current society and the state of marriage as seen by adults in their 20s and 30s now. In the past, couples used their marriage as the capstone of their lives, where their goals and accomplishments came after the marriage and used the marriage to build upon the rest of their goals and ambitions.

The Research Behind the Newest Study on Cohabitation Effect

Couples these days largely establish themselves professionally first and then marry, making them more likely to be financially solvent and confidently established before taking on a partner. The other couples dealt with establishing themselves on top of the marriage, where tackling their dreams and ambitions went hand-in-hand with their marriage issues. This would lead to marital strife in the long run. In other words, what the original study failed to bring forth as the real reason behind the cohabitation effect is that those who cohabited and married and then divorced were more likely to be very young when they cohabited. They may have been too young to make the best decision for themselves.

According to the most recent study, people are marrying once they are financially solvent and educated, meaning they are older than their predecessors were. The divorce rate these days is actually better for those couples who established themselves first before marrying, and who waited until they were older to marry. The divorce rate today is still lower than 20 years earlier.

The Effect of Children on Cohabiting Couples

The study also reflects on another, emerging predictor of divorce in cohabiting before marriage adults: the presence of children. For those unmarried, but cohabiting couples, if there was a child begot by the relationship, there was a 57 percent higher likelihood of breaking up, in comparison to those couples who moved in together and did not have a child.

Several Other Findings Associated with Premarital Cohabitation

There are several other findings of the study that affect the cohabitation effect. First, the study showed that cohabitating influenced our emotional health positively. Going from being single to living with a significant other reduced emotional strife, and had a positive effect on depressive and anxiety symptoms. In addition, those that cohabited were more likely to gain stronger emotional benefits in their new relationship as opposed to the emotional benefits they received in their past relationships. The reason: people tend to be more selective in their new relationship as a result of bad past relationships, and tend to choose a partner better suited to them.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

With the cohabitation effect being reconsidered, there are still other factors that affect the success of a marriage. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can help guide you through several factors that may lead to a divorce and help you and your partner make your marriage last. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.