Does Shacking Up, Prior to Marriage Predict Long Term Success?

Posted by Sharon Jackson

When my cousin Ari got married ten years ago, I sat next to my Uncle Al, who then was about 80.  He was always sharp and witty, as he was handsome in a Clark Gable sort of way. We got around to talking about my personal life, as this is one of the favorite topics of many of my older relatives.  When you’re single or dating, as I was at the time, your older relatives all want to know, when you’re getting married or why aren’t you married. I had learned to take these well intended interrogations with a sense of humor. 

Science Daily, an online research journal has an article, “Couples who Co-habit, before Engagement, are more likely to Struggle,” offers some reasons why this happens.  The three top reasons couples stated for living together were 1) To spend more time together, 2) convenience and 3) to test the relationship.  To read the entire article, go to: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713144122.htm.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Linda Garcia-Rose has this to say, “To live together or not to live together,” that is the question for today.  Some research has shown that couples living together before marriage and/or engagement have a higher chance of dissatisfaction and divorce in their marriages.  I find that it would be very difficult and hard work after the, “Honeymoon period wears off.  I believe that it is imperative, for individuals in a constructive, successful relationship, to have an understanding of their REAL needs and wants.  To understand what you really want and what you do not want by looking deeply into the self, independent of outside pressures, norms and rituals.”

Garica-Rose continues, “If you feel forced or will resent something, think very deeply about your decisions. Then agreeing and setting boundaries about living together, your commitment to one another and the future would all be keys to success.  Bottom line, is if you do not spend a significant amount of time working individually and together to make your relationship successful, it will probably end up like over 50% of failed relationships independent of whether you live together or not before marriage.”

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2 Responses to Does Shacking Up, Prior to Marriage Predict Long Term Success?

  1. Milynda says:

    You said you had wished you had spend more time focusing more on your career, skills and developing yourself, I also believe that has a lot to do with age….I personally think everyone should wait until they are at least 30 years or older, so they do have the time for they’re career and to just grow into themselves…..But being 40 now I can’t imagine if I ever got married again, I would absolutley want to live together before ever getting married….Hopefully by 40 you know who you are and what you want to be, lol

  2. CoupleWise says:

    Even when you’re 40, you’re still growing and changing. It’s different for each person to have a sense of when they feel ready to make a commitment with someone. I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and flip flopped around a lot well into my 30’s. I also never had a long term relationship that lasted more than a year up until then and had a history of choosing partners that were in many ways, not healthy for me. That was a total reflection of what I thought of myself. I believe that as you love yourself more and feel deserving of being treated well, you will attract someone who also feels that way about themselves. If a part of me believes that I’m not good enough, then I’ll find people to mirror that and the relationship will most likely have many levels and layers of dysfunction. What I like to refer to as toxic. Several years ago I was drawn to study Kundalini Yoga which is a really deep style of Yoga that really penetrates the psyche. Basically, all yoga does, but this style is known for it’s incredible ability to really transform the negative emotional and mental parts of ourselves in a much faster and profound way than any other yoga style. Yogi Bhajan, who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West Coast would tell all his students, “You have to dump all your garbage every day!” He was referring to the Yogic exercises, chants and mantras that all the students would do so their minds don’t keep getting filled up with all the neurotic and negative mental habits/tendencies that prevent us from being clear minded and fully realized. All that is to say, most of us walk around with a ton of baggage that gets in the way from having nice relationships and once we can dump our own, we’ll see ourselves having better relationships with others no matter what our age.

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