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.”