Phone: 301-738-7770
Steven J. Gaba
Phone: 301-738-7770

Does living together lead to a higher rate of divorce?

There are a great many beliefs that are strongly held within American society, and many of us carry these ideas with us throughout the course of our lives, shaping our decisions around what we believe to be true. In regard to social science, many of these beliefs are supported by research, which lends an air of authenticity to what many in Maryland already hold as conventional wisdom. The idea that living together before marriage will increase the risk of divorce is one such belief.

This concept has long been supported by scientific studies, and has become a widely held assumption. One recent study, however, asserts that the correlation between cohabitation and divorce is false, and is the result of improper measurement of social data. The study was recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The author of the study reviewed data collected from thousands of women across the United States, over a period of time from 1995 to 2010. This data shows that individuals who made the decision to move in together before getting married were more likely to divorce than those who waited until after the marriage to combine households. However, it was also observed that people who choose to cohabitate are also significantly younger than those who postpone moving in.

When the data was adjusted to control for the age of respondents, the correlation between cohabitation and divorce vanished. Social science has long held that individuals who marry before they have the emotional maturity to sustain a lifelong commitment have higher rates of divorce. Therefore, it was concluded that it was the age at which an individual marries, and not their choice regarding cohabitation, that increased their risk of divorce.

For those in Maryland who married young, the realization that the union is not sustainable should not be considered as a personal failure. We change and grow as we age, and as our body of experience within the world expands. When people marry at a young age, there are simply a greater number of changes that they will have to weather as a couple. Many people who go through a divorce are able to take the lessons learned and apply them to their future relationships, increasing their chances of finding a lasting and fulfilling bond.

Source: The Huffington Post, New Research Says Living Together Before Marriage Doesn't Lead To Divorce, Taryn Hillin, March 11, 2014

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