Living together is not conducive to living happily ever after

Since 1960, the number of cohabiting couples in our nation has skyrocketed from 450,000 to more than 7.5 million. As a motivation to move into cohabitation, couples have cited spending more time together, the ability to combine their financial resources, and the opportunity to “test drive” their relationship, possibly avoiding a divorce in the future.

These sunny hopes are darkened by the clouds of reality. Current research has revealed that, on average, cohabiting couples have substantially fewer joint economic resources than their married counterparts and, regarding the quality of their relationship, tend to report lower levels of closeness, love, and satisfaction.

In addition, cohabiting partners have substantially lower levels of commitment to their partners than their married counterparts. The anticipation of the dissolution of the relationship among both cohabiting men and women is twice as high as that of their married counterparts, and cohabiting men are even less likely than women to expect that their relationship will last. Although women may view cohabitation as a stepping stone to marriage, men tend to see view it as a different and unrelated arrangement.