Sunday night on ABC, former Bachelor, Sean Lowe, married Catherine Giudici, whom he met on The Bachelor. As heavily advertised and discussed ad nauseam, the two didn’t live together before being married and waited until their wedding night to have sex (their wedding theme was “Grown Sexy” and during the live broadcast of the wedding, the word “sexy” was uttered — usually by a very excited Catherine — at least 75 times; something tells me that maybe the actual deed may not have lived up to the hype in her head). Anyhoo, you might think that by waiting until marriage to live together these two have a better shot at staying together forever than couples who live in sin, but that isn’t necessarily so. In fact, in a new study, researchers have discovered that, in fact, couples who live together have better odd of stating together longterm.
The study found that a representative 18-year-old woman who’s never lived with a partner has a 16% chance of getting married by age 22 and remaining with her husband at least 12 years (i.e. “long term”). But if that same 18-year-old woman lives with a partner first and then marries him by 22, the odds of her staying with her husband at least 12 years increases six percentage points to 22%.
But let’s look at a woman with a little more age and wisdom and life experience. Women ages 24 to 28 who have never been married or lived with a partner have a 52% chance of staying with their partner at least 12 years if they live together before marrying. The odds shoot up to 78% among the same women who wait until 30 to 34 before ever marrying or living with a partner. Among women ages 24 to 28 who have been married or lived with a partner before, “cohabitation adds 148 percent to the probability that a relationship is formed and then maintained for at least 12 years. The contribution increases to 187 percent among those women who form a second union at ages 30 to 34.”
So, there you go — living together won’t wreck your relationship. And getting married before you live together doesn’t mean you’re doomed either. I’m sure a nice couple like Sean and Catherine, for example, will live happily ever after forever and ever. Reality TV couples always do.