This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most of us, but over half of men (52%) age 18-26 who live with their partners are “not certain” their relationship is permanent. More troubling, a whopping 41% of the men also say they are not “completely committed” to the relationship, according a new study by the National Marriage Project. Out of the women, 39% in the same age group who live with their partners are not certain their relationship will last, and 26% say they are not “completely committed.”
In my mid-20s, I was definitely in the group of women who lived with a partner and wasn’t certain the relationship would last. As I’ve mentioned before, I moved in with a boyfriend mostly out of convenience. We started dating in Missouri and when I said I wanted to move to Chicago, he asked if he could come with me. With no jobs lined up and not much in savings, it just made financial sense to pool our resources and get a small place together. Did we think we’d be together forever? Eh, we never even discussed it. I was more concerned about next month, not next year, and certainly not five or ten years down the road.
I’m sure many young couples in the 18-26 year-old age group feels similarly when they move in with their partners. And while the cohabitation experience isn’t all bad — you learn valuable lessons about living with a partner that you can apply later in a more committed relationship/ marriage — it does make ending the relationship much, much more challenging. I know I stayed in my relationship about two years longer than I really should have (four years total) simply because the idea of moving out, finding a new place and/or roommate, and splitting up our stuff all seemed so daunting (on top of the regular heartache of ending a relationship).
In light of the study’s findings, an article in The Atlantic lays out three ‘cautionary notes for young adults considering moving in together (which don’t differ much from my tips, except that my tips include pooping):
Talk about the future. Both parties–but especially women, given the statistical averages–should be aware that their partner may not be committed to a common future. A long-term cohabiting relationship may prove to be an obstacle, rather than a springboard, to many young people’s goal of getting married and starting a family. Defining the commitment in the relationship (DTCITR) is a matter best addressed before co-signing a lease.
Get on the same page. Couples are more likely to flourish when they share common, clearly communicated goals for their relationship. But given the disparate purposes cohabitation now serves–different people see it variously as a courtship phase, an economical way to save on rent, a venue for convenient sex, a prelude to getting serious, or an alternative to marriage–young adults often end up living with someone who doesn’t share their relational goals. Couples considering living together would be wise to talk through the goals they want to accomplish in that move, and make sure they are on the same page.
Don’t slide into marriage. Research by psychologists Scott Stanley and Galena Rhoades, indicates that many couples begin living together without clear expectations, common values, or a shared commitment to one another. And after a time, some of these couples get married, in part because friends, family, and they themselves think it’s the logical next step. But without common values and a shared sense of commitment, the couples who slide into cohabitation and marriage, instead of purposely deciding to deepen their commitment to one another, are more likely to divorce.
Related: “Women who cohabit prior to engagement are about 40 percent more likely to divorce, compared to those who do not cohabit. By contrast, couples who cohabit after an engagement do not face a higher divorce risk. Those who cohabit only after engagement or marriage also report higher marital quality, not just lower odds of divorce.” For what it’s worth, Drew and I lived together a year and a half before getting engaged, and though we’ve only been married four years this month, our marriage remains strong, and I don’t think cohabitation ruined our chances at a long and happy future together. Then again, we were well past the 18-26 year-old age group researched for this study…
[via The Atlantic]
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 1:25 pm
Women who cohabit prior to engagement are about 40 percent more likely to divorce.
I wonder why that is. It seems strange to me, since those woman were likely given a pretty good impression of what married life would be like before getting married.
Bunnycsp July 9, 2013, 1:31 pm
I think it is people who are morally ok with living together are also morally ok with divorce. Like women who won’t live together might also think divorce is never an option. Just a thought.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 1:33 pm
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 1:37 pm
You could be right for some people but I know quite a few who lived together before engagement and are fundamentally against divorce (with a few exceptions). I don’t think any of us should jump to conclusions.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 1:39 pm
I def think bunny’s idea was one of the reasons. I’m sure there’s a few.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 1:56 pm
Yes like me, and a range of other people. Most moved in together no more than a few months before getting engaged. It’s definitely ONE of the reasons, but I didn’t like the generalization that seemed to be coming through.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:05 pm
I feel like its very different if you are moving in together knowing the an engagement is imminent though. Like, you only moved in together because you knew you were about to get engaged, not just to move in together with no real plan of getting engaged any time soon.
FWIW, I think there’s a ton of people like bunny’s example. Especially the religious folk. And more traditional, older folk. I only add that because I know my mom and Peter’s mom, when dating after their 1st marriages, refused to live with their boyfriends unless they were married and refuse to divorce again (actually Peter’s mom was widowed).
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:14 pm
I agree there are A LOT that fit the example she gave. But I think there are a lot that don’t.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:16 pm
Do you think an imminent proposal makes any difference?
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:37 pm
Yes, of course.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:39 pm
The questions where most likely phrased in a very black and white sense, as studies often are, I think its a subject with at least a few shades of grey. Such as people who are moving in with an expectation of engagement in X time frame rather then “let’s just live together!” and/or doing it for the convenience/money savings.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:52 pm
This is why all scientific studies just shouldn’t happen anymore, amiright?
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:55 pm
Clearly. Down with scientific studies!
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:13 pm
I kick myself sometimes for moving in with Chuckles when I did. I ALWAYS said I wouldn’t move in without an engagement. So much so that when I told my roommate that I was moving in with him, she immediately looked down at my finger for the ring. I mean, I knew that he was MY endgame, but I still wasn’t sure that he felt that I was HIS endgame. (I now know that I was incorrect in this assumption, but he didn’t communicate it very well!). I ended up moving in with him because we needed to get him out of his living situation since it was making him depressed. Way to stick to your own guns, Jessibel!
I have noticed a distinction with my friends in that the couples who don’t cohabit before the wedding make faces when you ask them how marriage is, since they’re still adjusting to living with each other. The couples who cohabit before marriage seem to have an easier transition and do the “nothing’s changed!” thing. I think that old adage “the first year of marriage is the hardest” probably comes from the fact that living together is a hard adjustment that leads to fights!
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:15 pm
I would move in with you without a ring.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:25 pm
That’s because we’re in love and know it’s forever 😉
Also, because you know I’m awesome to live with. There’s porn, beer, weed and Die Hards 1, 3, 4 and 5 on a continous loop in my house 24/7 😛 We don’t count the 2nd one, it doesn’t exist.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:49 pm
I’ll be over in 5! Just gotta throw some undies in my purse! I can borrow your PJs, right? Who am I kidding, we’ll sleep naked right?
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:02 pm
I even have an extra toothbrush for you.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:13 pm
Do you guys see how awesome my soon to be wife is?! I mean, really!
SpaceySteph July 9, 2013, 3:22 pm
I think the reverse of what bunny said is more true. That people who are against living together before marriage are also likely to be morally against divorce.
Bunnycsp July 9, 2013, 4:06 pm
isn’t that what I said?
SpaceySteph July 9, 2013, 4:08 pm
Well you started with ” people who are morally ok with living together are also morally ok with divorce” which I think is not true nearly as often as the reverse… that people not ok with living together are also not ok with divorce.
Bunnycsp July 9, 2013, 2:04 pm
It isn’t universal but makes up the difference in the gap. Like 15% of people that live together will get divorced more easily and 10% of people will not get divorced even if there is abuse or something awful. that explains the gap, not the rule.
Painted_lady July 9, 2013, 2:34 pm
Well, but since there are a *few* exceptions, you’re not fundamentally opposed to divorce. There’s nothing wrong with that, really!!! I think it’s more wrong to resign yourself to a miserable life than leave a marriage where fundamental incompatibilities exist or develop. I think it’s more wrong to stay in a relationship where one partner is cruel and refuses to treat the other as an equal than to recognize it and leave. I think it’s wrong to have consistent and deliberate deception and/or infidelity than to part ways. But I don’t think many people enter into marriages with the mentality that, “Eh, if it’s too much trouble, we’ll just divorce.”
I think maybe bunny meant more that couples who cohabitate are more likely to do what’s right for them than what’s expected by family or society. My parents love Walter and were so excited that we were doing something that made us both really happy when we moved in together. But they had to get used to what exactly that entailed. Walter’s mom basically begged him to marry me before we lived together. We had to have a certain sense of self to be able to say, “I know you guys would like this to go differently, but this is what we want.” And with that, comes a stronger sense that sometimes what’s going to work for your life takes precedent over what tradition and society dictate.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:42 pm
Well my exception is abuse, so yes I would say I am fundamentally opposed to divorce. (I feel the need to clarify that that’s my PERSONAL belief for me, not a judgment on anyone else.)
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 2:49 pm
Haha, what? You don’t want to enter into a discussion on whether you’re shaming people who get divorced? 😉
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:51 pm
Haha, NO I do not. 😉 There is not enough beer in my immanent future to get me through that conversation again.
Painted_lady July 9, 2013, 3:20 pm
Except you seemed to get offended when bunny suggested that you might be more likely to consider divorce an option, which I interpret as you thinking something’s wrong with that.
I’m not saying, and I don’t think anyone was, that there are many, if any, people, who get married without thinking, “We can work through ANYTHING!!!” And you should, otherwise why get married? But the attitude that it’s only how determined you are not to get divorced that means you’ll stay married kind of hits home right now for me, because I think my parents are on the verge of divorce and it kills me watching my mom realize how much of her own happiness she gave up because she thought all she had to do was work through it. I know now, there can and should be a line that you can’t cross, that there’s only so much misery one partner should have to suffer, that if it ceases being a partnership, you have every right to leave.
And I’m sorry, this is probably hitting me a lot more personally right now. I’m sorry if I’m offending, and I’m not trying to shit on yours or anyone’s marriage.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:25 pm
Of course I wasn’t happy when it was implied I was more okay with divorce! And your reaction is exactly why I quantified that it was MY belief for myself- not to be applied to anyone else (unless they choose).
I’m sorry your parents are having a rough time, I’m sure it must be very difficult to witness as their child.
katie July 9, 2013, 3:27 pm
why is it so bad to be ok with divorce though? i dont get that.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:40 pm
It’s not “so bad” in general. I have no issue with other people making the choice to get divorced. I believe marriage in a life long commitment two people make and baring things such as abuse, you don’t get divorced. You figure it out.
But that’s what I believe for me. I also believe everyone has the right to define their own relationship in their own way and that just about everyway you definite is good and right and that person’s personal decision.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:48 pm
by “definite” I mean “define it”
One day I will learn to spell.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:28 pm
I don’t think anyone has an eye toward divorcing when marrying though. And you said you even have dealbreakers, like I presume almost everyone who is married does. So you would be okay with divorce IF a dealbreaker happened.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:44 pm
Yes, of course. If GatorGuy suddenly crossed a deal breaker I would 110% divorce. (Drink!)
And like I said above, what other people decide for their own relationships is great! To each their own! I don’t look down on people for their life decisions- no one really knows what’s “best” or “right”, I’m just doing my version of what’s right and everyone should do their version.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:47 pm
painted_lady July 9, 2013, 3:48 pm
Well, and there’s some stuff that people don’t even know to plan for, you know? The “unknown unknowns” as the saying goes.
Right now what’s happening with my parents is my dad is unilaterally making MAJOR decisions about their lives and never even consulting her. Like, bought my brother a brand new truck a couple of years ago (he was 20) and let him move back in a few weeks ago with his girlfriend while my mom was out of town. My mom had already said he was NOT to move back in, and my dad never even called to discuss it. So my mom doesn’t even get to decide who lives in her house. It’s fucking ridiculous, and how the hell does anyone plan for a spouse failing to acknowledge that the other has a say? And if the other doesn’t even acknowledge that the problem exists, how do you work on it?
And no, it’s not abuse, it’s not infidelity, it’s not the other dealbreakers people list when they talk about good reasons for divorce, but holy hell, the man just up and decided he gave no shits what her opinions were, or that she even had any. Who could or should stay married to that?
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:51 pm
It could maybe fall under emotional abuse or neglect if you’re trying to find a box for it. What ever you call it, he’s acting pretty shitty.
I just want to reiterate- what I believe for MYSELF doesn’t have to be anyone else’s truth. I’m not judging anyone for their beliefs, just sharing mine. And I’m definitely not trying to say I know the right answer!! Because I really don’t, I’m just trying to do me.
katie July 9, 2013, 3:53 pm
yea, i mean, it think its much more accurate to say that your not ok with divorce until your ok with it, like until your life gets that shitty.
i mean no one plans on it, of course. no one also plans on getting their house foreclosed or going bankrupt or whatever- but it happens. and those are things that arguably you have more control over then a marriage.
theattack July 9, 2013, 3:53 pm
So sorry your family is going through this. That must be really difficult to be in the middle of. It’s interesting though because that’s an absolutely solid reason to divorce, but no one would ever think to list that in their dealbreakers. There are so many dealbreakers that people have and don’t realize, I’d imagine.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:54 pm
Oh sure, I think a dealbreaker can be determined before and during a marriage. You can add new ones to your list any time.
Best I can say for your mom is at least she is realizing now, rather than spending her entire life like that. Sorry PL.
painted_lady July 9, 2013, 4:09 pm
@GG – I don’t think this part of it is necessarily emotional abuse, but I think part of the reason it’s escalated to this point is that he has been emotionally abusive for most of their marriage, and she’s of a personality type that just caved to avoid the conflict. Now, though, it’s getting more blatant, and she’s started standing her ground, and he’s just…mystified.
And I get your approach to it as well; you know your relationship and what GatorGuy is capable of, so the idea that he would become my dad is pretty insane. Same with Walter – he’s nothing like my dad – and I can’t think of a whole lot I know him to be capable of that we couldn’t work through. It’s silly, but a lot of this comes from my mom being, up until about ten years ago, pretty damn smug that she had it all figured out. The key to having great kids is just to have high expectations…and then my brother came along and fucked all that up. And the key to staying married was just to work through it, dammit! Watching her for the past few years, I realize, nothing’s that simple. And the second you think it is, it’s like fate needs to prove you wrong. So yeah, it sucks being caught in the middle, but it’s also given me a reality check on the nature of relationships.
theattack July 9, 2013, 3:50 pm
Not that this was your point, but some people are definitely thinking about divorce when they get married, especially women. My husband was just talking last week about how a lot of his female clients recall that they knew they would get divorced when they were walking down the aisle. It’s bizarre, but I guess some people do it.
painted_lady July 9, 2013, 3:55 pm
Oh yeah, that’s definitely true. The people who think, well, for crying out loud, we’ve put the deposit down, no backing out now!!!!
Which, I wonder, if smaller weddings were more of an accepted thing, how many more people would be comfortable with backing out? I feel like, the bigger the wedding, the more pressure to follow through.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:58 pm
This is a little older but “Among the newlyweds, 47% of husbands and 38% of wives said they had doubts.” That’s incredibly high, IMO.
theattack July 9, 2013, 4:11 pm
@PL, That is a good question. I’d be interested to know how many people hang in there because of the wedding, because of social pressure and/or embarrassment, or because they don’t think they can do any better.
Also in the Army town I live in, people marry just for the increased housing money. They might not see a forever commitment, but they see a 12 month lease in a much nicer apartment.
Bunnycsp July 9, 2013, 4:49 pm
Do you think that is 20/20 hindsight? Like, they had “cold feet” right before the wedding then when the divorce comes around they look back at those feelings and say “I always knew…”
applescruffs July 10, 2013, 1:00 am
There are other reasons, but she is right – other studies have parceled out some of the variables and that definitely contributes.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 1:41 pm
I think it has a lot to do with what Wendy mentioned, how they let the relationship go on longer than it should because ending it would be more inconvenient. After moving in together, the next step is either get married or break up, and some women might be distracted by the bright, shiny party as the end game as opposed to the break up, which you know is gonna hurt.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 1:42 pm
As in, that couple was wrong for each other from the start but because they moved in together never broke up. A couple made up of two people not right for each other is more likely to get divorced, right?
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 1:45 pm
Makes sense too. Pretty crazy though to jump from knowing you’re moving in for the “wrong” reasons, knowing the relationship needs to end, and then marrying since you can’t bring yourself to move out. Sad really.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 1:53 pm
I know, right? I know two couples that did just that. And with another, she left him a few weeks before the wedding. They moved in together after college for convenience and he proposed to her because he figured it was the next step in the relationship and what they “should” be doing. She later said she never should have accepted his proposal and wanted to say no when he asked, but she didn’t want to break up, so, she said yes instead.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:07 pm
Oof, I wonder how many women say yes even when they don’t want to.
ktfran July 9, 2013, 2:12 pm
Or say yes when she thought that’s what she should want then got excited about planning her dream wedding and finally a few months into the engagement decided it was all wrong.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:18 pm
Honestly, I think the people that realize that then are lucky! Better then than after!
ktfran July 9, 2013, 3:34 pm
Oh, for sure!
Skyblossom July 9, 2013, 5:47 pm
My cousin said yes when she really wanted to breakup. She had decided to breakup but before she could he got orders to go to Iraq. He was in the National Guard. She felt that she couldn’t breakup with him as he was shipping out so she decided to wait until he returned but days before he left he showed up at her house with a ring and proposed. Since she felt that she couldn’t breakup she accepted the ring and they were engaged. While he was in Iraq she planned the wedding and when he returned they got married. That marriage lasted 18 months. I was stunned that someone as smart and articulate and confidant as she was would not know how to say no to a man. Even if she felt that she couldn’t breakup she could have said she wasn’t ready to get engaged. I think the engagement took her by surprise and she didn’t know what to do.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:11 pm
This also made me think of all the times where one dumps the other and the other then proposes just to keep their partner.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:22 pm
Haha, my husband did this with his first girlfriend! They were engaged for a whopping 3 days. He was thinking about proposing to me with the same family ring and his mother was like don’t you effing dare!
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:23 pm
Good call MrJessibel’s mom! Haha.
3 days?! You MUST share the story on that one.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:25 pm
My sister’s ex (the one I ranted about) did that. Thank God she said no! I should give another update on that actually. Its so sad to hear her now acknowledge how bad it was, WAY worse than we thought, yet she says she was too ashamed to admit it. She’s just so happy now, it makes me want to cry.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:47 pm
They were young, they’d been together since they were 13, and were 23 at the time, I think. From what other people tell me, she never really loved him, but he thought the sun rose and set with her and was constantly trying to “keep” her. They were living together. She was bulimic, he was a manchild, she cheated on him a few times in the past, and I guess there was this other guy she was getting close to towards the end, who was married. So the way he tells it, they had this conversation because he thought he was losing her to this guy and he proposed to her. She said yes, they told their families, all is well. Three days later she goes to a wedding without him because he wouldn’t change his plans to go to it with her. He had bought tickets to go to the Baseball Hall Of Fame induction of his childhood hero the second they became available, and she had only met the bride less than a year earlier and they weren’t really all that close, so he didn’t feel a huge need to go to the wedding with her. They had discussed it when she got the invite, and they came to an agreement that he wouldn’t go because the induction was so important to him. Later, she came home and told him that she had never felt more lonely than at this wedding and ended it.
The stories I hear about her, she seems to have had an issue with owning decisions she made as compromises. Like, they would agree on a compromise, then she would punish him for it every time.
True story, Chuckles’ brother ALSO used that ring to propose to a girl who said no, because he was too fat. The ring is cursed, I tell you! It also has a major, visible flaw in the diamond. Satan lives in that flaw!
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:01 pm
Damn! Sounds like it.
Boosker July 9, 2013, 5:48 pm
Haha, I’m dying over “Satan lives in that flaw.”
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 1:44 pm
I’ve always heard this as the “sliding into marriage” thing. You live together for 3 years, you both just turned 30, it’s time to get married because you both want marriage and a family. Oh well we already live together we might as well get married.
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 2:10 pm
Ugh, my roommate’s friends just moved in together and the guy had previously been talking about how he’s not sure he wants to commit to his girlfriend and that he wanted to move in on a trial basis. Of course, leases in NYC don’t really allow for that. I’m concerned for their future…
MMcG July 9, 2013, 2:25 pm
Exactly! I think the “engaged” before cohabitating is just a bit of a cover for “have an agreed upon mutual outlook that includes each other in the future” which is why it skews the numbers. You don’t have the have the ring on your finger to be really figured out about your future.
Some people, as we have all learned on DW, have clearly no clue what they are doing and end up in the wrong place because they never put the time and effort in to really think about it 😉
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:50 pm
yes, this is exactly what I’m trying to say, but as usually my words aren’t working.
rachel July 9, 2013, 1:45 pm
I really think a lot of it has to do with the “don’t slide into marraige” advice. I think a number of couples get married because it’s the next step, and don’t really evaluate the relationship and if it’s what they really want. They get all caught up in the excitement of engagement and weddings and don’t realize they don’t really want to be with each other until it’s too late.
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 1:50 pm
It may be that they divorce for reasons unrelated to getting a preview of marriage. Their partner cheats, they cheat, someone loses interest.
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 1:51 pm
I mean, in addition to RELATED reasons in a way that bulks it up.
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 1:54 pm
OK, this is my second reply to myself. I misread the original statistic. Disregard what I said.
Addie Pray July 9, 2013, 2:16 pm
Mathematically speaking if women who cohabit prior to engagement are about 40% more likely to divorce, wouldn’t the same be true of men?…. Or is this stat from a study of same-sex couples?
bagge72 July 9, 2013, 2:48 pm
I was wondering the same thing! If one divorces, they both divorce.
Lindsay July 9, 2013, 3:38 pm
Also, I think it’s important to note that this is just one study. There was one publicized a little over a year ago that said there was basically no difference anymore: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/04/16/cohabitation_does_not_lead_to_more_divorce.html.
So maybe it’s true, and maybe it isn’t.
Sara July 9, 2013, 4:02 pm
I think Bunny’s words make sense. But I also wonder if people think that “making it legal” will somehow change their partner or living situation. I think that some people who get married are looking for something to change (a more attentive partner or a more equitable distribution of housework) since their status becomes “official.” When nothing changes, though, maybe these people know better that they want out?
MissDre July 9, 2013, 4:06 pm
I would agree with that.
rachel July 9, 2013, 1:33 pm
Wendy, I assume you mean you’ve been married four years this month 😉
Wendy July 9, 2013, 1:44 pm
Ha ha, yes. Fixed it!
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 1:51 pm
I was never open to the possibility of living together before marriage because I didn’t want to be financially fucked if things went south. I had other reasons, such as wanting to bond over the experience of living together during the first year of marriage, but the financial reason is the most practical one. I’ve seen so many people get screwed out of rent money and deposits due to a breakup. The bf and I are now open to the idea of living together once engaged just due to practical reasons of the timing (moving for his job), but not before then. I also never wanted to act like a wife without being a wife. And I don’t think anyone needs a “trial” run of living with me (or me him) after knowing me for years on end and spending extended period of time with me. I know I’m an oddity for not living together before marriage, but I’m glad to see research that supports my ideas!
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:08 pm
I don’t think I’ve ever thought of the experience of your first year of marriage also being your first year of living together and the bond that would create. That would’ve been cool! Oh well. I’m picturing the whole carrying you over the threshold into your first home. Now I’m sad.
Christy July 9, 2013, 2:17 pm
I just can’t imagine moving right after planning a wedding. That’s honestly one of the biggest things for me. Like, moving is enough of a pain in the ass. (And I love moving other people!) But I wouldn’t want to have to schlep all of my things AND perhaps my spouse’s things into a new home, and unpack while I could be having newlywed sex.
Quite frankly, lol.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 2:20 pm
You could always just have sex in lieu of unpacking. 😉
Christy July 9, 2013, 2:40 pm
Are you kidding me? And leave everything unsettled?
Sorry, totally my first instinct. I’d be way too stressed out about moving to have sex.
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 2:56 pm
Yes, you’ve never seen Christy move anyone. It’s quite an impressive and purposeful activity.
Christy July 9, 2013, 3:05 pm
Right, didn’t you stop by my apartment like 2 days after I moved and I already had all my books away, even?
Seriously, you guys, I LOVE moving people, but I take it very seriously.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:21 pm
I loathe moving, but I’m like you. Its all gotta be unpacked in a week, pictures hanging and all.
paperheart July 9, 2013, 4:11 pm
You guys would hate me. We moved into this apartment a little over 2 months ago (I think) and we still have like 5 boxes in the closet that haven’t been unpacked yet. I tend to just unpack things as they’re needed.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 4:13 pm
I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I did that, haha. I WISH I were like you!
Christy July 9, 2013, 8:02 pm
When I moved into my old apartment I didn’t unpack some boxes of books for over a year. I really wanted my new place to feel like home, though, so I unpacked everything on the same day. I had a ton of help, too, so that really helped.
And I keep a few boxes always packed in my closet of souvenirs and knick-knacks for my future house.
rachel July 9, 2013, 4:14 pm
Can one of you come by and hang my pictures? It’s been 3 weeks and I’m getting depressed at my blank walls.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 4:18 pm
I’ll take them after you. I’m going on 3 months and no pictures hung and one bookshelf that is upstairs is missing its books. Where are they, you ask? Oh, the middle of the floor in the dining room! Books are heavy, guys 🙁
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 4:28 pm
I’ve lived in my apartment for 2 yrs and I have 3 pictures hung (none waiting to be hung, I just haven’t decorated). The blank walls are depressing but I don’t feel like spending money on decorating.
Christy July 9, 2013, 8:00 pm
Hah, the handyman was coming by anyway, so I had him hang my wall art. I hung two framed posters, and he hung six other things. I didn’t want to mess up the walls + I don’t have a hammer yet.
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 2:58 pm
Yeh I don’t think it’s a ‘we won’t cohabitate until the day after our wedding” sort of thing. It’s more of a general “we need to married thing”. For us personally, we’ll probably live together once we’re engaged just because of the timing. I also don’t see our sex life changing much after our marriage? Is that weird? I mean I just don’t expect MORE sex due to the excitement of getting married since we already have sex. I think the newleywed sex is maybe from people who don’t have sex yet?
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 2:59 pm
The first line I wrote made no sense! but yeh, I didn’t mean we get married and move in the day after marriage.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:04 pm
My sex drive has amped up by like 3 fold since we got married (and we had years of sex before). Nothing has changed other than a legal document signed and he’s wearing a ring. So, yeah for us getting married did change our sex life, in a good way!
Christy July 9, 2013, 3:08 pm
Do you think it’s a marriage bump or a “thank GOD I’m no longer planning a wedding” bump?
Regardless, mazel tov!
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:11 pm
I think it’s part that there is no more wedding planning stress, part just a high from getting married, and a tiny part that it’s “ok” and “acceptable” for us to have sex, so let’s do it all the time.
Also the ring is sexy.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:12 pm
Might be age too.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 3:15 pm
Could be, I am about to turn 28. And that we’re thinking babies in a year or so so my body is excited? IDK. I don’t really care what the reason is, I’m just thrilled I want it!
katie July 9, 2013, 3:09 pm
i could see having better/more/greater sex after you get married, but just because its a happy time and its centered around you guys and your love anyway.
i mean, we have great sex sometimes just because its christmas or whatever. its happy.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:21 pm
We were all over each other last week because we had a really great conversation last Saturday. I’m not even talking a life changing, huge decision conversation, but like a “we shot the shit and had fun” conversation. It’s weird what amps you up sometimes.
theattack July 9, 2013, 4:08 pm
I don’t know. There’s something pretty sexy about someone just declaring in front of everyone they know that they’re committed to you above all else and that they love you. Our ceremony was not the least bit romantic, and we’re not mushy people AT ALL, but there was a heightened level of intimacy that came with our vows for us.
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 4:27 pm
Well it’s a benefit of marriage I never thought of 🙂 I mean we have a good sex life now, but I can see how marriage does create more intimacy and thus more desire for sex.
MissDre July 9, 2013, 2:57 pm
@Kerrycontrary, I feel the same way as you. I’m also definitely not religious in any way and I’m not opposed to divorce. I just don’t want to live with anyone until we’re engaged.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 1:54 pm
I think The Atlantic is doing everyone a disservice by NOT mentioning pooping in their article.
Addie Pray July 9, 2013, 2:13 pm
What does the study say about 34 year old women who have always been alone, will they always be alone? No? Yes? Should they get a roommate? And maybe a Havanese too?
bethany July 9, 2013, 2:36 pm
It says no to roommate, yes to dog.
mrmidtwenties July 9, 2013, 2:47 pm
If I read the study correctly, 34 year old women who have always been alone will find the man of their dreams in approx. 6 months? That was my interpretation anyway.
bagge72 July 9, 2013, 2:53 pm
It says 34 year old women who have always been alone are the same as 24 year old women who have always been alone. They are still very young, and have there whole life a head of them, except they are better at telling the guy what to do in bed.
Anna July 9, 2013, 10:59 pm
Probably the same thing it says about 29 year old women who live alone with absolutely no men in their lives and spend anywhere from 50 up to 80 hours a week at work. I’ve found that a wine box is the best roommate at this stage in life. It gets me buzzed and doesn’t care whether or not I’m wearing pants.
Christy July 9, 2013, 2:13 pm
I honestly think that so long as you do it intentionally (as in you actively choose to live together with the goal of being married), living together before being engaged isn’t any predictor of marriage success. That’s why Wendy and GG don’t really apply: neither of them slid into cohabitation. They were both taking active steps towards marriage. (Even if you, Wendy, hadn’t planned on moving in quite then, you were already changing time zones for Drew.)
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:20 pm
I agree with you so hard. I took a class in college on Human Sexuality and the professor gave us this statistic and then was like THIS IS UTTER BULLSHIT. Because the statistic doesn’t allow for the people who move in as a step towards marriage as opposed to the people who do it out of convenience. If you separated those two groups, the former group would have a low divorce rate, but the latter group would have a very high one, and the two being combined skews the number, and the perception of pre-marital cohabitation. (These is a paraphrasing of what my professor said. I can’t remember his name, but he did assign me a paper on orgasms, so he’ll always be cool in my book).
Fabelle July 9, 2013, 2:37 pm
Ah, off-topic, but I also took a Human Sexuality class & it was SO AWESOME. Our professor passed around a vibrator (like, a really, REALLY hardcore one, although it wasn’t shaped like a dick or anything) & told us to turn it on. Watching all of the girls’ facial expressions was priceless. (& I’m sure I didn’t have a poker face on, either…) But yeah, that class ruled & I’m so glad I took it (it was one of my electives)
But, uh, anyway! I agree with both you & Christy about the topic at hand.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 2:58 pm
I wonder if we were in the same class 😛 My professor passed one around too, and the guys were all “uh..ew…whaaat?” and one girl blurted out “Oh, I have that one!” and got all red faced once she realized what she said, lol.
My favorite was the lecture on male ejaculation. He was talking about seminal fluid contents and how there’s fructose in it. Then he goes “why is there fructose in semen?” and I muttered under my breath “so it tastes good”. He stops and looks at me and laughs, and I’m all “what, you set yourself up for that!” My punishment was having to answer the question correctly, lol.
Then when we were all done with the class doing review for the final, he goes “ok, are there any questions, any at all?” Some guy raised his hand and goes “uh, yeah, I still don’t get it. I just don’t understand. Can we like, have a demonstration in class?” I swear the prof worded things in specific ways to get the comedic commentary from the students.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:08 pm
I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but my brother was telling me about having to sedate a guy to pull out a 15 inch dildo from his toosh. 15 inches people!!!
Christy July 9, 2013, 3:13 pm
See also: man anuses.
Guys, it’s been a long day at work.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:23 pm
Wait, what? Only women have tooshes?
Christy July 9, 2013, 3:57 pm
It was a thought progression of “man, anuses can take a lot” to “plus dudes have prostates and i hear that’s fun” to “haha, man anuses, i made a pun” to “i’m out of control.”
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:58 pm
Ohhhh, sorry, I’m an idiot. That’s funny!
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 4:15 pm
This thread has totally made my day and realize why I love the DW community.
Fabelle July 9, 2013, 3:18 pm
haha @Jessibel! I bet he did, my prof seemed to like doing things like that, too 🙂
And ouch, @ LBH. That reminds me of this BBC special I saw once that was called “Embarrassing Sexual Accidents” (picture that in an enthusiastic British accent). Most were less “embarrassing” & more “absolutely cringe-inducingly horrifying”, though?? (Like the one about cement mix 😐 )
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:29 pm
Was Richard Gere the narrator?
To this day I am still proud of the fact that I know the REAL reason there is fructose in semen.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:30 pm
What is it?
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:36 pm
Sperm motility! Fructose is a sugar, and sugar is energy! It provides the energy the little spermies need to make their long, arduous journey through the uterus!
Fact I also learned: Y (boy) sperm are faster than x (girl) sperm due to that extra piece of the chromosome not weighing them down. It is also theorized that the y chromosome will be extinct in a matter of centuries because it is such a weak organism.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:38 pm
She’s smart too, guys!
katie July 9, 2013, 3:39 pm
wow, so sperm actually eat the other fluids in there as they make their journey?
ive heard that about the y sperm vs. x sperm too, and how you can use that to get the sex of a baby you want by timing ovulation with ejaculation… haha
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:43 pm
Yes, and I’m so using those methods.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:46 pm
I don’t know if it’s eating as much as it’s…osmosis or diffusion and then …chemical reactions!. Not sure which one (osmosis or diffusion). One’s solids, one’s liquid and I don’t know what you’d classify the white stuff as…Wikipedia will tell me, but I don’t want to search about that at work…
katie July 9, 2013, 3:47 pm
haha, yea i mean at least give it a try, right? why not?
if i remember right, its you have sex during ovulation if you want a boy, because they will swim faster and implant first, and if you want a girl, you have sex before ovulation so that all the boy sperm swim up and die and then only the girl sperm are left when the egg actually comes.
something like that, lol
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:31 pm
Rarely have I thought that a man could experience pain similar to childbirth. Having to be sedated to pull what looks like an arm out of your ass, by cutting your toosh open…I’d say that’s pretty damn close!
katie July 9, 2013, 2:43 pm
yea, and can i just say how i hate that these studies make divorce seem like the worst thing ever and staying married as the goal? like, what about all those people who are in loveless, terrible, unhappy, maybe even abusive marriages? they are lumped into the category which is insinuated to be successful. thats ridiculous.
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:53 pm
Yes! Thank you! It’s all screwy!
bethany July 9, 2013, 2:34 pm
I think studies like this are kind of pointless… I mean, yes, the statistics are what they are, but there are such a range of reasons behind all those numbers, I don’t think you can use them to accurately predict what will happen in the future of anyone’s relationship.
I certainly don’t think my husband and I are 40% more likely to divorce, because I lived with him before we got married. And I’m not naive enough to think that our relationship is going to be rainbows and sunshine all the time either, just because we were both “completely committed” to the relationship when we moved in.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I bet it would have been a little fun to live with a guy with no intentions of ever having a future with him. Like living with a college boyfriend for a year or something… I dunno, seems kinda cool to me 🙂
Fabelle July 9, 2013, 2:40 pm
Haha I kind of agree, now that I’m in a long-term relationship & we’re both attempting to meticulously plan for our eventual moving-in together (& yes, we discuss the “forever” future, & engagement shortly after the move & all that), it almost seems like a wild & crazy “let’s just move in together! Right now! Fuck the future!” thing at age 18-26 (I am 26 now) would’ve been, I dunno, fun?
Christy July 9, 2013, 2:44 pm
Fab, I didn’t know you were older than me! (So I just checked fbook, and you have the same birthday as my brother–neat.)
To make this comment worth everyone’s while, my gf has already started despairing at the lack of hockey. (DRINK!)
Fabelle July 9, 2013, 2:54 pm
Oh cool, I love knowing about my birthday twins 🙂 (Wendy said her husband is the same day as me too, if I remember?? So funny)
Oh, & I forgot—everyone better drink for my random vibrator comment above. Oops, haha
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:24 pm
Peter wanted me to take the day off yesterday to elope!
katie July 9, 2013, 3:25 pm
thats cute. you should have!
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:35 pm
🙂 I didn’t shoot it down immediately, to be honest. But I did have a very important meeting yesterday.
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:32 pm
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:35 pm
Whatevs. A few comments down you’re talking about some dude and you having good sex. 😉
Jessibel5 July 9, 2013, 3:37 pm
I know. I just have to get that pesky divorce out of the way and then we’ll be free for each other. 😉 OMG how topically humorous my comment just was!
GatorGirl July 9, 2013, 2:48 pm
You’re first two paragraphs are what I’m trying to say above I think. There are SO many factors that go into a relationship- the blanket stats mean little to me. I don’t think we’re 40% more likely to divorce because we lived together before marriage.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:25 pm
Maybe you are just 60% more likely to not divorce? 🙂
kerrycontrary July 9, 2013, 3:03 pm
Despite my view of not living together before marriage, I totally agree with you on the reckless decision. Like living with a college boyfriend one summer and just being lazy and having sex all the time.
bethany July 9, 2013, 3:10 pm
Yes! Day drinking and being generally irresponsible! Sounds amazing to me 🙂
katie July 9, 2013, 3:06 pm
i wonder what other statistics on socially-perceived “fuck ups” would say. like, how many people went bankrupt and the purchases that lead to that. or, how many people bought a home and then went into foreclosure and the steps that lead to that, ect. i bet you could scare people into doing or not doing a lot of stuff.
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2013, 2:51 pm
Somewhere around the world HMC is shouting a big “I told you so”.
MissDre July 9, 2013, 3:00 pm
And MissDre is backing HMC up all the way 😉
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:25 pm
katie July 9, 2013, 3:28 pm
HMC is way into not living together before marriage.
actually, that should be her thing for the drinking game. drink anytime HMC posts a link proving that living together before marriage is a bad idea.
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 3:29 pm
Oh really? How did I miss that?
Addie Pray July 9, 2013, 5:23 pm
yea, how do we not know this – and how does everyone else know this?!
Eagle Eye July 9, 2013, 3:50 pm
Hah! Yes! And I only come out of the woodwork to engage with her about that (Hooray for living together before marriage with no immediate plans for either engagement or marriage – although we do communicate shit out of our relationship/ feelings about our relationship/ timelines about our relationship – so, whatevs.
HmC July 10, 2013, 12:36 am
Omg I just posted “booyah” on the bottom of this thread and then replied to a few comments… so hopefully you guys were playing the drinking game!
Ha! I thought I kind of slipped in under the radar on this site, it’s weird that people know me for anything, let alone this. But, not so bad I guess, I do feel pretty strongly about it! Obviously. 😛
HuggaWugga July 9, 2013, 3:34 pm
Blergh, what is it about articles from “The Atlantic” that freak me out most of the time? I’m moving for a new job in a few weeks, and I’ll be about 3 hours away from my boyfriend of 2 (non-consecutive) years (we’re about 11 hours apart now). We’re talking about him moving to my city, finding a job, and moving in together in the next year or two, and then I had to go and read this. I love him very much, and I would marry him if he asked, and he knows I want marriage in my future. He’s a little slower-moving than I am, I know this very well, and it hasn’t been a problem for us since we’re pretty good at communicating with each other. But now I’m having nightmare scenarios in my head where we move in and are suddenly together for several years without ever marrying, and I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the moving in thing if I knew that marriage was eventually part of the plan. Basically, it’s hitting me more than ever that moving in could be a big make-or-break thing.
And it’s clear I’m doing a good job of freaking out about it, since this is still only in terms of hypotheticals for the next year or so. Is this one of those situations where clear communication is the answer?
HmC July 10, 2013, 12:34 am
Yes! A good conversation, or even a wedding, does not guarantee permanence, but you’ve got a whole lot better of a shot at things working out if you bite the bullet and have a talk about what you want before giving your living situation to someone else.
bittergaymark July 9, 2013, 3:39 pm
“In other rather unexpected news, sources today revealed that Dear Wendy’s own bittergaymark is bitter, gay, and yes, even named Mark…”
LadyinPurpleNotRed July 9, 2013, 3:41 pm
WHAT? How did I miss that! Today is full of shocking news.
mrmidtwenties July 9, 2013, 4:15 pm
I wonder if Roxy wants to live together before our wedding? Anybody know? I kinda just wanted to meet her at the ceremony
lets_be_honest July 9, 2013, 4:35 pm
John Farrier July 9, 2013, 5:07 pm
I wouldn’t feel comfortable cohabitating. I understand what it means to be dating and what it means to be married, but cohabitating would be an ambiguous and muddled middle zone. If I’m not committed, I want to be able to exit the relationship without having to find a new place to live. If I’m committed, then I’m not concerned about the need to exit.
I’ve heard it said that the difference between being single and married is the difference between asking “Is this going to work?” and “How do we make this work?” It certainly jives with my experience both single and married. Cohabitating uses the first question, but creates enormous logistical problems if the answer is “no”. Cohabitating works for other people, but it would never have worked for me when I was single.
Christy July 9, 2013, 8:06 pm
Ooh I really like your second paragraph.
HmC July 10, 2013, 12:31 am
Good explanation, I feel just about the same. Another thing I’ve heard that I like, is that cohabitation combines the worst parts of being married and being single. Intermingling your life and finances with someone you’re not yet sure about, then getting married because it’s the easiest thing to do? No thanks.
artsygirl July 9, 2013, 6:15 pm
The problem with this study for me is that it is VERY subjective (I read the original report because it was interesting) . Saying that they love their partner ‘a lot’ is not a scientific measurement so it means different things to different people. Americans are programmed from a young age to adhere to certain gender stereotypes including women being more expressive about emotions so they might be more comfortable making statements regarding feelings and long term plans.
HmC July 10, 2013, 12:29 am
Booyah. Reason 1,212 I don’t want to cohabitate until I get married. They just keep coming.
snoopy128 July 10, 2013, 1:24 am
Oh man, my boyfriend and I are planning to move in together in September, and all I keep seeing are these stats and lists of things to do or discuss before moving in together and it freaks me out. Part of it is the stress of trying to find a place right now. But I definitely freak out with each ‘list’ I stumble upon, and then realize that I think we are on the same page, but make a mental note to have another “we are thinking the same thing, right?!” chat.
It’s funny how so many friends keep telling me (at 22),that “the next thing you know, you will be engaged”, because we are both on the same page that engagement isn’t in the near future, but we do see a future together (like 2+ years into the future).
Articles with stats like these though don’t hold much weight for me. You can just as easily find another study or article proving the opposite or saying it doesn’t matter. How you ask the questions and how you interpret them determine what answers you get.
I understand people who don’t want to move in before engagement (or before engagement is very close), and I understand those who do want to cohabitate (me), but I also shake my head at some couples who move in together. I guess it’s so case-by-case.
SasLinna July 10, 2013, 7:51 am
I had moved in with my ex and we broke up about 9 months after that. It certainly sucked. Looking back, I think we actually had a conflict about the level of commitment before we moved in and while I had wanted to sort the commitment out first & then move in, he wanted it the other way around. For reasons that are hard to explain and have to do with the particulars of our situations at that time, we moved in together anyway without resolving this. In any case, at least in our case, the moving in really forced the issue of commitment even more and didn’t lead to any sliding into anything. It just blew up in our faces really quickly and it was a hassle to move out again after we broke up, but it didn’t make me choose a marriage that would have been wrong for me.
What’s different with my new partner is that I don’t think the issue of moving in together will even come up as a separate issue – not tied to making a commitment for a future together – anymore. I’ll move in only if I’m sure we’re heading towards that (doesn’t necessarily imply marriage for me). If we commit to a plan for a longterm future together, then I’ll be happy to move in with him, and until then I’m not in a hurry to do that and prefer keeping the security of my own apartment.
SasLinna July 10, 2013, 8:08 am
As for the statistics, I think it’s hard to separate the impact of the variable “moving in before permanent commitment” from other factors, like attitudes towards marriage & divorce in general. What always puzzles me a bit about the sliding into marriage theory is that an assumption is made that people will slide into marriage just because they live together, but then suddenly become proactive enough to divorce. The sliding thing is simply speculation – an idea that might explain the numbers, but that should be separately studied by asking people if they think they slid into marriage etc. Another thing is that only couples that actually married at some point are in the statistic. Couples who moved in and broke up before marriage are not. But it would be important to consider if moving in before a permanent commitment could also have the positive effect of ending a relationship that’s not a good fit before it moves to marriage. I certainly think that’s a possibility – there must be some married couples who didn’t live together before marriage and only find out after marriage that they’re ill-suited for living together and then divorce. They would be one divorce less in the statistic if they had lived together before marriage and found out it wasn’t working well. I sometimes sense a conviction that “no married couple will separate for reasons that have to do with difficulties living together” behind the whole “no cohabitation” thing and I just don’t see any reason to believe that.
SasLinna July 10, 2013, 8:33 am
Oh, another thing. Not living together before marriage won’t change a frog into a prince. It’ll only make sure – if you believe the sliding theory – that you won’t slide into marriage with THAT frog. You might still end up married to frog if he agrees to marriage without living together first. So… the only thing that really matters is being able to tell frogs from princes. And honestly, if you have found a prince probably it won’t matter much if you live together before marriage or not…
Crazy in Love July 16, 2013, 11:24 am
I think this depends too on a number of factors. Age of the couple, maturity level, degree of responsibility, etc… My husband and I moved in together after knowing each other for two weeks. We had both been single for quite a while, knew exactly what we were looking for in a lifetime partner, were in our 40’s, each with a failed marriage under our belt, were responsible adults, etc… We had a few bumps in the road, but through very open communication, we have been able to work through all disagreements / discussions and have a very beautiful marriage. We’ve been married almost six months. As much as we love each other, we both have said if we had met earlier in life, we would not have dated because we were at different phases in our lives. Timing is everything.