(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Living together continues to rise in popularity and approximately two-thirds of couples now live together before marriage. This number is compared to one-half of couples 20 years ago. Some couples living together today were raised by parents that lived with their spouse prior to marriage, so living together is encouraged and embraced within the family. Although living together is not the same as marriage, and doesn't lead to marital satisfaction, it is a lifestyle that helps couples feel less lonely and more secure. One of the concerns experts have with cohabitating lies within each partner's expectations of what living together means. Women's expectations are usually very different from men's, and where women believe living together shows commitment, guys may not.
Rand Sociologists are devoted to scientific studies on human behavior and have surveyed 2,600 couples who live together. Their results are intriguing due to many factors, but perhaps one of the most interesting findings was that cohabitating young adults had a significantly lower level of commitment than their married peers, especially prevalent in men. In the survey, 52 percent of cohabitating men between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age were not completely committed to their live-in girlfriend. By contrast, 26% of the women were not completely committed. Married men and women did not exhibit these results.
This study's findings of mismatched expectations places more emphasis on the reason you need to be direct and understand both partner's reason for wanting to live together. Below are six suggestions to help you talk to your partner prior to moving in.
1. How well do you know your partner and how close are you? By close I mean values, background, aspirations, goals, weaknesses, and needs.
2. How well do you communicate? Do you know how to work with conflict between the two of you, how do you both handle anger, and how honest are each of you with one another?
3. How committed are you? Are you willing to work through problems with your partner, or are there still things you are uncomfortable with?
4. Do you want children? Living together is not as stable or secure an environment to raise children as a healthy loving marriage. Couples who feel trapped to marry or commit after a child is born have difficulty letting go of their resentment.
5. Are you moving in with your partner as a way to "test them?" Bad idea. If you have to test them, then why are you seriously involved with them?
6. Are you or your partner mentally ill? If so, how well do you or your partner manage your illness? One of the biggest predictors of how well a person manages their emotional or physical health is their ability to take responsibility and be compliant with their doctor's advice. Going off and on medications, or dropping in and out of therapy without talking to your or their health care professional is a sign of irresponsibility. I would not advise moving in unless you know your partner takes responsibility for managing their emotional and mental health.
Research continues to support that living together does not help the longevity or contentment of the couple if they marry. In fact, for many it has the opposite effect of actually lowering the chances that the marriage will survive. Living together does not affect the married couple negatively if the couple is engaged when they move in together. Most likely this is due to the matter of commitment. Living together is not a commitment and that is why many choose it as a lifestyle. If you want to get married, then do not live with someone in an effort to trap or coheres them. State what you want, and be ready to move on if they are not ready for the commitment of marriage. -Mary Jo Rapini
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