Living together before marriage generally gets a bad reputation as being a common factor whenever a couple decides to eventually file for divorce. However, new research from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro indicates that may not be the case at all.
The study, led by associate professor Arielle Kuperberg, found no correlation between cohabiting before marriage and filing divorce papers. A more common predictor, the research claims, is the age of persons who wish to cohabitate.
Age Not Living Together
Kuperberg said couples that choose to move in together prior to marriage are younger, “and because marrying at a young age increases the likelihood of divorce, it appeared in previous research that cohabitation did as well,” Huffington Post reported. Kuperberg, however, said that “once you control for the age variable, the correlation between divorce and cohabitation disappears.”
“The problem is that the couples are settling down at an earlier age, and settling down too young is what leads to divorce,” she said in comments to HuffPo.
Kuperberg reached the conclusion after examining data on thousands of married women in the United States from the National Survey of Family Growth covering the years 1995, 2002 and 2006 to 2010. Her findings were first published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
The research is greatly important, Kuperberg said, because “it turns conventional wisdom on its head.”
“For decades research has shown that cohabitation leads to divorce, and for the first time we can definitively say that cohabitation doesn’t lead to divorce and never did — that those earlier findings were a result of an incorrect measurement.”
While Kuperberg’s study did not give any indication that cohabitation followed by marriage resulted in stronger unions, it did take the stance that living together “doesn’t make things worse.” If you’re thinking of filing divorce forms (or already have), do you think cohabitation played a role? Share your thoughts in our comments section!