Couples who live together and then ‘slide’ into marriage because of the expectations of family and friends are more likely to divorce, new research suggests.
According to psychologists Scott Stanley, Galena Rhoades and Howard J Markman, many couples begin living together without clear expectations of the arrangement and then marry after a period only because it seems the natural next step, or because they come under pressure from family and friends.
Such couples are more 40 per cent more likely to divorce than those who made a positive decision to marry, the Mail reports.
The psychologists note:
“Although many have speculated that couples cohabit as a way to test their relationships, couples’ own reports suggest that many do not give the transition from dating to cohabiting quite so much thought. Instead, they report that living together just sort of happened…or that they slid into it…..”
“…cohabitation may involve increased financial commitments (e.g., a lease), increased difficulty to move on (e.g., moving out and finding another place to live), and increased social pressure to stay together (e.g., friends and family beginning to expect more of the relationship, including, in many cases, marriage). Thus, cohabitation could increase the likelihood of marriage, even among couples who are at higher risk for divorce or marital distress.”
The research was published by the National Institutes of Health.