Should You Live Together?

Shacking up may not doom your relationship after all

Hey, all you couples out there shackin’ up: Contrary to popular opinion, your relationship may not be doomed after all.

A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that the physical and emotional benefits enjoyed by married couples do not trump those shared by folks who live together.

The study, from Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, followed 2,737 single men and women from the National Survey of Families and Households for six years. During that time, 896 of those folks married or moved in with their partners. Compared to those who stayed single, those who tied the knot and the cohabitating participants experienced a spike in overall happiness.

Previous research has shown a higher divorce rate among couples that live together before marriage compared to those that do not, but the Cornell study says those findings may be outdated. Other research has points out the health benefits of marriage, but those studies usually compared married people to single people, ignoring cohabiting people.

“We found that differences between marriage and cohabitation tend to be small and dissipate after a honeymoon period,” said head researcher Kelly Musick, Ph.D., in a press release. “While married couples experienced health gains—likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared health-care plans—cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem.”

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Married folks: Did you live together before walking down the aisle? Single folks: Would you live with someone before marriage? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section below.

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