Dating before marriage essay
As Jay said in an interview, “I have clients who say ‘I spent years of my 20s living with someone who I wouldn’t have dated a year if we had not been living together’”.
More sobering still, is research which suggests that “couples who otherwise would not have married end up married because of the inertia of cohabitation.” They slide their way right down the aisle: “We might as well share an apartment since we’re already spending so much time together” becomes “we might as well stay together since I might not be able to find someone else,” and finally “we might as well get married since we’ve already been living together for so long.” This may be especially true when the couple is over thirty, and when more and more of their friends start getting hitched.
In , clinical psychologist Meg Jay, who specializes in working with twenty-somethings, observes that living with one’s significant other tends to be more like “an intersection between college roommate and sex partner than a lifelong commitment between two spouses.” She describes the experience of a typical cohabiting couple: “They vaguely had the idea of testing their relationship, but they didn’t venture into areas that typically stress a marriage: They didn’t pay a mortgage, try to get pregnant, get up in the night with kids, spend holidays with in-laws when they didn’t want to, save for college and retirement, or see each other’s paychecks and credit-card bills.” “Living with someone may have benefits,” Jay concludes, “but approximating marriage is not necessarily one of them.” It may also be the case that the positive benefit of getting to know all of a partner’s lifestyle quirks during a period of non-martial cohabitation, are balanced out by the negative relational habits picked up during that time.
Research has shown that “Spouses who cohabited before marriage demonstrated more negative and less positive problem solving and support behaviors compared to spouses who did not cohabit,” a finding that held even when “sociodemographic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal functioning variables” were controlled for.
When two lives become so thoroughly intermingled, separating them out, starting all over again, will take a lot of effort; the prospect becomes a little daunting.
A 2012 report from the CDC likewise posited “that the association between premarital cohabitation and marital instability for first marriages may have weakened over time because it is less apparent for more recent birth cohorts.” What’s important to note here, however, is that while there may be emerging evidence that cohabitation isn’t them, either.Further, even when couples who cohabited before marriage don’t actually split up, there’s evidence to suggest they’re less happy in their marriage than those who moved in after the wedding.Many older studies have found a link between prenuptial cohabitation and a decrease in martial satisfaction, while more recent research showed that, even when controlling for selection factors, married couples who had lived together before getting married (or engaged) walking down the aisle.deciding.” Two-thirds of cohabiters are in fact sliders, who didn’t much discuss the decision to move into together. This lack of deliberation may be due to the common view of living together as a fairly low-risk proposition; if things don’t work out, the thinking goes, we’ll just break up and move out. But while splitting up when you’re living together is certainly logistically and legally easier than getting a divorce, it’s a lot more psychologically difficult than many couples realize. But even a minimal investment can lead to lock-in, especially when we are faced with switching costs.As Jay explains, cohabiters fail to anticipate how factors known in behavioral economics as consumer “lock-in” and “switching costs” operate not only in the marketplace, but in relationships as well, and can make sliding into a relationship a lot harder than sliding out: “Lock-in is the decreased likelihood to search for other options, or change to another option, once an investment in something has been made. Switching costs—or the time, money, or effort it requires to make a change—are more complex.