A new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family finds that the “premarital cohabitation effect” lives on, despite what you’ve likely heard. The premarital cohabitation effect is the finding that those who live together prior to marriage are more likely, not less, to struggle in marriage.
Michael Rosenfeld and Katharina Roesler’s new findings suggest that there remains an increased risk for divorce for those living together prior to marriage, and that prior studies suggesting the effect has gone away had a bias toward short versus longer-term effects.
They find that living together before marriage is associated with lower odds of divorce in the first year of marriage, but increases the odds of divorce in all other years tested, and this finding holds across decades of data.
As researcher Scott Stanley has advised: it’s better to “DECIDE, DON’T SLIDE” into choosing a marriage partner!