You’ve exchanged 'I-love-you's' and you’re spending most of your free time schlepping to and from each other’s places. You’re ready to take your commitment to the next level...no, not marriage. Cohabitation. But is it a bad idea to move in before marriage?
For a long time, people thought so. Older research suggests that couples who live together before marriage were less satisfied with their marriages and were more likely to end up divorced.
But research since then shows that cohabitation before marriage does not make divorce more likely. Instead, the important predictor of divorce is your age when you settle down. People who were 18 when they moved in together had a 60% divorce rate, whereas people who were 23 had a 30% divorce rate.
Besides maturity, another strong predictor of marital satisfaction and divorce is how intentional couples are in their decision-making process, which we wrote about here. Couples who are thoughtful and communicative about moving in together, as opposed to just letting things happen, have better outcomes.
Bottom line: moving in before marriage is fine. But sliding into cohabitation? Not the best idea, especially if you're young.