Cohabitation, or living together before marriage, is more popular in the United States than it has ever been before. One reason for this is that many people believe that it makes the odds of divorce go down. They get to “test out” what it would be like to be married without actually getting married, so, if they don’t enjoy it, they can simply break up without actually getting divorced.
On the other side of the spectrum, though, you have those who say cohabitation increases the odds of divorce. They may point out that many couples enjoy living together in the early days of the relationship, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to run into challenges — like debt, sickness or children — that often lead to divorce.
To sort this out, some experts say that you really need to think about why you’re cohabitating and how that can impact the relationship. If you move in together because you’re in love and you want to spend more time together, it may just help your relationship flourish. Just as they often refer to the months after the wedding as the “honeymoon phase,” living together at any point can make you feel emotionally closer.
However, if you’re living together because you feel like you have no choice, it may be a negative. One example given is if one person can’t afford rent because they’re unemployed, so they move in with the other person. This can just create stress and resentment and may make divorce more likely if the couple does get married.
Whether you cohabitated before marriage or not, if you’re considering divorce, be sure you are aware of what legal steps you’ll need to take.