Many couples make an early decision to cohabitate. It can seem like a natural next step, and it frequently leads to marriage. Moving in together might be a good way for a couple to decide if they are truly compatible. But many couples make the big move, begin to run into relationship trouble- and assume getting married will fix it. With today’s high divorce rate, it’s easy to see that this is a mistake.
In her study on the effects of cohabitation before marriage, Dr. Sharon Sassler of Cornell University found that two-thirds of people who move in together before marriage expressed dissatisfaction and had considered contacting a divorce attorney.
According to Pam Smock, a research professor at the Population Studies Center Sociality and Professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, too many couples move in based solely on the fact that it would be cheaper. It’s what she calls, “unplanned cohabitation.”
1. Moving in together to test the strength of the relationship
This is like getting into an airplane to see if it has a faulty engine. Marriage counselor, Kurt Smith says, “Living together should be a step taken only when it’s evident that the relationship and both of you are ready.”
2. There has yet to be a significant argument
Anyone who does not know how their partner will respond to disagreements, is taking a big risk. Sexologist and therapist Isaiah McKimmie says, “Seeing how your partner reacts when a difficult conversation arises is a key factor in deciding whether or not to stay with the person.”
3. Financial concerns have not been discussed
Many new couples are afraid to discuss money, fearing it will telegraph mistrust. Arguing about money is a major risk factor for divorce, and putting off financial discussions until things become difficult is a recipe for disaster.
4. A third ‘roommate’ is involved and is unsure about the move
Even if moving in really is the right thing to do, it may not be ideal for any current roommates or children from a previous relationship. If one partner is imposing an additional roommate someone who doesn’t like the idea- that couple is heading for rough waters.
5. One partner feels pressured to move in
If one partner is urging the other to move in despite strong reservations, he or she may not be very cognizant or respectful of the other’s feelings, and that’s a sign of trouble.
Each one of these scenarios potentially sets the stage for a failed marriage, and with the emotional, health-related, and financial cost of divorce. Anyone who does not want to receive an unexpected letter from a future spouse’s divorce attorney would do well to take these warning signs seriously.