U.S. society once considered it scandalous for couples to cohabit before marriage. Some countries and cultures still think that way.
Nowadays, many Americans consider moving in together to see how you get on a wise move. While it may still seem radical to some, trial marriages have always been the norm in some cultures.
Why does cohabiting make sense?
When you date someone, you can choose what you let the other know about you. For example, you can give the impression that you always dress sharply or are always pleasant to waiters.
The more time you spend together, the harder it is to hide the side of you that you might not like others to see. It becomes almost impossible once you live together and share a bathroom and bed.
The research is inconclusive
Researchers have conducted several studies into the relationship between premarital cohabitation and divorce. They still have not come up with a definitive answer.
Previous research found that people who co-habited were less likely to divorce in the first few years of marriage. Researchers reasoned they had already got past those issues that can cause newlyweds to split within the first year or so.
The research was more uncertain about the long term, with some suggesting those who co-habited first were more likely to break up in the long term, perhaps because the concept of marriage was less sacred to them.
Recent research has highlighted deficiencies in those earlier studies. They mention small sample sizes, lack of long-term follow-up and the failure to account for differences between cultural or socio-economic groups.
Regardless of whether you cohabited before marriage or slept in separate beds until the big day, separation will be complex. Getting legal help to navigate the divorce process will be crucial.