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Relationships in the digital age

4 Myths About Marriage You Probably Believe

Close to half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. What is going on? Are we going about the business of marriage all wrong? Are we picking the wrong people? Or don't we know what to do when things start going south? A look at what science knows and we don't. Read More

Are you sure your take on

Are you sure your take on cohabitation is solid? You might want to check the raw data as opposed to conclusions. You're in a field where that matters. Psychology is extremely guilty of bias. You've showed a boatload in your article.

The research on which I

The research on which I relied is, of course, listed at the end of the article.

Life changes when moving from cohabitation to marriage

I experienced one of the things you talked about in #1. When my husband (of 34 yrs now) and I went from living together to married, I was shocked at the change in him. His behavior completely changed. I didn't understand it at first and was very hurt. Normally sweet, attentive, helpful and participatory, he got much grumpier. He was less caring towards me and much more grasping of what he wanted after we got married. I felt like I was something he was very kind to in order to acquire me but then once he had me for sure, he set me aside and went onto other pursuits. I was crushed. It took a tremendous amount of conversation and reflection for him to see that he had slipped on the mantle of his father in his parent's marriage. It worked out in the end but at first I was devastated.

That's so interesting and

That's so interesting and great that it worked out. I mean if 34 years isn't working it out, what is? My first and very brief failed marriage had this pattern in spades. He was older, had been married for over two decades, and had been unfaithful. We lived together for several years and then married and his patterns TOTALLY shifted back. i was young, 28, and bailed. But it happens all the time. I can name so many couples who went through this.

Thank you for #4. I am tired

Thank you for #4.

I am tired of hearing "the past is the past". It is not. People's past shows their true nature in many cases.

I would never marry a woman that had a high number of partners (5 is my limit). I don't believe that I could trust her, or that she would be happy in a monogamous relationship.

Besides, I'd feel like the chump that got stuck with the party bill.

To anonymous, I think you

To anonymous, I think you have a lot to learn about women and relationships if you think that's what sleeping with 5 or more people means about a person.

It is really sad that some

It is really sad that some men think the way you do.

Don't condemn cohabitation just yet...

Just an FYI, there has been significant criticism of the article used to support the first point about cohabitation. The authors failed to take into account peripheral factors that may have affected their data, specifically, age of partners at the time of cohabitation and marriage. Follow-up studies have failed to replicate the negative effect of cohabitation when these factors are controlled for. For the exact citations you should look at some of the work from Arielle Kuperberg at UNC-Greensboro.

Thanks. There's actually a

Thanks. There's actually a blog post up today by the lead author (I didn't know he was on this site, believe it or not) which I want to read as well. What rang true to me was "the sliding versus deciding" idea. I know so many people who ended up getting married as a kind of default position.

The atlantic gets it right...

'A new study from the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families says no. Moving in before marriage doesn’t automatically make you a divorce statistic. Choosing a partner too early, however, just might....

Using data from the U.S. governments’ 1995, 2002, and 2006 National Surveys of Family and Growth, Kuperberg analyzed more than 7,000 individuals who had been married. Some of the people she studied were still with their spouse. Others were divorced. Then, instead of studying just the correlation between cohabitation and divorce, Kuperberg looked at how old each individual was when he or she made his or her first major commitment to a partner—whether that step was marriage or cohabitation.

Moving in together without a diamond ring involved didn’t, on its own, lead to divorce. Instead, she found that the longer couples waited to make that first serious commitment, the better their chances for marital success.'

That's exactly what the

That's exactly what the research I used says. It's about commitment. But could you use your name? When people are helpful, it's nice to know who they are. Just saying.

Let me highlight #2

Having just spent 2 wonderful training days with the Gottmans, I cannot stress how valid #2 is. Yes. It is not what we say so often but how we say it.

Stuart A. Kaplowitz, MFT

cohabitation isn't always preparation for marriage

I have to completely agree that living together and being married are not the same thing. My husband also changed dramatically after marriage and insisted we play out the same roles his parents had played. Wish I had seen this coming. It was agonizing to get past it and we've never really been the same. We get along well now 12 years later and his parents are gone but it was tough.

Suzanne, As I wrote, this did

Suzanne, As I wrote, this did happen to me and I know of others too. Without awareness, people switch into "what marriage is supposed to look like" and "how spouses are supposed to act," based on their own experiences growing up.

One thing I think you

One thing I think you overlook in condemning living together is that moving in doesn't carry the same commitment in the 1st place and it's easier to un-do if needed. There's no legal contract to start it up and no lawyers and judges to wrap it up.

Also, the reason most couples I know move in together is to save money on rent. Then they end up getting married because they've invested a lot into it or it's too hard to move or oops I'm pregnant.

Another thing you don't consider is how many people who are married are HAPPY!

If there were NO monetary or parenting penalties for divorce I bet your precious marital floodgates would burst wide open and Ashley Madison would go broke.

Wait, where did I "condemn"

Wait, where did I "condemn" living together? If you read the article, you'll see that I admit I have always advocated living together before marriage. It's not the legal status of marriage that confers commitment; it's the two individuals' commitment and the point is that if they "slide" from living together to getting married, sometimes the personal commitment doesn't happen. Your second paragraph confirms the research completely.

Since this wasn't a pro-marriage post, you're right: I didn't address happiness, In fact, I didn't state any of my personal opinions about marriage, pro or con, either....

Marriage is a bait and switch

Marriage is a bait and switch for most people. Owning another human being is so 1800's.

All you marriage promoters put the 'institution' above the people in it. You 'believe' in marriage for your own reasons, not for the evidence.

Hint -- 50% divorce rate! And you blame the people divorcing rather than the institution?

Ask yourself this -- if you were offered an elective surgery that had a 50% death rate, would you do it?

Did you actually read my

Did you actually read my post? What makes you think it's "pro marriage?"

If men weren't held

If men weren't held financially hostage to a woman very many would move on and there would be an emotionally healthier population of adults. Their kids would probably be happier too.

Kids know when their parents are miserable and 'staying together for the kids' just blames the kids for their parents' inability to get along with the adult they chose to marry and procreate with. I mean seriously -- how many spouses are having affairs but lying about it 'for the kids?'

The world is constantly changing and people need to grow. Personal growth is not a luxury these days and being locked in a power struggle/dysfunctional relationship with another grown adult is just ridiculous.

Let's stop worshipping marriage. And let's start really asking ourselves why we do it. Is it so some American Princess can have her 'special day' that she always dreamed of since her Barbie dolls were small? That's a day, not a marriage.

Cohabitation isn't always preparation for marriage

"My husband also changed dramatically after marriage and insisted we play out the same roles his parents had played."

I had this same experience and had no idea it was this common. I thought living together for 4 years before marriage meant we knew each other well. Once we married, he became hypercritical of me. For a long time I thought it was my fault and we came close to divorce. It took enormous changes on my part (disengaging from his idea of me as a doormat and setting firm boundaries) and his parents passing on for it to get better. It's not a perfect marriage by a long shot but we get along well and I'm happy. I'm also the better for learning to be less accommodating in general.

Rose, I didn't realize it

Rose, I didn't realize it either but it makes perfect sense. And the research on "deciding vs. sliding" is very compelling.

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Peg Streep, author or coauthor of nine books, is a New York City based writer currently working on a book about the Millennial generation.


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