Sex and Relationships

Shacking Up May Be Shaking Up Your Sex Life

Studies Reveal Side Effects of Living With Your Partner Before Marriage

By: Clara Perez

A fairly new view on relationships, seen in many millennials, is the idea that living together prior to getting married is the only true measure of compatibility before taking the plunge.

This idea has led to a doubling effect of cohabitation in the last 15 years for young, unwed couples.

While testing the waters before going for a life-long swim may seem like the most responsible and logical path to take, research suggests some serious cons when it comes to cohabitation before marriage.

Living with your partner can lead to an array of negative effects for a variety of reasons. Cohabitating with someone is often considered more stressful than being married, since finances for rent and bills becomes a priority in the relationship dynamic.

It can also lead to poorer relationship quality since fighting and violence tends to occur more often, leading to significant unhappiness by one, if not both partners.

This unhappiness also causes cohabitating couples to have higher levels of depression and substance abuse as opposed to married couples.

All these negative factors come into play in the bedroom as well.

Couples who live together before engagement and marriage will likely see a steady decline in the frequency of sexual encounters with their partner.

Many women begin to see sex as a switch from a passionate experience, to a more compassionate or empathetic endeavour with their partner after living with them for over a year.

This change from passionate and primal relations can have significant effects on men in a relationship, seeing as men never lose the passionate part of sex.
Couples who plan to get married in the near future may suffer as well.

According to statistics from The Spruce, if cohabiting couples decide to get married, which just over 50% will, it is less likely they will stay married for a long period of time.

Couples who are shacking up are also more likely to get divorced, or experience infidelity in the marriage by one or both partners.
This may be caused by what is referred to by The Spruce as the “inertia and sliding effect.”

This states that couples who live together have a greater investment in their relationship with their partner due to sharing a space and financial responsibility.

This investment makes it more difficult for these cohabitating couples to break up, which leads to the sliding effect.

This is defined as when couples who live together “slide” less consciously through major relationship moves, while couples that don’t live together tend to be more deliberate and conscious of these important transitions.

This sliding often leads to the unintentional, but seemingly obvious next step of getting married to the person they have been living with – even if it may not be in the best interest of their relationship.

This may lead to questioning if it is at all worth it.

Good news has arrived, as even newer studies have been released regarding the issue. A post included in an article from TIME magazine says that the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that cohabitation and its effects on marriage success is all “situational.”

Couples that have a strong bond and agree to marry prior to cohabitating show no increased risk of divorce or depression than couples that don’t live together.

In fact, it appears the only measure of unsuccessful cohabitation comes from the maturity levels of both partners involved.

If you or your partner are not mature enough to choose compatible partners or conduct yourselves in ways that can sustain a long-term relationship, then the reason becomes evident that living together before marriage would be unsuccessful.

While there are suggested ages to wait before cohabitating with anyone, no earlier than 23 years old, there is no magic number to guarantee success.

Research can’t tell us the perfect equation to a happy cohabitation with your partner and a long, successful, marriage. But some self-reflection may have the answers.

Before making the decision to shack up with your loved one, take a good look at yourself and whether or not you are ready for that type of commitment and responsibility. Communicate with your partner about their feelings as much as possible.

If both parties in the relationship decide to be together for the long haul, then happy shacking and shagging!

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