Cohabitation before marriage is often viewed in two ways. On one side, couples say that it can lower their odds of divorce: If the cohabitation goes poorly, the couple knows they should not get married. On the other side, there are those who claim that living together before marriage just makes divorce more likely.
It’s not that either side is necessarily wrong. They’re just not talking about the same time in American history. It is true that cohabitation used to be tied to greater divorce odds, but that is no longer the case.
So what changed?
Wondering how this could have changed? The issue is with cultural norms. Sociology professor Arielle Kuperberg noted that social norms in the 1950s through the 1970s largely stood against couples living together before marriage. They also stood against married couples getting divorced.
What this meant is that someone who lived with an unmarried partner had already shown that they did not care about social norms. Naturally, these were also people who were personally more open to the idea of divorce. They lived life the way they wanted to live, regardless of what society told them to do.
Today, that link is gone. Both cohabitation and divorce are far more accepted and even embraced by modern couples. The social stigma has been erased. In that sense, many couples do view cohabitation as a way to try living together before they go so far as to commit to it with a legal marriage contract.
Understanding your rights in a divorce
Modern relationships are different and they come with different challenges and needs. Be sure you know your rights if your relationship ends.