About half of U.S. couples live together, "cohabitate", before they get married. This is practical in terms of paying the rent, but not in the long-term best interest of the relationship (D. Blackwell and D. Lichter). Couples who lived together before marriage experienced higher rates of marital separation and divorce than those who did not according to D. Blackwell and D. Lichter. They have found that there are two possible explanations for this. The first has to do with characteristics that distinguished those who live together and those who do not. People who choose to live together may have poorer communication skills compared to people who do not. (Thus, poor communication living together but, instead, of the people who choose to do so.) Another explanation might be that couples who decide to move in together tend to be somewhat uncertain about their long-term prospects. This uncertainty may diminish their commitment to the relationship, which in turn may diminish the effort they put into developing their communication skills. The following sections will discuss the factors of cohabitation and the research studies completed on how cohabitation affects the communication quality in these relationships and the overall satisfaction of the relationship post marriage. Cohabitation
Those who research cohabitation are all too aware that cohabitation is complex and diverse, and includes a range of living arrangements of varying durations that may or may not include children, that may or may not convert into marriage, that may be full time or more part time, and that may be but one of a portfolio of co-residential partnerships. In research there are several definitions/types of "cohabitation", it is the two definitions provided by Casper and Bianchi (2002) that concerns this topic. Prelude to marriage, family formation may be initiated by unmarried cohabitation as a "testing" ground for a relationship. Couples may feel a greater need for this premarital experience...
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