Is living-in now a good idea because ‘it’s 2017’? A Reply To Nadine Lustre
Anna Cosio

The references cited in this article are at least a decade old, with the exception of one study from 2009. The 2009 study is supposed to “clearly show that cohabitation is not the way to go for a successful marriage”, but if you actually read the study, it does not conclusively discourage cohabitation, it simply reviews data (and suggests what further studies can be done) in order to provide better clinical therapy to couples. Here’s what the study actually says (excerpts):

“The purposes of this paper are to briefly review what is known about premarital heterosexual cohabitation and to translate these findings into tangible ideas for clinical practice, including individual and couple-oriented relationship education strategies, therapy with cohabiting couples, and marital therapy.”

“…while there are known differences between couples who live together before marriage and those who do not, the differences do not fully explain the cohabitation effect. There is more to the story.”

“Does the research on the cohabitation effect mean that practitioners delivering relationship education programs should dissuade individuals from cohabiting? This question is difficult to answer in any definitive sense because people differ in how they would answer, both based on scientific grounds and because of differences in values. We recognize that questions about the advisability of cohabitation are fundamentally linked to other beliefs and practices, especially those that are religious. Therefore, some might say that the question about dissuading couples is really more about religion than practice based on social science. Others would say that, even when it comes to social science, blanket proscriptive advice is not indicated or, at best, is premature. Not even the three authors of this paper completely agree on what would be the best practice under differing circumstances.”

“For some couples cohabitation means a long-term commitment to a future together, for others it may symbolize little more than being roommates. The ambiguity complicates clinical practice because practitioners cannot be sure that even partners share the same sense of what a cohabiting relationship means. As we have tried to show here, the ability of the average individual or couple to understand these complex ambiguities needs to be strengthened so that they can make better, more informed choices in their relationships.”

Here’s the 2014 study referenced by an article shared by another commenter (Ari). To the other commenter (Catherine Mae Decena) who claimed that she checked the article and couldn’t find this study, here you go.

The study shows that the age of commitment (whether this commitment is cohabitation or marriage) is the statistically significant factor in divorce, not cohabitation itself. A person who makes the commitment decision at age 23 (Nadine Lustre’s age) has half the divorce risk of someone who makes that decision at age 18.

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