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Sherri was shaken. She was living with her fiancé and planning their wedding and had just learned that her best friend had filed for divorce. Sherri said, "I was in her wedding party just a year ago. Everything was wonderful when they lived together. They were together for 5 years before they decided to get married. Things started going downhill right after the wedding. We've been living together for 3 years. Now I'm scared that we won't make it either!"
There's a good reason for Sherri to be worried. Fortunately, addressing her worries now, before she gets married, will increase her chances for creating a successful marriage. Living together before marriage is certainly no guarantee that a marriage will last. In fact, couples who live together before marriage divorce at about the same rate as all couples who marry.
Writing about The Downside of Cohabitating before Marriage in the New York Times, Meg Jay suggests that sliding into living together before a couple is committed to marriage increases the likelihood that the marriage won't last. Jay believes this convenient arrangement gives couples a false sense of security so that they never really discuss the complex issues they'll have to face in marriage.
I believe there's another important reason that marriages of people who've been living together for a long time get into trouble. We each carry a set of unexamined personal rules about what a marriage is supposed to be like and how married people are supposed to behave. When you're just living together, you have no reason to worry about those rules. When you marry, the rules are activated.
Finish reading the rest of the story on YourTango: How Will Living Together Affect Your Relationship?
Written by Dr. Laurie Weiss for YourTango.
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