Cohabitation Reduces Relationship Quality for Dating and Engaged Couples
by Peter J. Larson & David H. Olson
A sample of 35,684 premarital couples who took the PREPARE/ENRICH Customized Version in 2010 was selected and put into the following four groups: dating cohabiting, dating living apart, engaged cohabiting and engaged living apart. These couples came from all 50 states and represented a wide range of ages and ethnicities.
The four groups of dating and engaged couples were classified into the four couple types: Vitalized, Harmonious, Conventional and Conflicted (see Table 1). Vitalized couples score high across a whole range of categories (communication, conflict, finances, etc.), while Conflicted couples have low scores in most areas of their relationship. Our longitudinal studies show that premarital couples who are Conflicted are much more likely to divorce or separate.
In comparing dating couples living together versus dating living apart, the differences were dramatic. Only 21% of the dating couples who are living together were Vitalized, compared with 51% of the dating couples who were not living together. Even more telling, 48% of the cohabiting daters were in the Conflicted range, compared with only 16% of those who were not living together. [read more]
More From the CDC in 2012
First Marriages in the United States:
Data From the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth
by Casey E. Copen, Ph.D.; Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D.; Jonathan Vespa, Ph.D.; and William D. Mosher, Ph.D., Division of Vital Statistics