MADISON, WI (EP) – Though living together in a “trial marriage” before officially tying the knot is widely believed to increase marital stability, recent studies show that Americans who live together before marriage separate and divorce much more frequently than traditional couples.
A study by two University of Wisconsin researchers found that within a decade of their wedding, 38 percent of those who had lived together had split up, significantly more than the 27 percent of those who got married before living together.
In analyzing data from a 1987-89 federal survey, researchers Larry Bumpass and James Sweet also found the number of people who live together before marriage continues to climb, particularly for the people who marry more than once.
Bumpass said the findings don’t say that people who have lived together before marriage have less happy marriages than traditional couples. He suggests, however, that “at the same level of unhappiness they’re more unwilling to accept divorce as a solution.”