Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Couples Live Together For Convenience, Not To Test Marriage

29.07.2004


Many couples who move in together don’t do it with marriage in mind, a small study of New York City residents suggests.

Nearly all of the people interviewed who lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend said the major impetus was finances, convenience or housing needs. “The common wisdom seems to be that people live together because they’re testing the water before marriage. But we didn’t have a single person in this study who said that was the reason they moved in together,” said Sharon Sassler, author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University. “Couples may have discussed marriage, or thought about it, but that wasn’t the major reason for living together.” Sassler’s study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

For the study, Sassler conducted open-ended interviews with 25 New York City residents between the ages of 20 and 33 who lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend for at least three months. The sample included 19 women and six men, all of whom had at least some college experience. As an exploratory study, the sample size is small, but it offers an initial glimpse into the factors that lead people to move in together. While there have been many large-scale, quantitative studies of couples who lived together, none of them focused on the reasons that prompted the decision to cohabit, Sassler said.



In one such study that Sassler and colleagues published last year, they found that only about 40 percent of cohabiting couples ended up marrying within four to seven years. But the data from that study, and others like it, don’t answer the question of what couples are thinking when they decide to live together.

This new study helps to begin answering that question. “Some couples may eventually decide to marry, but that doesn’t happen until they’ve been together a while,” she said. “What we’re finding is that people don’t move in together thinking that they’re preparing for marriage.”

The cohabiters fell into three groups, based on how rapidly their relationship progressed. The largest group, which Sassler dubbed the “accelerated cohabiters,” said they went from the beginning of a romantic relationship to living together in less than six months. More than half (13) of the respondents fell into this group. For most of them, the main reasons for moving in were convenience and attraction.
A second group, the “tentative cohabiters,” were involved with their partners for a longer period – seven months to a year. None of the five people in this group had lived with a romantic partner before, and expressed at least some reservations about moving in together. Most of them said they moved in because of some outside forces, such as one of their previous roommates moving out, or difficulty affording housing.

The last group, the “purposeful delayers,” took more than a year to decide to move in together. The seven people in this group tended to cite convenience as the main reason for cohabiting. “They could have moved in together earlier, but for whatever reason, they weren’t comfortable,” Sassler said. “They waited until they felt the time was right.”

But all three groups were the same in not mentioning marriage as the prime reason for living together. “We didn’t interview couples, so we only heard one side of the story,” she said. “But it was clear that if marriage was brought up, it wasn’t the main consideration.”

Sassler is continuing the study in Columbus. But here she is interviewing couples, so she hears both side of the story. Early results suggest that the findings in New York are not unique, Sassler said. Couples in Columbus are no more likely to mention marriage as the top reason for cohabiting.

The interviews in Columbus also suggest that, as her previous work showed, there is a lot of disagreement among couples about the status of their relationship, and whether they have plans to get married. Overall, Sassler said the results of her studies suggest there needs to be new thinking about why couples decide to live together. “Couples tend to move in together relatively quickly, and it doesn’t seem they’ve talked a lot about it beforehand,” she said. “A lot of the decision has to do with living situations and not necessarily plans for the future.”

Sharon Sassler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researcher deciphers flows that help bacteria feed and organize biofilms

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>