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Effects of intimacy in premarital dating and success in relationships

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Not surprisingly, more attractive people were more likely to get married than less attractive people, but not by much, and mostly that rule only applied to women.

The paper also found, for what it’s worth, that cohabitation was likely to lead to marriage for women with “above average grooming” and men with “above average personalities.” Good looking men—those Lotharios— were more likely to cohabit without getting married.

Marriage has been shown to have a bunch of physical and health benefits that cohabitation has not yet been shown to have.

Some experts believe that’s because more unmarried cohabiting couples used to be among the less well off.

“Asserting cohabitation is basically asserting that one is not ‘locked in’ to a commitment,” he says, whereas marriage sends a signal of dependability and predictability.

“The take-home implication is that our brains are sensitive to signs that the people we depend on in our lives are predictable and reliable.

“What leads to divorce is when people move in with someone – with or without a marriage license – before they have the maturity and experience to choose compatible partners and to conduct themselves in ways that can sustain a long-term relationship.” So what’s the magic age?

Kuperberg says it’s unwise to either move in or get married before the age of 23. Economist Evelyn Lehrer (University of Illinois-Chicago) says the longer people wait past 23, the more likely a marriage is to stick.

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The biggest predictor of splits in couples of all types, though, is whether they have a child without meaning to.But a spate of new studies looking at cohabitation, as it’s called, are starting to refine those results.A paper in the April issue of the but presented early to the Council on Contemporary Families says that past studies have overstated the risk of divorce for cohabiting couples.In fact, Lehrer’s analysis of longitudinal data shows that for every year a woman waits to get married, right up until her early 30s, she reduces her chances of divorce.It’s possible that woman may also be reducing her chances of marriage, but Lehrer’s research suggests later marriages, while less conventional, may be more robust.Read: How an Insensitive Jerk Saved my Marriage One of the reasons cohabitation was linked with divorce in prior years was that poorer people tended to move in together and then slide into marriage when they got pregnant. So it might not have been the cohabitation, but the poverty that was causing the split. The situation today has changed—70% of all women aged 30 to 34 have lived with a boyfriend, according to Kuperberg, and many of them are educated and wealthy.