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Living Together: Will it Decrease Your Odds Of Getting Married?

Updated on February 18, 2013

Statistics & Reality Checks

For generations older women have posed the following question to young women with regard to getting a man to propose: “Why buy the cow when the milk is free?

Back in those days this reference was primarily designed to discourage women from having premarital sex. Today it's used to discourage women from living with a man.

If we truly believe men and women are equal than one sex has no advantage over the other by cohabitating. There is a presumption the woman wants to get married and the man doesn’t.

Interestingly women initiate divorce 66% of the time!

According to Dr. John Curtis Ph.D. (women who only cohabited with their fiancée first divorced less than women who went straight into marriage.)

Several articles have been written recently stating couples living together seldom get married. However they fail to mention most relationships rarely lead to marriage period. (If they did we'd all be married to our high school sweethearts!)

Further more according to a recent article in Psychology Today more than 50% of couples that marry today have lived together before hand. This suggests cohabitating does not decrease the odds for marriage and may in fact increase the odds slightly.

Living Together Is Not The Problem

The ultimate goal is to find someone who wants what you want.

(If a man really wants to marry you he will marry you whether you live with him or not.)

Moving in together with the "hidden agenda" of hoping it will lead to a proposal is a mistake. In fact most couples moving in together do so without a marriage date set.

Very often it’s simply a matter of convenience regarding cutting down travel between visits or for saving money.

A woman who finds herself with a man who has not proposed should not believe it’s because they “live together”. Odds are if they did not live together he still would not have proposed. A man is not going to propose to most of the women he dates! That's reality!

(Don’t assume dating leads to living together and living together leads to marriage.)

A marriage takes place when both people want to get married.

Living together: Is it "the new marriage"?

There has been a major rise in couples electing to live together rather than get married.

Books such as John Curtis, “Happily Un-Married Living Together and Loving It” are serving as guidelines for those who don’t want to marry.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been living together for 27 years.

With a divorce rate approaching 52% one can hardly say being married means "being committed for life". Until death do us part is rare whether one is married or cohabitating.

The most important thing is to make sure you are doing what you want to do.

Do As I Say Not As I Do

Apparently things are changing among the senior set.

More and more grandparents aren’t following the advice they give to young women.

According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report the percentage of unmarried senior couples 65 and older rose significantly. (1.8 million cohabitating couples age 50 and over) is a 50% increase from the year 2000.

One explanation in my opinion is the influx of seniors today is comprised of “Baby Boomers”. This generation introduced the world to “flower power”, “free love”, hippies, the drug culture, and the famous “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” saying.

In hindsight I suppose we really shouldn’t be too surprised.

When Marriage Is The Goal

If you want to marry the person you are considering moving in with then wait until you are engaged and have mailed out your “Save The Date” notices before packing bag number one! Make sure you are both moving in with the same goal in mind.

A Goal Is A Dream With A Deadline

One man’s opinion!


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    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      aud99, Thanks for your comment. As you can tell from this hub I agree with you. It's not the "living arrangement" that determines whether or not a couple gets married. It's the (individuals) themselves. :-)

    • aud99 profile image


      6 years ago

      Times have changed. Couples live together now for various reasons, including financial. It does not mean you will get married but neither does it mean you won't get married to each other with this arrangement. It just depends on how the relationship progresses and what each partner wants as time passes. Even if you don't live together, you can also go your separate ways.

      So, if you ask me, it is not about whether you live together or not that increases or decreases your chance of a wedding. It goes much deeper than that.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      neutrina44, Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Both marriage and living together are "life style choices" As you pointed out the first guy never wanted to get married to begin with! Therefore (living together) is not what prevented the marriage.

      As for proposing to a man who was a cheater...etc It could have been just as easy for him to have (proposed to you) and still be a cheater.

      The current guy who asked your folks for permission to marry you but has not proposed...etc (It's possible he's waiting for Christmas or possibly New Year's Eve to pop the question. Those two days and Valentine's Day are the most popular days for couples to become engaged. I wouldn’t count him out just yet.

      As for "commitment" your ex husband was married to you and cheated. Marriage does not make a commitment.

      A commitment is only good for as long as (both parties) agree on a strategy to reach a desired goal. With a divorce rate around 50% it's clear that being married doesn't automatically mean you have found a partner for life.

      Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have lived together for over 30 years. Not many marriages last that long in Hollywood. It's NOT "the vow" that counts the most. It's "the person" that makes the vow. Nothing "magical" happens after saying "I do".

      People should only live together for one reason and that is because they (want) to. The "benefits" are mutual in a loving relationship. It will be interesting to see if your man proposes by Valentine's Day. Best of luck!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      For God's sakes DON'T DO IT!!!

      I moved in with my second boyfriend after 2 years of dating because HE was scared of marriage and wanted to know what it would be like living together to "ease his fears". 4 year into the relationship (and two years of living together) i found out from a friend (who in a drunken stupor spilled the beans) that Eric NEVER believed in marriage and always said he would NEVER get married.

      I came home and had a serious discussion with the boyfriend about it and he would say things like "i need more time", "I am not sure if i wanted to get married because so and so is divorced or so many of my friends are divorced" blah blah.

      2 months after that conversation, i had to face the hard realization that he wasn't only stringing me along BUT that there was a good possibility that down the road he would end up dropping me and marrying someone else.

      He came home as i was packing my things and when he found out i was leaving him- he freaked. Started crying and in his desperation gave me a "shotgun proposal" which of course i turned down because he didn't really want to marry me, he just didn't want me to leave.

      A week after i moved out he was already dating someone else.

      Luckily, at the time i was only 24 years old (he was 29).

      Sadly, i never again received a marriage proposal (iam now 46 years old).

      Oh i was married for 16 years after "I proposed" to my now ex-husband. He cheated on me several times during the marriage and then admitted that he really didn't want to marry me but that he had because he felt there was "no better option at the time". With a heavy heart and after shedding much tears i filed for divorce.

      Once i divorced him i thought to myself that since i've been there done that and already have all the kids i wanted (two) that it was unlikely that i will want to get married ever again.

      A year later i met a wonderful man and fell in love. After a year being in a relationship he asked me to move in with him. I was hesitant and told him that i would not be an "eternal live in girlfriend" and told him about the first time i moved in with a boyfriend it didn't end well. He assured me that he wanted to get married down the road--but just not yet--and that he wanted to live together as a "next step" in the relationship.

      So here i am thinking that we are in our 40s, there would be more "maturity" involved and since he was older he wouldn't be as indecisive or scared as a man in his 20s would be. Afterall, we had both been married before and know what it's like.

      Well ladies here i sit after 4 years together and still no ring. The strange thing is that a month ago he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. I was in shock and couldn't believe it since no man had ever asked for my hand in marriage. My parents didn't even know how to answer considering my age. LOL.

      Well, i found out from dear old mom because when she called me two weeks ago she assumed that he had already proposed.

      She felt bad about "ruining the surprise proposal" that never came. I am curious to see how long he will go before he actually proposes and a bit embarrassed that he asked my parents for my hand in marriage a month ago and hasn't taken the step to ask me.

      I didn't know what to say to my parents when they called again other day other than "I guess it's a false alarm".

      I will say this, as painful as it will be after i invested so much time and emotion into this relationship i will walk next year-- if necessary. For me there's no greater humiliation than for a man to ask the parents for a woman's hand in marriage and then never propose or turn around and propose to someone else (which is what happened to a friend of mine after 7 years in a relationship with her boyfriend).

      Now i know that it doesn't matter whether the man is in his 20s or 40s--there are three things I will NEVER do again

      1. Propose to a man

      2. Wait 4 years for a commitment (sorry but living together is not a commitment like some men want ladies to believe).

      3. Live with another man again unless there's a wedding band on my finger (notice i didn't say engagement ring).

      The only thing living together does is give the man a license to have it "his way" with all the benefits of marriage without the commitment. Well i am not a cheeseburger! You want it your way go to Burger King!

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      crystolite, Thanks for your comment.

      The main point I wanted to make with this hub was to point out that the "majority" of marriages that take place in this era are between couples who HAVE lived together. The statistics prove that "living together" does not "decrease" your odds of getting married. The only thing that can prevent two people from getting married is if one of them has a change of heart. As I point out MOST relationships (living together or not) usually don't end up married!:-)

    • crystolite profile image


      8 years ago from Houston TX

      Great and well informed article but i honestly don't think that two people who are not yet married living together can do any harm in them getting married except they dont love and understand each other or they are keeping secrets from each other.

    • KimberlyAnn26 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub. You have some great points here. I have always believed that two people should not live together before marriage. It really takes all the fun and value out of it.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Darcy30 thank you for your comment.

      You make some very valid points.Ultimately if (both people) Want the Same Thing that is all that matters!

    • Darcy30 profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta

      My boyfriend and I have been living together for 6 years. This drives my accountant crazy during tax time.He has bluntly expressed that this practice is financially stupid because of the money we would safe. My answer is that all the money saved would be spent in the divorce. So what’s the point? Besides since our finances are separate and we make pretty much the same, we know nothing is stopping the other from leaving. We are here ‘because we want to, not because we have to. Also if one us messes up (bankruptcy, foreclosure, medical bills etc.) at least the other one’s finances are save. Finally, some medications have to be tested for 10 years before they hit the market…and they still end up killing people…So I believe living together for a long time before getting married is necessary but not a guarantee that it will make the marriage last.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Kevin and Edoka, Thank you both for your comments!

    • Edoka Writes profile image

      Edoka Writes 

      8 years ago

      Hi dashingscorpio, I believe seniors are not getting married due to fear of losing benefits. Also, it's my opinion, merely from observation that it's better to live together 'after' marriage; one reason is because; it gives the newly married couple something 'new' to look forward to; esp. if they've been together for years; it can bring an excitement into their lives, once more.

      Anyway, thx for the hub!

    • KevinStyles profile image


      8 years ago

      When two people are in a relationship that live apart gives each other time not to get on each others nerves, but if they move in together it becomes a whole new relationship. Personally i would never marry a women until i lived with her for at least several months.

      One day i might wake up and she says, "omg your so annoying when you snore" or "omg why don't you clean the dishes as soon as your done eating" or "omg your watching that show again?!"

      These things i would like to find out before marriage, to save me the financial burdens of having to get a divorce in the future. In the end it takes two people to make a marriage work but only one person to end it.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      QudsiaP1, Thank you for your comment.

      However I don't believe adults have to make excuses for having sex without marriage. Millions of people get married every year and most do so (after living together or having sex prior to their wedding.)

      Thank you as well ILiveWithMyBoyfriend for your comment.

      When two people (want to get married) it doesn't matter if they live together or not. There is no need to hold out a "carrot" such as no premaital sex or no living together to get someone to propose. People don't get married for the sake of having sex. If two people are madly in love and want to get married they will.

      Congratulations on you upcoming nuptials! :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I live with my boyfriend and I enjoy it. I think the mistake comes in when there is not time limit. I still believe in the old saying "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" but in a different way. Your spouse (boyfriend/girlfriend) has to be aware of your goals but more importantly then have to know you mean it. I just got engaged on Dec 22 after living with my boyfriend for a year. I did not have to tell him that I was not going to renew my lease with him. He already knew because he knew I wanted to get married and was not going to be with him for years without it. I was not going to waste a lot of time, despite how much I loved him. I think more people need to make their goals and wants clear.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Seriously, I feel people will find just about any excuse to have premarital or out of marriage sex.

      Marriage benefits both men and women, however, I observe everyone only keeps claiming on how women get everything and men lose their bachelorhood.

      Marriage is not for sissies. It is for strong minded adults who are willing to at least pretend that they will be there forever.

      Sex used to be the motivator of marriage, if you take that away and every one are already sexed up, who the hell will get married?

      Who will give their name to the billions of illicit children. What sort of order are we running towards? Utter chaos.

      Broken homes and father less children.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Guy!

      And they say, "Love conqures all" LOL!

      People should not have to justify why they are living together instead of being married. It's completely understandable why someone would not want to put themselves in a financial hole.

      Thanks for pointing out the reality of tax, military benefits, credit ratings, and pension disadvantages that plague seniors who might otherwise get married.

    • Guy Collins profile image

      Guy Collins 

      8 years ago from United States

      "According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report the percentage of unmarried senior couples 65 and older rose significantly."

      There is a financial disincentive for seniors to marry, with social security benefit issues leading the pack. SSA makes the laws on this complicated.

      Also: Taxes, loss of military and pension benefits, credit ratings, etc.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      PeytonFarquhar and chirls, thank you both for leaving your comments. There is so much misinformation out there being stated as facts. Living apart from a mate will not guarantee a marriage proposal anymore than living with them. Every relationship is different.

    • chirls profile image


      8 years ago from Indiana (for now)

      Great article! Before I moved to the US I thought living together before marriage was the norm, but here it's much less common than places I lived before. I lived with my husband before marrying him and I wouldn't have had it any other way! If you ask me, it just makes sense to make sure your partner doesn't have too many weird or annoying habits before you make such a big commitment!

    • PeytonFarquhar profile image


      8 years ago from So Cal

      Awesome article. The majority of relationships do **not** result in marriage and it is ridiculous to state that co-habitating somehow prohibits it. I have a female friend in a relationship who is living with a guy because of financial reasons. She has told me that she is not in love with him,but the only reason why he proposed was because her sister guilted him into doing so. There isn't a reason for him to marry her since their arrangement enables her to have a place to live and him to have domestic services (laundry, cooking, etc.) provided free of charge.

      Also thanks for pointing out that the boomer generation is as full of shite today as they were when they were under age 30. This particular generation is very fond of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for your comment JC.

      Statistics are all over the map with regard to marriage and divorce. (There are no guarantees.)The majority of relationships we have don't last. (living together or apart)

      The divorce rate is hovering around 52% and this does not include those in sexless marriages or those who live separate lives but have never filed for divorce.

      Whether one lives with or not lives with a mate prior to marriage is less important than having both people wanting the same thing. If "living together" causes the relationship to fail then odds are pretty good that after the marriage the same issues will come to light.

      "We are who we are".

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have known people who intended to marry and then broke up after moving in together. Is there any evidence that living together first reduces divorce rates? It is said that you really don't know someone until you live with them.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      prasetio30, Thanks for taking the time to read my hub and post your comment. I strive to get the most up to date data I can find to include in my hubs. (Who you are with determines your future together rather than where you reside.) Still there is a lot of resistance to accepting facts over myths. LOL!

      Have a Happy New Year!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information, my friend. I learn much from you. I am still single right now. I promise I'll keep what you say to us through this hub. Excellent and very well written. Rating up. Love and peace!


    • Woman Of Courage profile image

      Woman Of Courage 

      8 years ago

      Wow, I seem to have falling behind on the statistics. Smile. Thanks for correcting me. I have 2 family members and a friend that lived together, and they are now married. There are others who have been living together for years and still not married. They call it common law marriage, because of the length of time living together, and the man have no intentions of marrying the woman. I understand some women may be comfortable with that. It's sad for the women who moved in with the man thinking one day he will propose to her, and he never propose. Yes, both people should want the same thing. Thanks for sharing this article.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Karen Wodke.

      You got the point I was attempting to make with this hub.

      It's all about the people and their desire to wed and not their living arrangements. You are right, women don't need a man necessarily for financial reasons.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Woman of Courage, Actually statistics prove that (most couples who get married today lived together). Cohabitation gets the blame when couples don't end up getting married but in reality MOST marriages today take place after couples live together!

      Everyone of my married friends lived with their mates before they exchanged vows.

      It’s not the living arrangement that determines whether there will be a wedding or not.

      (It really comes down to both people wanting the same thing!)A man will not marry most of the women he dates!

      A woman should not move in with a man unless she feels "the goodies" are mutual.LOL!

      Thanks for your comment and Happy New Year To You!

    • Karen Wodke profile image

      Karen Wodke 

      8 years ago from Midwest

      Great article with valid points. I am not sure about the question actually. Why buy the cow if the milk is free might have been true at one time. But it begs the question of why buy the cow if you haven't tasted the milk to make sure you can stomach it? lol. I think you are right. Marriage has to be a goal of both people or it's just an enhanced roommate situation. Women are in much better positions now than they were years ago. They don't need a man necessarily for financial reasons. So it might be a good idea to take him for a trial run before you hitch yourself to him.

    • Woman Of Courage profile image

      Woman Of Courage 

      8 years ago

      Hi dashingscorpio, Living together decreases the odds of getting married. Majority of men will not marry a woman who he is living with. Some desire all the goodies without full commitment. I hope that many others read this hub. God bless you. Happy New Year!


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