One of the longest lasting of marital rules has been not to cohabitate with your mate before marriage. Whether it was for religious reasons or from empirical evidence, young lovers were always told by older people that to avoid divorce down the road, they had to live apart until they said “Til Death Do Us Part.” Well, science is here to tell you that might not be the case.
Arielle Kuperberg, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, prepared a paper for The Council on Contemporary Families that found when accounting for the age of moving in together, there is no difference in divorce rates between cohabiters and those who moved in after marriage.
Kuperberg used data from a nationally representative survey carried out by the U.S. government and the National Survey of Family Growth. She collected data from the 1995, 2002 and 2006 versions of the survey and gathered information on more than 7,000 people who had been married at least once, including when they moved in together and when and if they divorced.
Previous studies compared the divorced rates of couples who cohabited with those who didn't by using the age of marriage. This study took a difference tact by comparing the relationships using the date of first moving in together. That date, she reasoned, is when a couple really takes on the roles of marriage, regardless of whether they have a legal certificate.
Kuperberg found no link between whether people had cohabited before marriage and their rate of divorce. The turning point in age for picking a life partner seems to be about 23.
Cohabitation Doesn't Cause Divorce, After All (LiveScience)