Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Health

Living together doesn't cause divorce, after all

For decades, academics and social scientists have claimed that couples who live together before getting married face a higher risk of divorce. But it's just not true, says Arielle Kuperberg an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro.

"Cohabitation does not cause divorce — yay!" she told LiveScience.com, adding the exclamation because about two-thirds of new marriages in the United States today start with shacking up.

Previous studies compared the divorced rates of couples who cohabited with those who didn't by using the age of marriage. Kuperberg did something new: She compared 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.

Kuperburg, in research released Monday by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families, found that premarital cohabitation by itself has little impact on a relationship's longevity. Those who began living together, unmarried or married, before the age of 23 were the most likely to later split.

"Part of it is maturity, part of it is picking the right partner, part of it is that you're really not set up in the world yet," she says. "And age has to do with economics."

Indeed, other research released by the Council on Contemporary Families suggests that the longer couples wait to start living together, the better their chances for long-term relationship success. This makes sense to historian Stephanie Coontz, the council's director of research and public education.

"Marriages require much more maturity than they once did," she says. In the 1950s, husbands and wives stepped into well-defined gender roles. "Nowadays, people come to marriage with independent aspirations and much greater ideas of equality. Maturity is so important, and negotiating skills are so much more important."

Virginia Rutter, professor of sociology at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, welcomed Kuperburg's findings.

"The big message for me is thank goodness there is now really good, clear, unambiguous research that can help us get rid of the 'cohabitation is the issue' approach,'' Rutter told the Christian Science Monitor. "It goes from the easy answer — that life's problems are about character — to the more challenging answer, that life's problems are about context. What are the resources that you are empowered to pull together to create a good life?"

Other research included in Monday's report finds that moving in may be fine, but rushing things might have disadvantages. Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell University, has found that many couples with lower incomes and less education decided to move in together because of financial pressures.

Most cohabiters with college degrees move in together only after a long stretch of dating, Sassler says. More than half have been couples for more than a year, with an average of 14 months dating before cohabiting. More than half of the cohabiters without college degrees move in together after less than six months of dating. Sassler argues that it is the type of premarital cohabitation that predicts divorce, not necessarily cohabitation in itself.

Besides age, another predictor of divorce is when couples have children before even moving in together. According to Kuperberg, couples who had a child pre-cohabitation had a 57 percent higher likelihood of splitting when compared to couples who didn't have a child before moving in together.

Comments
Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

70 percent of cardiac arrests outside hospitals happen at home. American Heart Association 3 a.m. Jan. 4, 2016. Lisa Peters of St. Petersburg is awakened by her husband, Rick, making strange gasping sounds. She can’t wake him. He feels cold. Only 46...
Published: 02/16/18

Step by step, ramp up your daily activity

Jae Bermanhe Washington Post There are many reasons that people avoid exercise. Time is an obvious one. Our lives are already busy — who has time to work out? Money is another common excuse. Gym memberships and equipment can get pricey.People often w...
Published: 02/16/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

Emma Seppalahe Washington PostDan Harris is co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. His first book, 10% Happier, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He later launched the 10% Happier podcast and an app called...
Published: 02/15/18

Mayo Clinic Q&A: exercise stress tests; breast self-awareness versus self-exams

DON’T SWEAT THE EXERCISE STRESS TESTI have a treadmill stress test scheduled to look for heart disease. I know this involves exercising, and I’m worried that I’m not physically up to it. Is there another way to gather this information?Yes. There’s an...
Published: 02/15/18
Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Three years ago, Dr. Philip J. Cheng, a urology resident at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, nicked himself while preparing an HIV-positive patient for surgery.Following hospital protocol, he took a one-month course of Truvada, a cocktail of t...
Published: 02/15/18
Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

TAMPA — Nothing seemed wrong or out of place when it was time for Sam Cordero to make an appointment for a routine eye exam.The 57-year-old man from Tampa occasionally saw a few bright or foggy spots in his left eye, but thought it was just "floaters...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18
A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

LARGO — Keshava Persaud entered the room inside Largo Medical Center, his wife at his side. His eyes went right to the couple across the room. They looked so young, he thought. Tears welled as he handed the woman, April Scott, 49, potted white silk f...
Published: 02/14/18
Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health has hired a new executive position to oversee the six regional hospitals it operates along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Joseph Mullany has been appointed regional president and chief executive officer of Bayfront Health, and will overse...
Published: 02/13/18