Very interesting article from Psych Today on the subject of cohabitation and its consequences for marriage.

Some evidence indicates that women have less control over the progress of the cohabiting relationship. She may assume they’re on the road to marriage, but he may think they’re just saving on rent and enjoying each other’s company. Research by sociologist Susan Brown at Bowling Green State University in Ohio has shown there’s a greater chance cohabiting couples will marry if the man wants to do so. The woman’s feelings don’t have as much influence, she found: “The guy has got to be on board. What the woman wants seems to be less pivotal.

And look at this:

Cohabiting men may carry their uncertainty forward into marriage, with destructive consequences. A 2004 study by psychologist Scott Stanley, based on a national phone survey of nearly 1,000 people, found that men who had lived with their spouse premaritally were on average less committed to their marriages than those who hadn’t. By contrast, cohabitation didn’t seem to change how women felt about their partners.

This below is always a problem, specially in a liberal culture:

Based on this finding and others, Stanley, director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and another originator of the inertia theory, believes women should be especially wary of moving in before getting engaged. “There are plenty of young men who will say, ‘I’m living with a woman but I’m still looking for my soul mate,'” he says. “But how many women know the guy is thinking that way? How many women are living with a guy thinking he’s off the market, and he’s not?” Men also get trapped in troubled relationships, admits Stanley, but women are more likely to bear the brunt of ill-considered cohabitation decisions for the simplest reason — they are the ones who have the babies. …

This is interesting:

Cohabiting relationships, by their nature, appear to be less fulfilling than marital relationships. People who cohabit say they are less satisfied and more likely to feel depressed, Susan Brown has found. While the precarious finances of many cohabiters has something to do with it, Brown also points to the inherent lack of stability. Long-term cohabitation is rare: most couples either break up or marry within five years. “Cohabiters are uncertain about the future of their relationship and that’s distressing to them,” she says.