Couples living together before marrying have a higher chance of getting divorced than those who wait until they were engaged or married, according to research out Tuesday in the Journal of Family Psychology.
The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Denver, also found that couples who lived together before marrying reported lower marriage satisfaction.
"We think that some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting," said senior researcher and study co-author Galena Rhoades.
"It seems wise to talk about commitment and what living together might mean for the future of the relationship before moving in together, especially because cohabiting likely makes it harder to break up compared to dating," said another researcher, Scott Stanley.
More than 70 percent of couples in the United States live together before marrying, according to the article.
Yet the researchers "have found evidence that cohabiting before engagement, even only with one's future spouse, is associated with lower marital quality and higher divorce potential," the article read.
In a separate study that appeared in the Journal of Family Issues, the researchers studied the reasons why couples chose to live together.
The most common answer was because they wanted to spend more time together, followed by convenience, followed by testing the relationship.
Earlier research suggested that people cohabited before marrying because they wanted to test their relationship.
"Cohabiting to test a relationship turns out to be associated with the most problems in relationships," said Rhoades.