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How Shacking Up Leads to Divorce

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In the modern day, many people entering new relationships fall into the trap of prematurely moving in together. Moving in with your significant other tends to be taken too lightly, and without considering the constraints it puts on your life. In her article, How Shacking Up Leads to Divorce, Naomi Schaefer Riley poses the key question: What are the chances you would be in this relationship if you weren’t living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? If you are in a new relationship and currently considering taking it to the next level and moving in together, it is important to understand potential undesirable outcomes that decision can lead to.


A survey of couples married less than 10 years provided that men who lived with their wives before marriage “rated themselves considerably lower in dedication”, and the same was true for women. If you have already lived with your significant other prior to getting married the intrinsic motivation to be with this person seems to dissipate. Moving in before marriage sometimes results in marrying someone that you would not have married otherwise.


Stanley, the co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, along with his colleagues, released a video, “Relationship DUI” (“decisions under the influence” of first love). This video describes an inertia theory of relationships. It suggests that joy-inducing chemicals released into the body at the start of the relationship can actually cloud our decisions. These chemicals can influence people to start doing things that lock them into the relationship. The video provides examples such as getting joint cell phone plans, co-signing loans, getting a dog, etc.


The beginning period of relationships is often not accurate depiction of what is in store for the future. This beginning period, known as the “newlywed stage”, brings couples overwhelming feelings of joy and happiness that usually fade after a few months. You may wake up one day and realize that you do not actually want to be with this person. This is why it is important to refrain from making life-altering decisions during this time; over time feelings can seriously change. In the moment, you act on the belief that you have timeless love, but in reality what you have is a time-limited chemical high and now it is extremely difficult to detach yourself.

It is unfortunate that “dating” is becoming a thing of the past. Dating is what gave people the opportunity to get to know their possible life-mate without being totally locked in. This gave people a better chance of breaking up with the wrong person and allowing themselves to find the right one. The danger in moving in with a significant other is that doing so is foreclosing opportunities to find the best match by closing off other options too soon.


Are you considering filing for divorce or separation? When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage, there are many aspects that need to be addressed including child custody and support, parenting time/visitation, spousal and equitable distribution, to name a few. These are subjects that Jay D. Raxenberg, P.C. has gained a great deal of experience in over the last two decades in Supreme and Family Court. Mr. Raxenberg has extensive training, knowledge and experience in this area of the law and is dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation to all of his clients. Please call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867 to arrange your initial consultation.


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