Cohabiting Couples Experience Greater Happiness Than Married Couples

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Can you get all the benefits of marriage by simply moving in with your significant other? A new study suggests just that.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found cohabiting couples experience greater happiness and self-esteem than married couples, especially after the so-called “honeymoon period” ends.

Researchers looked at the mental and physical well-being of 2,737 men and women, 896 of whom were married or living with a partner over the course of six years.


“Individuals experienced an increase in well-being once

they married or began living with their significant other.”

Study researcher Dr. Kelly Musick noted individuals experienced a sharp increase in their well-being as soon as they either got married or began living with their significant other and benefits provided by cohabitation without marriage appeared to exceed the benefits provided by marriage.

“While married couples experienced health gains – likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared healthcare plans – cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem,” she said. “For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy and personal growth.”

Source: The Journal of Marriage and Family. Photo source:

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