Your 20s are a decade for big decisions (good ones and bad ones). And if you’re in a serious relationship, the question of “When should we move in together?” starts to loom over your head amidst all the other life planning you’re doing. Should you live apart until (if?) you tie the knot? Or is there some truth behind “Try it before you buy it” recently conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,000 cohabiting renters. Study author Arielle Kuperberg, an assistant sociology professor at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, realized that previous research overstated the divorce risk of cohabiting before marriage, because none of it factored in the age at which unmarried couples decided to move in together. She reported that while the average age that cohabiting couples tend to shack up is lower than the average age of those who wait to move in until after they’ve said their vows, when comparing married and nonmarried couples of the same age, there’s no difference in divorce rate. In fact, getting married too early can be equally as detrimental. Said Kuperberg: “Early entry into marriage or cohabitation, especially prior to age 23, is the critical risk factor.”

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