Average length of dating before moving in together

Cornell University professor Sharon Sassler has been interviewing cohabiting couples and has found that working-class couples are far more likely to move in together within six months of starting to date than college-educated couples.

Sassler hasn't yet proved that these quick starts lead to more breakups, but less education is linked to a higher risk of divorce.

There are pros and cons to both marriage and cohabiting, said Stephanie Coontz, a historian at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash."It's easier to get out of a bad relationship in a hurry if you're cohabiting, but it's also easier to enter one that you have to get out of," said Coontz, who studies changes in American families and gender roles.

[5 Facts About Couples Who Live Together]Living together without rings For years, social scientists have warned that cohabiting couples aren't as stable as married couples; of course, the types of couples who marry versus move in together might be very different, meaning that it might be personality or economic circumstance that explains the difference, not the legal institution.

Highlighting the importance of maturity, University of Illinois at Chicago economist Evelyn Lehrer has found that the later a woman enters into marriage, the less likely she is to divorce — even though late marriages disproportionally include unconventional pairings, such as ones in which the couple don’t share a religion, or are far apart in age.

Other studies find that these characteristics alone are risk factors for divorce, as they can lead to conflict.

Today, coupledom looks like whatever the members of the couple want it to look like.

That's liberating, but it also requires communication."You need much more maturity and negotiation skills," Coontz said.

Regardless of age, the length of time a couple waits to move in together may also contribute to their likelihood of breaking up.That finding leads to the first, and perhaps clearest, piece of advice for young couples in love: Give it time.Moving in (or marrying) when you're young is linked to high rates of divorce."When you're young, you don't really know what you want yet," Kuperberg told Live Science.But the working-class couples were more likely to say they "needed" to move in — perhaps they'd lost their job or couldn’t make ends meet."If you are working one or two low-wage jobs and you are spending a lot of time with somebody, it certainly doesn't seem to make a lot of economic sense to maintain two separate apartments," Sassler said.And baby makes three Moving in due to necessity rather than desire may be a problem — particularly if that necessity comes in the form of an unexpected pregnancy.

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