Planning to pop the marriage question on Valentine’s Day? A study in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family may make you reconsider.
While married couples enjoy some health advantages (likely because of shared health care plans), the study found that unmarried couples who live together are generally happier and have better self-esteem.
Overall, the authors were struck most with the similarities between marriage and cohabitation: both improved psychological well-being but reduced contact with parents and friends.
The researchers looked at data from 2,737 single men and women, 896 of whom married or moved in with a partner over the course of six years, focusing on happiness, levels of depression, health and social ties. It’s believed to be the first study that compares partners as they either get married or move in together, and the differences that persist in their lives afterward.