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Several common reasons that lead couples to decide to live together include: wanting to test compatibility or establish financial security before marrying, a desire to live as married when same-sex marriages are not legal, living with someone before marriage as a way to avoid divorce, a way for polygamists to avoid anti-polygamy laws, a way to avoid the higher income taxes paid by some 2-income married couples (in the United States), and seeing little difference between the commitment to live together and the commitment to marriage.
Marriage is seen as a total and unconditional commitment that strengthens a couple's bond; a bond that cannot be found in couples who choose to 'test the waters'.
Today, cohabitation is a common pattern among younger people, especially those who desire marriage but whose financial situation temporarily precludes it, or wish to prepare for what married life will be like before actually getting married.
More and more couples choose to have long term relationships without marriage, and co-habitate as a permanent arrangement.
However, such measures should be taken loosely, as researchers report that cohabitation often does not have clear start and end dates, as people move in and out of each other's homes and sometimes do not agree on the definition of their living arrangement at a particular moment in time. A 2000 study found that more than half of newlyweds lived together, at least briefly, before walking down the aisle.
Cohabitation is seen also as a living arrangement detrimental to the stability of a long-term relationship (marriage would be the acceptable alternative).Opponents of cohabitation feel the lack of commitment that would otherwise be associated with marriage encourages a sense of disconnect between the couple.