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Countering the idea that marriage launches new experiences that introduce declines in satisfaction, Huston and colleagues (2001) found that what happens early in a couple's time together tends to happen later, too.

In support for this , they observed that levels of negativity are generally stable in couples over time, but that increases in disillusionment differentiate couples that stay together versus those that fall apart. Do you want to test out your relationship first by living together?

It's common for contemporary couples to live together before marriage, but their reasons for doing so appear to predict how happy their marriage will eventually be.

When couples use cohabitation to test out a relationship, or when they cohabitate for practical reasons (e.g., finances), they tend to report less dedication to their relationships and less relationship confidence.

This is why I tell you not to have sex outside of commitment.

You want to find out if a man is serious about you? If you don’t – because you’re a liberated woman who can have sex whenever you damn well please – don’t be too surprised if a decent percentage of those men never call again.

This suggests that it can be helpful to have at least a few years together prior to entering a marriage.

But these suggested time frames can't possibly apply to everyone.

The subjective judgment of knowing someone well, then, needn't correlate with time. Your wedding might be magical, but becoming married isn't a magical experience that will instantly transform an unstable, unhealthy relationship into a stable, healthy one. One problem that can detour a marriage that seems to be headed in the right direction is the introduction of unexpected new knowledge about a partner.In other words, don't discount your personal assessment of future happiness: It's tied to underlying processes you're doing now that will later affect relationship well-being. Research (Felmee, 1995) examining these "fatal attractions" has discovered that they often take a certain form.When a partner is dissimilar from us in a specific way, or has traits that are extreme — "She's super enthusiastic! " — we sometimes see these as highly attractive qualities during relationship initiation, but they later become highly qualities that can reduce relationship satisfaction.Before you get married, consider how your relationship typically operates.Specifically, are you a low- or high-conflict couple?

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