“Slow Love” might be the key to a lasting relationship, new research suggests

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There’s a new dating concept in town, and it might just be the key to the lasting relationship we are all pining for. According to new research, a new revolution is in the works, and it’s called “slow love.”

In an interview with CBS This Morning, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher explains what it means and why it could be game-changing to the modern courtship.

“Marriage used to be the beginning of a relationship. Now it’s the finale,” she expresses.

Fischer conducts an annual study of the modern dating trends with Match.com, and this year, she found something interesting.

After studying a national sample of over 35,000 single adults, 66% admitted they’ve had one-night stands, 54% have had friends-with-benefits relationships, while 56% said they’ve moved in together with a partner before tying the knot.

I don’t know about you, but these statistics aren’t really breaking news. Our modern generation seems, at least on paper, reluctant to commit to anything long-term.

However, Fisher thinks that’s actually not the case. It just means our generation is cautious.

“What’s really happening is we’re seeing an extension of the pre-commitment stage of love. And Americans seem to think that this is reckless, and it began to occur to me it’s caution. These people want to know every single thing about a person before they tie the knot.”

But wait, is this a legitimate excuse for “fooling around?”

According to Fisher, it’s simply a form of self-preservation. It’s a process people go through to ensure they only commit to the right partner.

“One of the main strategies is they first start out with just friends. And then they move into friends with benefits. Don’t tell anybody. Secretive. Non-committal. And then have the official first date.”

With the current divorce rates in the country, it’s no wonder people are “terrified of divorce.”

At least for Fisher, that fear has resulted in the current dating climate and this process of non-commitment is actually a way for us to find a solid partnership in the long run.

She says:

“So I began to think, with this long pre-commitment stage, maybe you’re learning a lot, you’re getting rid of what you don’t want, so that by the time you walk down the aisle, you got what you want. You can keep what you want.”

However, according to the “cohabitation effect”, that’s actually not true.

Like Fisher, many people believe that it’s better to live together before marriage. Logically, we all think that it’s good to know you are completely compatible before tying the knot – and that can only happen when you’ve lived together with someone.

But apparently, going that route may have more pitfalls than you think.

After a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, the University of Virginia researchers believe that couples who live together (and not engaged), tend to become less satisfied with their eventual marriage, and they are likelier to end up in divorce.

Why?

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There are plenty of reasons, and they are called the “cohabitation effect.”

First, people who live together have unconventional thoughts about marriage, making them more open to divorce.

Second, is what researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” It’s the process of moving from dating to sleeping over, then to sleeping over a lot, and then moving in together.

That’s not really a bad thing.

However, a lot of couples tend to “slide” into this gradual slope without even having a real conversation about where the relationship is heading. And that’s where the mistake happens.

Why?

Women generally view cohabitation as a step to eventual marriage, while men see it as a way to delay commitment. No wonder it can get messy.

There is some good news, however.

A recent report from the Council on Contemporary Families suggests that premarital cohabitation actually makes a couple less likely to divorce.

According to the study’s lead author, Arielle Kuperberg:

“Those who were willing to transgress strong social norms to cohabit from the 1950s to 1970 were also more likely to transgress similar social norms about divorce.

“But as cohabitation became more widespread, its association with divorce faded.

“In fact, since 2000 premarital cohabitation has actually been associated with a lower rate of divorce, once factors such as religiosity, education, and age at coresidence are accounted for.”

These facts are one thing. But when it all boils down to it, there are many factors why people end up living together, and why they divorce.

Every couple goes through their unique experience. Relationships, love, and dating is no exact science.

As the studies on these trends mature, it’s unlikely we will ever pinpoint only one predominant factor to what makes a relationship last. Love, after all, is hard to put in just one box.

And in no time, love can go from nothing to thinking about them all the time.

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