Friday, February 11, 2011

Living together

Hard to imagine, but a new UM study finds important gender differences in perceptions of the costs and benefits of living together. Key bits from the summary in UM Today:

Overall, three key reasons for living together emerged: wanting to spend more time with one's partner, wanting to share life's financial burdens, and wanting to test compatibility. But the way men and women talked about these three broad reasons was very different.

Women volunteered "love" as a reason to live together three times as often as men did, while men cited "sex" as a reason to live together four times as often as women did.

Both men and women saw cohabitation as a temporary state in which to gauge compatibility, but major gender differences emerged in the underlying goals of living together. Women saw it as a transitional arrangement preceding marriage, while men tended to see it as a convenient, low-risk way to see if a relationship had longer-term potential, using terms like "test drive" to describe the arrangement.

But the strongest gender differences emerged in the perceived disadvantages of cohabitation. Women believed that living together meant less commitment and legitimacy than marriage, while men saw the greatest disadvantage as a limitation on their freedom.

Who would have thought? But it is still very useful to quantify, and to show the importance of gender differences relative to other subgroups.

The full text of the article can be found here; it may be gated.

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