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Moving in together = happiness

HealthBy Sunday World
Moving in together = happiness

Moving in with your other half might seem like risky business - what if they snore like a pig every night? Or they never do the washing up? Or you can't ever agree on what to watch on TV? Well, breathe a sigh of relief if you're about to take that step, as science says cohabiting is good for your emotional wellbeing.

A recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that young couples who lived together got the same benefits as they would from marriage - particularly the women. Researchers at the University of Ohio started the project back in 1997, collecting data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a study that focused on 8,700 people born between 1980 and 1984. The scientists then conducted follow-up interviews with the participants every other year from 2000 to 2010. Questions asked focused on the status of their relationship and their levels of emotional distress.

It emerged that women who lived with their partner during their first serious relationship gained the same benefits as those who married their first serious partner. At this point, marriage seemed to offer "no additional boost". Meanwhile men in their first serious relationship only benefited emotionally if they married.

Things got more interesting by the time of people's second serious relationship. Both men and women received an emotional boost akin to that of getting married when they moved in together.

"The young people in our study may be selecting better partners for themselves the second time around, which is why they are seeing a drop in emotional distress," co-author Claire Kamp Dush explained. "At one time, marriage may have been seen as the only way for young couples to get the social support and companionship that is important for emotional health... (But) it's not that way anymore. We're finding that marriage isn't necessary to reap the benefits of living together."

But before you put down a deposit on your first shared home, you may want to consider another new study from the Journal of Family Issues. Researchers from the Western Washington University found adults who lived alone were physically healthier than those cohabiting, presenting a lower Body Mass Index.

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