Why young couples aren't getting married -- they fear the ravages of divorce

With the share of married adults at an all-time low in the United States, new research by demographers at Cornell University and the University of Central Oklahoma unveils clues why couples don't get married – they fear divorce.

Among cohabitating couples, more than two-thirds of the study's respondents admitted to concerns about dealing with the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of a possible .

The study, "The Specter of Divorce: Views from Working and Middle-Class Cohabitors," is published in the journal Family Relations (December 2011) and is co-authored by Sharon Sassler, Cornell professor of policy analysis and management, and Dela Kusi-Appouh, a Cornell doctoral student in the field of development sociology. (http://bit.ly/sJqeFa).

Roughly 67 percent of the study's respondents shared their worries about divorce. Despite the concerns, middle-class subjects spoke more favorably about tying the knot and viewed cohabitation as a natural stepping stone to marriage compared to their working-class counterparts. Lower-income women, in particular, disproportionately expressed doubts about the "trap" of marriage, fearing that it could be hard to exit if things go wrong or it would lead to additional domestic responsibilities but few benefits.

The study also found working-class cohabitating were more apt to view marriage as "just a piece of paper," nearly identical to their existing relationship. They were twice as likely to admit fears about being stuck in marriage with no way out once they were relying on their partners' share of income to get by.

The authors hope that their findings could help premarital counselors to better tailor their lessons to assuage widespread fears of divorce and to target the specific needs of various socioeconomic classes.


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Citation: Why young couples aren't getting married -- they fear the ravages of divorce (2011, December 18) retrieved 25 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-young-couples-arent-ravages.html
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Dec 18, 2011
The article failed to mention the multiple government programs which are available to unwed mothers but not to married mothers. Nor did it mention the tax penalties associated with marriage.

Dec 18, 2011
admit fears about being stuck in marriage with no way out once they were relying on their partners' share of income to get by.
So raises the question - aren't you then relying on the income already, even if just living together? In fact this is one of the big excuses - we want to save money by combining our income.

the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of a possible divorce.

So what happens when you break up even if just living together? Isn't it the same? You can still have children go thru the same emotional turmoil as when married.

viewed cohabitation as a natural stepping stone to marriage
Statistics often quoted by counselors show that living together before marriage actually increases the odds of having a divorce!

God created marriage to be a reflection of the relationship between Himself and us - a PERMANENT union that will never be broken. Sinful human beings, having rejected their creator are now seeking their own broken ways.

Dec 18, 2011
I've seen the opposite of this happening. I've seen people getting married in their teen years (which is pretty stupid, really). Everywhere you look, people are rushing into it these days. I'm in my 20's, still single, but it's mainly because I haven't found the right person...

Dec 18, 2011
It's working. One more study pegging important life decisions to fear. The creation of an easily-manipulated, fear-based society is almost complete. Carry on. Nothing to see here. :-)

Dec 18, 2011
Mayday ,

Saying people are fearful does not make them fearful, but it does make our leaders incompetent. I don't know a single individual who is afraid a terrorist will harm him or his family, but our leaders think we are all wetting our pants in fear of terrorism.


Dec 18, 2011
I like how the ancient concept of "marriage" has managed to become conflated with some silly government contract. And people wonder why it's become so cheapened. People shouldn't be staying together just because of the fear of a gruesome legal divorce or the contract's financial benefits.

Dec 18, 2011
Mayday ,

Saying people are fearful does not make them fearful, but it does make our leaders incompetent. I don't know a single individual who is afraid a terrorist will harm him or his family, but our leaders think we are all wetting our pants in fear of terrorism.



You are a liar. You most certainly know people that are afraid of terrorists.

Dec 18, 2011
I have seen enough of my friends marry and divorce before they were even 30 that I do not want to partake in the financial fallout that inevitably follows. Divorces have left several of them on the streets, because it seems if you're a woman the courts only listen to you. This article is spot on.

Dec 18, 2011
If you are considering marriage to someone who you are in any way afraid of, or of their potential actions that might harm you, then, dah, you should definitely NOT get married to them. Just walk away. And the sooner the better. Jeez!

Dec 18, 2011
I dont see the need for government to get involved in personal romantic relationships. Marriage as a legal entity is quite pointless, and only serves to complicate things.

Marriage as a tradition has its merit. Legal marriage, not so much, IMHO.

Dec 18, 2011
Marriage is just a way for the government to charge you a fee to have sex without being busted for prostitution.

Dec 18, 2011
Marriage is just a way for the government to charge you a fee to have sex without being busted for prostitution.
Damn you beat me to it. Yes marriage is just legalized prostitution. Except hooking has a performance clause. Now marriage doesn't even imply consent, or anything at all for that matter. It's just a necessary step for divorce after years of sexless captivity.

Dec 18, 2011
The article failed to mention the multiple government programs which are available to unwed mothers but not to married mothers. Nor did it mention the tax penalties associated with marriage.


They weren't talking about motherhood, they were talking about marriage. Oddly, they also didnt talk about how here in china, many girls attitudes about sex and relationships are liberalizing very quickly. You would think that would surely make it into the article.

Dec 18, 2011
FrankHerbert,
You are a liar. You most certainly know people that are afraid of terrorists.


No I don't know anyone who is afraid a terrorist will harm him or his family.

Calling someone a liar is an abuse of this forum.

Dec 19, 2011
It's just a necessary step for divorce after years of sexless captivity.
- some russian noob

Like the old joke when your lover is not in the mood - 'If I wanted to give up sex, I would get married'.

People get bored with each other. They get a 7 year itch.
- Vendi

Crikey, I just had a 7 week affair and I'm bored. Especially after the seduction and sex a few times, then its time for new pastures and moving on .. I believe she feels the same.

Marriage just ain't natural.


Dec 19, 2011
Except if you are poor and lonely .. otherwise theres some great brothels and night clubs here in Sydney ... oh thats right prostitution is unlawful in much of the USA. Waahahaa .. no wonder Yanks are wankers!!

Oops I forgot, most Americans believe that God literally created everything and hold the Bible to be true. Don't do it ... you'll go blind. LOL!

Dec 19, 2011
God created marriage to be a reflection of the relationship between Himself and us - a PERMANENT union that will never be broken. Sinful human beings, having rejected their creator are now seeking their own broken ways.


So why he doesn't call, send me flowers, help a bit around the house? He just threatens to burn me if I upset or contradict him. What a terrible husband! A bigamist too, he's already married. http://en.wikiped.../Asherah

Dec 19, 2011
The article failed to mention the multiple government programs which are available to unwed mothers but not to married mothers. Nor did it mention the tax penalties associated with marriage.


They weren't talking about motherhood, they were talking about marriage. Oddly, they also didnt talk about how here in china, many girls attitudes about sex and relationships are liberalizing very quickly. You would think that would surely make it into the article.


The China comment was meant to be sarcastic. It was meant to be as irrevelant as the mother comment.

Dec 19, 2011
It's natural result of recession. Before wars and during financial crisis the frequency of marriages always decreased. After wars the jump in natality has been observed. http://stateofour...sion.png

Dec 20, 2011
there's an awful lot of bitterness and vitriol displayed here.
- Pirouette

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?

And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

Dec 20, 2011
No I don't know anyone who is afraid a terrorist will harm him or his family.


LOL, you'll never admit it, but I'd love to know what mental gymnastics you have to go through to say that sincerely. Unless you aren't being sincere.

Anyway, yes you are lying. You must know very few people or be in some region of the US that never found out about 9/11. You're also clearly a creationist and a conservative, so you're telling me you've never encountered someone that is frightened by terrorism, specifically the Islamist variety?

Is anyone you know afraid of Muslims? Bet you won't answer that question.

@Bluehigh
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

I see you are getting a little more subtle with your genocidal thoughts. I guess now you are self-conscious enough to remove the word "cull" from your rhetoric. Most of us can still see through it though.

Say hi to your family for me you crikey dingo :)

Dec 20, 2011
Frankie,

You project your own fear onto others. Most Americans recognize that they are more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to be harmed by a terrorist. They don't cower in fear.

You go right ahead and tremble.

Dec 20, 2011
Hey dogbert. I will say unequivocally, I am not afraid of terrorists, nor Islam, nor the conflation of the two.

I will also admit that I "tremble" at the capacity of conservatives to understand reality. YOU frighten me. American, right wing terrorists, frighten me.

Will you say you do not know a single person that is frightened by Islam? I await your obfuscated answer, if you provide one at all.

Dec 20, 2011
I remember when this forum rarely if ever had any political garbage in it. Tell me, Vendicar Decarian and FrankHerbert, how much does MoveOn.org and the rest of the liberal political machine pay you to spam a science forum with politics? If it's good pay I might get on board with it myself.

At least FrankHerbert occasionally has some thoughtful and topical input; Vendicar Decarian is the most obvious troll besides marjon/ryggesogn and kevinrts.

On the subject of why the young aren't marrying as much these days, I think they have found the right answer - most I know, myself included, are averse to the notion of divorce and in the case of the guys, how profitable it is for women to divorce. That's just anecdotal from those I know, but I agree that marriage should not need a legal and binding contract when--I thought--it is supposed to be a natural response to the desire to procreate and to a series of long-lasting hormonal imbalances in the brain.

Dec 20, 2011
I ran out of room in that last post, but I would like to make it clear that I support neither Republocrats nor Demoblicans, and the fact that anyone would lean 100% in one direction is laughable and suggests an aversion to reality. Neither party is your friend, neither party is for smaller government and neither party cares about the Constitution upon which the U.S. was founded. I would hope those interested enough to read science articles would be aware enough to realize that politicians are unilaterally opposed to helping anyone but themselves. The primary goals of both parties are to make their positions more profitable and desirable for themselves and their successors, human rights be damned.

Also V_D, that you continue to capitalize "Conservatives" suggests you may actually be talking about the Canadian right-wing party, as there is no such capitalized faction in U.S. politics. Just sayin'.

Dec 20, 2011
but I would like to make it clear that I support neither Republocrats nor Demoblicans, and the fact that anyone would lean 100% in one direction is laughable and suggests an aversion to reality.

I would say I agree too, but I would say you possess an aversion to reality if you can't realize that at this juncture the one isn't at least a slightly better option than the other. You are falling into a "the model is more real than reality" trap. You have a model of the two parties and you are sticking to it even when it's not accurately reflecting reality.

I am very aware that both parties pick and choose the aspects of the Constitution that they feel helps them. This is evidenced by a near universal opposition to an equal congressional apportionment amendment. An amendment so important the Constitution would not have been ratified had it not been explicitly promised to the states by the Philadelphia convention. It was "Amendment the First" on the Bill of Rights. That says something

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