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  . Fear of or disbelief in long-term commitment (Nicole and Baldwin, 1995; Bumpass, DeMaris and MacDonald, 1993).

. Desire to avoid divorce (Nicole and Baldwin, 1995; Thornton, 1991; Bumpass, 1990).

. Desire for economic security (Rindfuss and Van den Heuvel, 1990; Schoen and Owens, 1992).

. Stage of personal development, escape from home, "rite of passage" (Nicole and Baldwin, 1995).

. Desire for stability for raising of children (Wu, 1995; Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, 1991; Manning and Lichter, 1996).

. Pressure to conform to current mores that having cohabiting partner is measure of social success, personal desirability, adult transition (Rindfuss, Van Den Heuvel, 1990; Schoen and Owens, 1992).

. Desire to test the relationship (Nicole and Baldwin, 1995; Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, 1991; Bumpass, 1990).

. Rejection of the institution of marriage and desire for an alternative to marriage (Sweet and Bumpass, 1992; Rindfuss, Van den Heuvel, 1990).

4. What About Cohabitors and Marriage?

Overall, less than half of cohabiting couples ever marry. Those who do choose to marry are in some part counterculture to the growing view that it is certainly not necessary and perhaps not good to marry. Those who choose to marry instead of continuing to cohabit are the "good news" in a culture that is increasingly anti­marriage. Those cohabiting couples who move to marriage seem to be the "best risk" of a high-risk group: They have fewer risk factors than those cohabitors who choose not to marry. Even so, they still divorce at a rate 50 percent higher than couples who have never cohabited. They are a high-risk group for divorce, and their special risk factors need to be identified and addressed, especially at the time of marriage preparation, if the couples are to build solid marriages.

Only 50 percent to 60 percent of cohabitors marry the persons with whom th~y cohabit at a given time. Seventy-six percent report plans to marry their partner, but only about half do. The percentage of couples marrying after second and third cohabitation is even lower (Brown and Booth, 1996; Bumpass and Sweet, 1989).

. Up to 30 percent of cohabitors intend never to marry (Bumpass and Sweet, 1995).

. Twenty percent of cohabiting partners disagree about whether or not they intend to marry (Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, 1991).

. When cohabitors do marry, they are more at risk for subsequent divorce than those who did not cohabit before marriage. In the United States the risk of divorce is 50 percent higher for cohabitors than noncohabitors. In some Western European countries, it is estimated to be 80 percent higher (Bumpass and Sweet, 1995; Hall and Zhao, 1995; Bracher, Santow, Morgan and Trussell, 1993; DeMaris and Rao, 1992; Glenn, 1990).

. When previously married cohabitors marry, their subsequent divorce rate is higher than that of cohabiting couples who have not been previously maITied (Wineberg and McCarthy, 1998; Wu, 1995; Bumpass and Sweet, 1989).

. Those who cohabit more than once prior to marriage, serial or repeat cohabitors, have higher divorce rates when they do marry than those who cohabit only once (Brown and Booth, 1996; Stets,1993; Thomson and Colella, 1991).

. There is some indication that the divorce rate is higher for people who cohabit for a longer period of time, especially over three years. The data on this are mixed (Lillard, Brien and Waite, 1995; Thomson and Colella, 1991; Bennett, Blanc and Bloom, 1988).

. Cohabitors who marry break up in the earlier years of marriage. Cohabitors and noncohabitors have the same rate of marriage stability if the marriage remains intact over seven years (Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, 1991; Bennett, Blanc, and Bloom, 1988).

. Cohabitors who do choose to marry appear to be of lesser risk for later divorce than those cohabitors who choose not to marry would be. They appear to be the best risk of a high-risk group (Thomson and Colella, 1991).

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