Average length of dating before living together

Eyebrows raised when Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were recently spotted apartment-hunting in Manhattan.

After all, shacking up is a serious—and sometimes controversial—step.

Some cohabitors, it seems, are more equal than others, with one group showing all the telltale signs of disaster that previous research had revealed, and another, luckier group, living happily ever after.

The difference between the two came down to their state of mind.

"Living together can be a powerful way to strengthen and deepen your relationship," says Marshall Miller, author of man?

Take a look at the checklist below—if you agree with five or more of the following statements, call the movers.

We typically spend five or more nights together each week.

The more often you hang out, the better sense you'll have of what it will be like to share a pad. If you know ahead of time that he leaves his dirty clothes all over the apartment and has an aversion to emptying the dishwasher, you won't be as up in arms about these things when you live together.

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"Having you say home is a nice feeling," was his reply.She'd had more than a few bad relationships, and the last one had died a slow, painful death over the course of three long years, in a tiny apartment that seemed even more suffocating when she and her boyfriend were fighting. And because I knew the research, the very fact that she had so many misgivings was more than enough to give me pause as well. Prior to 2000, many people might have advised Sharon against moving in with her boyfriend, no matter how well they'd been getting along.The research findings on premarital cohabitation were dismal.On the other end of this spectrum, only 6% of couples date for 8 years or more before getting engaged.Though by a relatively small margin, couples in the South spend the least time dating prior to engagement.

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