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Couples Who Live Together Are Happier Than Married Couples

Who knew that not putting a ring on it could make you happier?

Cornell University's College of Human Ecology just published a study about cohabitation vs. marriage and how it affects our well-being. Let's look at the facts from the USAToday.com article: The study followed 2,737 single men and women over six years. Nearly 900 of them got married or began living with their partner. Apparently, the people who ended up simply living together were happier and had higher levels of self-esteem than those who got married, but that effect faded over time. People who eventually got married reported better overall health compared with those who cohabited, which is probably because of the benefits of marriage (like health insurance).

What I think they severely overlooked is the appeal of a ring. Sure, maybe not everyone is cut out for marriage, or even looking to ever settle down, but I can almost promise that most of those women who were cohabitating and not marrying still wanted a diamond to call their own. And I don't blame them! I will say that, because I'm married (and this even happen when Jack and I just lived together), I don't see my single (or dating) friends as often as I used to, and I don't keep in touch with my family as much.

The study brings up an interesting question in our society: Are we actually better off married? While it's clear that there aren't as many monetary benefits to getting married nowadays, perhaps our happiness has replaced it when it comes to measuring marriage benefits. I'll say one thing, though: It isn't for everyone. Plenty of my friends aren't married, and they're just as happy as Jack and I. Sure, those ladies might not have the diamond on their ring finger to show, but I'm sure there's plenty of jewelry to come in the future.

So what do you think -- are we better off married or just living together? Lust fades over time, but apparently so do our happiness and our self-esteem.

-- Holly