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And relationship quality in dating couples

Simply put, you have a better chance of making good decisions in dating when you have not become sexually involved with your dating partner.Leading marriage expert Scott Stanley, a frequent contributor to this blog, has proposed a concept of dating that he calls “relationship inertia.” The central idea of inertia is that some couples end up married partly because they become “prematurely entangled” in a sexual relationship prior to making the decision to be committed to one another—and had they not become so entangled early on, they would not have married each other.

In fact, as noted in Figure 1, recent studies have found that between 30 and 40% of dating and married couples report having sex within one month of the start of their relationship, and the numbers are even higher for currently cohabiting couples. However, two recently published studies call into question the validity of testing sexual chemistry early in dating. This study involved a national sample of 2,035 married individuals who participated in the popular online couple assessment survey called “RELATE.” We found that the longer a dating couple waits to have sex, the better their relationship is after marriage.To compare these three groups, the authors conducted a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance controlling for religiosity, relationship length, education, and the number of sexual partners.The results from the MANCOVA indicated that Sexual Timing Group and Gender had a significant effect on the dependent variables while holding the control variables constant.Test-retest correlations for a 2-month period were .68 for Close, .71 for Depend, and .52 for Anxiety. Administration, Analysis and Reporting Statistics Solutions consists of a team of professional methodologists and statisticians that can assist the student or professional researcher in administering the survey instrument, collecting the data, conducting the analyses and explaining the results. To obtain permission to use this scale Contact the authors directly to request permission: Nancy L. For additional information on these services, click here. For couples in between—those that became sexually involved later in their dating, but prior to marriage—the benefits were about half as strong.

Source: Adapted from Busby, Carroll, and Willoughby (2010). The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships. Note: Figure depicts mean scores reported by spouses in three sexual timing groups on relationship satisfaction, perceived relationship stability, sexual quality, and communication.

This finding supports Norval Glenn’s hypothesis that sexual involvement may lead to unhealthy emotional entanglements that make ending a bad relationship difficult.

As Sassler and her colleagues concluded, “Adequate time is required for romantic relationships to develop in a healthy way.

The means displayed here demonstrate that the Sexual Timing Group that participants belonged to had the strongest association with Perceived Relationship Stability and Satisfaction as all three groups were significantly different from each other.

In other words, the longer participants waited to be sexual, the more stable and satisfying their relationships were once they were married.

They discovered that the negative association between sexual timing and relationship quality is largely driven by a link between early sex and cohabitation.