Living together before marriage is becoming more common in Japan, but a poll suggests there’s still a big gap between how men and women feel about it.
As in many cultures, the common image is that single Japanese women, more than their male counterparts, are the ones who crave commitment in their romantic relationships. However, a recent survey shows there’s at least one situation in which Japanese guys are generally more willing than girls to raise the stakes in a relationship.
Match Alarm, a dating app that work through users’ Facebook accounts, asked 506 men and 257 women, between the ages of 20 and 39, whether or not they want to live together with their romantic partner before getting married. While unwed cohabitation has been slower to catch on in Japan than in many western countries, the majority of respondents from both genders were in favor of sharing a home before walking down the aisle, although in very different proportions.
While 89.7% of men said they were in favor of living together before getting married, only 66.5% of women felt the same way.
The pro-living together camp gave rationales including:
“It helps you get a clear picture of each other’s values” (Male, mid-20s) “Some people change once they start living with someone else.” (Female, mid-30s) “It lets you see each other’s good and bad points.” (Male, early 30s) “If you wait until after getting married to live together for the first time, the differences in your lifestyles can be startling.” (Female, mid-30s)
On the other side of the debate, the anti-cohabitation faction said:
“It’ll make things seem less special after you get married.” (Female, early 30s) “If we’re going to live together, we may as well get married, If we’re just dating, we can stay over at each other’s places when we want to.” (Male, mid-30s) “There are some things you can put up with if you’re married, but would bother you enough that if you were just living together you’d break up.” (Female, mid-30s) “Living together can make you lose the impetus to get married.” (Female, mid-20s)
The last two remarks are especially telling, as they show that some Japanese women are against living together as boyfriend and girlfriend specifically because they want a deeper commitment. This fits with the distribution by age of respondents who were for and against unmarried cohabitation. While men showed just moderate fluctuations between age groups, the number of women who like the idea of living together plummets after respondents hit 25, and doesn’t start rising again until a decade later.
This trench during the late 20s and early 30s matches up with the age range in which many Japanese women say they ideally want to get married, so for those who see cohabitation as sidestepping marriage, maybe it’s not so surprising that they don’t want to have two keys to their home unless there are also a pair of rings for their and their boyfriends’ fingers.
Source: PR Times
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