Folk Wisdom: Should they shack up?
Monday, June 22, 2009 at 11:25AM
Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. in Cohabitation, Dating, Folk Wisdom, Marriage

Wise Readers,

Welcome to Folk Wisdom, a new aspect of Love Science. This is where I ask for YOUR relationship advice on a specific question from other readers. “But”, you may be thinking, “this is a science-based column, not an opinion column, right? And isn’t Duana the one reporting answers?”


Yes, and yes. However, folk wisdom—the accumulated knowledge of regular people—is what most of us really use every day to make our decisions. Which means it’s Important.


Sometimes it’s even right. Ever read a study and thought, “My grandma could have told you that!”? That’s because social science sometimes confirms folk wisdom’s validity.


More often, though, there are several folk wisdom answers for any one scenario—and social science tells us which of the many possible answers will actually work for most people most of the time. (Sorry—only a crystal ball claims to foretell what is going to work for all of the people all of the time. Hence the enduring popularity of the MAGIC 8 BALL®?)


So, I’ve got a proposition to propose you ;). I’m going to give you a scenario from time to time, and ask you to write back with your advice about it. Then, in a later article I will summarize your answers and give the advice science supports.


Oh—by the way—looking up the science yourself is considered cheating!


Ready? Here’s this week’s scenario:


Pete and Tina are in their early 20’s and have dated for three years. They each want to cohabit—although for different reasons. Pete has serious doubts about the future of the relationship and views this as his opportunity to test the waters. Tina feels sure Pete is The One, and sees a shack-up as the next step toward matrimony. Should they move in together?


Here’s the survey link, where your responses will be anonymous:


If you’d also like to leave a comment here, please feel free, of course; but for the upcoming article, only the survey responses can be used.


Eagerly anticipating your wisdom—





Do you have a question for Duana? Contact her at


All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., 2009

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