Argument Analysis: the Cohabitation Epidemic

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After reading the essay “The Cohabitation Epidemic” I do not believe the author (Neal Clack Warren) made a good case for his conclusion stating that we should be alarmed over the recent epidemic of cohabiting couples. When I first read the essay I wasn’t actually too sure that was the conclusion. So much time was spent arguing over the position that cohabiting with a partner is not a good form of a trail marriage, that it was lost in the mix to me. After rereading and breaking it down I tried to take a closer look and see if the premises lead to the conclusion. At the beginning of the essay Neil explains the social changes that have occurred in the last few decades showing the stark rise of “unmarried –partner households.” He claims that as a psychologist with a background in working with single and married couples we should be alarmed over this recent change. Neil then tells the reader the only two reasons why couples cohabitate. Either they want to enjoy the benefits of living together (“availability of sex, combined financial resources, shared household responsibilities, etc.” ) or they want to use it as a trail marriage. The author draws us into a false dilemma, which his what happens when an author asserts “that there are only two alternative to consider when there are actually more than two”2, in this case many other reasons. Some partners are in a same sex relationships and are not allowed to marry in “most US states” 3, some couples are not able to afford the financial burdens of marriage, and many have personal reasons for choosing to remain living together with a partner unmarried. Nonetheless, Neal states his three reasons why couples engage in “trail marriage” and choose to delay their marriage (1. Lot of luster in society 2. Witnessing broken marriages make it seem risky 3. Lost confidence in correctly judging long lasting matches ). Neil leaves out many other possibilities like one trying engaging in a trail marriage to see how the...
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