As the rate of divorce soars and as increasing numbers of marriages disintegrate, living together has become the popular alternative to many people in north America. Expersts estimate that "roughly 2.2 million people are currently sharing bed and board in a live-in arrangement, this is approximately 1% of the total population."("Family." Comptoms Encyclopedia. 1992 ed.) Living together, more formally known as non marital cohabitation, is an emerging lifestyle. In fact, "More than one fourth of all unmarried couples living together in the early 1980's were between 25 and 34 years old, and an additional 19 percent were 45 and over."("Today's Families."Detroit Free Press 18 October 1995: B17.) Although living together is not a recent invention, the relationship has yet to be legitimized with a respectable name. Existing terms such as "shacking up" or "living in sin" are just some of the crude names being tagged to people living together. Living together can be valuable a substitute for marriage, a cur e-all for marital problems, and a solution to the problem of frequent divorce.
A popular rationale for living together is that it is an ideal way to have a "try out." This trial marriage is a result of the ever increasing divorce rate. Many couples are afraid of marriage and decide to live together with the intention to pursue
marriage if the temporary arrangement is successful. The
couples hope to "minimize their chances of a potential disastrous marriage; any conflicting attitudes toward social activities, economic arrangements, or domestic chores will be discovered and hopefully resolved while the couple live together." (Carter, Sharon. "Trial Marriage". Ladies' Home Journal 14 (May 1993): 12-13.) If an unsolveable conflict arises, the couple can cancel their wedding plans and escape the painful exercise of divorce. Living together ultimately can test the couple's compatibility and have them really get to know...