The Effects of Cohabitation in Todays Societ

Topics: Marriage, Cohabitation, Human sexuality Pages: 9 (3162 words) Published: July 7, 2009
The Effects of Cohabitation on Todays Society
Erin Bedard

Cohabitation is replacing marriage as the first living together experience for young men and women. When blushing brides walk down the aisle at the beginning of the new millennium, well over half have already lived together with a boyfriend. For today’s young adults, the first generation to come of age during the divorce revolution, living together seems like a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoid the risk of divorce. Couples who live together can share expenses and learn more about each other. They can find out if their partner has what it takes to be married. If things don’t work out, breaking up is easy to do. Cohabiting couples do not have to seek legal or religious permission to dissolve their union. Not surprisingly, young adults favor cohabitation. According to surveys, most young people say it is a good idea to live with a person before marrying. But a careful review of the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. What’s more, it shows that the rise in cohabitation is not a positive family trend. Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks for women and children. Specifically, the research indicates that: · Living together before marriage increases the risk of breaking up after marriage. · Living together outside of marriage increases the risk of domestic violence for women, and the risk of physical and sexual abuse for children. · Unmarried couples have lower levels of happiness and wellbeing than married couples.

Because this generation of young adults is so keenly aware of the fragility of marriage, it is especially important for them to know what contributes to marital success and what may threaten it. Yet many young people do not know the basic facts about cohabitation and its risks. Nor are parents, teachers, clergy and others who instruct the young in matters of sex, love and marriage. I have been in a cohabitant relationship for ten years and am interested in what the effects of cohabitation are the purpose of this paper is to report on the available research on the effects of cohabitation in todays society.

A decrease in the number of marriages and an increase in cohabitation both have come in the wake of a large increase in divorce in the last thirty years. Some people argue that these trends are due to people being less willing to make commitments, or perhaps being more fearful that others will break their promises.Many people today are seeing cohabitation as an acceptable alternative to marriage. Since 1970 the number of heterosexual couples living together outside of marriage has increased over 1000 percent, according to the Rutgers .National Marriage Project (NMP)

Traditional wisdom says that cohabitating before marriage results in a higher likelihood of divorce, a poor impact on children, and a lower standard of marital satisfaction, but is that wisdom true?Although a good deal of evidence shows that cohabiting relationships have higher risks of poor outcomes, governmental and other official bodies continue to treat cohabitation and marriage as essentially the same, cohabitants have the same legal rights and responsibilities which used to be reserved for marriage, from property rights to the right to make decisions about children's lives.

There is a strong trend among contemporary couples toward cohabitation. Religion plays less and less of a decision in sexual relationships, therefore more couples are choosing to “get to know each other” better before getting married. They see marriage as an outmoded piece of paper that doesn’t mean anything.

Opposition to cohabitation comes mainly from religious groups. Opponents of cohabitation usually argue that living together in this fashion is less stable and hence harmful. According to one argument, the total and unconditional commitment...
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