Print This Post

Cohabitation has many benefits for college couples

Posted on 02.20.2013

A generation ago, unmarried couples who lived together often were derided for “shacking up” or “playing house.” In this generation, cohabitation has become a common pattern among people of the Western world.  Nowadays, cohabitation is seen as a normal step in the dating process.

The idea of living with a significant other is not far fetched among young people today. How far we have come from the stereotypes about cohabitation is amazing. According to Associate Professor of Social Sciences Amanda Miller, before 1970, cohabitation was illegal in the United States. At that time, living together outside of marriage was uncommon, but in the late 1990s the number of couples living together increased tenfold.

Most couples tend to cohabitate for various convenience-based reasons. Cohabitants may live together to save money, especially if a partner is financially unstable and wants to delay or avoid marriage. Cohabitants may delay marriage not only because of the difficulty of paying for a wedding, but also the fear of financial hardship if a marriage should end in divorce. Many cohabitating couples view cohabitation as a prelude to marriage and a good way to test their relationship before walking down the aisle.

While some cohabitating couples see cohabitation as basic marriage preparation, some live together just to be closer. Some cohabitating couples leave the issue of marriage out of the equation. Whether a couple plans to marry or not, cohabitation is a true test of a relationship. To like someone when you see him or her once a week is one thing. To like someone when you see him or her every passing hour is another. A significant other may be in the sitting room watching a football game when you want to watch “Scandal,” in the bathroom leaving the toothpaste on the counter without its cap, in the kitchen taking your last piece of caramel filled chocolate and so on.

It is not an easy task to feel suddenly comfortable with someone else in your space after years of having your own room and your own rules. This situation is when couples truly know whether they can stand to be around one another for a long time.

Cohabitation can either maim or make a relationship.  It definitely involves compromise and mutual respect. The word “selfishness” has to be thrown off the balcony even when it feels like one person in the relationship feels he or she can’t get away from the other person.

While there are the trying sides of cohabitation, there are also the good sides, such as having someone to confide in, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with and someone to split the bills with. At the root, cohabitation is all about the relationship and the level of understanding couples share. Although cohabitation works for some couples, it may not work for others.

According to Miller, couples have the freedom to run their relationship in whatever way suits them best.

“It is a personal preference,”  Miller said. “If cohabitation fits a couples’ morals and lets them figure out if their relationship is going to work, [then] it is more beneficial to cohabitate than to have to go through a divorce after marriage.”



RSS Feed  Follow Us on Twitter  Facebook Profile