All Articles Tagged "cohabitation"
Playing House Is Now The Norm: Study Finds About Half Of Women (15-44) Have Cohabited With A Partner
According to a new study, many more people are deciding to live together, unmarried, and are having children as a result of this than in the past. According to USA Today, almost half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have had their first real “union” through cohabitation. The study, done by the National Center for Health Statistics was based off of interviews conducted with 12,279 women from 2006 to 2010. It also showed that the numbers of people shacking up have even increased a great deal since 1995, when there were only 34 percent of women saying they had done it, and from 2002, when 43 percent proclaimed their current or previous cohabited status.
Other findings in the study including detailing which groups are cohabiting more and more, the length of time on average people are doing it, how many become pregnant during that time, and what the opportunity for marriage is looking like after saying I do…to sharing bills under the same roof. The women who have cohabited have definitely increased for all ethnic groups, though the study says Asian women are the exception. Hispanic women have gone up to 57 percent cohabitation, 43 percent for whites and 39 percent for blacks. The study also finds that 70 percent of women cohabiting as a first union don’t have a high school diploma, while 47 percent of women with a bachelor’s live with their partners, and according to USA Today, “Among women ages 22-44 with higher education, their cohabitations were more likely to transition to marriage by within years (53%), compared with 30% for those who didn’t graduate high school.”
About 19 percent of women were found to have become pregnant within the first year of living with their partner, and 22 months was the median amount of time people lived together, an increase from 20 months in 2002. But within three years of living together, 40 percent of women were able to get a ring put on it, while 32 percent continued to live together and 27 percent of those studied fell out and broke up.
I’m sure we all know a few friends or family members who are cohabiting. And it’s clear that more and more people are becoming comfortable with living with a partner before marriage, and for some, it’s setting them up for pregnancy, while others do end up walking down the aisle. Question is, are you down for cohabitation? Why are why not?
Myranda Trevino is one of the latest teenage mothers to be featured on the fourth season of MTV’s popular program, 16 and Pregnant. The 17 year-old high school junior learned that she would become a mother only a short time after she started dating boyfriend, Eric. After battling a lifetime of substance abuse, Trevino’s mother allowed her daughter to move in with Eric and his grandmother after they had only been dating for six months. In fact, in one of the opening scenes to the episode, the pair can be found spooning in bed as his grandmother folds clothes and vacantly warns, “When y’all get up out of that bed, y’all better make it up.”
This had me thinking: This can’t be life. Since when did it become acceptable for teenagers to play house under the same roof as their parents, so that essentially they have all of the privileges of being an adult and none of the responsibilities? In my opinion, this is lazy parenting. And apparently this in fact IS life where we refuse to communicate to our children the ins and outs of contraception and sexual health, but allow them to engage in sexual activity under our own roofs, sending them conflicting messages about values.
In Trevino’s case, we have a young girl from a broken home whose parents probably weren’t the most responsible people to begin with, but when other families experience a teenage pregnancy, they sometimes believe distance can be a deterrent to the teen couple’s ability to share responsibilities effectively. For this reason some parents allow the young parents to cohabitate so the baby’s life will be more cohesive since he/she will have constant access to both parents. Unfortunately, what happens more often than not is that teens see this as an excuse to play house, and act like adults in what is an unrealistic situation.
In fact, on another episode of 16 and Pregnant, a 16 year-old named Lindsey confidently tells her mom about plans to move in with boyfriend Forest after the birth of the baby only to attempt to push intimidating hospital paperwork onto her mother in the hospital after the baby is born. After her mom tells her she doesn’t understand why she has to fill out paperwork if Lindsey no longer lives with her, the young woman puts up the defense, “It’s because I’m not 18, and since I am not 18 yet, legally you guys are responsible for my bills!” All of this before she goes for a full-blown tantrum and dismisses her mom from the room with an entitled, “Shut up.” And just so we’re clear, Lindsey is anxious to move into a home where Forest’s mother insists on him not working to support his child since he has to finish school. Where was she when he was making babies? Yes, it’s television, but it’s TV that’s mirroring many households across the country.
There’s a reason that we call them minors. Most teenagers lack the life experience and discipline it takes to make major decisions, especially when it comes to sexual health and relationships. It’s a parent’s responsibility to enforce boundaries. When you allow teenagers to live as a couple under your roof where you pay bills, you’re essentially allowing them the perks of living “on their own” but off of you and with none of the responsibility. Many parents say they allow their teens to live together for one of three reasons:
1. They figure if their teens are going to be sexually active, they prefer it to be in a place that’s safe where parents can be reached if necessary.
2. The partner may be experiencing hardships at home, and the family steps in to provide safety and security, when the partner’s parents cannot.
3. The family believes that teen parents should raise a child as a family, and don’t want to have to deal with the challenges that come with raising children in separate homes.
I made many mistakes during my dating years: pining after emotionally unavailable men, hanging around men I didn’t like just because they liked me, ruling out potential dates for superficial reasons, the list goes on.
But now, several months on the other side of married life, I believe there is one great decision I made while dating – deciding not to live with my husband before we got married.
Though at times it seemed financially impractical, living together was never a consideration for us. We agreed that we wanted to date while we were dating and be married when we got married.
This put us in a different mindset from many cohabitating couples we know who have been dating for years. Of course, there is no universal timetable for relationships because every couple moves at its own pace. In addition, some couples don’t want to ever get married. Just as men aren’t interested in buying a cow when they’re getting the milk for free, women have decided they don’t want to marry a pig when all they want is the sausage. However, I’ve observed women who want to marry their boyfriends yesterday, but have settled for playing house while waiting not-so-patiently for him to pop the question.
As a result, I advise any woman who is interested in getting married in a timely fashion to think twice before cohabitating.
I’m not saying there aren’t people who move in together, get engaged soon after, get married and live happily ever after, but it seems a mutually good experience is not the common outcome for cohabitating couples.
There are countless examples of cohabitation gone bad, yet every woman seems to think she will be different only to end up nodding her head just the same in recognition of Gabrielle Union’s character in the popular movie, Think Like A Man. Homegirl was living with her boyfriend for nine years without any semblance of commitment. That would have been funny, if not so sadly common.
The New York Times recently reported: chances are pretty good that a woman desiring to get married will find moving in together just postpones marriage indefinitely, results in a less satisfied marriage and/or increases the likelihood of divorce. The Times found that cohabitating couples are more likely to have kids than get married.
So, why do people continue to support this failed relationship model?
The most ridiculous of arguments is that people are using “cohabitation as a way to ‘test drive’ a marriage.” For one, a marriage is not a car. And even if it were a car, the “test drive” would be dating not cohabitating. No car company would allow you to take their car home, drive it all over town for years, eating and spilling in it, getting into fender benders, and generally treating the car like it is yours to keep. That is what kind of “test drive” you’re engaging in when you compare it to cohabitating.
Further, there is no way to test a marriage without actually being married.
Sure, it’s important to get to know the person you want to marry, but you can know enough about someone you’re dating without living with him. For instance, if he insists on moving in with you right away, you know he lacks patience. (Just kidding…sort of.) Thinking of my own marriage, there are things that make my husband and I different that we didn’t know until we got married, but those things aren’t dealbreakers and would not have been worth finding out beforehand.
The progression in our relationship and the clear distinction of our married life from our dating life is much more exciting and valuable than knowing beforehand if we fold towels the same.
Besides, when does a “test drive” morph into a “committed drive”? If you’re still claiming to be test-driving your marriage years after moving in together then you’re kidding yourself. Someone in that relationship is being led like a clueless horse with a carrot dangling in front of it, biding their time until they realize it’s being wasted.
If you want to be married, then you deserve to be with someone who wants to marry you. Why settle for someone who wants to drag you through a grueling, multi-year audition only to possibly decide that you’re not right for the part? You deserve someone who isn’t wanting to play pretend by living together because he would much rather have you for real in a marriage.
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Today about 60 percent of couples live together before they get married for the first time, as the idea that you better make sure you can actually stand the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with has caught on like wildfire. For the remaining 40 percent, religious reasons or fear that living together before marriage will somehow doom their union causes them to maintain separate quarters. But a new study shows that couples who live together before walking down the aisle have no greater chance of their marriage lasting 15 years than couples who don’t.
Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, isn’t shocked. “It’s becoming so common, it’s not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability,” she said.
Overall, from interviews of men and women ages 15 to 44 during the years 2006 to 2010, the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of first marriages break up within 20 years. There was about a 60 percent likelihood a marriage would survive 15 years if the couple either hadn’t lived together before the wedding or were engaged while they shacked up. But if no firm marriage commitment was made before the move in, the likelihood the marriage would last 15 years fell to 53 percent.
Casey Copen, lead author of the study, said lax attitudes about commitment, lower education levels, or family histories that made these couples more pessimistic about marriage could explain the drop in marriage survival. That basically adds up to a lack of communication about expectations and goals for the relationship and family unit.
The CDC also found a few other interesting statistics on marriage and relationships in general:
- The percentage of young women currently living with a male partner grew from 3 percent in 1982 to 11 percent recently.
- Women and men with bachelor’s degrees were more likely to delay marriage but also more likely to eventually get married and stay married for at least 20 years.
- At 20 years, nearly 70 percent of Asian women were still in their first marriage, compared to 54 percent of white women, 53 percent of Hispanic women and 37 percent of black women.
- For men, 62 percent of Hispanics were still in their first marriage at 20 years, compared to 54 percent of whites and 53 percent of blacks. (There were no statistics for Asian men.)
Where do you stand on cohabitation before marriage? Do you think it’s a good or a bad idea?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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With so much stigma placed on single ladies–and men–it’s hard to believe only 51% of Americans over the age of 18 are married today, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center.
That number is the lowest in recorded history—down 7% from 2000 and 21% from 1960 when 72% of Americans were married. It’s expected that within just a few years, the societal norm will flip and married people will become the minority.
When you look at the economy, which is the biggest factor behind the decline, the trend makes sense. When the country was in a recession, wedded rates dropped 5% from 2009-2010, with the biggest decline—13%—seen among adults 18-24 years old. Between outsourcing, the overall increase in unemployment, and the decline of government and health benefits, it’s not surprising people are more cautious to jump the broom.
“This trend reflects the changing labor market that young adults face,” says Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University. Single people “think that you shouldn’t get married until you’re positive that you can make a go of it financially.”
People still desire to have life partners, though, as the study found more couples are living together and having children without getting married. Cohabitation, living alone, and single parenthood have all grown more prevalent.
But what sounds a bit sour now to us now could be sweet in the long run, according to Clair Brown, an economics and public policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley. She says sociological trends are often beneficial for the economy and people who stay in school longer and wait to have children get better jobs and have more mature relationships. That is definitely good news.
Has your desire to get married declined with the United States’ economy? Have you put off plans to get married until things get better financially? Do you think married people will eventually become the minority in the U.S.?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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After some time being together, most couples eventually begin to consider either getting married or moving in together (the latter should hopefully lead the altar sometime after though). Moving in together can be a great go-to option if you’re trying to save some mulah, and/or if you just can’t get enough of each other. The issue then of course, is whether both parties are ready to make such a large commitment. Merging two lives, bills and possessions, can often create unforeseen differences and disagreements. So how do you know if you are ready? If you have discussed the seven issues listed here with your man, and have found a compromise with each and every one of them, then pack your bags, you’re on your way to cohabitation!
Nearly 50 percent of all marriages in this country end in divorce, which has led many singles to wonder “What’s the point?” In fact, it has become a joke—so much so that the state of New Mexico is considering two-year renewals. You know, sort of like a driver’s license.
However, marriage in itself is not the reason it has become so trivialized. It is our approach and the unrealistic portraits we paint of what it is supposed to be. For example, more and more of us are telling ourselves it is necessary to cohabit before taking the plunge. Yet research shows that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than those who do not. On the same token, many imagine idealistic unions marked by decades of endless bliss. And, that just doesn’t happen.
There is a thin line between love and hate, and that line is usually crossed when a boyfriend of numerous years breaks up with his girlfriend only to get married to somebody else in two years or less.
We’ve all heard stories of long-time couples breaking up and the woman heartbroken and confused tries to go and find “herself” by remaining single in an attempt to finding her way back to happy. While her ex-man is reformed, a much better person and luckily finds his soul mate turned wife within the next 24 months. Grant it, in many situations these long-term couples were young when they met and may have grew apart, resulting in the breakup but it still doesn’t diminish the pain of training a boyfriend to be somebody else husband.
Let’s get one thing clear from the jump: men not named George Clooney are not averse to marriage as an institution. The characters in black love flicks (often starring Taye Diggs or Omar Epps) might have folks convinced that men would rather be garroted in the scrotum before they settle down, but that’s not the case….we’re just really, really cautious about who gets the Magic Stick for life.
I tried to think of at least five things that freak men out about getting hitched, but for me, it all fits under the umbrella of three: