Thursday, May 06, 2004

I found this off the net.

Cohabitation Defined: To live together as spouses; to live together in a sexual relationship when not legally married.

Cohabitation - Why People Do It...
There are 5.6 million people in the United States who are living together without being formally married (1998 Census report). This represents a fivefold increase since 1970. This figure does not include unmarried people who are in relationships but do not live together and single people who do not wish to marry. About 1/3 of all first births in the United States are to unmarried women. The `Ozzie and Harriet' couple only constitutes about 10 percent of all primary relationships. The reason for the massive increase in cohabitating is due to a number of factors including women in the workforce, changing religious attitudes, no-fault divorce laws, and greater visibility of gay people. Most couples will eventually marry. However, those who do not formally wed decide not to do so for a number of reasons:
1. Some have been through the pain of a divorce and opt for cohabitation to avoid ever having to repeat the experience of a marital breakup.
2. The increase in the number of divorces (over half of all marriages) leads some to believe that living together is better; especially when they know couples who have done so for a long time.
3. Growing numbers of senior citizens find that they lose governmental benefits if they marry.
4. Some associate marriage with religion while rejecting any kind of religious connection.
5. Today's women would rather remain independent, so they avoid the traditional approach implied by marriage in regard to being secondary in a primary relationship, having to change their last name, and legally associating their finances/possessions with a man who may not be doing as well.
6. In the event that there is a breakup, the financial considerations are not anywhere near as serious as that which is involved in a legal marriage such as child support and alimony/spousal support.
7. It is cheaper than living alone.

Cohabitation - The Down Side...
Of course, there are also some negative aspects of cohabiting that should be seriously thought about by those considering it. Most state laws give limited protection to unmarried couples resulting in financial loss should a breakup occur (e.g. he owns the house or she owns the car). Family members may not understand or agree with your decision to cohabitate with your mate. You might lose their support or constantly feel pressure from them to marry. Most employers (94%) do not provide medical insurance that includes and covers unmarried partners. Even though much has changed in regard to accepting variation in our society, it is still not as supportive of cohabitating couples. Difficulties in raising children relative to societal expectations (e.g. explaining to the neighborhood child why you are really not Mrs. Smith). Some people have strong religious convictions and this may cause an eventual breakup if their faith precludes cohabitation even though they enter into such a relationship with no obvious qualms inititally.

Cohabitation - One Point of View
If you are not ready for marriage but want a steady partner, living together offers obvious advantages and some risks. It can be a fantastic, real life learning experience of loving and adjusting on equal terms with another person. Still, should a breakup eventually occur, it can still be messy and painful--almost like a divorce. If you are considering marriage, have the time, and are psychologically aware of the pitfalls, living together may be a good way to initially assess the compatibility of the two of you in an intimate situation. However, this is a tricky undertaking because 1) you are romantically in love, probably still infatuated, and eager to continue impressing/winning over the partner, but 2) you are also attempting to honestly assess the quality of this relationship in the long run and must be willing to leave the relationship (otherwise it isn't a test or a trial). While you are not unswervingly determined to marry your partner, you must make every effort to make it work. While appreciating his/her efforts to be especially nice, you must not assume he/she will always be this as wonderful or nice. These are difficult undertakings and judgment calls, even for a mature, experienced person.
Just as love is a choice, so is cohabitation. Just as marriage should be a well thought out decision, moving in with someone should be carefully considered before making a longterm commitment. Whatever you do, carefully consider all of your options and make sure that cohabitation is for you.

//m.u.s.i.c V.I.D.E.O

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