Introduction Cohabitationis a sexual relationship between a woman and a man who live together beforemarriage. They live in the same roof, sleep on the same bed. Cohabitors act asif they are spouses. Unconstraint and negligence are two factors that urgethese couples to tend to cohabit (Waite, 2000). In fact, living together beforemarriage becomes more and more common in many countries around the world.According to The National Institute ofChild Health and Human Development in Washington, DC, there were more than half(54%) of couples prioring to cohabit before going to a wedding in the periodfrom 1990 to 1994.
Meanwhile, a statistic at Open HanoiUniversity in Vietnam, in 2010 showed that a third of students cohabited beforemarriage (Hoai Vu, 2014). This isconsidered as a double-edged sword. Moreover, the negative effects ofcohabitation seem to weigh more than positive ones, especially to women. Thus,this research with the aim at raising awareness before deciding on cohabitingwill provide facts and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.2.
Discussion of findings 2.1. Recent situation ofcohabitation These days, many people are surprised by numbers referringthe rise of cohabitation. Datafrom Bumpass and Sweet, 1989; Bumpass and Lu, 2000; Kennedy and Bumpass,2008; and the 2006-2010 National Survey of FamilyGrowth illustrated the percentageof American women ages 19-44 who haveever cohabited from 1987 to2010. The interviewees are decided into five age groups (19-24, 25-29, 30-34,35-39, and 40-44).
The result of the research showed that cohabitation was mostpopular to women ages 30-34 over the two decades. In 1987, 40 percent of themprioritized to live with their partners before marriage. The figure rosesharply to 73% in the period from 2009 to 2010.
Surprisingly, women ages 40-44were the cohort having the fastest growth percentage with 195 percent inchoosing cohabitation. In contrast, the proportion in the 19-24 age group increasedmost slowly with nearly a third (31%) trich ngu?nWhereas, TheCensus Bureau in the United States reported that two-thirds of young peoplespend time on staying with their partners while dating. Another statisticshowed by The New York Times was about 450,000. It referred the number ofAmericans moving to live with their lovers before matrimony in 1960. Today, thefigure climbs to 7,5 million people. Generally, the percentage of unmarriedadults cohabiting has grown substantially by 1,500 percent over 50 years. Theperiod these couples living together before marriage has also increased from 13months in 1995 to 22 months at the present (DiDonato, 2014). After that, 32percent of those people were going on cohabiting, 40 percent of cohabitors hadmade a decision to take their partners in marriage, and 27 percent of them hadbroken up ( Copen et al.
,2013).2.2. Advantages of cohabitation In the past, cohabitation was considered as an unusual phenomenon.However, it becomes a familiar concept to many couples now. It is because thatcohabitation brings several advantages to them. When living together, coupleshave more time to each other.
They can meet their partners everyday. Cohabitorshave chances to spend evenings together in the romantic atmosphere. Their lifeseems to be sweeter. Moreover, they can make contribution to household chorestogether.
It is so wonderful to cook delicious meals, clean house with partner.Take the case of an American girl as an example. She moved to live with herboyfriend- Mike DiPasquale while dating.They shared household duties. She didshopping, prepared repasts, and cleared out dishwasher whereas her boyfrienddid washing-up, washed clothes, cleaned bed, and disposed of garbage (Jayapril,2012).
Another benefit of living together before marriage is financial issue.Couples can share expenditures to each other. The rent and energy bills will beable to be seperated (Goodman, 2017). This means that financial burdens arediminished, and they can save more money. The extra money can be spent ontraveling, shopping, planning for a nuptial, and so on. Cohabitation alsooffers a run family experience (Goodman, 2017). Women and man will know how tomanage their life with partners, and how to split responsibilities not only infinance but also in housework. Moving in together also helps them allocatesalaries and budgets in a manner that both of them are comfortable with, whichcontinues into their marriage.
Thanks to it, they have family problem-solvingskills which make myth of monogamy more harmonious. Another biggest advantages ofcohabitation is getting to know each other. Most people believe that men or women just really understand the other if they live together in the samehouse.
People can conceal their real characteristic and personality once theirpartners are around them. When cohabiting, they will able to have a true viewand appreciate exactly to their roommate. In other word, cohabitors understandeach other much more than people who do not cohabit before marriage. They knowthat their partners’ habits are good or bad. Couples can compare lifestylebetween them. They see whether they are compatible with one another or not.They can have similarities in most habits and hobbies.
Nevertheless, severalcouples realize that they have nothing in common when living together. Cohabitationalso provides basis to make a decision whether go to marriage. If living with partners happens harmoniously, get on well with eachother couples can be confident to walk downthe aisle with their lovers, and build a happy home. In contrast, if conflicts occurred frequently,they should consider a married commitment carefully. They need to determinewhether their partner is an ideal spouse in the future. Cohabitors can give acorrect answer to the question: “Do I want to live with her/him during mylife?”.2.3.
Disadvantages of cohabitation In spite of these aboveadvantages, it is undeniable that cohabitationbrings hidden risks in many aspects. The first drawback is losing the enjoymentin marriage. People who have ever cohabited will not feel delight to thehoneymoon.
When a girl/boy moves to live with someone, she/he will understandtheir partner’s character, hobbies, habits, and actions. Thus, the whileafter wedding will not be interesting tocouples. In addition, cohabitors are showed to have low emotional well-being. Thinkingabout breaking up in love seems to be the main factor that causes thepsychological situation. Couples who live together before marriage are believedto feel more miserable and unhappy with their current life (Waite, 2000). Theyare worried that their relationship is not stable, and they will walk away on someday.
Another disadvantage of cohabitation is that women are often unfavorable interms of doing housework when living with men. The Scott South and GlennaSpilze’s research reports that the time women do household chores is much morethan men do. The men have to spend about ten hours less on domestic duties thanwomen. Compare to living lonely or with the same gender people, cohabiting withmen makes women do more housework (Waite, 2000). The other downside of livingtogether is making a gap with people in several social organizations,especially religion. Cohabitation is notsupported and encouraged by most religions.
Cohabitors can not be allowed toinvolve in the communities. As a consequence, people who live together whiledating take part in less religion activities (Waite, 2000). Moreover,cohabitation is not a permanent relationship. Cohabitors are less likely toenter a married life. If it is easy for them to live together before marriage,their relationship is also easy to break up. According to studies, only a halfof cohabitors get married after ending their cohabition (Canham, 2017). Thereis no legal commitment to constrain those people to any responsibilities.
Theycan be fed up with their partner, and do not want to continue their life withher/him. Women consider living together while having no married commitment as aprogress to go to a wedding. Whereas, men just think it as a method to evaluatetheir relationship or delay marriage (Jayapril, 2012).
Cohabitation also bringsa serious impact which is domestic violence. A American professor, Linda J.Waite, studied the 1987/88 National Survey of Families and Households. Heranalysis revealed that cohabitors are twice as likely as married couples tocope with violent activities. 16 percent of women who live with their boyfriendbefore marriage have to face to domestic violence.
Conflicts and arguments canchange from speeches to physical action. They can be hit, thrown, slapped, orinsulted. Meanwhile, just 8 percent of women who are married bear the problem.
Cohabitors are often very young and even have low education level, so it isdifficult for them to control their violence. Another negative impact ofcohabitation is an increase in rate of divorce. Cohabitors’ point of view seemsto be varied after living together before marriage. They can less co-operate(Waite, 2000). Thus, couples who have ever cohabited are easier to put an endto their married commitment. 3.
Conclusion In conclusion, no one can say for sure that cohabiting is good or bad. Somepeople believe that it is a step for young adults to go to a wedding. Someothers criticize the life style because of its drawbacks. Couples shouldconsider carefully the issue before cohabiting.