Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Cohabitation Effect: Fact or Fiction?

Living together before marriage: do or do not?
I'm a Southern girl who was born and raised a Lutheran, and according to some co-workers, this is why I am against living with your significant other before marriage. According to an article written by Meg Jay for the NY Times, cohabitation in the US has increased by 1,500% with more than 7.5 million unmarried couples living together. And subsequently couples who live together are more likely to divorce than couples who do not. So, why do it?

The resounding response among those I asked was that you have to live with a person to truly know them. That everyone is on their best behavior until, apparently, you live together, at which point the real person you're dating comes out. I would hope you're not moving in with someone that you've only just started dating, that you move in together after at least a year, because in my mind living together is pretty serious. And if you've been together that long and they're still on their best behavior? Let me know where you met them, because I want to find someone like that.

I think that's where I fall on the other side of the fence on this debate. Serious. I understand some people live together because it's easier than having 2 rents or mortgages to pay, and if you are at each others house all the time...but that just sounds like a recipe for disaster. You're not living together for commitment purposes, mainly for convenience, so what's to stop one of you from calling things off and moving out the second the other leaves clothes on the floor or moves your spices?

I think nowadays, too many people take what used to be serious steps in a relationship with the mindset of, well, if it doesn't work out, I'll just move or we'll get divorced. There's an easy out that prevents people from working through things, and what once was sacred is now just, meh. Yes, I completely understand and see that that statement makes me the most traditional person, I am who I am. That being said, I can understand where my debaters are coming from, in a sense. You say you want to make sure you mesh with this person 24/7. Fair enough, but what I'm hearing is, you want to take the uncertainty out of a relationship. You want to see how they deal with conflict when one arises between you two? I'm sure there will plenty of opportunities to experience that when you're married. And ultimately, how long do you live together before you finally tie the knot? Do you set a deadline and, if you're still together when it comes, you get married? Or do you wait for a reason to end things?

Yes, I'm a traditionalist and I understand that I might be a dying breed. But I don't see the point of living with someone before marriage. Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?