You probably know the meaning of cohabitating, but let’s ask Mr. Wikipedia, as we are just “asking for a friend.”
Cohabitation is an arrangement where people who are not married, usually couples, live together. They are involved in a romantic, sexual, or intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis (you are welcome!)
Cohabitation is now a standard part of the dating process in the United States. According to a Pew Research Center study, 58% of women aged 19 to 44 lived with a partner from 2006-2008, up from 33% in a comparable group in 1987. “Cohabitation is increasingly becoming the first coresidential union formed among young adults.”
People may live together for several reasons. Cohabitants could live together to save money because of the convenience of living with one another, the need to find housing, or they may want to learn about each other’s lifestyles before they decide to wed. Lower-income individuals facing financial uncertainty may lean towards cohabitating with their partner to be safe for their wedding. Cohabitation shares many characteristics with marriage; cohabiting couples frequently share a residence, and personal resources, exclude intimate relations with others, and more than 10% of cohabiting couples have children.
Facts about Cohabiting
- Over the past five decades, studies show that cohabitation has increased by 900%
- In 2012, census information shows that there were 7.8 million couples that were living together in the US without getting married, which was more than 5 million couples depicted in the 1996 data
- 6% of people cohabitate because they do not believe in the institution of marriage
- !8.5% of couples cohabitate due to financial reasons.
Recognize that cohabitation is not for everyone, just as marriage is not for everyone. In this article, we’ll talk about some drawbacks of living together before getting married. Continue reading!
The Downside of “Cohabiting”
You will discover plenty of incompatibilities
The line “If only I knew” has never been used more than in relationships. “If only I knew that my partner was a jerk,” “If only I knew she loves to overspend and does not like paying any bills,” or “If only I knew he hates to clean up after himself.”
Once the honeymoon phase has ended, reality will set in (sorry, but not sorry!) Whatever you thought was cute when you started dating will become irritating. You will discover habits, pet peeves, or preferences that do not sit well with you. Relationships are not always perfect, and you will not always be in your honeymoon stage.
Loss of excitement over getting married
Many couples who love cohabitation might lose interest in getting hitched and committing to a lifetime of marriage. They wouldn’t need the marriage contract; it would just be a piece of paper. They will merely grow less excited about the idea of getting married.
More likely to Divorce
According to studies, couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce. This has absolutely nothing to do with the law. Just saying. Living together is a serious business. Some couples move in together “just for fun” without thinking twice.
On average, researchers found that couples who cohabited before marriage had a 33 percent higher chance of divorcing than couples who moved in together after the wedding ceremony.
There’s always a level of uncertainty
Cohabiting couples who get into fights or go through difficult times often take the easy way out and break up rather than work through the issue. One or both partners may be concerned about the future. Most married couples will take their vows seriously, “for better or worse,” and choose to fight together to work through their differences.
The risk of not being sexually fulfilled
This may seem strange to you, so let’s blame it on The Journal of Sex Research. According to The Journal of Sex Research, couples that move in together before marriage are less satisfied with their sex life after only the first year of marriage. Couples who wait until after the wedding enjoy a sexually fulfilled marriage.
Couples who move in together before saying “I do” tend to set aside the romance of marriage and dive headfirst into chores, responsibilities, and overcoming life’s challenges. It does not provide enough time for the couple to plan their lives together. Instead of living as a team and a single unit, couples often feel they are living separate lives in the same house as their partner.
Potentially more fights and arguments
When a couple marries, they must go through several procedures before the wedding can take place. The couple usually seeks counseling and goes through a checklist of necessary conversations. You could talk about how you will handle finances, household responsibilities, and what you expect from each other. People close to you will give you sound advice on managing your marriage and cohabitation.
When you choose to move in together rather than marry, you miss out on this critical process planning stage. This means disagreements about finances, household management, and general responsibilities will arise.
Cohabiting can impose a negative impact on the children involved
Children who grow up in a home where the parents live together but are not married may feel pressure because their family unit is different from that of other kids their age. They may also be stressed by uncertainty, especially if one or both parents are. As children mature emotionally, they may become concerned that minor issues will cause their parents to divorce. Marriage provides security for both the couple and any children involved.
You will miss the excitement of “being married.”
Marriage is a thrilling experience. Planning things and setting up your home as a couple is exciting. Cohabiting couples still feel the thrill of moving in together, but it’s an empty promise that lacks the true luster of marriage. If you do eventually marry, nothing in your life will change, which means you will miss out on the excitement of marriage…and the new beginning it is intended to represent.
Negative judgment from the “outside looking in”
Even though the world has changed, a stigma is still associated with living together before marriage. Those on the outside may wonder if you are avoiding marriage and if you are truly “right” for each other. Not everyone will pass judgment on cohabiting couples, but many people will.
5 Tips on Cohabiting: Ways to make it work!
- Get on the same page with your partner and communicate about everything (including your finances and if you both want to have children.)
- Set ground rules together
- Always be open and honest with each other
- Compromise, Compromise, Compromise!
- Continue to be yourself
Navigating legally binding (marriage) relationships or simply seeing where life takes you and living together in the meantime (cohabiting) can be challenging! You and your significant other must make the best decisions for both of you and disregard any unsolicited advice or input. Other labels won’t matter if you feel safe, loved, and happy.
Our goal at HelloPrenup is to provide you and your partner with an affordable, quick, understandable, and collaborative option for securing your prenup. We will do our best to make this pleasant!
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]