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Cohabitation Essay


The prospect of cohabitation is known as the one form of relationship between two individuals other than the traditional family system. It is observed that in today’s society, cohabitation become the common choice for many people when it comes to initiating family associations. It is notable to mention that even though there are some societal considerations on ethical and religious grounds but still it becomes the prevailing trend of the society (Stanley et al.). This particular phenomenon is not only limited to the American society, nor it is only implied to the younger individuals. It is the one growing perspective which undoubtedly comes up with many considerations. This sort of family form is legally supported in the United States of America only in case of heterosexual couples. The following prospect is applied to all country except the states of California and Massachusetts. The facets of domestic partnership and civil unions are more considered approaches in the country. These are known as the paradigms which offer the necessary form of recognition to the partners. There is the existence of many spousal rights which appears in case of cohabitating heterosexuals, but it is also notable that these rights are considered as weak and less as compare to the married couple.

The word “cohabitation” is the specific term which is used to explain the specific form of relationship when two individuals live together as an unmarried couple. The association between cohabitate partners is usually characterized as an intimate relationship. The feature of intimacy can be observed in the forms of physical or sexual intimacy which might appear for a long-term or on a momentary basis. The overall prospect of the specific term of cohabitation indicates the social scene when many people decide to live in a relationship other than the family form of marriage. Here the aim is to explore the concept of cohabitation with its different dimensions and how it impacts the traditional family institution in the country.


Today, the practice of cohabitation is immensely accelerating in western countries due to many reasons. Statistics show that there are more than two-thirds individuals around the world who have unmarried status and live together as the partners. The historical background of America indicates that the following practice is not common in the past years. It was considered as an illegal activity in the country in 1970. Citizens of the country start considering this form of family system in the era of 90s. The statistics of the nation in 1994 shows that there were almost 4 million couples who adopted the option of cohabitation in their lives. The number of individuals increasing day by day in the country who live in the cohabitated relationship. Now it becomes the reality of our society that cohabitation is considered as the somewhat normal practice of dating (Woods and Emery). It is taken as one of the most common forms of the union in case of youngsters of the society. It is crucial to mention that this practice is also observed in case of old citizens as well who adopt it due to many reasons such as the immense need of the family or partnership in their lives.

When it comes to the country’s statistics that it is evident that cohabitation rate is increasing due to a decrease in the marriage rate. Undoubtedly, people are more prone to adopt unmarried status to indulge in intimate relationships. There is the evidence of the 18 million individuals in the year 2016 who adopt the option of cohabitation. These numbers are 29% increase as compare to 2007 when there were 14 million adults were cohabiting in the country (Stepler). It is notable to mention that there is an increasing number of Americans ages 50 or above who are in a cohabitating relationship. 23% of the total cohabiting adults consisting of the individuals who are 50 years old or above this range.

There are 60% married couples reported which adopt the option of cohabitation before married to each other. This practice is growing day by day in adults as they believe that it is the effective chance to understand their partner before the conventional form of marriage. The prospect of cohabitation become common in the country, but still, there are some states in which the phenomenon of cohabitation is considered as the illegal practice. The occurrence of the social change is one of the main factors which increases the acceptance of the cohabitation in the American society. It is notable to mention that there is still some areas of the country where cohabitation is observed as the illegal act. Mississippi, Michigan, Florida, and Virginia have the states which have laws against the practice of cohabitation. There is the existence of many different forms of penalties which apply to the individuals who considered cohabitating.

The state of Virginia imposes $500 fine for the offense as any person lived in a relationship without marriage. There is the debate about the establishment of the specific laws against the cohabitation, but they are existed in different states to maintain the superiority aspect of marriage. Growing trend of cohabitation in the country proposes the approach to repeal the laws against this practice. A large portion of adults prone to adopt the option of habitation as they considered it as an easy approach to maintaining the sexual relationship with their partners without any legal documentation. Many people consider as the one effective form of test to prepare themselves for the responsibilities of married life.

There are many social and economic reasons which encourage the phenomenon of cohabitation in American society. The one major reason for the following practice can be identified as the need of the money. It is observed that there are an increasing number of young adults in the country who are not financially stable. It became difficult for them to adopt the approach of the marriage to fulfill their sexual needs. It seems feasible for the youngsters of the country to adopt the practice of cohabitation as compare to the legal paradigm of marriage or relationship union. The need of the housing can be the one significant reason for the adoption of the cohabitation for the young people (Cohan and Kleinbaum). There is another crucial reason which encourages today’s generation towards cohabitation is related to the philosophical aspects. Nowadays, some individuals never believe in the whole concept of marriage. It is considered as the difficult option for them to limit themselves in the legal documentation of marriage.

Expansion in the economic cost of the houses is the one prominent reason for the cohabitation in the country. Sometimes it becomes difficult for the single individual to bear all the cost of the household, so people adopt the option of cohabitation to attain their sexual needs. Most people perceive it as the convenient option to live with their partners in cohabiting relationship. Nowadays, it becomes a trend for the young adults to give a chance to their relationship. They adopt the option of the cohabitation to test their compatibility and understanding with their partners before marriage (Waggoner). Some people accept this reality that they lived with their partners before marriage, so they become able to sustain good association in married life by understanding their partners more closely.

People consider cohabitation as the one effective alternative to the marriage because it is the feasible approach for the ones who want to indulge in the same-sex relationship. Cohabitation can be identified as the solution for those individuals who might suffer from the issue of interracial or interreligious marriages. Many individuals consider the option of cohabitation to avoid the violation of law in case of adulatory. Imposition of the higher taxes in case of married couples if they are working is another crucial reason in the country which encourage people to go for the cohabitation as the feasible alternative. People chose to remain unmarried to get rid of the problem of high level of tax imposition. One can make the inference that many adults in the country adopt the option of the cohabitation to avoid economic expenses.

There is the existence of many types of research which critically indicate the positive and negative aspects associated with the practice of cohabitation as the alternative approach of the conventional form of marriage. The approach of the cohabitation is claimed as the effective approach to avoid the growing rate of divorce in the country. Most of the time, people adopt this approach to assess their understanding with their partners which ultimately helps them to make more rational decisions about their marriage. As nowadays, cohabitation is known as the one normal approach which is socially acceptable, so it becomes easy for the individuals to adopt the approach of cohabitating to delay the practice of marriage for some years.

The accelerating phenomenon of cohabitation ultimately impacts the conventional practice of marriage. As people are more interested in the adoption of the cohabitation, so the feature of delay is observed in case of marriage (Copen et al.). Individuals are more interested in enjoying their life in the relationship with their partner in the paradigm of cohabitation as compare to the traditional form of marriage. The particular approach of cohabitation is acceptable for many people as they believe that it is the one effective chance to avoid the phenomenon of divorce in future marriage. If there is the unstable association between partners in cohabitating than they eventually decide to separate to avoid the future complications of marriage. There is increasing rate of individuals who promote the practice of cohabitation before marriage as they perceive that it is the effective approach which positively influences the relationship form of marriage. It can be considered as the necessary paradigm to maintain the sustainability of the traditional form of relationship because it is the one effective source to decrease divorce rate.

Another argument which is also presented in favor of the cohabitation is that it provides the financial protection to the individuals. There is an observation of many cases in the country where individuals break up their marriages due to the financial issues. Cohabitation can be considered as the solution to avoid these sort of problems (Heuveline and Timberlake). Another reason which indicates that cohabitation immensely influences the conventional form of family is that it is considered as an effective practice by many people as it is the source of the responsibility development. Individuals in cohabitation become more able to understand their responsibilities towards their partners which ultimately helps them to maintain married health relationship with their partners. The one crucial approach which creates a difference in the approaches of marriage and cohabitation is that in the practice of cohabitation, people are not liable to live with each other till death or under the consideration of any legal document. They feel as free individuals who can develop left relationship whenever they want without any complications which are common in case of marriage.

There are the evidence of many research studies which indicate that although cohabitation becomes the accelerating trend in the country, still it is not fully accepted in a social setting when it comes to the approach of family culture. It is observed in many cases that relationship of the individual with family effects in case of cohabitation. Many people in a social setting are not easily ready to accept the decision of cohabitation in case of their adult children (Baranowska-Rataj). Another crucial aspect which is associated with the paradigm of cohabitation is that in this case, couples delay the facet of the childbearing much longer as compare to the married couples. This prospect significantly impacts the traditional approach of the family formation in the country.


To conclude the discussion about the cohabitation, it is crucial to mention that it is the one growing trend in the country which cannot be avoided. Some researchers or sociologist considered it as the one effective alternative approach to the marriage which is known as the traditional way of family formation. Undoubtedly, the facet of cohabitation come up with many considerations which impact the overall social paradigm in the country. There are higher chances of the splitting the partners in case of cohabitation as any legal document does not bind them. This particular facet ultimately impacts the approach of the family formation or family setting in the society. There is another positive side which is associated with the prospect of cohabitation. It is perceived that the element of cohabitating can be helpful for the society to decrease the number of divorces in the country. Better understanding between partners during the phase of cohabitating ultimately helps them to sustain a strong relationship in marriage. Cohabitation can be considered as the feasible option before marriage to ensure the strong bond between partners in the form of healthy relationship.

Work Cited

Baranowska-Rataj, Anna. “What Would Your Parents Say? The Impact of Cohabitation Among Young People on Their Relationships with Their Parents.” Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 15, no. 6, 2014, pp. 1313–32.

Cohan, Catherine L., and Stacey Kleinbaum. “Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication.” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 64, no. 1, 2002, pp. 180–92.

Copen, Casey E., et al. First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States: 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2013.

Heuveline, Patrick, and Jeffrey M. Timberlake. “The Role of Cohabitation in Family Formation: The United States in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 66, no. 5, 2004, pp. 1214–30.

Stanley, Scott M., et al. “Sliding versus Deciding: Inertia and the Premarital Cohabitation Effect.” Family Relations, vol. 55, no. 4, 2006, pp. 499–509.

Stepler, Renee. “Number of U.S. Adults Cohabiting with a Partner Continues to Rise, Especially among Those 50 and Older.” Pew Research Center, 6 Apr. 2017,

Waggoner, Lawrence W. “With Marriage on the Decline and Cohabitation on the Rise, What About Marital Rights for Unmarried Partners.” ACTEC LJ, vol. 41, 2015, p. 49.

Woods, LaKeesha N., and Robert E. Emery. “The Cohabitation Effect on Divorce: Causation or Selection?” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, vol. 37, no. 3–4, 2002, pp. 101–22.



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