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Issues and Trends - Cohabitation

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Lesson Ten: Issues and Trends Key Question Fourteen (b) : Cohabitation In today's society marriage is no longer considered to be a life binding commitment to one person; as a result, there are surprisingly high divorce rates. One in every five people get divorced at least once in their lifetime. Therefore many couples are opting to cohabitate before deciding on marriage. Cohabitation can be defined as an intimate relationship in which a male and female live together as husband and wife without legally marrying. In order for cohabitation to be successful, each individual must form an identity of their own first. ...read more.


As a result, these couples add considerably to the number of divorces or separated couples that have married after cohabitation. The Family Life Cycle theory describes early adulthood as a stage in which individuals are launched from their families of origin. Parents and children must separate from one another in order for young adults to accept emotional responsibility for themselves. Many cohabitants are young adult that have never lived apart from the family origin until now and therefore have not yet had the chance to gain independence or accept responsibility for themselves. This may pose a problem to the individual if the cohabitating relationship does not last. ...read more.


According to the social exchange theory, all relationships involve negotiation and bargaining. Cohabitation can be an effective way for couples to test out what married life would be like. Marriage is about giving one's self in exchange for their mate's identity to form a mutual identity. In order to accomplish this task both people must be willing to sacrifice certain things in order to maximize their mutual benefits and minimize costs when interacting with others. This concept can be applied to the idea of cohabitation by explaining that many couples choose to live together before marriage in order to see if both persons' identities would be able to live together harmoniously the relationship if it progressed to something more serious such as marriage. This allows couples to enter into marriage confidently. ...read more.

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