Establishing intimacy with someone else is perceived as a milestone in one’s life. Additionally, the major psychosocial stage of development for young adults pertains to the conflict of intimacy versus isolation. Those who choose to form an intimate relationship with someone else frequently elect to marry (if legally permissible) or cohabitate. Nonetheless, individuals’ relationships with others undoubtedly influence multiple aspects of their lives from financial to emotional. Subsequently, conflicts in relationships arise, and partners must work through their issues or terminate the relationship. In the following discussion, I will provide a synopsis of three relationship scenarios and then evaluate the couples’ behavior as well as provide advice based on well-documented research.
In the first scenario, a recently engaged couple in their early to mid-twenties has conflicting opinions regarding premarital cohabitation. Tyrone wants his fiancée to move in with him in order to get a “…better idea of what living together daily is really like” while La’Chantee does not want to upset her parents (Johnson, 2009). Tyrone essentially wants La’Chantee to make her own decisions as an adult. His desire to cohabitate is increasingly common in the United States so much so that cohabitating has increased ten times over the past thirty years (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013). Some couples cohabitate to share responsibilities or to conduct a “marriage trial run,” but what should this couple do?
The research on cohabitation is mixed. On one hand, “…about half of cohabitating couples transition to marriage” (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013, p. 396). On the other hand, “ …having cohabitated does not seem to make marriages any better; in fact, it may do more harm than good, resulting in lower quality marriages” (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013, p. 396). With respect to this couple, I suggest that they fully discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of cohabitating. Additionally, I would recommend that they base their decision solely on their own opinions and facts. Because premarital cohabitation does not pose a serious threat to their relationship and research has found relatively few differences on couples based on whether they cohabitated before marrying or not, I would encourage the couple to cohabitate if La’Chantee has no other underlying objections (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013).
In the second scenario, a long-term couple, who had initially solved insignificant disputes easily, has been disagreeing over external social interaction (Johnson, 2009). The mother, Pat, desires more social interaction aside from caring for their children while the father, Chris, is fatigued after working during the day (Johnson, 2009). The couple has attempted to communicate in an effort to solve the problem; however, they are resentful and feel as if they aren’t being heard (Johnson, 2009).
The couple’s relationship may be suffering as a result of their inability to maintain an overarching, positive...