Problems With Living Together Before Marriage

1431 words - 6 pages

Kim has just signed her divorce papers and cannot hide the sadness and confusion she feels. Two years ago everyone told her living with her boyfriend was a great idea. They said she would be able to get to know him better and see if marriage would work. She trusted her friends and thought that since everyone else was doing it that it must be the wisest choice. What went wrong? Why was she unhappy with her marriage even after getting to know her husband through cohabitation? Would things have been different if she had not listened to her friends and everyone else around her? Couples are choosing to live together before marriage or instead of marriage more often as the years go by. Cohabitation outside of marriage results in an unhealthy situation for children, less commitment to the relationship, and causes problems if the couple does decide to marry.
One of the problems that cohabitation (living together romantically outside of marriage) causes is an unhealthy living situation for children. Katherine Kersten, Senior Fellow at the Center of American Experiment, says children living in a cohabiting home with their mother and her boyfriend versus a home with their married parents are eleven times more likely to be abused emotionally, physically, or sexually (Kersten, 2013). This is generally because the boyfriend does not feel emotionally tied to the child because it is not his own. Linda J. Waite (2000), a marriage research and sociologist, says in her article about cohabitation that, “When it comes to hitting, shoving, and throwing things cohabiting couples are more than three times more likely than the married to say things get that far out of hand” (p. 3). It may be argued that cohabitation is better for children than growing up in a one parent home. With the amounts of abuse that goes on in cohabiting homes this would not seem to be a good solution to single parenting. Also “mom’s boyfriend” or “dad’s girlfriend” typically makes little effort to be involved with the lives of their significant other’s children. Even if they are involved with the children it is difficult for children to have a parent figure that may leave at any time. Compared to married parents, parents that cohabit are more than twice as likely to break off the relationship leaving the children wondering if it was something they did wrong (Waite, 2000). Having adults walk in and out of their lives makes children have a hard time trusting people. Children benefit enormously from having healthy relationships with parents. Since many cohabiting homes do not provide this healthy relationship these children may develop behavioral problems. Children who grow up in a cohabiting home are more likely than their peers to have issues with school, suffer from depression, become pregnant as a teen, or use drugs (Kersten, 2013). These are serious problems that likely will affect the child’s whole life. Parents need to consider how their life choices impact not only...

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