Cohabitation Nation: Alternative or Prelude to Marriage?

Couple lays on couch while taking break from paintingCohabitating is becoming more popular with every generation. For some people, the idea of living together is a natural step on the journey to marriage. But for others, cohabitation just “makes sense,” and has little to do with the future of the relationship.

Lizzie Crocker, a reporter and journalist, shared her fears and fantasies about her impending leap into the cohabitation nation with her significant other in a recent article. Crocker says that even though nearly half of women report living together with a significant other, only half of those who do so go on to marry their roommates.

The convenience of sharing the same space rather than bouncing between apartments makes sense for a lot of couples. And, financially, it is often a no-brainer. However, when couples do forgo the second apartment and consolidate all of their belongings, habits, and pet peeves, it can take a while to adjust.

Crocker says that she will be losing her “cohabitation virginity.” No longer will she be able to keep her bodily noises silent from her boyfriend in their very small apartment. No longer will she be able to hide her bad habits and have the house the way she wants it. Cohabitation requires compromise. But it does not always require commitment.

In her research, Crocker discovered that many people never discuss their future plans when they decide to shack up. Marriage and children may never be on the table. Others enter the arrangement with the understanding that they are test-driving their future spouses. If it doesn’t work out, the separation can be less messy than a divorce, but depending on the length of the relationship and how many pets are involved, it can still be emotionally painful.

So is cohabitation the way to go? Just like every other relationship decision, it is a personal one and one that should not be considered lightly. “Still,” adds Crocker, “A lot of good things can come from this commitment, like teamwork and deep emotional intimacy, or an even crazier commitment to spending the rest of your lives together.”

Crocker, Lizzie. (2013). Losing My Cohabitation Virginity. (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

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  • Bethany


    May 31st, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I moved in with my boyfriend four years ago and we are very happy. It was hard sometimes at first, you know figuring out chores and sharing costs and things like that but now we’v got it down and we love it. We don’t think we will actually ever get married but we still love each other and want to be together. If its working no marriage why bother spending all that money? we already get to live together and that is all we need

  • daisy


    May 31st, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Lets get real here-not everybody would be comfortable with it.and when I say comfortable it is not jsut the idea of saying yes lets do it but actually walking the talk and showing commitment to the arrangement agreed partner may want commitment while the other doesn’t.or it may lead to a lot of things that drive the two away from each is not perfect but neither is I guess if the couple knows what they are doing then thats fine.jumping into it without giving enough though – now that can be dangerous!

  • Raquel


    June 1st, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I guess that you have to look at your family and you and your partner and decise what you think will be the best choice for you.

    I know that there are still many families who really look down on a couple living together before they get married, and they might not ever understand why you would make this choice over marriage.

    I know that for me this would not ever be the right choice, but I think that that is just because of how I was raised and probably my age. But I know that this might turn out to be a very real option that my kids could explore so I have to be open to that. And I think that I could be if I knew that in the end they would end up getting married. That for me just seems like the logical next step.

  • Munn


    June 2nd, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    I honestly thought that my parents would die when my girlfriend and I moved in together. But they have been pretty cool about it and now neither of us are too sure if the whole marriage thing is right for us. I mean, what would we gain from it other than yet another piece of paper? we are happy, we do fine financially and this allows us to lead our own lives when we feel like we need to and still be together when that is important to us too. I just like still being able to maintain some of my freedom and I am pretty sure that she feels the same. I don’t think that this damages us in any way, but might make us a little stronger.

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