Skip to comments.Cohabitation is bad for men, worse for women, and horrible for children
Posted on 10/09/2007 3:56:14 PM PDT by wagglebee
October 9, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A. Patrick Schneider II, M.D., M.P.H., who holds boards in family and geriatric medicine and who received a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University, is in private practice in Lexington, Kentucky.
"Cohabitation -- it's training for divorce." -- Chuck Colson (1995)
1. Cohabitation is growing: 35 to 40 years ago cohabitation was rare; it was socially taboo. Growth by decade was: 1960s (up 19 percent), 1970s (up 204 percent), 1980s (up 80 percent), 1990s (up 66 percent), but up only 7.7 percent between 2000 and 2004. All told, cohabitation is up eleven-fold (U.S. Census Bureau, "Unmarried-Couple Households, by Presence of Children: 1960 to Present," Table UC-1, June 12, 2003).
2. Relationships are unstable: One-sixth of cohabiting couples stay together for only three years; one in ten survives five or more years (Bennett, W.J., The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family, 2001).
3. Greater risk of divorce: The rate of divorce among those who cohabit prior to marriage is nearly double (39 percent vs. 21 percent) that of couples who marry without prior cohabitation (ibid.).
4. Women suffer disproportionately: Cohabiting women often end up with the responsibilities of marriage -- particularly when it comes to caring for children -- without the legal protection (ibid.), while contributing more than 70 percent of the relationship's income (Crouse, J.C., "Cohabitation: Consequences for Mothers and Children," presentation at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct. 11-14, 2004, U.N. Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family).
5. Greater risk of STD: Men in cohabiting relationships are four times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands (ibid.). In 1960 there were only three STDs; now there are two dozen that are incurable. Cases of STD have tripled in the past six years. The rate of STD among cohabiting couples is six times higher than among married women (Crouse, J.C., Gaining Ground: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century, 2000).
6. Greater risk of substance abuse and psychiatric problems: A UCLA survey of 130 published studies found that marriages preceded by cohabitation were more prone to drug and alcohol problems (Coombs, R.H., "Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review," Family Relations, Jan. 1991). Depression is three times more likely in cohabiting couples than among married couples (Robbins, L., Rieger, D., Psychiatric Disorders in America, 1990).
7. Higher poverty rates: Cohabitors who never marry have 78 percent less wealth than the continuously married; cohabitors who have been divorced or widowed once have 68 percent less wealth (Cohabitation Facts website).
8. Children suffer: The poverty rate among children of cohabiting couples is five fold greater than the rate among children in married-couple households (Bennett, op. cit.). Compared to children of married biological parents, children age 12-17 with cohabiting parents are six times more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems (Booth, A., Crouter, A.C., eds., Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy, 2002). Likewise, adolescents from cohabiting households are 122 percent more likely to be expelled from school and 90 percent more likely to have a low GPA (Manning, W.D., Lamb, K.A., "Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married and Single-Parent Families," Journal of Marriage and Family, Nov. 2003). Children find themselves without grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; the family tree is pruned (Bennett, op. cit.).
9. Society pays: The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with two million souls in federal and state prisons and local jails. In 1980 the figure was just over 500,000 (Bennett, op. cit.). Seventy percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions are from fatherless homes (Drake, T., "The Father Factor: Crime on Increase in Dad Free' Zones," National Catholic Register, Jan. 2007). Three-fourths of children involved in criminal activity were from cohabiting households (Crouse, op. cit.).
10. Cohabitation breeds abuse, violence, and murder: Abuse of children: Rates of serious abuse are lowest in intact families; six times higher in stepfamilies; 14 times higher in always-single-mother families; 20 times higher in cohabiting biological-parent families; and 33 times higher when the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend who is not the biological father (Crouse, op. cit.). Abuse of women: Compared to a married woman, a cohabiting woman is three times more likely to experience physical aggression (Salari, S.M., Baldwin, B.M., "Verbal, Physical, and Injurious Aggression Among Intimate Couples Over Time," Journal of Family Issues, May 2002), and nine times more likely to be murdered (Shackelford, T.K., "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Murder: Woman-Killing by Male Romantic Partners," Aggressive Behavior, vol. 27, 2001). This data is consistent with similar data on children.
Cohabitation is bad for men, worse for women, and horrible for children. It is a deadly toxin to marriage, family, and culture. With great insight and wisdom Pope Benedict XVI has recently written in Sacramentum Caritatis (March 13, 2007) that among the four "fundamental values" that are "not negotiable," second only to respect for human life is "the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman."
This article first appeared in the September 2007 issue of the New Oxford Review, and is reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2007 New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley CA 94706, U.S.A., http://www.newoxfordreview.org.
“Cohabitation is bad for men, worse for women, and horrible for children”
The perfect combination for unmitigated leftist support of the practice.
“Mommies” allowing their boyfriends to move in are begging for their children to be abused.
I lived with my wife for five years before we were married. Are you trying to tell me our relationship is doomed?
‘Mommies allowing their boyfriends to move in are begging for their children to be abused.’
worse than that in our area...they’re killing them....often beating them to death for crying.
Mrs. steveo cohablitated with some guy over 40 years ago. So we got married and still are. I got lucky I guess, she got the better part of the deal... me.
What’s the difference if men and women live by themselves and have people come over, engage in dating, and having sex? The root cause of the effects of cohabitation is economics, not morals.
If you are so am I- my husband and I lived together over a year before we married. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. No way was I going to marry someone before I knew what day to day life was like with him.
But we did wait approx 2 weeks after we got married to get pregnant.
UCLA et al., the ultimate defenders of gay-everything, and studies showing how conservatives are clinically paranoid.
I do love the source for #7 though: "Cohabitation Facts website"
No bias there.
The environmentalists must be most upset if the couples split. Twice the housing, twice the carbon footprint, twice the sprawl,......
The preferable arrangement is to go over there.
cohab means you have kids but you never get married and you are never tied to anyone.
worse than that in our area...theyre killing them....often beating them to death for crying.
I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that in comparison to the number of couples co-habitating, the number of cases in which a boyfriend beats a child to death is pretty close to statistically undetectable.
This was stated long ago in my socioloy class.
Dittoes. My husband and I lived together for around three years before marrying, and next month will be our 21st anniversary. It's better now than it's ever been despite the absolute worst things that have happened to us and our children. When we shacked up we weren't even thinking "I'm out of here if it goes bad" - it was more like "THIS is the one I want to be with."
That said, I do believe that many shack-up situations do have that fair weather mentality built into it.
The last place on the PLANET you can figure out what to do about your girlfriend is in her bed, in her house.
If you're not marrying her, there's a reason, even if you don't know the reason.
They didn't listen, of course.
Yes, it is. Created by our Creator. But then men and women are in rebellion to Our Lord. They think they know better. **shaking my head** what fools they’ve become.
Being here at FreeRepublic means you are both most likely self-described conservatives.
No wonder we seldom agree here on FreeRepublic.
If anyone with any combination of opinions feels confident to declare themselves a conservative then there will be nothing we can ever agree on.
The same thing happened in the various Christian churches, the Jewish synagogues, and American society in general.
We are no longer a group of people with shared values. We are a bunch of individuals who happen to be occupying the same spot of land and joined only by the propositions that we will most always stop at red lights, and will mostly pay our taxes ... except for the bit we can get away with by claiming more charitable deductions than we ought.
Bingo! Now, of course, you get plenty of people who internalized the Free Love madness when they were young, played around with their lives--and, to be sure, the lives of their various "partners" and various children--and would today be leftist Democrats . . . except that they made a little money along the way, so they listen to Boortz and call themselves conservative. These are the people who are about to give Rudy Giuliani the GOP nomination. I just hope their kids have also signed on to Team Obama.
Social conservatives oppose cohabitation because it is a sin.
Neoconservatives oppose cohabitation because they ran the numbers and found it to be bad public policy.
Populist conservatives oppose cohabitation because it is a scandal to the families and the neighborhood.
Conservative libertarians oppose cohabitation because they believe that free individuals who enter into important relationships should do so with formal contracts.
So how is it there are self-described conservatives that support cohabitation?
Did I miss a flavor of conservatism? Do all libertarians consider themselves conservative? Even the pothead libertarians?
I will look through my old notes and see if I can find reference to the study that showed that children in these situations do worse in terms of physical health, menal health, school achievements, and many other measures.
Please help me define cohabitation, I’m still a bit fuzzy on the concept.
1) Does it still count as cohabitation if the couples kept themslves chaste until marraige?
2) If the answer is yes, which is better, a short term cohabitation where the couples did not remain chaste or a long term one where the couple refrained from relations until marraige?
3) Does it still count if it’s a relatively short period of time (day before marraige, one week after engagement)?
It’s almost too obvious.
Methinks you misjudge libertarian conservatives. I’ve never once heard that particular ideology espoused from that particular corner.
Some people are better than others. "The others" just suck. Their failures are predictable, and cohabitation is just one of the countless things they screw up. Many cohabitate with no problems at all, while some people actually die from it.
Whenever so-called controversy arises, whenever statistics are quoted and studies cited, you can probably find an irrational demagogue trying to paint some absurd non-issue as an important one that we need to think about. Or spend money on, or pass laws to address.
If not for ourselves, then for the children.
Each individual would be free to enter into a security contract with one of many security organizations for his protection.
This individual would go about his business trying to make money to earn a living in order to afford to pay for a security organization to protect him while he slept, or to protect his home while he was out doing business.
Now it is possible that all of the contracts could just be verbal and done with a mere handshake.
I suppose one definition of a conservative libertarian would be someone who believed that he could read people well enough that he never needed written contracts. He would either enter into a verbal contract, or he wouldn't enter into any type of contract with a particular person.
Still one would expect that a practical libertarian who found himself living in a highly non-libertarian world demand written contracts.
A person who calls himself a conservative libertarian who would enter into a mere verbal contract with a woman to share living space, expenses, and the care and upkeep of children seems to be an oxymoron.
We can't tell whether it is truly right or wrong for a particular foreigner to enter the country illegally until we know his particular situation.
We can't tell whether or not we should throw the book at a pedophile until we know about his upbringing.
We can't really know why a particular person committed a capital offense so we should never use the death penalty.
We can't tell whether it is truly right or wrong for a woman to have an abortion until we know her particular situation.
Cohabitation is always wrong. If two people are so strapped for cash that they need to share living space ... even if just for a little while untile the wedding ... then maybe they should be spending more time working on their finances than planning the wedding.
And if they don't plan on marrying any time soon, then they can date until they get sick of each other or set a day for the wedding.
Thank you for the response. You are right of course, it ultimately depends on the people.
I’m just trying to get a definition of cohabitation so I could better understand the concept, that’s all.
Not at all.
Notice the statistics the eminent Dr. quoted are not 100%.
You and your wife are obviously in the range of those who stayed married.
The fact that you were together five years first may be a clue to your success. Maybe it was God’s plan for the two of you.
God bless you both.
There are libertarians who are against abortion because it would deny a person the right to life.
There are libertarians that would freely choose to focus on a few things (one business, one wife, one family) even though they would allow others to continuously change their choices throughout their lives.
This may not be a large percentage of self-described libertarians, but the few of them that there are are clearly in evidence here on FreeRepublic.
Some people are better than others. "The others" just suck.
Hear, hear. This type of stuff is basically just a statistical trick. One merely needs to take married couples who have never lived together, a relatively small sample that is already predisposed to commitment, and compare them to every other couple thats ever lived together, for any reason. That's a huuuge sample that includes sub-groups such as, for instance, chronic drug users, untreated schizophrenics, lifelong economic refugees and your standard "find-a-guy-that'll-hit-me" women, all of whom subsequently skew the results of the whole Co-habitation group toward being more dysfunctional than the Married group.
Only a few seconds of thought is required to realize that the over-representation of these sub-groups in the co-habitating group has nothing to do with their choice not to marry, since, of course, getting married would do nothing to change their particular dysfunction. But their dysfunction does serve to reduce their tendency to want to marry, thereby dragging the success rate of any group they're included in down.
Its actually a pretty slick statistical manipulation.
“Cohabitation is always wrong.”
What a sanctimonious statement.
Thank you for your kind words.
Those who fornicate prior to marriage break up more often than those who have sex after marriage.
That’s an admitedly crass way to put it, but the truth is that those who live together prior to marriage have more relational problems than those who wait to live together and have sex until they express their marriage commitment at the altar. There are exceptions, of course....
Ever heard of a bell curve? You are the exception. Apparently.
I never hurt anyone though. So we're cool, right?
And if I had a kid, I'd be cool with the example I set for him because while I was pretty sure I could drive in that condition, well, if he *thinks* he can, too, then, hell, who am I to criticize.
So, In other words, Dave Elias, why must you be so obtuse?
We must proclaim this truth, because, ironically enough, fear of divorce is the reason why most couples cohabitate.
You mean like being a collecting "single mom" who actually has a live-in boyfriend who works under the table? Yes, that's certainly one cause of cohabitation. But among the middle class, cohabitation is very often seen as a "trial marriage." I've seen that among my peers.
But dramatically higher than is the case with natural fathers. The great evil associated with live-in boyfriends which is far more common is "incest." Irreplaceable God-given graces come with natural parenthood.
Even here at FR we are overrun with people who are totally confused as to what a conservative is as evidenced by the overwhelming number of libertarians and outright liberals who seem to think they belong here because they don't vote for the 'Rats.
The average libertarian today is a very liberal anarchist who doesn't want to pay taxes. There's nothing conservative about this, it's simply motivated by selfish greed. They have confused "limited government" with zero government.
Then there are the FRiberals who really don't know what they believe but they know they don't like the Clintons and they have decided that conservatives have "had their foot on the neck of the GOP for too long." They want to elect politicians who look, act and sound just like 'Rats, but have an "R" after their name.
That's really the point.
What is a marriage? A marriage is a lifetime commitment between a man and woman for both the begetting and raising of children, and the mutual care of the spouses. Even in sacramental marriages, it is the couple that confers the sacrament, rather than the priest or minister, who acts only as a witness for the church/Church.
If a couple cohabitates with the intention of remaining together for life, the couple would have entered into a natural marriage in everything but name.
If a couple cohabitates or even participates in a wedding ceremony with the intention of separating in the event of difficulties, then the couple has not entered into a marriage.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.