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The risks of cohabitation
Minneapolis Star Tribune ^ | 7/17/02 | Katherine Kersten

Posted on 07/17/2002 2:06:41 PM PDT by rhema

Edited on 04/13/2004 3:36:45 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Everyone knows that American family structure is changing. In recent decades, large increases in divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing have dramatically altered the social landscape. But a related social change has received little attention. That's the extraordinary rise in cohabitation, in which an unmarried man and woman share a household as sexual partners.


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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: children; christianlist; cohabitation; divorce; family; marriage; morality; morals; sin
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1 posted on 07/17/2002 2:06:41 PM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema
Each partner is free to leave the moment he or she no longer feels happy or fulfilled.

And this differs from marriage exactly how?

A 50% divorce rate means those who marry are just as likely to "leave the moment he or she no longer feels happy or fulfilled" as they are to stay together.

Committment, my arse.

2 posted on 07/17/2002 2:14:02 PM PDT by freeeee
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To: rhema
I think they're missing why people co-hab. It's the same reason both members of so many married couples work. Under today's taxation it takes two incomes most of the time to pay the bills, especially when you're young and not well established in your career. Since you need that second income you need to live with somebody, whether that somebody is spouse lover or roommate is a matter of semantics.
3 posted on 07/17/2002 2:19:40 PM PDT by discostu
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To: rhema
Postmodern Blues

We used to call it shacking up,
Cohabitate aplomb.
And 'unwed mother' did the job
For what we now call 'mom.'
But what can one expect to find
When lit'rature is 'text,'
And paragons of right & wrong
Take our kids for sex.
 

4 posted on 07/17/2002 2:21:35 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: rhema
How else are we to know whether or not she (or he, even) is a raving, insecure loon? Co-habitation saved me once. Besides, you don't buy a car without taking it for a test-drive.
5 posted on 07/17/2002 2:23:35 PM PDT by Skwidd
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To: rhema
For despite recent developments, marriage remains the most stable of all family forms.

There is only one form of "family"; the one created through marriage. Everything else is bogus.

6 posted on 07/17/2002 2:24:56 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Skwidd
How else are we to know whether or not she (or he, even) is a raving, insecure loon?

Most people could figure that out after a year or so (or even much less) of dating.

7 posted on 07/17/2002 2:26:19 PM PDT by mountaineer
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To: Skwidd
Besides, you don't buy a car without taking it for a test-drive.

Prepare now for incoming missles.

8 posted on 07/17/2002 2:26:48 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Sangamon Kid
There is only one form of "family"; the one created through marriage. Everything else is bogus.

The Truth.


9 posted on 07/17/2002 2:27:17 PM PDT by ppaul
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To: rhema
I do NOT understand what the huge deal is, I lived with my wife for 2 1/2 years before we got married, and thank goodness I did. It showed me that I was indeed making the right decision.

We have now been married 9 years, been together almost 12 and have 2 beautiful children and another on the way. Living together first helped us figure out exactly how compatible we were and allowed us to go into marriage without any doubts that we were doing the right thing.

Marriage without living together first is a BIG mistake as far as I am concerned, but just because it worked for me does not necassarily make it right for others.
10 posted on 07/17/2002 2:31:22 PM PDT by Aric2000
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To: mountaineer
Most people could figure that out after a year or so (or even much less) of dating.

True, but some people are really, really good at hiding it.

11 posted on 07/17/2002 2:32:44 PM PDT by Skwidd
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To: Aric2000
I do NOT understand what the huge deal is . . . .

You're never going to win the argument against people who know better than you do how to live your life. Prepare to be told that "you are an exception, not the rule so clearly demonstrated by this 'study.'" If you and your wife divorce, then "don't say we didn't warn you."

This is the kind of soft social science that we conservatives usually lambast, except when it suits our purposes, of course.
12 posted on 07/17/2002 2:51:31 PM PDT by scalia_#1
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To: rhema
I feel sorry for some of you, because you have no concept whatsoever of the deep and abiding joy and security that comes when a man or woman makes a life-long commitment to their loved one without having to shack up with, or test-drive (what a stupid metaphor) the latest model.

I have a beautiful 20 year daughter who believed me when I told her that God was preparing a man for her, and that she was to remain holy and dedicated to this man long before she would ever meet and marry him. Abstinence of the heart and mind, not just the body. My daughter is in love with a man that she does not know yet, because she trusts that God is preparing a young man who will be a perfect mate for her.

Sound hokey? Eat your hearts out. All you who live according to the desires of your crotch will never understand this mystery, because any thing less than this falls short of how God intended for marriage to be.

13 posted on 07/17/2002 2:51:45 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: freeeee
A 50% divorce rate means those who marry are just as likely to "leave the moment he or she no longer feels happy or fulfilled" as they are to stay together.

The 50% divorce rate is a misleading statistic. Most of that number comes from "repeat offenders" who marry and divorce more than twice. If you break out the multiple sequential marriages, the rate for single divorces is much lower.

14 posted on 07/17/2002 2:58:44 PM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
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To: rhema
Today, young people increasingly think of cohabitation as a "no strings attached" way to assess the compatibility of a potential mate.

Boy am I glad I didn't step in this it reeks, such BS. What about the senior population, those who for whatever reason have become single late in life. I would imagine this group would make up quite a large part of a valid survey of cohabiting adults. This article is your typical ass-wipe nannyfied we-know-what-is-best for-you trash. Marriage is really only necessary for those who wish to raise children within societies norms, for all others it is a trap.

15 posted on 07/17/2002 2:59:06 PM PDT by TightSqueeze
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To: Sangamon Kid
The only reason that my wife and I decided to get married was because we decided that we wanted to have children, if we had decided not to have children, we would NEVER have gotten married. No reason to, no reason at all. Marriage is for the security of children, nothing more, other then that, it is not necessary.
16 posted on 07/17/2002 3:05:26 PM PDT by Aric2000
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To: Sangamon Kid
I have a beautiful 20 year daughter who believed me when I told her that God was preparing a man for her

I once went to church that was full of disgruntled, never-married 60 year old women who had grown up believing the same thing...

17 posted on 07/17/2002 3:07:10 PM PDT by Lamont Cranston
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To: FateAmenableToChange
If you break out the multiple sequential marriages, the rate for single divorces is much lower.

Ok. I can agree with that.

Do you know the 'much lower' number for 'single marriage' divorces? How does this figure compare with co-habitation?

18 posted on 07/17/2002 3:08:13 PM PDT by freeeee
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To: rhema
This might sound bad but I am about to the point to where I would advise my son, when the time is right, to just shack up with a girl instead of marring. My rational is: we now have no fault divorce, a 50% divorce rate, courts that are anti male, a legal system that goes out of the way to destroy the bonds between children and father, a legal system that thinks justice has been served when they have destroyed the financial well being of the father, and a society which looks on men as a check writer.
19 posted on 07/17/2002 3:10:19 PM PDT by Rogle
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To: FateAmenableToChange
Oh, and I almost forgot, if we're going to exlude multiple marriage people from the statistics, we must also exclude multiple co-habiters as well, if our comparison is going to be meaningful.

So simply put, the question would be:

What percentage of first time marriages succeed compared to first time co-habitations?

20 posted on 07/17/2002 3:11:32 PM PDT by freeeee
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To: discostu
Oh yeah, the bond of marriage doesn't mean anything anymore (sarcasm). Always trying to make an excuse to justify sin. I don't imagine that it will ever be any different.
21 posted on 07/17/2002 3:13:00 PM PDT by FreedomFriend
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To: rhema
Non-co-habitation, with all that rushing through the mid night streets, can also be dangerous to one's health.
22 posted on 07/17/2002 3:18:43 PM PDT by per loin
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To: freeeee
Oh, and I almost forgot, if we're going to exlude multiple marriage people from the statistics, we must also exclude multiple co-habiters as well, if our comparison is going to be meaningful.

Good point. My point is that the statistic that half of all marriages fail is potentially misleading because it implies that you have a 50% chance of divorcing your first spouse. That is false.

23 posted on 07/17/2002 3:19:00 PM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
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To: Rogle
This might sound bad but I am about to the point to where I would advise my son, when the time is right, to just shack up with a girl instead of marring. My rational is: we now have no fault divorce, a 50% divorce rate, courts that are anti male, a legal system that goes out of the way to destroy the bonds between children and father, a legal system that thinks justice has been served when they have destroyed the financial well being of the father, and a society which looks on men as a check writer.

...and I suppose you think that the excuses listed above allows you to set aside what you know is right and good.

24 posted on 07/17/2002 3:19:21 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Sangamon Kid
I have a beautiful 20 year daughter who believed me when I told her that God was preparing a man for her…

I will lay odds your daughter receives very few second dates after meeting you, if she were smart then she would meet them far away from your influence. I mean the girl is twenty and is still taking dating advice from her father, I smell issues.

25 posted on 07/17/2002 3:21:39 PM PDT by TightSqueeze
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To: FreedomFriend
Did I say the bonds of marriage don't mean anything anymore? No. I said that when it comes to paying the bills you need a second income and how you get it doesn't matter (to that simple financial discussion).

People shouldn't assume so much. I've been married for 10 years. And bonds of marriage mean a lot. She was also the last person I lived with before marriage, and the only person I've lived with and had a sexual relationship with, everybody else was just roommates. I also know the trouble of trying to juggle a roommate and a girlfriend (there's some great cosmic rule that says they won't ever get along... and if they do they'll leave your life "together" if you know what I mean), which is another good reason to co-hab. In the end I do think co-habing helps you know if the relationship will work, there's no truer test of the bonds of love than two grouchy non-morning people trying to get ready for work in the morning with only one bathroom. Any relationship that can survive that is in good shape.
26 posted on 07/17/2002 3:21:57 PM PDT by discostu
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To: Skwidd
Cohabitation didn't save you. Look at all the studies, cohabitation plays a part in divorce, for the whole time one is "getting the milk", or living with someone, they really haven't grown deep enough in a relationship to know whether they are right for one another. That is, they have placed a sexual element or lust, mind you, into the equation that the values, beliefs, true growth, etc., things that allow for a marriage to survive, are overshadowed. Hence, just as when premarital sex is occurring, cohabitation with premarital sex is a recipe for disaster, as people become "blinded by lust".

While the number of people who are engaging in premarital sexual relations occurs in large numbers of non-cohabitating individuals, the percentage of of premarital relations is higher among cohabitating individuals and, hence, a higher divorce rate.

So, MOST LIKELY TO STAY MARRIED: Non-Cohabitating/Non premarital sexaul relations.
LESS LIKELY TO STAY MARRIED: Cohabitating/Non-premarital Sexual relations
Even Less Likely to Stay Married: Non-Cohabitating/Premarital Sexual relations
LEAST LIKELY TO STAY MARRIED: Cohabitating/premarital Sexual Relations.

27 posted on 07/17/2002 3:23:26 PM PDT by FreedomFriend
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To: All
How is it that some of you are so quick to proclaim America's Chrisitian heritage and moral superiority, and yet have no clue when it comes to the foundational teaching of Christ concerning marraige? No wonder this country is disintegrating before our eyes.
28 posted on 07/17/2002 3:24:49 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: freeeee
"What percentage of first time marriages succeed compared to first time co-habitations?'

Just what constitutes a "successful" cohabitation? One where "He ain't killed her yet?"

29 posted on 07/17/2002 3:25:44 PM PDT by nightdriver
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To: Sangamon Kid
and I suppose you think that the excuses listed above allows you to set aside what you know is right and good. No I view them as reason not excuses. When the social field is un-level then other alternative must be sought.
30 posted on 07/17/2002 3:27:57 PM PDT by Rogle
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To: TightSqueeze
I will lay odds your daughter receives very few second dates after meeting you, if she were smart then she would meet them far away from your influence. I mean the girl is twenty and is still taking dating advice from her father, I smell issues.

First, my daughter doesn't "date". Second, it is she who seeks out my counsel, and she will continue to take advice from me until she says "I do." to the man that is being prepared for her. Third, it is you who has the issues. To you good is evil, and evil is good.

31 posted on 07/17/2002 3:33:09 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: FreedomFriend
You certainly spend a lot of energy being concerned about the sexual habits and living arrangements of adult people who seem to not be related to you. Do you find this preoccupation a little odd? Have you discussed this problem with a professional, sounds like you need to get through something in your own life. To me it seems like you might threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue if we don’t acknowledge your rant.
32 posted on 07/17/2002 3:33:41 PM PDT by TightSqueeze
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To: Rogle
When the social field is un-level then other alternative must be sought.

A classic example of situation ethics.

33 posted on 07/17/2002 3:35:53 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: rhema
Bump for later.
34 posted on 07/17/2002 3:36:55 PM PDT by Springman
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To: TightSqueeze
My daughter is 28 and I still give her advice. She seldom takes it, but I still try. It is my job. My son is 35 ditto.

If the 20 year old daughter takes the advice - good for her, even if she does remain unmarried until she is 60. Is it better for her to have a succession of failed 'cohabitations'? It doesn't seem so to me, but I realize I am of a different generation.

35 posted on 07/17/2002 3:37:24 PM PDT by nanny
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To: rhema
...governed by an ethic of low commitment...

you could stick this on a broad brush and paint a number of society's current ills

36 posted on 07/17/2002 3:40:02 PM PDT by goo goo g'joob
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To: Sangamon Kid
No it is called survival and wanting the best for my kid. I never said it was right
37 posted on 07/17/2002 3:41:13 PM PDT by Rogle
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To: Rogle
...wanting the best for my kid.

Better explain to me how immorality can ever be "best" for your kid.

38 posted on 07/17/2002 3:43:17 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Sangamon Kid
Maybe you just don't understand the mathematics of today's society. The way things work now a husband who can't stand his wife is better off killing her than divorcing her. Kill her and your money will sit in the bank until you get out which if you plea bargain down to manslaughter (not hard to do if you don't try to hide the crime) with time off for good behavior is around 8 years. Divorce her and she gets the house the car half the contents of the house half the money in the bank and will get half (at least) of your income for the rest of your life, and God help you if you're ever unemployed the payments won't go down and she can have you thrown in jail for missing them. A man has got to consider the mathematics before entering into marriage.
39 posted on 07/17/2002 3:48:33 PM PDT by discostu
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To: Sangamon Kid
"she trusts that God is preparing a young man who will be a perfect mate for her.

Sound hokey?"

I'll pass on characterizing..

But, to paraphrase, did God prepare a young woman (Miss Hillary) who would be a perfect mate for young Willie Clinton?
40 posted on 07/17/2002 3:49:54 PM PDT by APBaer
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To: APBaer
Hmmm... not such a good arguement. In many ways those two are made for each other. Just goes to show that perfect isn't always a good thing.
41 posted on 07/17/2002 3:50:59 PM PDT by discostu
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To: rhema
This is one of those issues I have changed my opinion on over the years. I used to be a big believer in marriage and family values. I would consider a man and woman living together without marriage, well, not sinful, but ill-advised. I figured that marriage strengthened the ties and made it harder for one partner to just get up and leave.

Well I have now changed my opinion completely. If a man can get away with just living with his woman, he ought to to it. Marriage should only be undertaken if the couple have lived together for a sufficient period of time that the man would would trust the woman in marriage - and even then, be very wary of the process.

Why? Because once a man and woman are married, the woman holds all the cards. The woman can utterly and totally destroy the man's life with no or little pretense. If children are produced, the man's life can be made a living hell with just one false and vengeful accusation of abuse.

And I say this as a relatively happy married guy! I have seen so many friends, co-workers and family members worked over by a vengeful spouse that I have lost my faith in our justice system to protect the rights of a man wrongfully accused by a vengeful spouse of unspeakable acts. My advice to my fellow men is to avoid marriage if possible.

42 posted on 07/17/2002 3:52:36 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: nanny
even if she does remain unmarried until she is 60. Is it better for her to have a succession of failed 'cohabitations'?

tis better to have loved and lost...No?

43 posted on 07/17/2002 3:53:43 PM PDT by laredo44
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To: nanny
I've never seen people so bitter as the never-married old ladies in that church. Maybe if they'd taken some intiative and dated instead of sitting around waiting for a man to drop out of the sky...
44 posted on 07/17/2002 3:54:23 PM PDT by Lamont Cranston
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To: Rogle
Let's not forget the financial trap set for men. It's called divorce. If any guy has accumulated substantial assets before he gets married, those assets are at risk in a divorce. Would you trust any pre-nup agreement?

In the US, twice as many women file for divorce as men. Financially, women make out literally like bandits in a divorce. They get a whole bunch of money they never had to earn. They steal it, legally.

Ask any poor schmuck who got screwed in a divorce what marriage is all about.

Why is there a growing "marriage strike" among men in the US? It's simple - marriage is too risky - legally, financially and emptionally. Loose your kids, your rights, all of your assets and become a criminal without due process. It's a suckers game for fools. Men are finally wising up.

45 posted on 07/17/2002 3:55:11 PM PDT by glockmeister40
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To: discostu
"In many ways those two are made for each other"

Oh, I agree, and I doubt that the spiritual being that hatched it was of an angelic disposition.
46 posted on 07/17/2002 3:55:31 PM PDT by APBaer
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To: APBaer
But, to paraphrase, did God prepare a young woman (Miss Hillary) who would be a perfect mate for young Willie Clinton?

Seems incredible, doesn't it? But I will say that God makes vessels of honor and some vessels of dishonor. Pharoah was a vessel of dishonor, and was used by God none-the-less. Why can't our ex-prez be? As concerning their marriage, it may have been a match made in heaven. ;^)

47 posted on 07/17/2002 3:59:36 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Sangamon Kid
Please read post #45 there is your answer. I have seen friends who have been drug through divorce court and triumphed up charges of abuse to keep them from their children and increase child support.
48 posted on 07/17/2002 4:00:50 PM PDT by Rogle
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To: Rogle
Please read post #45 there is your answer. I have seen friends who have been drug through divorce court and triumphed up charges of abuse to keep them from their children and increase child support.

Sorry, that's not the answer. Your advice to refrain from marriage because we can't deal with the symptoms of the real problem will only worsen our condition.

Men in America have stood up and shaken their fist at God and said, "No thanks, I'll do it my own way!!" That's the problem, and until the one who "was created in God's image" addresses it, our marriages, our families, our communities, and our country will continue to disintegrate.

49 posted on 07/17/2002 4:11:26 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Skwidd
Try dating without having sex, you don't get so confused about behavioral problems.

Also, those only interested in Ses but not Committment split real fast!

50 posted on 07/17/2002 4:18:24 PM PDT by zerosix
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