What are some advantages of cohabitation?

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Cohabitation can be a way for a couple to try a living arrangement without going into the commitment of marriage. The couple can learn about each other before they marry. They may even use information learned during the cohabitation period to learn that they do not wish to marry at all. It is a lot easier to end this relationship than a marriage.

Cohabitation can also provide a way for a young couple to share expenses. Many young couples do not have high-paying jobs. The two people can share expenses and household duties and make that part of life less stressful. They can also work together to decide who will do what in a married household. These decisions are a lot easier without adjusting for marriage and children later on.

While there are drawbacks to cohabitation, it can be thought of as a trial period for marriage. If the relationship does not work, then the two can split without going through a divorce.

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Cohabitation typically describes a situation in which two people live together as if they are married; however, they are not married in the legal or religious definitions. The benefits of cohabitation are going to differ from couple to couple, as individual situations are diverse, but Ohio State researches have found that cohabitation boosts emotional well being between partners. This emotional boost has a greater impact on women as well.

That emotional boost benefit has supporting evidence from a legitimate study, but other benefits are much more subjective in nature. For example, cohabitation supposedly allows two people to get to know each other better. That in turn should help the couple be better prepared for what marriage might be like. Cohabitation also likely has the benefit of allowing a couple to spend more time with each other. There is also a probable financial benefit, as it is likely that two incomes exist to support a single household.

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Not everyone will agree on what the advantages of cohabitation are or, indeed, if there are advantages to cohabitation.  Here are some advantages that are commonly cited.

It gives people a way to test out whether they are suited for one another.  When people get married without having lived together, they are thrown together for the first time.  Since they are married, it is very hard for them to get out of the situation if it simply does not work.  If they cohabit, the theory goes, they can try out life together and then split up without the huge hassles of a divorce if things do not work out.

It allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance.  Up to a certain age, young people may be covered under their parents insurance if they are single and if they are students.  If two people in college or early in graduate school want to marry, but lack the means to get their own insurance, they are better off cohabiting so that they can stay on their parents’ insurance.

Finally, from a more philosophical point of view, there are those who feel that cohabitation is a more equal arrangement.  Marriage can be seen as a traditionally male-dominated institution.  Cohabitation allows couples to live together without the “baggage” that comes along with the traditions of marriage.  It can make them feel more equal to one another instead of feeling that the woman is being subordinated.

These are some of the most commonly cited advantages to cohabitation.

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