Cohabitation is increasingly becoming the norm in today’s relationships. It is a phenomenon where partners live together and do everything together without a prior marriage arrangement (Manning & Smock, 2009). This phenomenon is what Manning and Smock (2009) refer to as the cohabitation revolution. It is increasingly converting what was a rare lifestyle into a typical experience in the lives of many people.
Many couples who marry today already know what to deal with,
and what their partner is going to be like that. Well, long before they step down the aisle together. Cohabitation, not dating, is the most traditional way towards marriage.
The revolution is evidently changing America’s attitude towards marriages. The notion that couples should get married first and then engage in children bearing seems to be fading away with the notable increase of cohabiting couples. Just a few decades ago, cohabitation was unheard of and was considered a sin but today, it is the in-thing. The question that begs is; will the revolution succeed in overhauling the traditional marriage setup?
Around the same time as our traditional conceptions of “the family” are called into question, the exponential rise in “living together” is shifting the contours of American families. Unlike marriage, which is regulated by the state, heterosexual cohabitation exists entirely beyond the framework of the legislation.
The formalization of the family and the greater focus on emotional instead of legal relations to others reflect the rise of heterosexual cohabitation. Cohabitation is a culture. The separate family arrangement, not individuality nor marriage.
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