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The Dangers of Cohabitation Peter C. Kleponis, M.A., L.P.C. Licensed Clinical Therapist © 2007 Comprehensive Counseling Services West Conshohocken, PA.

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Presentation on theme: "The Dangers of Cohabitation Peter C. Kleponis, M.A., L.P.C. Licensed Clinical Therapist © 2007 Comprehensive Counseling Services West Conshohocken, PA."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Dangers of Cohabitation Peter C. Kleponis, M.A., L.P.C. Licensed Clinical Therapist © 2007 Comprehensive Counseling Services West Conshohocken, PA

2 2 The Dangers of Cohabitation “This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all things, as we told you before in solemnly affirmed.” 1 These. 4:3. “This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all things, as we told you before in solemnly affirmed.” 1 These. 4:3.

3 3 Why People Cohabit To “test the waters:” Couples cohabit to see if they are compatible (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) To “test the waters:” Couples cohabit to see if they are compatible (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Social acceptance: national surveys have shown that nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of girls believe that it is a good idea to live together before marriage to find out if a couple is compatible (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan: 2001) Social acceptance: national surveys have shown that nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of girls believe that it is a good idea to live together before marriage to find out if a couple is compatible (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan: 2001)

4 4 Why People Cohabitate Lack of a social stigma against it: cohabitation is more readily accepted in Western cultures. Many young couples today have parents who had cohabited (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Lack of a social stigma against it: cohabitation is more readily accepted in Western cultures. Many young couples today have parents who had cohabited (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Social pressure: many couples feel pressured by friends, colleagues, and even family members to move in together once they are engaged (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Social pressure: many couples feel pressured by friends, colleagues, and even family members to move in together once they are engaged (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007)

5 5 Why People Cohabit Economic reasons: the couple feels that they can save money for their wedding, house, etc. by living together and sharing expenses (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Economic reasons: the couple feels that they can save money for their wedding, house, etc. by living together and sharing expenses (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Media influence: The mass media has presented cohabitation as a healthy and acceptable living arrangement (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Media influence: The mass media has presented cohabitation as a healthy and acceptable living arrangement (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

6 6 Why People Cohabit Fear of both a trusting commitment and divorce: people who cohabit are more likely to come from families with parental divorce (American Journal of Sociology, 9604, 1991) Fear of both a trusting commitment and divorce: people who cohabit are more likely to come from families with parental divorce (American Journal of Sociology, 9604, 1991) Breaking up is easier: couples do not need to seek civil or religious permission to dissolve their union (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Breaking up is easier: couples do not need to seek civil or religious permission to dissolve their union (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

7 7 Why People Cohabit Narcissism: The belief that one has the right to use another person sexually without committing fully to him or her…live together regardless of the consequences (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Narcissism: The belief that one has the right to use another person sexually without committing fully to him or her…live together regardless of the consequences (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Anger/Revenge: An act of rebelliousness against parents/guardians with whom the couple is angry (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Anger/Revenge: An act of rebelliousness against parents/guardians with whom the couple is angry (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007)

8 8 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation Over half of all engaged couples have lived together before marriage (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Over half of all engaged couples have lived together before marriage (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) A 1992 study of 3,300 cases found that couples who cohabited prior to marriage have a risk for divorce that is about 46% higher than for non- cohabiters (Journal of Marriage and The Family. February 1992) A 1992 study of 3,300 cases found that couples who cohabited prior to marriage have a risk for divorce that is about 46% higher than for non- cohabiters (Journal of Marriage and The Family. February 1992)

9 9 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples (Journal of Health and Social behavior. September 2000) Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples (Journal of Health and Social behavior. September 2000) Women in cohabiting relationships are more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than married women (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Women in cohabiting relationships are more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than married women (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

10 10 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation The more months of exposure to cohabitation, the less enthusiastic couples are about marriage and childbearing (Journal of Marriage & Family: ) The more months of exposure to cohabitation, the less enthusiastic couples are about marriage and childbearing (Journal of Marriage & Family: ) Cohabiting couples report lower levels of happiness, lower levels of sexual satisfaction and exclusivity, and poorer relationships with their parents (Journal of Family Issues. January 1995) Cohabiting couples report lower levels of happiness, lower levels of sexual satisfaction and exclusivity, and poorer relationships with their parents (Journal of Family Issues. January 1995)

11 11 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation Cohabiters tend to not have an ethic of commitment that is as strong as noncohabiters. This could explain the high rates of divorce among couples that cohabited prior to marriage (Journal of Marriage and The Family. August 1997) Cohabiters tend to not have an ethic of commitment that is as strong as noncohabiters. This could explain the high rates of divorce among couples that cohabited prior to marriage (Journal of Marriage and The Family. August 1997) Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks to children (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002) Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks to children (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002)

12 12 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation By 2000, the total number of unmarried couples in America was almost 4.75 million, up from less than half a million in 1960 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001) By 2000, the total number of unmarried couples in America was almost 4.75 million, up from less than half a million in 1960 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001) Cohabitation increases the acceptance of divorce among young people (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59, 1997) Cohabitation increases the acceptance of divorce among young people (Journal of Marriage & Family: 59, 1997) Cohabitation can contribute to selfishness and later a lack of openness to children (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Cohabitation can contribute to selfishness and later a lack of openness to children (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007)

13 13 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation Respondents who cohabited after a divorce, or cohabited with their partner in a subsequent marriage reported, on average, lower levels of happiness in the remarriage than remarried respondents who did not cohabit after the initial divorce (Journal of Marriage and Family, may 2006) Respondents who cohabited after a divorce, or cohabited with their partner in a subsequent marriage reported, on average, lower levels of happiness in the remarriage than remarried respondents who did not cohabit after the initial divorce (Journal of Marriage and Family, may 2006) Compared with peers who had not cohabited prior to marriage, individuals who had cohabited reported higher levels of depression and the level of depression rose with the length of cohabitation (Alabama Policy Institute, August 2006) Compared with peers who had not cohabited prior to marriage, individuals who had cohabited reported higher levels of depression and the level of depression rose with the length of cohabitation (Alabama Policy Institute, August 2006)

14 14 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation The longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects during conflicts when they did finally marriage. A longer length of cohabitation was linked to a greater frequency of heated arguments, even when controlling for spouses’ age (Alabama Policy Institute, 2006) The longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects during conflicts when they did finally marriage. A longer length of cohabitation was linked to a greater frequency of heated arguments, even when controlling for spouses’ age (Alabama Policy Institute, 2006)

15 15 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation on Children In 2000, 41% of all unmarried-couple households included a child under the age of 18. This is up from only 21% in 1987 (U.S. Census Bureau, March 2000) In 2000, 41% of all unmarried-couple households included a child under the age of 18. This is up from only 21% in 1987 (U.S. Census Bureau, March 2000) One of the major risks to children in cohabiting households is the high rate of breakup. This leads to many personal and social difficulties for children as they face the loss of security in home life (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002) One of the major risks to children in cohabiting households is the high rate of breakup. This leads to many personal and social difficulties for children as they face the loss of security in home life (Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children and Social Policy. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002)

16 16 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation on Children Several studies have shown that children living with their mother and her boyfriend have more behavior problems and lower academic performance than children in intact families (Social Forces 73-1: 1994) Several studies have shown that children living with their mother and her boyfriend have more behavior problems and lower academic performance than children in intact families (Social Forces 73-1: 1994) Fully three quarters of children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents split up before the they reach age 16. Only one third of children born to married parents face a similar fate (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Fully three quarters of children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents split up before the they reach age 16. Only one third of children born to married parents face a similar fate (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002)

17 17 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation on Children Child abuse is a major problem in cohabiting households. The number of reported abuse cases has been steadily rising over the past ten years (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Child abuse is a major problem in cohabiting households. The number of reported abuse cases has been steadily rising over the past ten years (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002) Evidence suggests that the most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father (The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC: 1997) Evidence suggests that the most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father (The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC: 1997)

18 18 The Harmful effects of Cohabitation on Children Among children who did not consistently live in an intact family through age 12, those whose mothers cohabited at some time experienced a higher level of family instability (measured by the number of transitions in household structure) than those whose mothers had not cohabited (2.6 vs. 1.4 for white children and 2.0 vs. 0.7 for black children) (Journal of Marriage and Family: February 2004) Among children who did not consistently live in an intact family through age 12, those whose mothers cohabited at some time experienced a higher level of family instability (measured by the number of transitions in household structure) than those whose mothers had not cohabited (2.6 vs. 1.4 for white children and 2.0 vs. 0.7 for black children) (Journal of Marriage and Family: February 2004)

19 19 The Numerous Benefits of Marriage over Cohabitation The long-term contract implicit in marriage: this facilitates an emotional investment in the relationship rarely found in cohabiting couples. There is a close monitoring of each other’s behavior. Individual skills can be fully developed as the couple works together as committed members of the relationship (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) The long-term contract implicit in marriage: this facilitates an emotional investment in the relationship rarely found in cohabiting couples. There is a close monitoring of each other’s behavior. Individual skills can be fully developed as the couple works together as committed members of the relationship (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007)

20 20 The Numerous Benefits of Marriage over Cohabitation The greater sharing of economic resources. Through economies of scale, married couples can more efficiently utilize their financial resources. They also act as a financial “safety net” for each other, should a crisis arise. Cohabiting couples without the commitment of marriage tend not to have this “safety net” (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). The greater sharing of economic resources. Through economies of scale, married couples can more efficiently utilize their financial resources. They also act as a financial “safety net” for each other, should a crisis arise. Cohabiting couples without the commitment of marriage tend not to have this “safety net” (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002).

21 21 The Numerous Benefits of Marriage over Cohabitation Married couples have a better connection to the larger community. This includes individuals and groups, such as friends, family and colleagues. It also includes social institutions, such as schools, churches, clubs, YMCA, etc. These can be important resources for social, emotional and material support (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Married couples have a better connection to the larger community. This includes individuals and groups, such as friends, family and colleagues. It also includes social institutions, such as schools, churches, clubs, YMCA, etc. These can be important resources for social, emotional and material support (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002).

22 22 The Numerous Benefits of Marriage over Cohabitation Married couples enjoy greater physical and emotional health, greater financial resources, and more home-life stability (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Married couples enjoy greater physical and emotional health, greater financial resources, and more home-life stability (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Cohabiting couples tend not to inherit money or material possessions from family members as much as married couples (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002). Cohabiting couples tend not to inherit money or material possessions from family members as much as married couples (National Marriage Project, Rutgers University: 2002).

23 23 The Benefits of Faith to Marriage and Family Faith provides a greater sense of purpose to the marriage: “God has brought us together for a purpose and wants to bless us; the two become one.” (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Faith provides a greater sense of purpose to the marriage: “God has brought us together for a purpose and wants to bless us; the two become one.” (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) The more frequently that husbands attend religious services, the happier their wives are with the level of affection and understanding they receive and the amount of time their husbands spend with them (Bradford Wilcox, University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 2004) The more frequently that husbands attend religious services, the happier their wives are with the level of affection and understanding they receive and the amount of time their husbands spend with them (Bradford Wilcox, University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 2004)

24 24 The Benefits of Faith to Marriage and Family Faith provides behavioral norms for adults and children. Family members have firm moral standards to follow (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) Faith provides behavioral norms for adults and children. Family members have firm moral standards to follow (Institute for Marital Healing, West Conshohocken, PA: 2007) The more frequently that couples engage in religious practice, the more they are satisfied with their marriages. Sixty percent who attend religious services at least monthly perceived their marriages as “very satisfied” compared to only 43% of those who attend religious services less frequently (Journal of Marriage and Family: vol. 47, May 1985) The more frequently that couples engage in religious practice, the more they are satisfied with their marriages. Sixty percent who attend religious services at least monthly perceived their marriages as “very satisfied” compared to only 43% of those who attend religious services less frequently (Journal of Marriage and Family: vol. 47, May 1985)

25 25 The Benefits of Faith to Marriage and Family A 1977 study indicated the link between religious practice and marital sexuality. Very religious women had greater sexual satisfaction than did moderately or non-religious women (The Redbook Report on Female Sexuality. New York, Delacorte Press: 1977) A 1977 study indicated the link between religious practice and marital sexuality. Very religious women had greater sexual satisfaction than did moderately or non-religious women (The Redbook Report on Female Sexuality. New York, Delacorte Press: 1977) Families who share a strong faith tend to experience less depression and anxiety than those who don’t (The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC: 1997) Families who share a strong faith tend to experience less depression and anxiety than those who don’t (The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC: 1997)

26 26 Recommended Resources Fitzgibbons, R.P & Kleponis, P.C. (2007) The Institute for Marital Healing website. West Conshohocken, PA. Fitzgibbons, R.P & Kleponis, P.C. (2007) The Institute for Marital Healing website. West Conshohocken, PA. Maher, B. (2002). The Family Portrait: A Compilation of Data, Research and Public Opinion on The Family. Washington, DC: Family Research Council Maher, B. (2002). The Family Portrait: A Compilation of Data, Research and Public Opinion on The Family. Washington, DC: Family Research Council

27 27 Recommended Resources Popenoe, D. & Whitehead, B.D. (2002). Should We Live Together? What Young Adults Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage: A Comprehensive Review of Recent Research, Second Edition. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University, The National Marriage Project. Popenoe, D. & Whitehead, B.D. (2002). Should We Live Together? What Young Adults Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage: A Comprehensive Review of Recent Research, Second Edition. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University, The National Marriage Project.


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