MMBFD #3 Threats Resulting From Alternatives to Marriage and Conventional Marriages (B. Cohabitation)

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  • Threats Resulting From Alternatives to Marriage and Conventional Marriages                          (B. Cohabitation)
    • McGrae (1999)
      • Love is the most common reason people give for cohabiting.
      • Cohabitation is living together as a couple without being married. It involves a shared residence in which a couple set up home together
    • General household survey 2002 - found that among those 16-59, 25% of non-married women and 13% of all women were cohabitating.
    • Between 1979 and 2001 the proportion of 18-49 year olds cohabitating had increased from 11% to 32%/
    • There is therefore no doubt that cohabitation is becoming increasingly common.
    • Almond (2006)
      • In 2007 the Office for National Statistics date analysed by Murphy suggested that children whose parents live together but are not married, have a higher risk of developing a serious illness.
      • Believes that the family is fragmenting, there has been a shift away from the traditional family on rearing children and in relation to the emotional support provided.
    • Morgan (2003)
      • She quotes statics from the British Household Panel Survey indicating that less than 4& of cohabitating couples stay together for more than 10 yeas, although around 60% do go on to get married.
      • sees it as a worrying tend in which marriage is going out of fashion and the family is in serious decline
    • Chandler (1993)
      • Chandler suggests this is reflected in the increasing proportions of children born out of marriage - partners no longer feel as much pressure to marry to legitimize pregnancy
      • Later marriage, cohabitation and divorce can all contribute to the low fertility rates in the UK, which leads to an ageing population who will eventually become the burden of the tax payer and future generations.
      • See's the increase in cohabitation as rather more significant - "the time couples spend cohabitating is lengthening and increasing they appear to be choosing cohabitation as a long-term alternative to marriage".
    • The 1998 British Household Panel Survey asked people why the choose to cohabit:
      • Chester (1995)
        • Argued that in most cases cohabitation is inly a temporary phase, most of those who cohabit will eventually get married.
      • Coast (2006)
        • 75% of cohabitating couples say they expect to marry each other. There is also evidence that a significant number of people living together are waiting for a divorce.
      • It provided an opportunity to test the relationship before making it legally binding, over half saw cohabitation as a trail marriage.
      • Around 40%saw  cohabitation  as an alternative to marriage - they saw advantages to living together rather than marrying.
      • Some  mentioned the absence on legal ties - this gives them freedom to end the relationship.
    • In 2007 the Office for National Statics suggested that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK, around 2.2 million couples are cohabitating with or without children, the number is expected to double by 2021/
    • The percentage of the population who were cohabitating in 2010 were 11% males and 10% of females.
    • What has caused the increase in cohabitation:
      • 4) Changes in Education and Housing
        • For example, there was 173,000 female undergraduates in the UK in 1970/1971 compared to over 1.4 million in 2004/2005.
        • As a result, many young people have ore freedom from parental authority at an earlier age, they are able to live in their own housing.
        • The expansion of higher education means that increasing numbers of young people are leaving home at an earlier age for reason other than marriage.
        • This makes it easier for couples to cohabit.
        • In addition,, building societies are more likely to lend to unmarried couples - at one times they were very unlikely to lend to those "living in sin" (Allan and Crow 2001)
      • 3) Changes in Parental Control
        • There is some evidence that parental control over children has decreased in the past 50 years.
        • The 1960's are often seen as a decade when young people revolted against the authority of their parents and the "older generation"
      • 5)Changes in Career Opportunities
        • Increased career opportunities for women may also mean that they have less need for the financial security of marriage and are freer to opt for cohabitastion
      • 2) Effective Contraception
        • For the first time, full sexual relations could be an expression of love for a partner rather than a means of reproduction
        • From 1967, reliable contraception was made readily available on the NHS, within the Family Planning Act.
        • Effective contraception made it possible for couples to cohabit with little fear of pregnancy (Allan and Crow 2001)
      • 6) Changes in Divorce
        • Couples in which one or both partners are divorced are the most likely to cohabit.
        • Having already achieved independence from their parents, they are less likely to be affected by parental control.
        • The divorce rate has increased rapidly over the past 50 years.
        • Also, if their divorce has not gone though, cohabitation is their only option if they want to live as a couple.
      • 1) Changing Attitudes:
        • Cohabitation is no longer seen as "living in sin" or described with negative phrases such as "living over the brush."
        • Attitudes towards sexual relationships and living arrangements outside marriage have changed.
        • The 199 British Panel Survey asked whether they thought "living together outside of marriage was always wrong" a third of those ages 60 though it was wrong compared with less than a tenth of those under 30.
      • 7) Changes in the Attitudes in the Young
        • The young are more likely to accept cohabitation; 88; of 18-24 year olds though "it is alright for a couple to live together without intending to get married", but only 40of those over 65 agreed (social trends 2004)
        • In 1989, only 44% of people agreed that "premarital sex is not wrong at all", but by 2000, 62% took this view (British Social Attitudes 2000)
        • Barlow 2001- found more people were beginning to see it as acceptable to have children without getting married.
        • Increased cohabitation reflects the decline in stigma attached to sex outside marriage.
        • In 1994, 70% agreed that "people who want children ought to get married", but by 2000 this was down to 54%
      • 8) Secularisation
        • According to the 2001 census, young people with no religion were more likely to cohsbit that those with a religion.
      • 9) Permanent Alternative
        • Benjin 1985 - argues that cohabitation among young people represents a conscious attempt to create a more personally patriarchal marriage.
        • Shelton and John 1993 - found that women who cohabit do less housework than their married counterparts.
        • Some couples see cohabitation as a permanent alternative to marriage.
    • Effects of Cohabitation:
      • Conclusion
        • Smart and Stevens (2000)
          • Contingent Commitment
            • Mutual Commitment
              • Presumption that the relationship will last.
              • The relationship is established before cohabiting.
              • There are some legal and financial agreements
              • Children are planned and wanted by both parents
              • Mutual agreed expectations of the relationship.
              • Pregnancy post dates cohabitation and both parents involved in child care
            • Continuum
              • Mutual Commitment
                • Presumption that the relationship will last.
                • The relationship is established before cohabiting.
                • There are some legal and financial agreements
                • Children are planned and wanted by both parents
                • Mutual agreed expectations of the relationship.
                • Pregnancy post dates cohabitation and both parents involved in child care
            • The couples have known each other for long
            • Legal and Financial agreements are absent
            • Children are not planned (although they may be wanted)
            • Pregnancy predates the cohabitation
            • Significant personal change is needed
            • There is no presumption that the relationship will last - only hope
        • Cohabitation does not mean the same to every person. Macklin 1980 - argues that the terms covers a diverse range of partnerships, and that the relationship between marriage and cohabitation is a complex and valuable one.

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