Friday, January 07, 2005

Risks in a live-in relationship

Risks in a live-in relationship

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Friday, January 7, 2005 12:05 AM

When two people fall in love and wish to commit, there is marriage. Or, there is “living in” when marriage isn’t feasible or when the couple “isn’t ready” for one reason or another.

So, just how happy are you likely to be if you live in rather than marry? We don’t have statistics that I am aware of in this country, but research seems to indicate that “cohabitation typically leaves a trail of broken relationships, unstable homes, domestic violence, poverty and thus a weakened society,” says Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly La Haye Institute in the US.

“Child abuse cases are three times higher for a child who lives with his or her mother and her boyfriend than the child’s biological father in a married household. The Department of Justice estimates that women are 62 times more likely to be assaulted by their live-in boyfriends than they are if living with their husbands,” she says.

“Often, adolescents convicted of crime come from cohabitating households. In 1998, a study of adolescents convicted of homicide in adult court found that at the time of the crimes, 43 percent of their parents had never been married, 30 percent were divorced and 9 percent were separated.”

Researchers found that “children living in cohabitating households also exhibit other social and behavioral problems such as being less inclined to care about school and homework and thus have poorer performance, tend not to get along with peers, experience difficulty concentrating, and feeling sad or depressed. . . One study found that the percentage of those exhibiting these problems was six times greater in cohabitating stepfamilies than in married biological-parent families. . . They are also more inclined to engage in early, premarital sex and have more discipline problems. . . and they are three times more likely to live in poverty.

“Couples who live together say that they plan to share expenses equally, but more often than not the women support the men. Studies show that women contribute more than 70 percent of the income in a cohabitating relationship.

“Cohabitating relationships are experimental in nature, tenuous at best and tend to dissolve at about twice the rate of marriages. Hence, children living in such situations are twice as vulnerable to the anguish and hardship associated with separation from a parent. Moreover, cohabitating relationships do not usually end in marriage,” say Dr. Crouse.

And finally, “research shows that cohabitating relationships in the US tend to be fragile, and less than half the relationships last more than five years. Typically they last 18 months. The national Sex Survey reported that men in cohabitating relationships were four times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands and that women in cohabitating relationships were eight times more likely to cheat than were wives.”

Just how true are these statistics to the Philippine setting, I don’t know, but they surely give us lots of food for thought.


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