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A personal views on cohabitation and family life

Open in a separate window The mean age of focus group participants ranged from 26 to 29 years old. As desired, there is substantial variation in terms of union statuses and experience among the focus group participants.

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In-depth Interviewees Panel B of Table 1 provides information on the in-depth interviewees, a group that includes 7 white a personal views on cohabitation and family life, 10 white women, 10 black men, 7 black women, 10 Latinos, and 10 Latinas. Average ages are similar to the focus group sample — from 22 to 29 — although the mean ages for blacks and Latinos are slightly lower among the interviewees than among focus group participants.

Given that our sample of interviewees were all cohabiting at the time of the interview, it is not surprising that their sociodemographic profiles are less advantaged than those of the focus group participants. In addition, the family backgrounds of the interview sample indicate higher levels of family background instability than the focus group sample: While the focus group question is based on age 16 rather than 18, the discrepancy in question wording is unlikely to account for these differences.

Focus group sessions Each focus group session ran for about two hours and was led by one of six trained moderators, all of whom worked closely with us to ensure a common understanding of the scientific purpose of the project, of the significance of each question, and maintaining consistency in questions across groups. Given the subject matter, matching by gender was given priority. The focus group moderator guide covered several topics, including positive and negative aspects of cohabitation; reasons couples might decide to move in together rather than date or marry; reasons not to cohabit; and the kinds of changes that might occur when a couple begins to cohabit.

A personal views on cohabitation and family life

To tap general perceptions, questions and probes were typically phrased in broad, rather than individualistic, terms such as: As with the focus group moderators, we worked closely with her to ensure common understanding of the scientific goals of the study. The interviews lasted about two hours on average. As noted above, the in-depth interviews were conducted prior to the focus groups; they were also much broader in topical scope than the focus groups.

Although the interviews included questions about individual motives to cohabit, and provided other opportunities for respondents to express or elaborate on their decision to cohabit, the interviewer asked about other issues as well, ranging from how respondents came to the decision to cohabit, to feelings about marriage after respondents began living with their partners, to multiple aspects of the relationship itself e.

These wider-ranging questions provide additional context for individual motives for cohabiting which aided in our interpretation of findings.

  • The focus group moderator guide covered several topics, including positive and negative aspects of cohabitation; reasons couples might decide to move in together rather than date or marry; reasons not to cohabit; and the kinds of changes that might occur when a couple begins to cohabit;
  • However, if the marriage breaks down, any property owned by you or your partner will be taken into account when arriving at a financial settlement on divorce;
  • This applies unless a court has ordered otherwise, for example, in the course of separation or divorce proceedings;
  • Introduction; In this document I first provide some civil kim paper essay services information on Conservatism, a personal views on cohabitation and family life Thatcherism and the New Right distinguishing between its neo-liberal and neo.

Each interview and focus group session was transcribed verbatim and as each was reviewed, codes were developed to capture central ideas or main points that were raised by the participants. The process was iterative with codes continually re-evaluated and re-applied to the data to identify unifying concepts driving the textual content Charmaz, 2001 ; LaRossa, 2005.

Analyses were similarly accomplished in independent collaboration.

Codes that emerged from the focus group discussions with greatest frequency became the analytical foci; we selected the focus group data as our analytic point of departure because these data were more suited to ascertaining general perceptions of motives to cohabit or to avoid cohabitation.

These central codes were then collaboratively evaluated to arrive at the relevant themes, relationships between codes, as well as patterns by gender. Coding and analyses of the in-depth interview data followed a similar protocol of independent collaboration, and interview codes were developed autonomously from the focus group coding. The focus group codes were integrated with the in-depth interview coding scheme by identifying similar codes and, in some cases, collapsing or re-categorizing the in-depth interview codes.

A personal views on cohabitation and family life the in-depth interview codes matched focus group codes quite well for the most part, some complexities arose because of the slightly different questions asked in the focus group sessions and interviews.

The latter thus often mentioned only one or perhaps two. As such, there was somewhat less sustained emphasis on motives to cohabit in the in-depth interviews than in the focus groups. Quotations used here were selected from the interviews and the focus groups for their descriptive relevance and representativeness.

Hyphens at the beginning of a line followed by italicized text indicate a different speaker in a focus group. Individual interviews are flagged by an identification number between 01 and 54. Overall, men and women expressed different expectations for cohabiting relationships that suggest a substantial gender gap in the perceived role of cohabitation in the union formation process. The Benefits Three key rationales for cohabitation emerged: While these themes were common across respondents, gender differences emerged in how these motivations were expressed and in how cohabitation was viewed in relation to marriage.

Logistics, Love, and Sex: You want to spend every moment, you know? The in-depth interviewees also raised this point: Many viewed living together as a straightforward way to make getting together easier from a logistical standpoint.

  • WM …[Y]ou rent a marriage because there are so many divorces;
  • Average ages are similar to the focus group sample — from 22 to 29 — although the mean ages for blacks and Latinos are slightly lower among the interviewees than among focus group participants.

These comments were typical: The in-depth interviewees also articulated that moving in with a romantic partner serves as an opportunity and means to transition out of the parental home: So, right then, I just needed somebody else. When asked specifically if love was a factor in deciding to cohabit, however, men tended to readily concur.

  1. Names Living together As a an unmarried partner you are entitled to be known by whatever name you wish and can change that name at any time. If you live with somebody, that will be an issue.
  2. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families. LM Second, men discussed how cohabitation can curtail social activities.
  3. Hospitals will usually accept your partner as the next of kin.
  4. Marriage Both married partners have a right to remain in the matrimonial home, regardless of who bought it or has a mortgage on it.

Indeed, love as a motivation seemed to be understood as a given: Moreover, in the in-depth interviews, men were just as likely as women to mention love as a motivation for cohabiting: Among the men and women in our focus groups, however, love was cited by almost all — either explicitly or when questioned —as a reason to move in with a partner.

And among the in-depth interviewees, men and women alike spoke of love. LM In the in-depth interviews, men agreed that some degree of monotony comes with cohabitation that presents a challenge to the sex life of the relationship: Cohabiting couples save money by sharing living expenses. One interviewee made explicit the connection between financial considerations and the decision to cohabit: LM Further, some focus group members stated that it was nearly financially impossible to live alone.

Cohabiting enables young adults to pool resources and provides a potential avenue for upward mobility. WF In addition, men and women from every focus group felt that, ideally, each partner should be financially solvent prior moving in together, and that having debts or bad credit would make cohabitation less attractive to a potential partner. Because I know girls that shop too much.

  • Couples living together before marriage less likely to vital issues such as family life living together before marriage less likely to get;
  • Personal pensions can be arranged to give cover to whoever the pension scheme member wants, provided the pension scheme member is able to pay what might be large contributions to the pension fund;
  • Third, men and women in our study cited deterrents to cohabitation that seemed to be at cross-purposes;
  • You may be responsible for the whole of debts in joint names and for other debts for which you have 'joint and several' legal responsibility;
  • In criminal proceedings, the general rule is that a married partner is able to be a witness for or against the other partner.

However, notable gender difference emerged in goals underlying cohabitation. Women tended to view cohabitation as a transitional arrangement intended to precede marriage to the same partner: This was not the case for men. While men may agree that cohabitation is a temporary state, it is not one that is necessarily connected to marriage: So, why do you think some people decide to move in together without getting married?

  1. Moreover, men did not connect social disapproval to their own personal sense of respectability; this seemed to be viewed as a uniquely female experience, as one man observed.
  2. This is a complicated area of the law and you should get expert legal advice. There are many types of families in the world.
  3. In this vein, men also voiced concerns that partners could become suspicious.
  4. The court has the power to transfer property regardless of original ownership.
  5. If your partner has a debt for which you have acted as guarantor, you will also be held legally responsible for paying it.

So when you move in, you see. WM …[Y]ou rent a marriage because there are so many divorces. WM In the privacy of in-depth interviews, men were slightly more likely to make a connection between cohabitation and marriage: I mean, I feel damn committed you know? In sum, for women, cohabitation appears to represent greater relationship commitment and greater potential for marriage than expressed by men.

Men were far less likely to directly link a personal views on cohabitation and family life to marriage at all. At the same time, for both men and women and across race and ethnicity, testing compatibility seemed to be fueled by concerns of divorce; fear of divorce made cohabitation appear a low-risk means to experience a marriage-like relationship without the risk of divorce that young adults strongly associate with marriage.

Given that very substantial proportions of both our focus group and individual interview samples did not grow up with both biological parents — and in a general milieu of high levels of marital disruption — it is not surprising that concerns about relationship instability loom large: So, why do we have to get married?

LM I know in talking with some people that have been divorced — especially if it has been a bad one or something — they are just leery about the whole marriage thing itself. WF Discussions about divorce also revealed that both men and women believe marriage carries with it greater risk of hassle should the relationship dissolve. An advantage of cohabitation, then, is: Concerns about divorce also fueled motivations to cohabit among the in-depth interviewees, though the theme was somewhat less prominent, compared to the focus groups: The Gendered Disadvantages of Cohabitation The strongest gender differences emerged in the perceived disadvantages associated with cohabitation.

Simply put, for women, cohabitation is seen as entailing less commitment and legitimacy than marriage. For men, the perceived disadvantages of cohabitation revolve around limitations on their freedom as compared to singlehood.

These differences are notable in that they suggest that women tend to link cohabitation more closely to marriage than men whether they are thinking about the positive aspects of cohabitation or possible reasons to avoid cohabitation. In particular, women often believed that men would become comfortable and complacent in cohabitation and that this would delay marriage: Women perceived a delay in marriage associated with cohabitation as a result of men dodging a full commitment to the relationship.

Because, you know, when you playing house kind of thing, it depends on what your expectations are going into it. That kind of a relationship is awesome, but then never as meaningful.

Women also indicated that only marriage confers respectability: Another woman recalled feeling that she gained respect from others when she married her cohabiting partner: Before, I was his slutty girlfriend that he lived with. Moreover, men did not connect social disapproval to their own personal sense of respectability; this seemed to be viewed as a uniquely female experience, as one man observed: These statements are indicative of a persistent cultural norm of a sexual double standard: While cohabiting men feel free a personal views on cohabitation and family life enjoy sexual relations outside marriage, cohabiting women risk social stigma and loss of self-respect.

Men often viewed cohabitation as creating challenges in the following areas: First, cohabitation entails a sacrifice of personal space and autonomy. In addition, a loss of privacy was often articulated in terms of feeling under surveillance by cohabiting partners.

In this vein, men also voiced concerns that partners could become suspicious: LM Second, men discussed how cohabitation can curtail social activities. Men seemed to bemoan the loss of social activities they had engaged in before cohabiting.

WM Third, men linked cohabitation to loss of sexual freedom. Some asserted the disadvantage plainly: Cohabitation reduces opportunities for sexual relations with other women. Another man saw loss of sexual freedom as a reason to avoid cohabitation: WM Such comments also imply that men believe cohabiting relationships require greater sexual fidelity than dating relationships, as is clearly illustrated in the following comments: If you live with somebody, that will be an issue.

Thus, while men may understand that cohabitation involves greater sexual fidelity, this is often understood as a drawback. Summary and Discussion The central mission of this paper was to explore the possibility of gendered meanings and motivations behind cohabitation among young adults. While our findings rest on a select sample of young adults, we believe the basic contours of our results contribute to a deeper understanding of contemporary union formation processes, and advance our understanding of gender in intimate relationships.

Some of our findings are consistent with results obtained from large surveys, but some are not.