Cohabiting, simply put, is living with a partner that you are not legally married to.
There is a fast growing rate of young people living together without being married. The subject of cohabitation is one that is met by various differing opinions and a decision faced by many during early adulthood. There are two main standpoints people have regarding cohabiting. These are highlighted below.
The First Is That Cohabiting Is Inappropriate and Disgraceful
Cohabiting is frowned upon because people ascribing to this viewpoint are of the opinion that when a woman begins to live with a man outside of marriage they are selling themselves short, mainly because cohabitation involves treating a man in a manner that should be reserved for marriage. This treatment includes: having regular sex with your partner, doing domestic chores such as his laundry, cooking and ultimately dedicating yourself fully to the man. Therefore leaving little room for the man to desire to marry because they are already recipients of what is meant to be exclusive to marriage.
Contrary to the above, is the second main perspective regarding cohabitation.
This perspective views cohabitation as a rite of passage to marriage. Many couples cohabit in order to see whether they are suitable for marriage. They are of the opinion that cohabitation should be a prerequisite for marriage because it affords one an opportunity to know your partners behaviour in a comfort zone. This is because people tend to impress and act in-congruently to their true selves when they are in the public space.
This perspective regards cohabiting as an opportunity to get to know your partner fully and a good precursor of marriage because you now know “what you are getting yourself into,” subsequently leaving little room for unpleasant surprises within the marriage.
Something important to always keep in mind when making a decision regarding cohabitation is the South African legislation. Contrary to popular belief, cohabitation is not regulated by South African law and does not receive the same protection as marriage. Therefore the duration that couples spend living together does not qualify them as being married.
So, I pose to you, to cohabit or not to cohabit?