Cohabitation is an increasingly popular social trend among young adults everywhere.
Dr. Leslie Bunnage, a Seton Hall sociology professor, describes cohabitation as “living with somebody,” but the word is most often interpreted as romantic couples living together without getting married.
“Socially, people living together is no longer stigmatized,” said Dr. C. Lynn Carr, head of the anthropology, sociology and social work department.
Bunnage offered a possible reason behind the loss of stigma around cohabitation. “Celebrities are doing things in an unconventional way and really opening up the door for us,” she said. For example Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been living unmarried with kids for years.
Carr said that cohabitation might be on the rise due to growing economic hardship and the steep costs of weddings. An “increasingly multicultural society” is also an influence on the acceptance of the alternative living situation, according to Carr.
But what do the students at Seton Hall, a Catholic university, think about this trend?
Freshman Fatema Dharsee said, “Lots of people are scared of commitment, so I understand why it’s a popular alternative.”
Freshman Ashley Thomas said, “You might as well get married, because you’re essentially doing everything a married couple does without the title.” Kristen Lynch, a sophomore, said: “People should do what benefits them. If marriage isn’t for them, then they shouldn’t do it.”
There is some contradictory data about whether or not cohabitation is good or bad for a marriages or family, according to Bunnage. “There is much more data that shows that there is no correlation in how successful a family is,” she said. Cohabitation is becoming more accepted, but still falls second to marriage as the most popular family option, according to both Bunnage and Carr.
Kaitlin Stellingwerf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.