Premarital Cohabitation and Its Effects Research
National Central University
Siou-jyun Huang, Department of English, National Central University
This research was supported in part by a grant from National Science Council.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Siou-jyun Huang, Department of English, National Central University, No.300, Zhongda Rd., Zhongli City, Taoyuan County 320, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
This paper would explain the reasons why cohabitation becomes popular recently and the attitude toward cohabiters in our society. Jing-li Yang(2004), the associate professor of department of Sociology in Nanhua University, said that” there are 90% of the Nordic population had experienced premarital cohabitation phase.” Jing-li Yang also evaluated the overview of cohabitation in Taiwan, however, it turned out that there were only 5.9% in over-15-year-old and unmarried people have had cohabitation. The data shows that even it seems to be popular, but the cohabiters are still the minority of the society. This paper would discuss about this phenomenon and how the trend of cohabitation affects in three aspects, such as social, economic, and legal aspects. The author used related videos, research paper online, and books to approve the pros and cons of cohabitation.
Premarital cohabitation Research
Cohabitation, which means lovers without the certification of marriage live together. It becomes more and more popular in Taiwan recently, and the reason why it sprung up included social factors and economic factors, such as the use of Internet let teenagers realize their difference between countries and start to imitate it, or the economic independence of women makes women no longer rely on the support of family. However, the concept of cohabitation seems to be incompatible with our traditional values. Many experts and TV programs starts to make comments on this trend of cohabitation, most of them stand against the concept of cohabitation. Their reasons vary from the safety of girls to the social perception and parents’ feelings. From one episode of Dad and Mom Oh My God, young people considered cohabitation a further step of relationship, while one parenting expert, Den-han Huang, said that young people always misunderstand that cohabitation was the necessary step toward marriage. The gap of generations popped up in his statement, and it can connect with many differences between their social backgrounds.
Dominance of masculinity. The dominance of masculinity has ruled our society since year 2 BC, this ideology first occurred in Chun Qiu Fan Lu, which was written by Zhong-shu Dong. The main ideas of Chun Qiu Fan Lu are all about the superiority of men. The ideology was implied in many things such as emphasizing the virginity of women and being a dutiful housewife, which depressed women for a very long time. That’s why cohabitation has been always scolded for devaluing the chasity of women, which contains so much prejudice. If people throw these stereotypes away, the meaning of cohabitation would be more positive.
Women Independence. However, feminism suddenly appeared on the horizon in the late nineteenth century. They figured out all these so-called truth were totally irrational. They waked up, starting to receive education and participate in the polity and the labor market. It was a big step that they started to try to fight for their rights that had been deprived for a long time, such as legal rights, social right, and economic status. Women started to enter the labor market and tried to get rid of the restriction from men, so they stared to refuse marriage, which means they could only be a ordinary housewife.
Trial marriage. In page 54 of"Living Together for Love", Yi-Xin Huang, published by Gao-Lin International AG, it said "The Reasons to Support Cohabitation: 1. To test if he or she would be an ideal mate. 2. Only care about what we had once. 3. To learn how to face the real life. 4. To have an identity that between single and unmarried. 5. To make the time that fighting together earlier. 6. To make the relationship stable." All the benefit of cohabitation mentioned above are steps to test if marriage is a good idea.
Comparison. In the research of Li-Ya, Huei, she mentioned that Nock (1995) already pointed out there were almost half of the US population had experiences of cohabitation before 30-year-old, and she also used the thought of Trost (1979) that cohabitation is very common in Sweden than in the US is not complete, cohabitation is a kind of social structure rather than deviant behavior before unmarried. Although cohabitation seemed to be popular in other countries, Jing-li Yang evaluated that there were only 5.9% in over-15-year-old and unmarried people have had cohabitation in Taiwan. It shows the difference of our society and foreign countries at culture aspect.
Enter the labor market. When women started to be considered as a part of the labor market ,rather than just housewives who only do housework without payment, their society status started to prove as well. This fact indicates that women didn't have to rely on marriage and their husband as a tradition because they already have economic ability to make a living now. An article named” Cohabitation-Reasons for Cohabitation” cited Gary Becker’s (1981) words,” An essential change in the gender division of labor has followed women's increased participation in the waged labor force. This change has reduced the economic advantages and necessity of marriage.” It explained why cohabitation became a trend. And Cherlin (1992) explained the rise of cohabitation as well, he remarked, "Women's new-found financial independence and the spread of more individual-centered values eventually contributed to the instability of marriage. Changes in social standards meant that people no longer felt as obligated to remain in unhappy marriages. Financial independence meant that they did not have to. Besides increasing the divorce rate, changes in postwar economics and ideas caused the rise in delayed marriage and cohabitation."
Standard of life. There is another economic research named “Living Together: The Economics of Cohabitation”, which is written by Richard Fry and D’vera Cohn, it reveals that “greater economic well-being is associated with cohabitation for adults with college degrees, but not for those without college degrees”. (graph 1) This fact indicates that between those who have well-paid jobs, cohabitation is a way to show one self’s economic independence, while in those who aren’t so lucky, cohabitation represents poor financial status. Whether the cohabiters have college degrees or not, they choose cohabitation because of the cost of marriage is too high to undertake, the difference between these two groups was that those who don't have college degrees may be forced to choose cohabitation. It seemed like cohabitation could be kind of negative that poverty lead to cohabitation, but the education became widespread these years, so we could assume that this effect on higher academic degrees would spread widely with the education.
Financial benefits. From "Living Together for Love", Yi-Xin Huang, published by Gao-Lin International AG, it talked about many benefit of cohabitation, in page 56 of "Living Together for Love", it mentioned some economic benefits, such as," The telephone charge that saved could buy two more clothes." Cohabitation could make two people to share the cost of life, it could reduce the burden.
Some people are worried about their rights after having cohabitation. They said that when the problem of finance or estate occurs, people taking cohabitation would be helpless than people in marriages. However, in page 26 of "Cohabitation", which was written by Mireille Dewevre Fourcadeto, a professor of French Le Havre University , " In number 1382 terms of the Civil Law, it indicated clearly that if someone cause others' damages, this kind of fact could force this person to be responsible for compensating others' damage." It explained that if our rights were invaded in cohabitation relationship, we could use laws to protect ourselves as well. And the other people were worried about that cohabitation was not in the restriction of law so people who take cohabitation were kind of being not indecent. This nonsense could be broken in page 69, "In the total compilation of laws, only having sex consistently couldn't be admitted as cohabitation. "
There is no right-or-false question in the definition of cohabitation. Cohabitation is only a kind of way for lovers to understand his or her lover deeply. That is exactly why the author support couples to do the cohabitation at their will because understanding is the most important part of a relationship rather than freshness.
1.同居潮流，屋簷下的親密關係 /黃憶欣 著, 53-58
2.同居 / 德韋弗爾-富爾卡德(Mireille Dewevre-Fourcade)著; 許連高譯
臺北市 : 遠流出版 : 信報發行, 1991[民80],p.26-69
3.Living Together: The Economics of Cohabitation
BY RICHARD FRY AND D’VERA COHN
4.Cohabitation - Reasons For Cohabitation
5. LI,YA-HUEI’s research