Is cohabiting a necessary ‘evil’?

Thursday June 25 2020

Adults younger than 30 are more likely than

Adults younger than 30 are more likely than older adults to see cohabitation as a path to a successful marriage. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK 

By Bradford Kamuntu

Cohabiting is such a polarising issue, especially in our society. While the church strongly condemns it as immoral, the pragmatic members of society encourage it as the most sensible next step in a relationship.

Personally, I think there is much ado about nothing. I believe one’s personality is either suited to cohabiting or it is not. Simply put, you are either made for it or you are not.
The concept of having to share a bed with someone nightly, fight over what to watch and have an extra voice and opinion in the kitchen is something I plan to avoid until I am bound to someone by law.

I often share with my friends that my ideal home (which I have every intention of constructing) is one with two master wings. We interact as often as we can and when necessary but have our personal spaces in the home. I hope this is an idea my future significant other shall be over the moon about.

We should value personal spaces, time to think away from the confines of our relationship.
Have more to share when we do make time for one another. Many laugh at this goal I have for myself, I do not know whether that is because it is something they simply cannot relate to or because it is too ludicrous an idea whatever the case that is my plan.

However, I do recognise that for every one of me, there are 10 that are the complete opposite. Those that cannot wait to start living with their significant other. It is slowly becoming the norm with young millennial couples, some are thriving and others severely struggling.

While cohabiting may not be the end all be all for me as it is with others, I feel like it is also the true test of a relationship.

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Can you stand to be around each other 24/7 making no room for longing? Is your partner unhygienic at home? Are they untidy? Is one of you a morning person and the other not? I feel like those are questions you can only have answered once you are living in the same space so while I recognise it is not my ideal situation. I also acknowledge that it is to an extent extremely necessary.

I sought close counsel before writing this with one of my dearest friends that recently moved in with their significant other. While she is in love with her partner and extremely happy they have more time together, she is not oblivious to the challenges moving in together has placed on their relationship.

She mentioned to me; “Understand that you see your partner 24/7. Their bad days are not always about you and you cannot take everything personally.” She also jokingly added, “Prepare for food bills to double because men eat a lot”.

The journal of marriage and family published a study with a somewhat foreboding finding that said couples that did not cohabit have a higher chance of divorce within the first five years of marriage. While many in our society will argue against cohabiting, stating that it goes against cultural and religious beliefs and values, I will go against those and my own personal beliefs and advocate for it.

It is necessary to know your significant other in their natural habitat, their comfort zone.
Only then do they reveal their true character, their true personality and only then do you get to reveal yourself to them as well.

My personal sentiments aside, I feel like cohabiting is a crucial stage of a long-term relationship. Before any permanent decisions are made, you need to see whether this is someone you can share space with permanently or whether there are too many differences for your love to survive and more importantly, whether you are better suited for other people.

You cut wasted time in a relationship by a great deal knowing your partner beyond face value and sweet conversations.

If this is not something that appeals to you, do it in phases. Spend longer periods of time at each other’s homes; belongings and all to see whether you can truly live together.

Because the alternative is that long-term relationship leading to a union and creation of a home with someone you barely know, a circumstance that should frighten us to bits.

bradkamuntu@gmail.com

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