Benefits and disadvantages of cohabitation in Nigeria

Benefits and disadvantages of cohabitation in Nigeria

Before entering the university, I thought cohabitation was permitted only among married couples. Of course, I was well aware of what happens when couples stay under one roof, but my strict upbringing made me picture only married ones.

So imagine my shock when I finally entered the university and saw students who openly lived as husbands and wives. In 200 level, I had a roommate who spent more time at her boyfriend’s than in our room. She only showed up when they quarreled and needed some space, and she had no problem describing whatever they did while they were together. Trust me na, I like amebo, so I always looked forward to her gist even though it meant temporarily breaking up with her boyfriend.

Before I digress any further, let’s look at what cohabitation means.

What is cohabitation?

Cambridge Dictionary defines cohabitation as living and having a sexual relationship with someone, especially someone you are not married to. The term originally comes from the mid-16th century, from the Latin cohabitare, (co- ‘together’ and habitare- ‘dwell.’). It is a very common practice among couples in long-term relationships but not yet married.

Cohabitation does not describe people who are roommates or share a living space. Although the term describes gay people living together in a sexual relationship, it is mostly reserved for heterosexual couples.

Sha know that cohabitation involves two people who have a sexual relationship without commitment to marriage.

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Benefits of cohabitation

happy couple cohabiting
Photo credit: Dreamstime

To prepare for marriage

Cohabitation means living with someone you’re in a relationship with to get to know the person better. Often, couples who intend to get married and start a family together cohabitate first as a way of preparing for their marriage. They get to know each other’s habits, character, fidelity, which will help greatly in marriage. According to a publication by the Guardian, 60 per cent of all marriages are preceded by cohabitation. It’s also called ‘experimental marriage.’

Emotional and sexual intimacy without the obligations of marriage

Emotional and sexual intimacy are part of the greatest benefits of getting married. A lot of couples who cohabitate often do so as a shortcut to enjoying the benefits of marriage without actually getting married. Some people are not ready to settle down for one reason or the other. And they don’t want to miss out on the benefits of marriage, so they cohabitate.

Financially convenient

When a partner, usually the man, is financially responsible for his partner, cohabitating eliminates some of the financial obligations. For instance, paying house rent and sending upkeep money is greatly reduced. In other words, cohabitating helps you save on rent, food, and other living expenses.

To avoid risks of divorce

When you cohabitate with your partner, you have no reason to go through the rigors of divorce when the relationship eventually packs up. You just walk away with nothing to lose except heartbreak if you were served breakfast.

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Disadvantages of cohabitation

couple experiencing cohabitation issues
Photo credit: Dreamstime

Leads to see finish before marriage has even started

If you know about the ways to avoid see finish, then you know see finish is very common among couples. Although cohabitation helps couples to know each other better before getting married, couples also get to know themselves too much. This breeds disrespect, and the spark that comes with marriage is gone before it’s even started. What you eventually get is unmarried, sexually involved couples living like roommates.

Cohabitation does not lead to marriage in the majority of cases

Most people think cohabitation is one step towards getting married, but that is the opposite in most cases. For instance, what’s the essence of getting married to someone you have seen finish? The spark and desire to walk down the aisle is gone, especially if you guys have already started a family together. The man, for instance, may not see the need to pay the bride price of the woman he’s been cohabitating with for a while. This leads to frustration on the part of the woman and an eventual break-up.

Increases the chance of becoming an unexpected single parent

Cohabitation has contributed to the increased number of single parents who never planned for it. Youths are especially affected as many of them find themselves having children when they’re not ready. This is what happens when you live together in a sexual relationship with a partner.

Marriages resulting from cohabitation are more prone to divorce

Guardian reported a study has shown that the likelihood of the relationship ending after five years for cohabitators is 49 per cent. Based on the study, cohabitation increases the chances of divorce after a couple gets married. This is mostly because many marry intending to get a divorce if things don’t work as planned instead of staying and working on their marriage.

Increased chances of infidelity and abuse

Cohabitation means being in a sexual relationship without getting married. Alcohol issues, aggression, poor communication, depression, and domestic violence are more common among cohabitating couples than married ones.

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Imposes negative impact on children

Marriage provides security not just to couples but to children as well. Children who grew up with parents who live together but are not yet married tend to feel insecure and uncertain especially when they encounter other children whose parents are married. As they grow older and more emotionally aware, they realise the family unit is fragile and any little thing can cause a break-up. This puts a lot of stress and pressure on their emotional development.

Loss of respect in society

Although cohabitation has become a normal norm in society, people generally frown on it. Couples who are known for cohabitating are often looked down on. In a typical Nigerian society, the lady is often regarded as a prostitute who has no dignity. She brings shame to her family for living with a man she’s not married to. On the other hand, the man will be regarded as a thief who wants to reap where he did not sow.

Commitment issues

Couples who cohabitate for a long time tend to have commitment issues. They’re not married, so there’s little or no effort to work on making their relationships better. Such couples live together in a loveless relationship until one or both call it quits.

General life dissatisfaction

Couples cohabitating don’t enjoy the magic of marriage. Instead, they jump into chores, responsibilities, and other life issues without having time to plan a life together. They also tend to live separate lives in the same house instead of operating a single-family life unit. When they eventually break up, they feel they have wasted their lives.

Cohabitation in Nigeria

Cohabitation in Nigeria

As previously stated, cohabitation has become a common trend among youths. Go to the country’s universities and other higher institutions, and you will find many students cohabitating. Nigerian society generally frowns on cohabitation for cultural, moral, and religious reasons. So it’s not uncommon to see people look down on couples cohabitating. The woman is especially affected as she’s viewed as a loose person who has thrown her dignity away. When the relationship packs up, the woman will be seen as a used and dumped piece of trash that any man can try his luck on to collect to “his share.” Her chances of finding another man who is willing to commit to her drastically drops.

Also, parents of cohabitating couples are often blamed for not raising their children properly. Such families are somehow ostracized by the society they live in.

Overall, cohabitation has more disadvantages than benefits, especially for women. If you’re planning on entering a long-term relationship, cohabitation is a bad idea. Enjoy the relationship but have some boundaries.

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Nonye is a Thespian, screenwriter, creative writer and an unapologetic lover of books, great movies and sports. She has over 10 years experience in content writing on entertainment, movies, sports and lifestyle. Nonye is currently a content writer at Blackdot Media and founder of
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