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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Couples find living together a challenge

Years ago, if a college couple decided to move in together before marriage, they were “living in sin.” Nowadays, cohabiting before marriage is as mainstream as cell phones. Many people of the older generations not only believe this is wrong but that it causes couples to break up or cause divorce in the future; however, research shows that the opposite is true.

But according to assistant professor of sociology Deanna Trella, young relationships don’t last after cohabiting. She also said young adults tend to see cohabitation as a stage typically between dating and becoming engaged.

“Most cohabiting relationships will end within one year, and 90 percent will end within five years,” Trella said.

Jeremy Gagnon and Sam Ogea had been dating since their sophomore year of high school and lived together in college for a couple of years. They recently broke up, but Ogea said that she recommends living together, and that they learned a lot about each other. // Photo courtesy of Sam Ogea

Many young adults believe that because they know a couple whose relationship thrived after moving in together, that theirs will last also.

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“Not all cohabiters are created equal, and there are important distinctions in the way couples conceptualize the period of cohabitation,” Trella said.

Aside from couples moving in together to test their relationship, another popular reason is to save money.

Samantha Ogea, a senior secondary education major, decided to move in with her boyfriend after dating for four years.

“We had been dating since sophomore year of high school and decided that it would be cheaper to live together,” Ogea said.

Moving in with a significant other not only includes deciding who will buy the couch, but one of the hardest adjustments is dealing with the other’s emotions

“It was a little different than I expected, but I didn’t mind,” Ogea said. “We were able to figure out who would do the dishes when and who would buy groceries.”

After a few years of living together, Ogea and her boyfriend broke up, but she said she doesn’t regret moving in together.

“I would recommend living together,” Ogea said. “You never know what kind of crazy quirks the other person can have.”

In a study conducted at Cornell University in New York, it was found that the odds of divorce among women who married their only cohabitating partner were 28 percent lower than among women who never cohabited before marriage.

Lindsey McNamer, senior liberal arts and sciences major, decided to move in with her boyfriend after a long discussion.

“We had talked about getting engaged and married and knew that we wanted to live together my boyfriend’s last year in school,” McNamer said.

McNamer and her boyfriend have an added stress while living together: they are commuter students. They live together in Ishpeming and only drive one car to Marquette once a day.

“It took us a couple weeks to get the hang of it,” McNamer said. “We also have started walking a lot of places.”

Moving in together is a big step in a relationship, so doing some research and being prepared can help. Make sure you have a plan if something goes wrong; a back-up place to live is a must. Also, figuring out furniture arrangements, cleaning schedules and grocery shopping will help prevent fights down the road.

McNamer and her boyfriend planned ahead once they decided to move in together. They started saving money way before they actually found a place.

“Moving in together has definitely changed our relationship and has put strain on it, but we’ve talked about it and worked through it,” McNamer said.

Maddie Moortel and her co-worker, both from the Multicultural Education and Resource Center, will present the positive and negative sides of living with a significant other at a Cohabitation Talk Back session on Wednesday, April 6 in the Payne/Halverson lobby at 6 p.m. It is free and all students are invited to come and give their personal experiences and viewpoints on cohabitation.

Cohabitation Statistics and Advice

Did you know?

• The number of cohabiting partners increased 88 percent between 1990 and 2007.

• About 75 percent of cohabiters plan to marry their partners.

• 55 percent of different-sex cohabiters do marry within a year of moving in together.

• 40 percent break up within that same period.

• 41 percent of American women aged 15-44 have cohabited at some point.

Tips for living with a boyfriend or girlfriend:

• Don’t rush into living together just for financial reasons. There are always other options.

• If you don’t like something your significant other does before you move in together, you won’t like it when you do move in together.

• Make a schedule or agreement for doing household things, just like you would with any other roommate.

• Don’t move in together hoping that it will solve your relationship problems. Being around your significant other 24/7 will only bring out more problems.

• Have a back-up plan. Not every relationship lasts forever, no matter how much you love each other. Things happen; be prepared.

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