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The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Dating

We interviewed the couple shortly after Kevin asked Kelly to move out of their apartment; however, the couple did not break up, and continued to date. But on the other hand, the institution of marriage leaves a very, very sour taste in my mouth. Marriage and children are the two issues that I have got very negative associations with. He also cited the influence of his peer networks on why part of him does not want to marry. Yet according to Kelly, neither parent feels divorce is an option in their relationship. I truly think that. Since Kelly did not see divorce as implicitly negative and is sure about her feelings for Kevin, she viewed her cohabitation with him as a step toward eventual marriage.

Indeed, most daters who experienced a childhood divorce wanted to marry and do everything in their power to create happy and long-lasting marriages. That was their decision. Like, I think that helped me a lot. Like, actually their failure of marriage is probably gonna help me to maintain my marriage. But, we [Nick and I] pretty much live like a married couple, you know. Like, we have, we share everything. Only four respondents mentioned that their parents had cohabited, thus parental cohabitation was a relatively uncommon occurrence for this dating sample.

Wynona was a year-old woman whose parents divorced when she was a child. And he moved out not too long ago—about eight years. Well, I guess it is a while ago, about eight years ago. And, umm, I mean I loved him too. Olivia reports that when she was 16, her mother cohabited with her stepfather for a short time before the couple married.

And I always thought she would look down upon something like that [cohabitation]. And so when she did that, it really pissed me off. Olivia asserted that she did not realize cohabitation was an option in her own life until her mother lived with her stepfather before marriage.

Parental divorce, not cohabitation, seems to be the poignant family transition. Some respondents were raised in religious households, thus their religious beliefs have been passed down to them from their parents.

These respondents had internalized these religious beliefs and as a result, did not feel cohabitation would have a positive affect on their dating relationships. I believe in marriage as being an institution, as what you should do. Umm, and I know her parents are religious.

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My parents are somewhat religious. So, umm, just to keep things kosher is seems like a good idea just with our parents. Although it was not commonly stated, parental instrumental support can effect whether or not cohabitation is a viable option for a couple and their evaluation of cohabitation.

Lukas and Linda were both 20 years old and had dated for over three years. So, if she goes against them, they might say, well we're not paying for schooling. And then she's stuck paying for it. In sum, respondents reported that their familial networks influenced their attitudes toward cohabitation. We found that familial influence occurred through direct communication, social modeling, family religious beliefs, and parental economic support. The experience of a parental divorce appears to be quite consequential in relationship decisions in emerging adulthood.

Thus, family socialization extends into emerging adulthood but is quite complex. Dating couples often described a connection between the cohabitation experiences of friends and same-age family members and their own assessments of cohabitation. For example, Randy was 22 years old and had been dating year-old Robin for almost seven months. You know what I mean? I want to have my own place and all my own stuff. Dating couples were more apt to remember and describe the negative experiences their peers had with cohabitation, such as relationships that ended in divorce, break-up, or were plagued by constant conflict.

It was these experiences that they often cited as a reason to not cohabit. Indeed, out of the 40 percent of respondents ten men and six women who knew friends or same-age family members who were currently or previously in cohabiting relationships that they described positively i. While some couples shared similar views of cohabitation, there was not always concordance in their assessments of cohabitation.

For example, Fiona 19 years old and Frank 22 years old witnessed their friends enter cohabiting relationships and generally agreed that there are negative consequences connected to cohabitation. Fiona and Frank had been dating for roughly two years. Both Fiona and Frank knew people in bad cohabiting relationships and drew from those experiences to illuminate their current cohabitation decisions.

I try and make the best out of it so we stay together. I try to get along with him, stuff like that. While Fiona and Frank agreed that cohabitation had rarely produced happy couples within their peer networks, Mandy and Mark had differing experiences and opinions regarding the people they knew who had cohabited.

Mandy was 20 years old and had been dating year-old Mark for almost four months. She attributed her negative view of cohabitation to the negative experiences of the cohabitors she has known.

Mandy asserted that she would only cohabit once she was married. It just seemed like it hurt their relationship and I would never do it. Like Mandy, who would only cohabit once she was married, Mark expressed a desire for commitment from his partner before cohabiting again. When Mark was asked if he would cohabit with Mandy, he replied,. Some respondents, especially those who have not experienced cohabitation themselves, feared what cohabitation will be like and how their partner will react to such a living situation.

These respondents were especially reliant on the experiences of the people in their peer networks who help them form opinions about cohabitation. Wynona recalled the experience of her best friend who was living with her boyfriend.

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But they got tired of each other. She would go to work and go to school, and then just come back to seeing him. And they fight all the time now. I mean, but they love each other.

The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Dating

William very much wanted to live with Wynona and his only prerequisite to doing so was his desire to find a job before renting an apartment. Some daters responded to negative peer influences with more optimism and form opinions about the conditions under which cohabitation will work. Helen 22 years old and Harry 20 years old , who had been dating for almost nine months, both agree that the duration of their current relationship was a major factor in their eventual cohabitation plans.

Helen reported that she had a friend who was cohabiting and pregnant. Helen felt that if her friend had waited and not rushed the relationship, perhaps things could have been different in her life. I mean, it could. Nineteen-year-old Wynona was an example of a dater who looked at the people in her peer networks, saw her friends divorcing, and wanted to take steps to ensure that her relationship with William would not end with a similar outcome. To Wynona, cohabitation, if done in the proper context as a precursor for marriage , can be an effective step in preventing divorce.

However, when she was asked if knowing divorced couples had affected her, she responded,. I want to live with him [William] before I even get there [marriage]. I want to live with him and be together for a while—which we have. I have known him for a long time or whatever. When I get married I want it to happen one time, once. I just want to do it one time. Similarly, year-old Kevin would never marry someone without cohabiting first.

The Role of Romantic Partners, Family and Peer Networks in Dating Couples’ Views about Cohabitation

However, it was very important for him to test his compatibility with his partner before marriage. In an attempt to illustrate his point, he cited the marital relationship of a friend:. That was the only way they could consummate, you know, get the rocks off. As discussed above, Kevin knew few happily married couples and his views of cohabitation were based in part on the negative experiences of his peer and family networks.

In sum, emerging adult daters reported using the vicarious trial of their peer networks to gauge whether cohabitation would be a good idea for their relationship. However, observing negative peer experiences with cohabitation did not always result in negative attitudes toward cohabitation. The response to peer divorce was not uniform, a number of respondents saw cohabitation as a way to divorce-proof their marriage while others became more wary of cohabitation because of divorce. This study elaborated on how support for cohabitation emerges and suggests how attitudes may spread. While some respondents adopted the attitudes of their social networks wholesale, others exerted agency and formed attitudes in opposition to those of their romantic partners, family and peers.

More importantly, this work introduced the complexity of responses by showcasing how emerging adults responded and interpreted the experiences of their social networks. This study illustrated the importance of the couple perspective by examining reports of both members of a dating relationship. The small number of reports suggested there were selection processes operating where similarly minded respondents and partners chose one another as a boyfriend or girlfriend.

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In other words, respondents reported that they may not cohabit with this partner, although they would cohabit with someone else. Even when couples shared similar views, the reasons and sources of their views varied i. Finally, our findings show that partner influence stemmed, not only from their role in the current relationship, but also from partners bringing their own biographies and experiences into the relationship. These findings support further couple-based data collections to build our understanding of cohabitation and marriage in the United States.

Religious socialization was closely linked to family influence in two ways. First, some emerging adults adopted the religious beliefs of their family and had a negative perception of cohabitation. Research on dating in emerging adult warrants further attention as these are the relationships in which current and past family experiences are framed and may potentially progress to cohabitation.