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The Importance Of Communication In Cohabitation

How poor communication can impact cohabitation and marriage.

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Why couples decide to cohabit

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Priem, Bailey and Fazio describe couples who cohabit without much prior discussion as “sliding” into cohabitation. This can lead to problems later in the relationship because clear expectations were never set about sharing household tasks and other living arrangements (Priem, Bailey and Fazio, 2015).

Conflict in cohabitation

Many cohabiters experiencing conflict rely on DeMaris and Leslie's theory that the more time the couple spends together, the more likely it is that conflict will arise and suggests that their issues are typical of cohabiting couples (DeMaris and Leslie, 1984).

Avoidance is easier

Research conducted by Keli Ryan Steuber, Jennifer Priem, Kristina Scharp and Lindsay Thomas discovered that cohabiters often feel uncertainty surrounding their relationship but do not disclose their feelings to their partner. Instead, they avoid discussing the relationship until it inevitably leads to more serious issues (Steuber, Priem, Scharp and Thomas, 2014).

Alternatives are unappealing

DeMaris and Leslie found that many cohabiters worry there's no better partner out there for them and stay in their relationship begrudgingly. Mary secretly worries that there is not a better alternative and knows there would be a high cost to exiting the relationship at this point (DeMaris and Leslie, 1984).

Potential rejection seems worse

Amy Farmer and Andrew Horowitz found that the cost of exiting a cohabiting relationship before marriage plays a significant role in cohabiters’ decision to stay in a relationship. Cohabiters often continue toward marriage, despite knowing their relationship is in trouble, simply to avoid credible threats of exiting a relationship, such as rejection (Farmer and Horowitz, 2015).

Researchers Catherine Cohen and Stacey Kleinbaum found that couples who cohabit before marriage are less skilled at asking for support and providing support within their relationship (Cohen and Kelinbaum, 2002).

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