Co­habit, ben­e­fit or be used

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

WHEN you move in to co­habit with your part­ner, two things are likely to hap­pen.

That is ei­ther you ben­e­fit or you get used. It is sad that many have been left heart­bro­ken af­ter co­hab­it­ing and sur­pris­ingly, dis­ap­point­ments hap­pen af­ter a num­ber of years.

I have read some sto­ries from the press where a “cou­ple”, af­ter hav­ing spent some years or decades to­gether wakes up one day to one party re­mind­ing the other party that the other is not her hus­band or his wife, but a mere live-in girl­friend or boyfriend.

It is painful truth, but con­sid­er­ing hav­ing wasted your time and money it makes no sense at all. Af­ter all th­ese years, it’s over and you walk out of the re­la­tion­ship empty handed.

It is so heart­break­ing and many peo­ple fail to han­dle the pain!

Of course I know some peo­ple be­lieve that co­hab­it­ing with your part­ner is good be­cause you get to know him/ her well be­fore ty­ing the knot.

They ar­gue that they will be avoid­ing sur­prises af­ter mar­riage as they get to know their strengths and weak­nesses.

We can­not com­pletely dis­miss their rea­sons, but truth be told if you de­cide to co­habit it should not take you ages to do the right thing and for­malise your mar­riage. It does not take you a decade to know your per­son.

We have seen some peo­ple be­ing used or vice-versa.

There are men who moved to stay at their lovers’ places and dur­ing those years spent to­gether, they bought prop­erty and even ex­tended the houses.

The other party af­ter some years de­cided to show them the exit and even told them that they never asked for their help. It is one thing which is hard to get over and heart­break­ing. You would have been used!

On the other hand, some women are also used and dumped af­ter co­hab­it­ing with the hope of ty­ing the knot.

Even if you were do­ing your du­ties very well and man­ag­ing progress in your lives, some­one wakes up one day telling you that he no longer loves you and has found some­one bet­ter.

He re­minds you that for the past 10 years you have been to­gether you were a mere girl­friend, not his wife even if you have chil­dren to­gether.

Se­ri­ously, liv­ing with a man without prop­erly get­ting mar­ried is a wrong move. I know even if you for­malised it, bad things can hap­pen as well, but at least you would not feel bad or used as much as the per­son who was co­hab­it­ing.

The other truth is that with the kind of young men we have th­ese days, they won’t even bother mar­ry­ing you any­more if you start liv­ing with them.

Why buy the cow when they can get the milk for free? Most of them quickly get fed up so if the re­la­tion­ship was not for­malised, it be­comes easy for them to move on without even giv­ing it a sec­ond thought.

Many women see liv­ing with their part­ners as the next step to­wards get­ting mar­ried.

They see it as a sign of how com­mit­ted their sig­nif­i­cant other is to the re­la­tion­ship but it might end badly for them when th­ese men aban­don them and marry some­one else.

In many cases, some cou­ples end up get­ting too com­fort­able with the liv­ing ar­range­ment, and don’t see the point of get­ting mar­ried. Co­hab­it­ing cou­ples tend to have a more lax at­ti­tude to­ward com­mit­ment and don’t work as hard to stay to­gether.

When their re­la­tion­ship goes through a rough spot as all re­la­tion­ships do, it will be too easy to just walk away.

The le­gal and pub­lic com­mit­ment of mar­riage mo­ti­vates cou­ples to work through con­flict, strengthen the re­la­tion­ship and stay to­gether. It feels like they al­ready are be­cause of the liv­ing ar­range­ment and in the long run, the woman loses.

There are no guar­an­tees that liv­ing to­gether be­fore mar­riage will en­sure a suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship. We have even seen some peo­ple who jump from co­hab­it­ing with one per­son to an­other and this is noth­ing less than pros­ti­tu­tion.

No one should ever fall into the trap of be­liev­ing that mov­ing in to stay with some­one who does not show any signs of se­ri­ous­ness will im­prove things.

In­fact it puts you in a tight cor­ner and you are likely to be used and by the time you re­alise that it will be very painful and heart­break­ing.

Treat­ing co­hab­i­ta­tion as mar­riage “in­sur­ance” is a very un­sta­ble foun­da­tion, one built par­tially on fear and par­tially on self­ish­ness.

It’s ba­si­cally say­ing that, if you meet all my needs and serve me well, then I will marry you.

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