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Rising trend of cohabitation

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Rising trend of cohabitation

YEARS ago, a man and woman who were not married are not allowed to live together except they are related. The reasons for this informal law are numerous ranging from indecency, prevention of unwanted pregnancy, security and marriage purposes.

Recently, that tradition seems to have been pushed aside as it has become normal for individuals who are not married to live together and engage in intimacy.

According to Wikipedia, this act is known as cohabitation. In the definition, “Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together. They often involve a romantic and/or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis.”

With the growth of social media and celebrity influence in the country, this trend has become a growing phenomenon amongst youths.

Taking to the streets to speak with concerned Nigerians who shared their views on the cultural meanings and implications of cohabitation they said thus:

Mr. Monday said people do that because of the situation of things. “Things are not the way we want it to be. How do you expect someone earning fifty thousand to cater for a family, it can’t just work, so what we see is people living together like they are married when they are not.”

While responding on the case of children in this type of relationship, he said, “Yes people have children in this type of relationship and I don’t blame them. Some people say it’s cheaper to raise a child when married but it depends. You can say that when you have the money to marry, how many people have that type of cash. Marriage these days is expensive.”

Mr. Ardo on the other hand said; “if they are lovers and can live together, why won’t they just get married and leave together legally. Cohabitation without marriage brings see finish which is not good for the female. The female in no distant time looses respect before the guy. When they have kids, the lady needs to use any tactics possible to get the guy to do the needful. At least traditional marriage if worst comes to worst.”

A legal practitioner, Barr. Hilary Ezeude, who spoke from a legal aspect said; “to me cohabitation is when a man and women who are not married decide to live together. There are different dimensions to the definition of cohabitation as it’s a very wide subject. For example, in some countries when they have lived together for more than three years, the law can see them as a married couple. The legal implications of this type of living are very numerous and they vary also. When an issue, child, is involved, the way that case would be judged is different.

“In a case where there is a child, you would look at the welfare act, child act law and all that. A man would be made to cater for the child, which includes, shelter, feeding, clothing and all that. But then you can’t really cater for the child without involving the mother especially when the child is still very little. The law requires you to provide adequate shelter, now you can’t give the child a house and expect him to stay alone when he is not even up to 18, same with feeding, especially if the child is still suckling. Providing for the child, you are indirectly providing for the mother.

“The woman can also take the case to court under a breach of agreement. If she says to the judge that the man promised her marriage and asked her to move in with him she has a strong case.

“There are those who live together and are not married just for the purpose of having kids. You also classify them as contract marriage. But the whole topic of cohabitation is a broad one.”

Nonso said; “I don’t really have a say on this because I don’t practise it, but I do not permit it, a lot could go wrong. Some people manage it well others do not. We as humans basically lack self-control so arguments, adultery and all may surface, also a lot of disrespect, after all cohabitation is an excuse for a title to an untitled relationship. As for the issue of kids, people who aren’t married, should they have kids?

Ifeanyi Ogbuji said he doesn’t have a problem with couples who decide to spend the weekend together but doesn’t support the idea of staying together. “Well it depends, if she visits, spends the weekend and goes that is fine but staying like they are both married is a no. it’s not healthy. I don’t even want to talk of a guy moving into a ladies apartment.

Personally I don’t buy that idea. But the main thing is if the party involve understand themselves and are cool with it.”

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