“We have fun and we enjoy each other’s company, so why shouldn’t we just move in together?”—Lauren, from Cohabitation Nation
Living together is a typical romantic rite of passage in the United States today. In fact, census data shows a 37 percent increase in couples who choose to commit to and live with one another, forgoing marriage. And yet we know very little about this new “normal” in romantic life. When do people decide to move in together, why do they do so, and what happens to them over time?
Drawing on in-depth interviews, Sharon Sassler and Amanda Jayne Miller provide an inside view of how cohabiting relationships play out before and after couples move in together, using couples’ stories to explore the he said/she said of romantic dynamics. Delving into hot-button issues, such as housework, birth control, finances, and expectations for the future, Sassler and Miller deliver surprising insights about the impact of class and education on how relationships unfold. Showcasing the words, thoughts, and conflicts of the couples themselves, Cohabitation Nation offers a riveting and sometimes counterintuitive look at the way we live now.
List of Tables and Figures
Exploring Contemporary Courtship Trajectories
2. In the Beginning
Becoming a Couple
3. Shacking Up, Living in Sin, Saving on Rent?
The Process of Moving In Together
4. “I Like Hugs, I Like Kisses, but What I Really Love Is Help with the Dishes”
The Dance of Domesticity
5. Family Planning or Failing to Plan?
Communication, Contraception, and Conception
6. For Better or for Worse?
Perceptions of Cohabitation, Marriage, and Parenthood
7. Waiting to Be Asked or Taking the Bull by the Horns?
Gender and Social Class Diff erences in Marriage Talk, Proposals, and Wedding Planning
8. Cohabitation Nation?
The Role of Gender and Social Class in Relationship Progression
Appendix A. Interview Guide
Appendix B. Methods and Sample Information
Appendix C. Specific Characteristics of Cohabiting Couples
Sharon Sassler is Professor of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. Amanda Jayne Miller is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Indianapolis.
“Cohabitation Nation provides an excellent synopsis of Sassler and Miller’s in-depth research on social class and cohabitation in the United States. They offer an engaging and timely focus on how cohabitation operates for younger adults in an era of economic uncertainty.”—Wendy D. Manning, Co-Director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University