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Live-in Phenomenon in the Philippines: Prevalence,Causes and Consequences

* What is Live-

- >is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together in an intimate relationship, particularly an emotionally and/or sexually intimate one, on a long-term or permanent basis.

As statistics from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing show, marriages no longer last for life. Of the 57.1 million population 10 years old and over, one percent or 558,023 individuals are either divorced or separated. Forty four percent (25.1 M) are single; 45.7% (26.1M) are married; 4.1% (2.4M) are widowed while 2.4 M or 4.3% are common-law or are in live-in unions or arrangements without the benefit of a marriage ceremony.

Sexuality Study (YAFS 3) 9 conducted among Filipino youth will show around 18 percent of our youth agree to engage in live - in arrangements with no plan to marry, with values ranging from a low of 0.3 percent in ARMM to a high of 30.2 percent in Eastern Visayas. Most regions have values below the national average, except in National Capital Region (20.8), Ilocos (23.6), Southern Tagalog (19.6), Western Visayas (22.9), Eastern Visayas (30.2), SOCCSKARGEN (18.7) and Cordillera Administrative Region (21.5).

Causes on Cohabitation
* Couples live together as a way of trying out marriage to test compatibility with their partners. * Young couples cannot afford to get married; they need to wait until they are financially secure and their careers are well-established. *Cohabitants could live together in order to save money, because of the convenience of living with another, or a need to find housing. *Couples were compelled to live in together because of culture.

* According to Dr. Maria Midea M. Kabamalan, an associate professor

in University of the Philippines Population Institute, wrote The Separation of Marriage and Childbearing. She stated that A growing number of Filipinos are now cohabiting, or start their unions by living together before formally marrying. Childbearing is not delayed and the proportion of births born to unmarried mothers is also increasing. *Ogena, Kabamalan and Sasota 2008 found that economic status is negatively correlated with timing of marriage among females. Because the measure used for timing of marriage in the analysis is the singulate mean age at marriage (SMAM) which includes cohabiting persons as married, this negative relationship might be due to the increase of cohabitation. * Based on qualitative data, Kabamalan (2006) found that the increase of cohabitation is also attributed in part to lower economic status.

Kabamalan (2004) has recently documented a slight increase in cohabiting unions among young Filipinos between 1994 and 2002, and indicated that media portrayals of cohabiting couples may now be challenging more conservative positions against the practice. According to Seltzer (2004), attitudes toward less conventional behaviors such as cohabitation and divorce may shift in favor of those behaviors once one has experienced the behavior. In addition, as younger people develop a tolerance for certain behaviors, the door becomes open to future widespread adoption of those behaviors.
Psychologist Dr Galena Rhoades said: "There might be a subset of people who live together before they got engaged who might have decided to get married really based on other things in their relationship - because they were already living together and less because they really wanted and had decided they wanted a future together.

We think some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting."

Cohabitation and Catholic Church teaching

Every act of sexual intercourse is intended by God to express love, commitment and openness to life in the total gift of the spouses to each other. Sexual intercourse outside of marriage cannot express what God intended. Rather, it says something falsea total commitment that the couple does not yet have. This total commitment is possible only in marriage.

Effects on Cohabitation

Less stable family structure Domestic Abuse Infidelity Irreconcilable Differences Child Neglect

The Impact of Cohabitation on Children

Nearly 20 percent of births today are to cohabitating parents, according to Susan L. Brown at the Center for Family and Demographic Research. Almost 40 percent of children will spend time in a cohabiting household by age 16.

How does living in a cohabiting household affect both children and adults?

The effects of this family structure on children are just beginning to be understood. However, initial research by Brown and others suggests cohabitation is generally a less stable family structure than married couple or single-mother households. While there is some evidence that children in cohabiting households fare worse than those in married or single-parent families on several key indicators (Manning & Lamb, 2003)

The Impacts on Children

Development - Spending extended time in cohabiting households at an early age is linked to slowed cognitive growth and language acquisition in children. Brown notes that even in stable cohabiting households, children show smaller gains in mental development.

Poverty - Poverty is higher in cohabiting homes, around 23%. By contrast, the poverty rate for married couples is just 7%. Researcher Linda Waite of the University of Chicago confirms cohabiting households generally have less wealth.

The Impacts on Families

Effects on Women - Cohabiting mothers have more depressive symptoms than other women. These mothers also report having more difficulties rearing their children than married or single mothers.

Role Ambiguity - Some of the struggles in cohabiting arrangements may stem from the vaguely defined parenting role of the cohabiting partner. The non-parent partner has no explicit legal, financial, supervisory or custodial rights or responsibilities toward the child of his/her partner, notes Waite. This can create uncertainty in the relationship between the child and the cohabiting parent.

Other Impacts - Men and women who cohabit are more likely than married people to experience partner abuse and infidelity, according to Waite. Children born to cohabiting households are also more likely to experience parental breakup.

Improving Child Outcomes

Good Parenting - Good parenting is good parenting, period. While family structure is important, so is the individual character and conduct of all parental figures involved.

Limiting Your Childs Exposure - Be sure anyone you bring into your home can be trusted to be a positive influence on your child. A revolving door of live-in boyfriends or girlfriends can be confusing to a child, so limit the number of significant others you bring into your home. This may make it easier for your child to attach to your partner, if and when you find someone truly worthy of commitment.

The Importance of Intent - Marriage or at least the intent to marry can make a difference. Waite distinguishes between two types of cohabitation arrangements: those who intend to marry and those who do not. Those who cohabit with the intention of marrying often share many of the (positive) characteristics of marriage. By contrast, those who cohabit without intending to marry typically have short relationships with few of these benefits.

Thank You!

References: Attitude towards Marriage in the Philippines by Lindy Williams