Divorce is on the decline in the US, but a new report suggests that statistic might be more of a function of an increase in cohabitation, than it is a reflection of marital bliss. Couples who once might have wed and then divorced, now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report is a product of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. The report suggests that cohabitation is here to stay…but, "as society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability." Cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples, the report's authors say. And in America, 40% bring kids into these often-shaky live-in relationships.
And oh, what a wonderful example we provide for those children. Don’t commit to friends or family, because no relationship is forever. Don’t get too attached, ‘cause “dad of the week” might soon be moving out. Oh, and those temporary father figures have a lot of incentive to “bond” with the kids they’re shacking up with, don’t they. Can you imagine what it must be like for kids whose single parents are cohabitating? I mean, you know how it works in the real world…we saw it in the Scott Peterson and Amber Frey affair. Mom’s new boyfriend sure seems to like the kids, at the beginning…of course, guys always treat the girlfriend’s children special when he first starts dating her, so that Mom will trust him more quickly. Over time, once the conquest is made, the kids become more of a hassle for that new “father figure”…so he begins to subtly “reject” them…placing Mom in the balance, having to choose sides—and divide her heart—between her new boyfriend, and her own progeny. It happens over and over again, until Mom either decides to commit, or abandons hope. The sad reality is that real commitment actually costs, in human terms, a lot less than a false sense of freedom. And the primary victims of our generation’s self-centered quest for fulfillment continue to be our children.