Egorova N. Yu. Cohabitation in the marital strategies of the young: perception and practices pp.12-21

Trends in family/marital relations affect family formation in today’s society, including Russia. Couples living together without registration, also known as cohabitation, form an increasingly significant stage in building a marriage/family strategy. The paper deals with the emergence and spread of this phenomenon which was named “nubile cohabitation”. Quantitative data (obtained from population census data and nationwide opinion polls) confirm that such unions are common enough, at least as a trial marriage. Analysis of interviews given by young people who live unregistered (held in Nizhny Novgorod in 2013 and 2015 as part of the research “Cohabitation: the practice of the young”) also underpins the importance of such relations being a new element in formation and development of family. The qualitative studies help to identify common aspects in how these informal relations are perceived: in general, we observe a serious attitude to the partner, although, different from that in a typical marriage, which is perceived as something imposing more responsibility and creating a new status; loyalty of the nearest social environment to the couple; characteristics of interpersonal/gender relations. At the same time, these unions are far from being homogeneous. The expectations behind the young people relationships can be different. Cohabitation may be seen as “a step before a proper marriage”, “a stage in the development of relations”, “a result of coincidence”. As a result, the union can perform different functions, be perceived differently by partners, be oriented on family creation and registration of in PDF>>>