The Dark Side of Cohabitation: Negative Effects on University Students

By Alade Oluwadamilola Iyanu Mac/2018/1053

Cohabitation, the act of living together as unmarried partners, has become increasingly prevalent among university students in recent years. While it may seem like an attractive and practical choice, cohabitation can also have negative effects on the academic, emotional, and social aspects of students’ lives. In this essay, we will delve into the darker side of cohabitation and shed light on the potential adverse consequences it can have on university students.
One of the significant negative effects of cohabitation on university students is the potential for academic distractions. Sharing a living space with a partner can lead to an environment that is less conducive to studying and focusing on academic pursuits. Increased social interactions, household responsibilities, and romantic entanglements may divert students’ attention away from their studies, resulting in decreased academic performance. Cohabitation often necessitates balancing personal time with shared responsibilities, and this can be particularly challenging for university students juggling academic commitments, social life, and personal growth. Struggling to manage time effectively can result in increased stress and reduced productivity. Students may find it challenging to strike a healthy balance between their relationship needs and their academic obligations, leading to a sense of overwhelm.
Another negative effect is increased risk of unplanned pregnancy. Young adults in cohabiting relationships might experience a heightened sense of intimacy and emotional connection, which can influence decision-making related to contraception. In some cases, this emotional closeness may overshadow concerns about potential pregnancy risks and may be less likely to use contraceptives consistently compared to married couples. This heightened risk of unplanned pregnancy can have profound implications on the lives of university students, impacting their academic pursuits, financial stability, and future plans.
While cohabitation can foster emotional support and intimacy, it can also introduce emotional stress and strain on relationships. University students in cohabiting arrangements may face heightened emotional challenges due to the complexities of sharing responsibilities and living space with a partner. Relationship conflicts, disagreements, or breakups can lead to emotional turmoil, negatively impacting students’ overall well-being and affecting their ability to cope with the demands of university life. Young adults are still developing emotional coping mechanisms, and cohabitation can expose them to heightened emotional challenges that they may not be fully prepared to handle.
Conclusively, while cohabitation may appear enticing for university students seeking closeness and companionship, it is crucial to recognize the potential negative effects it can impose on their lives. From academic distractions and financial strain to emotional challenges and limited personal growth, cohabitation can significantly impact young adults during a critical phase of their development. Before choosing to cohabit, university students must carefully consider their own readiness for such a commitment and communicate openly with their partners about their expectations and concerns.
If our young people are not aware of the risks associated with cohabitation, what about our parents and guardians? What steps are they taking to eliminate this unacceptable practice? While it may be true that many parents are unaware of how their children live while away at school, this does not excuse their ignorance. I urge parents and guardians to closely observe and supervise their children and wards. They should strive to build strong relationships with their children and be available to them as trusted confidants.

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