Living with a person may still be considered to be an alternative lifestyle, but as a new study shows, most couples who live together outside the bounds of matrimony are about as conventional as married couples when it comes to their relationship, pursuing careers and household chores.
As a part of the study, a team led by sociologist Sharon Sassler, associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, interviewed 30 cohabiting working-class couples, and found that most still comply with traditional patterns throughout their relationships, including the initiation of the first date, moving in together and discussing marriage.
Sassler also found that most couples are not egalitarian in pursuing careers or doing housework.
"Our results indicate that the institution of gender is so pervasive and entrenched that it shapes even the behaviors of individuals in such alternative living arrangements as cohabitation," said Sassler.
And though the findings are based on working-class couples, the researchers said that the same would probably hold true for middle-class cohabiting couples, but more research is needed to confirm this.
The findings were presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting, held from August 11-14 in Montreal.