Heterosexual cohabitation is an increasingly prevalent lifestyle among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This refers to when a boy and girl not yet married live together. It also known as ‘campus marriage’. Some people have spoken against this development which seems to be trending in tertiary institutions today but some others have seen good reasons why people indulge in this act. Below is a collection of opinions compiled by a research group, hypothesis.com, on why Nigerian students of opposite sex cohabit.
1. Food security: Students cohabit to ensure that there is always food on the table. One person uses his or her pocket money to take care of the couple if the other is dry.
2. Status symbol: Some students simply cohabit with the opposite sex to show that they also belong. This means such persons believe that those who cohabit are seen as big boys and girls, therefore they indulge in same.
3. Peer pressure: Some students, especially the naïve ones, cohabit because their friends are doing so and they think it is the vogue.
4. Overcrowding of hostels: Some Nigerian students could be discouraged to stay in hostels because of the large number of people that occupy a room. This includes other complaints of poor facilities in the hostel. Such students could be compelled by such circumstances to cohabit with their partner staying off campus.
5. Reading together: Some students may study well only when they are with their opposite sex partner. Two reading mates could get emotionally attached and decide to take the relationship to another level, that is not just becoming friends but also cohabiting.
6. Praying together: Don’t doubt any reason. A boy and a girl may be living together in order to improve their prayer life as prayer partners.
7. General Economic reasons: They share house rent and other materials/accessories in the house. Economic factor has been identified as one of the basic reasons for cohabitation, that is, apart from the usual suspect (sex).
8. Courtship: Those who have agreed to marry live together in order to learn how to live when they get married.
9. Social security: Some girls pack into their boy friend’s lodge when they suspect him or going after other guys. They feel protected socially when they are living with the person. Some boys also pack into their girl friend’s room for this reason (though this is rare). In this case, cohabitation is done to prevent cheating by the opposite sex.
10. Revenge: Some girls live with a boy to spite their former boy friend who may have left them unceremoniously to go after another girl. This is to prove to the boy that they can always get another guy.
11. Play safe: Some people feel that living together is actually a safe way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases since you are tied to one person whom you are sure of.
12. Frustration: Some girls frustrated due basically to lack of money or personal crisis could decide to move into a guy’s room. She may feel protected by the guy.
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13. Solitude: Some girls would not want to be lonely. They always feel involved and excited living with someone of opposite sex.
14. Home training: In extreme cases, a girl who was never given the opportunity to have a boy friend while at home gets to school and tends to get carried away by moving into a room to live with a guy. When parents always monitor them at home they seize the slightest opportunity of freedom to have fun and tend to overdo it.
15. Distance: This may sound flimsy but some girls could decide to live with their boy if his lodge is closer to school than hers. A guy could also move in to live with his girl friend for this reason if she agrees.
16. Protection from Lecturers: This may also be rare but some girls could decide to live with a guy so that any lecturer who is chasing them will hear it and leave her alone.
17. Broken home: A student who is a product of a broken home could be cohabiting due to lack of home training, lack of parental love, or frequently seeing the single parent at home with female or male friends, as the case may be. If a girl lives with her mother and her male lovers are always coming to the house to visit her and take her out, the girl who may be naïve could be led to think that living with men is the way of life.
18. Parental Behaviour: Even where a student is not from a broken home, the carefree attitude of parents could mislead a child. When parents are fund of exhibiting their infidelity when their children are around this could lead to social misbehaviour on the part of the child when he or she gets into the university. When a man is fund of bringing girlfriends home when the wife is not around the kids who observe this could be led to engage in queer social behaviour one of which is cohabitation.
19. Spending more time together: Some students cohabit to spend more time together knowing quite well that they can’t get married. A way to get the most out of the relationship is to cohabit so that if one the partners gets married after school the other one won’t feel it much.
20. Unknown: This may sound strange but some girls do not really have any reason why they cohabit. They simply live with a man without any known compulsion or motivation.
Let us know if there are points you disagree with, or points that should be added.
Written by Patricia Udeh