The Low Down on 'Shack Ups'

Friday, 26 Jun 2009 10:11 AM

By Dr. Laura Schlessinger

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I’ve had innumerable calls lately from women who clearly are somewhere between ambivalent and confused — stuck between the value-free feminist education they’ve gotten from a society adrift from its sensible moorings, and their innermost hearts’ desires for committed love.

One recent caller to my radio program has three children, each from a different man, including the third with her current “shack up.”

Talk about an identity crisis.

Imagine what life is like for these three children with three dads and very little security.

The caller was complaining that her current guy had been unfaithful. I immediately told her that shack ups have no such expectation of fidelity and that he had the freedom to have sexual relationships with whomever he pleased.

“But we have a child together,” she insisted.

“Well,” I countered, “it is sad for the child that its mother decided a second time to have a child out of wedlock with a man who did not make any pretense of vows of loyalty, fidelity, or love as part of a sacrament.”

She was stupefied.

She couldn’t imagine that all arrangements between men and women don’t have the same value, meaning, consequences, or inherent benefits.

“I’ll bet,” I continued, “that you thought the only difference between shacking up and marriage was a piece of paper.

“Well, there is a reason men in particular shack up: less obligations and responsibilities and the freedom to do what they wish.”

She then wanted to know what she should do.

Here’s where I have a problem. I have to ask women to sacrifice their happiness for the well-being of their children. I told her to suck it up, smile a lot, use a condom so she won’t contract a venereal disease from him, and try to keep the home life peaceful and consistent for the children.

I reminded her that what she’s done to these three children’s lives and psyches is far more desperate and destructive than his dalliance.

In my final comments to her, I said: “A marriage license is not just a piece of paper. All you did was to get a guy willing to cohabit and not have to use a condom for sex without commitment. In a marriage, two people make solemn vows to each other — ones they usually keep.”

Her feminist upbringing told her that having the freedom to make babies out of wedlock, having sex whenever interested, and cohabitating to keep freedom from obligation were all good things. Unfortunately, they are not.

They are in direct opposition to the innermost longing of people to belong to somebody who is making it their life’s mission to love, cherish, protect, and be faithful to them.

There is a conflict inside women who are taught one thing by the liberal feminist mentality in our schools and our culture, but who feel something quite different in their inherent drive to bond, nurture, and nest.

There is a reason there is documentation that shack ups lead to more “infidelity,” mental illness, breakups, and violence.

It simply isn’t marriage when folks don’t know each other that well, or make uninformed decisions about commitment, or decide to cohabit with the tentativeness of someone trying on shoes, or are constantly taking the temperature of the relationship to see how they like it.

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