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Cohabitation has clear advantages

This summer, USF adjusted its housing application to allow for co ed living, opening the door for couples to try out cohabitation as early as the spring semester.

This change means that, for many high school sweethearts, the choice of whether to “take the next step” and move in with their boyfriend or girlfriend coincides with moving out for the first time. Even now, couples can choose to live together off campus.

It sounds scary, but choosing to room with your significant other has its benefits beyond the obvious intimacy.

For many, living together is a financial decision. According to estimations from USF Financial Aid, a student can expect to pay about $13,000 in personal expenses, transportation and room and board.

Cohabitation cuts rent costs in half, which can be the deciding factor for many paying their own way through college.

If you are used to sharing, then splitting the cost of food, electricity, Internet and other such bills can go a long way in relieving stress that might damage the actual relationship.

Rooming with someone you are very close to counteracts the possibility of getting stuck with a roommate who doesn’t suit your lifestyle. Being someone who cares a bit more than the average roommate, your boyfriend or girlfriend will know what you need and when, creating a comfortable living situation, such as being quiet when you need to study. Of course, he or she will expect the same consideration in return.

Living together also creates easy opportunities to spend time together outside of work and school. As students, focus should be primarily on studies.

Relationships can be a big distraction from work and school, so being able to come home and relax with your significant other can save a lot of time and effort better suited for schoolwork.

Cohabitation also makes life easier by having a teammate for mundane tasks like chores. Having someone around to help pull some weight is a welcomed commodity for a busy college student.

When you aren’t feeling well, your significant other can cook you dinner and vice versa. While it should not be the basis of any relationship, the exchange of simple favors can go a long way in creating a healthy living situation.

Some may see cohabitation as “the next step,” as a one-year lease, or even a six-month lease can prove as the perfect sample of what life with that person would be like. This isn’t recommended for new relationships, as you will be contractually obligated to live with that person for a given amount that may be longer than you’ve even been together.

But for those in seasoned relationships who might have that age-old m-word bouncing around in their heads, living together in college can be the deciding factor.

Joe Polito is a senior majoring in mass communications.