Performing cohabitation: Secular individualism and communication skills among israeli committed cohabiters

Orly Benjamin, Rivka Haze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Secular-individualist views and poor communication skills are commonly used to explain cohabitation instability. The present study sheds light on the process through which similarity of such views becomes salient to long-term ("committed") cohabiters' relationships. Based on a couple-level analysis of interview data collected from 20 Israeli committed cohabiters, we argue that value-based similarity (in the present case, a secular-individualist commonality), together with constant work on communication based on a sense of partner exceptionality, are central to couples' ability to experience their disagreements as marginal and to take pride in their intimate communication. We found a cohabiting identity to consolidate in the course of this process, contributing to the couples' conception of their cohabitation as better than marriage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-808
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • cohabitation
  • confluent love
  • couples' communication
  • gender religion
  • secularism
  • similarity
  • stability

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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