Marriage is no longer a foregone conclusion, thank God. Instead, cohabitation seems as good of a way to commit to the person you’re pretty sure you want to spend your life with as tying the knot—and it’s cheaper. Basically, marriage is totally optional these days. Here’s why living together is just as intense as saying “I do.”
- It’s Just As Hard To Separate. People claim that marriage makes separation harder, as if the threshold for breaking up is much lower if you aren’t married. It’s as if, when you aren’t married, you’re more likely to end things because your S.O. pours their coffee grounds all over the sink sponges every damn day. If you were married, maybe you’d have a more open mind about it, right? Give me a break. If your relationship goes down in flames, the heartbreak, guilt, and sense of failure still feels like your life is over (although it’s not). Whatever ends your relationship can be just as serious or stupid as a divorce.
- Your Lives Are Intertwined. Sharing the cost of living expenses is one of the most amazing benefits to marriage or cohabitation. If you live in a big city, it’s a welcome relief. Since living with my boyfriend, we’ve combined cell phone plans, share video streaming accounts, and even got a joint checking without being married. Marriage isn’t the flood gate to an integrated relationship, particularly in this day and age. The more you share expenses over time, the more you count on them to take care of it. That trust system is still functioning without that matrimonial oil.
- You Still Have A Meaningful Relationship. Living with someone you truly want to spend a significant portion of your life is a big freaking deal. Managing that dynamic isn’t a light decision and it takes work. That, as a default, is meaningful. Of course, marriage has a societal significance that we’ve loaded on, but cohabitators don’t buy that because, at the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter. You’re with a person who you really, really love and not all marriages can claim that.
- You Still Chose This Person. Deciding to live together with the intention of it being for a good long while is important. You’ve decided on this person and you chose them. That’s true not matter what. The time you spend and the milestones that happen along the way can still be celebrated. The basis of a holy union is still there and that’s what matters at the end of the day.
- You Can Still Find Something To Symbolize Your Commitment. When it comes down to it, a wedding ring is a symbol of a union. There’s no law that says it’s exclusive to those who are married. People can choose to wear a ring that symbolizes a committed relationship if they damn well choose. It doesn’t have to be clarified or explained. It’s a choice that’s yours. A legal status doesn’t have to hold you back from a beautiful ring or tattoo or whatever, especially one that has so much meaning.
- You’re Saving A lot of Money. It’s safe to say that weddings are expensive, with the exception of a courthouse wedding or eloping. That’s an extra $10,000-$20,000 (or more!) that you don’t have to spend. Unless you thrive on party planning, I can’t imagine anyone missing that whole ordeal, either. Choosing cohabitation means you can funnel that money into trips, restaurants, bouncy castles, and a decent collection of mason jars. As for the wedding registry, it’s likely you were either fully developed adults with your own appliances. Or you’ve lived together long enough that you bought them yourself. You don’t need an aunt to buy you fiesta ware. Go on Craigslist and get some plates from a recently divorced couple!
- You Can Still Own Property. One big adult move is buying a house. It’s tough getting a mortgage on one income but luckily, you can go in on a house with just about anyone! It’s not a great experience for everyone, but that’s the risk everyone takes. If a house is what you want, go buy a damn house. This milestone is still easily achieved if you and your partner have the money. The risks are the same, like someone walking out or a freak accident.
- There are way fewer Expectations and less pressure. Divorce has a social perception that’s kinda rude and filled with passive-aggressive comments from that one aunt no one likes. You didn’t try hard enough, you can’t handle a growing relationship, etc. Ditching the nuptials offsets those comments. There’s no “perfect marriage” image to live up to. It can be incredibly freeing when you remove those mental burdens (but the passive aggressive aunt will still make comments because you just can’t win with her).
- It’s Truly a Choice. Divorce holds many people back from ending a toxic companionship. Staying together foregoes that cost and sorrow. With cohabitation, you remove that obstacle. You’re free of that social stigma. It won’t be the only thing holding you back from leaving. The bond that’s keeping your relationship together is the choice to stay with this person. You love them more than having to buy fresh sponges more often. Isn’t that what matters?