Do you and your partner want to live like a married couple without the contract? Here are some things to consider when it comes to love, without marriage, in the modern day.
The game has changed when it comes to modern romance. Potential life partners are chosen in swipe, commitment rings are gaining popularity over their engagement counterparts, and couples are getting committed around the same time they start to sprout their first grey hairs.
“The traditional views of marriage are overly dated," comments Iona Yeung, modern-day mating maven behind relationship and dating blog, 30 Ever After."No longer are women getting married so they can find a husband to support them – which explains why people are choosing to get married later in life.”'
“There’s also the notion of ‘try before you buy’”, Iona continues. “According to Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012, 77.6 per cent of married couples lived together before marriage.”
Are you keen to consider taking your relationship to the next level, without the pomp and pageantry of a wedding, and the constrictions of a ‘contract’? Here are some things to consider:
1. Don't fall in love. Jump in
“Some people just fall into de-facto relationships because they’ve lived with their partner for a certain period of time,” cautions Iona. “At some point, there needs to be a discussion to confirm both want to be committed to the relationship long term." Be consistently mindful of your own non-marital path so that there is continued direction, rather than just old habits reforming over time.
2. Get (a little) legal
“It’s an unpleasant conversation to have but a practical one if you don’t have a legal contract,” says Iona of discussing legalities like wills, child support, custody – even of pets! – and monetary matters. “You may not have a marriage certificate but if something were to happen to one of you, would the other be entitled to your assets? If you two were to break up for whatever reason, will the assets be split? Who would take custody of the children?” are all questions that have to be considered.
3. Love deeply and be loyal
Just because you are not legally married, does not pave the way for philandering, notes Iona, who considers herself a monogamist and romantic in a modern day that may not support this stance. “If we are to look at the way people date now, I’d say we perceive monogamy differently,” she considers. “With higher divorce rates, a new dating app popping up every month and dating sites that specifically encourage infidelity, people can be fickle. They can love one person at a time (most of the time) but that love is conditional. It's more ‘I love you…until something goes wrong’. For many, it’s just easier to break up than to make up,” she says. Therefore, ensuring you and your partner have finite boundaries around your decision not to marry is imperative. The game may have changed, but the basic rules never falter.
4. Talk tiny details
If you plan on having children at some point, it’s best to discuss the logistics earlier rather than later. Details that may seem little now – like who’s name the child will take, if they be baptised, what type of education or childhood you hope for them, and how you will help them understand why you both decided not to be married – may loom larger as the kids grow up.
5. Come together in commitment
A scribbled signature in front of a wedding photographer does not make for a strong marriage! If you are committed to each other, you don’t need anyone to witness this, except the both of you. “There is no binding contract but it’s important for both to treat de-facto relationships as if it were a marriage,” Iona points out.
6. Look ahead with identical vision
“You may agree that you both don’t want to get married but will this change if kids come into the picture or if someone changes their mind down the road?” Iona asks. It’s so important you revisit your decision not to marry at regular intervals to ensure you are still on the same page. If you enter the agreement, have realistic expectations that your partner may never change his/her mind about it later," she says. Look at Brad and Angelina!