Tag Archives: Divorce

First Comes Love, Then Comes…The Rental Agreement

25 Aug

Anthony and I

My boyfriend, Anthony, and I have been dating for six love-filled years. There have been countless hugs, I-love-you-s, tears, shared failures, and triumphs. I have dated him through the end of my teens to our current mid-twenties. And, that is why we feel we are ready for the next step, the proclamation of our love, putting our commitment to each other in writing, making it official.

That’s right, we are signing a rental agreement and moving in together.

Sixty years ago, the next step would have been marriage and for some, it still is. But, after many conversations about tying the knot, it seems, marriage is not for us. And we’re not alone.

Here are some facts:

The Washington Post reported the present as a record low for prevalence of married couples and the “proportion of adults who are married”.

Only 51% of adults 18 or older are married, which is a 6% decrease from 2000 and a sharp decline from 72% in 1960.

There has been an increase in the median age when people first marry. It’s at an all-time high of 26 for women and almost 29 for men.

40% of Americans under 30 think marriage is passé.

And, lastly 7.5 million couples in the U.S. are living together without being married.

Some attribute these drastic changes to the rising divorce rates in the 70’s and 80’s. Perhaps, many are thinking more carefully about marriage, before entering into it. That would explain the fall in the divorce rate in recent decades. Maybe those that would have married and divorced are waiting.

Really none of that has anything to do with my reasons or my significant other’s reasons for abstaining from marriage. We are not religious. We are not in a hurry to start a family. But, really the largest factor is: we are happy. If it ain’t broke, why marry it?

Studies like those reported by Rachael Rettner of MSNBC in 2012 found those living together to be happier than comparable married couples. Why mess with something that works for us? I have known many, many happy couples who married only to be suffocated by their commitment. No more fun. No more spontaneity. No more sex. All that kept them together was the piece of paper declaring them man and wife, until…not even that kept them together. When have you ever had a married couple tell you that the fun really began after marriage? No, no, no. The marrieds I know always tell nostalgic stories from when they were dating, almost longingly. I never want to look back at the best time of my life. I want to live in that time forever.

Anthony and I are committed to each other in our own unconventional way. We don’t want to be with anyone else and have vowed to each other over and over to love and support one another for the rest of our lives. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that I choose to wake up everyday and be with him rather than be bound together by a legal document? I guess, it all comes down to what marriage means to the individual. For some, it has religious significance or traditional meaning and I wouldn’t dream of devaluing that. But, for Anthony and I, I think we’re fine just being us, sans the white dress and copious amounts of floral arrangements.

No certificates, no ceremonies, just us, and our lovely little rental agreement.

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