Is it the official-looking license? Or is it the round, sparkling symbol of unending commitment? In either case, an increasing number of couples are foregoing marriage, staying together with a more open-door policy. Many of these same couples, what sociologists have labeled committed unmarrieds (CUs) readily have children, reports Lisa Davis for Time magazine.
Davis reports that there are currently five million-plus unhitched couples living together in the US, reflecting close to an eight-fold increase since 1970. What's more, Davis also found that 40 percent of babies born in the US in 2007 were welcomed by a mother and father who were not married (of course only some and not all of these couples were declared CUs). Relationship Red Flags
Some of the couples interviewed for the article, who have opted for committed-but-not-married arrangements, say they like the idea that at any time either partner can leave the relationship if he or she wants to and that each partner has to actively choose to stay.
Possible reasons relationships without strings have become more common include a fear of divorce and the partners' desire to maintain a certain freedom. While many of these couples opt out of getting a marriage certificate they often still have legal paperwork drawn up to clarify child-custody and property rights.
Though it is fear that may drive some couples not to get married it may also be fear, of a different kind, that drives other couples to feel they must get married in order to solidify their commitment to one another. Yet, the reality is that a marriage can end and having a formal certificate is no sure bet that it won't. Married couples may just have to jump through a few more hoops to end their relationship.
Readers: If you were in a committed relationship and your partner avidly did not want to get married but wanted to start a family, would you be game?