Love is wonderful at any age. The excitement, the bliss, the romance. Yet, there’s also no question that as we age, love can get more complicated. As a dating coach, I often hear how my clients do not want to marry again.
I know this may not sound romantic, but it’s a very practical side of relationships. I’m not against marriage by any stretch of the imagination. But I do recognize why older couples are choosing alternative living arrangements.
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This is a strong trend in the US, with the number of couples over 50 who are living together growing 100% between 2000 to 2010. (Analysis by Bowling Green University). Given this growth, discover five important reasons why older couples are marrying less often and why it can work for you.
1. Your kids get nervous. When you get into your 50’s, your life path is more established and you may have grown children. If you’ve managed to accumulate any wealth, your kids might get nervous when a new man comes into your life. They are worried about you, both your emotions and your money. When you choose to live together vs. marry, you eliminate much concern about your legacy which can make everyone involved breathe more easily.
2. Passing up financial benefits. Sometimes you have access to benefits that are only available when you remain unmarried after a divorce or passing of a partner. This might be true of your health insurance, your future social security benefits or pensions, and other financial matters. Again, this is not the most romantic perspective, but it is highly practical. It’s not easy to pass up your financial security for marriage when you can choose to live together and still maintain your full benefits.
3. Not taking on debt. Things happen in life and you or your partner have racked up debt as a result. You may not want to take on someone else’s financial obligations and can understand why your partner might not want that either. When you are in a committed relationship, but don’t marry, you can enjoy each other without having the legal ramifications of assuming anyone else’s debt. It just simplifies things by eliminating the legal entanglement.
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4. Avoiding another divorce. With a rising divorce rate among older Americans, some people just don’t want to marry again. It’s not so much about avoiding commitment as avoiding another divorce. Many would be happy to enjoy a long-term, committed relationship without the legal formality.When dating after divorce, this is worth considering.
5. Not willing to let go of independence. After a divorce, people get reacquainted with the good side of being unattached and free. That independence can be hard-won, making it difficult to let go of when love appears. But, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many kinds of relationships. According to Wikipedia, “Living Apart Together” (LAT) is a new form of “coupledom” which is growing in popularity where you can have an intimate relationship and still live separately from your partner.