While it’s always been the expected thing to get married, times change and so does society; it no longer raises an eyebrow when a couple reveal they live together in a De Facto relationship, indeed one could go further and say that most young couples live together, preferring this to a registered marriage. There are many reasons for this change in social values and expectations and we will examine these in this article.
Record Number of Divorce Cases
While the legal sector is happy with this, a divorce can be a costly and sometimes messy affair and many see the rising number of divorces as a reflection of the negative aspects of legal marriage. If we analyse the institution of marriage, we find that two people are making a lifelong commitment to each other, come what may! Some would say that this binding oath can give a person too much confidence and as a result, they stop trying to please their partner, who is, after all, by their side until death do us part. There could be something in this, as a man or woman might subconsciously feel that their partner is going to be there come what may and consequently, it doesn’t matter if they don’t brush their teeth or bother to look good for their partner.
Open Minded Approach
Society in general has a much more open approach to sexuality, gender and relationships, which gives people the freedom to express themselves without worrying about how society will view them. Take a look at successful businesses like Secrets Shop and you realise that people are far more open about sexuality, which is great for all relationships. Sex toys are no longer taboo and people are comfortable talking about sex, which is a reflection on the liberal views of today’s society.
Test Period for a Relationship
There is a large section of young people who feel that living together is a potential stepping stone to marriage; rather than going from casual boyfriend-girlfriend straight to the constraints of marriage, which can be a real eye opener, when you suddenly discover your partner is untidy and likes to live in a messy environment. There is the argument that De Facto relationships enable both parties to become better acquainted with their partner and if, after a year or two, things are still great, then marriage would be the logical next step.
A large portion of 20–30-year-olds come from a broken home; mum and dad divorced, which invariably leaves a scar on the children emotionally, and when they grow up and enter into a relationship, bad memories make them reluctant to put their kids through the same experience. This is perfectly natural and is a major reason for young people to avoid the commitment of marriage, of which they have bad memories from their childhood. Divorce seriously affects the kids, no matter how hard the parents try and with so many young adults having been through divorce, there is an obvious reluctance to follow their parents by getting married. When a family is split up, there is always the question of child custody, which can often be a bone of contention and whether married or not, the parents must put the best interests of the children first and foremost.
Same Legal Rights as Married Couples
Here in the UK, a De Facto relationship is regarded in the same way that marriage is and you do not lose any rights by avoiding registering your relationship in the form of legal wedlock. In the eyes of the law, if a couple live together and pool their resources, then they are viewed in the same way as if they were married. Prenuptials are very common today, mainly with those who are preparing to enter a second relationship and who have considerable assets, which they would like to protect, which is another reason why marriage is not as popular as it once was.
No Big Promises About the Future
Those who are in a De Facto relationship do not usually make firm long-term commitments, rather preferring to focus on the here and now. Things can easily change and when you take away that legal oath of marriage, the couple do not feel trapped, plus they know that the future of the relationships is not set in stone and whether it stands the test of time, is down to both parties.
Also known as ‘friends with benefits’, this is becoming a popular lifestyle and neither party commits to anything, rather choosing to spend time when they wish, while there might be other ‘friends’ and everyone is usually quite open about relationships. Of course, safe sex is essential when you have more than one partner; many young people prefer this lack of commitment and are totally comfortable with the arrangement.
De Facto Couples Stay Together Longer
According to several sets of research, it seems that more people in De Facto relationships stay together, which could be due to several reasons. When you remove the finality of marriage, both parties must work to maintain the relationship and both know that nothing is permanent, which keeps things lively and active. Here is some UK government information on De Facto relationships.
Sex and Relationships
People are very open about relationships today, which means taboo subjects are no longer under the table, and as the sexual side of the relationship is important, couples communicate and tell each other their fantasies. Previous generations would never admit to watching porn together, rather than would be something for him, when he’s on his own, yet today’s couple are open to most things and this is good for relationships in general. If a person is not happy sexually and is reluctant to talk to their partner, the issue becomes underlying, whereas open discussion removes the issue.
To conclude, there are numerous reasons why young people prefer to live together rather than get married and the high number of divorces is a reflection of the shortcomings of marriage as a whole. People are far more liberal in the 21st century and De Facto relationships are no longer perceived in a negative way.