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Question: Does marriage add pressure to a relationship?

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yes

no

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More older couples shacking up, skipping marriage

Mike Blake / Reuters

A pair of elderly couples view the ocean and waves along the beach in La Jolla, Calif. More couples over 50 are living together (minus the marriage certificate) and for many money is a big factor.

Shacking up. It's not just for the kids anymore.

The number of people over age 50 who are living together romantically has more than doubled in a decade, from 1.2 million in 2000 to 2.75 million in 2010, according to an analysis of government data done by Bowling Green State University.

The 50-plus group represents nearly one-third of the approximately 7.5 million people of all ages who were living together in 2010, the researchers found.

But while young people tend to be testing the waters for marriage, experts say older people aren’t necessarily living together as a step toward tying the knot. They're doing it for the money.

“(They want to) enjoy many of the benefits of marriage without the burdens,” said Susan Brown, a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio who led the research.

Older couples may want to protect their individual nest eggs so they can pass the inheritance down to their kids. They also may not want to jeopardize a pension, Social Security payment or other benefit they are receiving because they are divorced or widowed. And they may not want to be financially responsible for the other person’s health care bills.

Some also may have a “been there, done that” mentality about marriage, Brown said. Her research found that 71 percent of older couples living together were divorced, and another 18 percent were widowed. On the other hand, she found, older people who end up remarrying are disproportionately widowed. (Brown has done other research looking at the surging divorce rate among older Americans.)

Tom Blake was 53 when his third marriage ended, and after the divorce was finalized he knew he wanted to start dating again. But he didn’t want to get married for a fourth time.

“I wasn’t looking for marriage, but I definitely wanted a relationship that was comfortable, enjoyable and non-confrontational,” he remembers.

Blake, who owns a deli in Dana Point, Calif., found that dating after age 50 was much harder than he had expected. His experiences eventually became fodder for a column and website that he’s been writing for almost 18 years.

Now 72, he’s been living with a woman for 11 years. They split their expenses evenly but keep their finances separate, an arrangement that he says has served them very well.

“What I learned for my own self was that I did not need to be married to be happy,” he said.

Some people prefer to keep their financial lives even more separate. Blake said he also hears from a lot of older people who are in long-term, committed relationships but don’t live together. He said some do that to keep the peace with their kids or grandkids who don’t like the idea of a live-in relationship.

Brown, the sociology professor, said the “living apart together relationship” is one she also knows exists but has had trouble quantifying.

“They’re very committed to each other (but they) don’t want to give up the autonomy that they have,” she said.

Although economics play a major role in these late-in-life relationship decisions, Brown said there are also noneconomic reasons older couples aren’t getting hitched.

Brown said some older women want a live-in relationship, but there’s something about actually getting married that seems stifling.

“They’ve taken care of one husband and raised one family, and they don’t want to do that again,” Brown said. “And they feel that if they get married that’s the underlying expectation.”

by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 9:35 AM
Replies (31-40):
Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting JavaLadybug:


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


Quoting JavaLadybug:

I beleive in marraige as the ONLY way to have an intimate relationship with another human. 

However I am currently struggling through what looks to be my divorce. I won't be quick to marry again. It was an interesting experiance.. and I have learned alot. But I also know I have hurt alot too! I don't think I will get married again atleast until I KNOW the person very well!

I was an insecure young woman who was dying for a man to complete me. NEVER AGAIN will I allow my self to make a decision purely on hopes and dreams and feelings. It litterally has been a living hell because of that!

*hugs*

Thank you! Your compassion is very appreciated!

Hang in there. I hope this doesn't sound trite, but at least you realized that you fell in love with the dream so that in the future you will be much more apt to fall in love in reality. That is when the bad and the struggle will all be worth it and will lead to joy. KWIM?


Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 

Quoting Ziva65:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

My Grandfather died when he was in his 50's. My Grandmother had a boyfriend for about 20 years and they never married. He died a few years ago. They didn't get married because they didn't want to
complicate money issues between their children when they died. After hearing how his children acted while he was dying, I understand why that was a good choice.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw this stuff all the time. Shocking really. Kids will label things in the house before someone dies to make sure they get it. They fight over who is the financial decisionmaker, they start to outright argue in front of the dying person or the partner that is left. It's apphalling really. (I've seen it with adult kids in general, not just step ones, but it seems even worse with step ones.) It doesn't seem to matter if there is a lot, or just a little....

 That's just really sad, and pathetic....

I've never understood this mentality.


Peanutx3
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Momniscient:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 

Quoting Ziva65:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

My Grandfather died when he was in his 50's. My Grandmother had a boyfriend for about 20 years and they never married. He died a few years ago. They didn't get married because they didn't want to
complicate money issues between their children when they died. After hearing how his children acted while he was dying, I understand why that was a good choice.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw this stuff all the time. Shocking really. Kids will label things in the house before someone dies to make sure they get it. They fight over who is the financial decisionmaker, they start to outright argue in front of the dying person or the partner that is left. It's apphalling really. (I've seen it with adult kids in general, not just step ones, but it seems even worse with step ones.) It doesn't seem to matter if there is a lot, or just a little....

 That's just really sad, and pathetic....

I've never understood this mentality.

I don't either.  Wills are a very important document that I think a lot of us forget about.

Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM


Quoting Peanutx3:


Quoting Momniscient:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 

Quoting Ziva65:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

My Grandfather died when he was in his 50's. My Grandmother had a boyfriend for about 20 years and they never married. He died a few years ago. They didn't get married because they didn't want to
complicate money issues between their children when they died. After hearing how his children acted while he was dying, I understand why that was a good choice.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw this stuff all the time. Shocking really. Kids will label things in the house before someone dies to make sure they get it. They fight over who is the financial decisionmaker, they start to outright argue in front of the dying person or the partner that is left. It's apphalling really. (I've seen it with adult kids in general, not just step ones, but it seems even worse with step ones.) It doesn't seem to matter if there is a lot, or just a little....

 That's just really sad, and pathetic....

I've never understood this mentality.

I don't either.  Wills are a very important document that I think a lot of us forget about.

Yes. Yes. Yes. People fight so often that it makes me sad to think that its a norm rather than an exception.


Traci_Momof2
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Interesting article.  I think if my hubby died and I got into another relationship, especially if it was after age 50, I would probably be in the group of "long-term committed relationship but not living together".  I would want my freedom at that point and would not want to be tied down by anything.  I have an uncle who has a relationship like that.  His wife (my aunt) died over 10 years ago.  He has been in a relationship with a woman for many years (not sure just how intimate, never wanted to ask, but they do share a hotel room when traveling).  Anyway, she has her house and he has his house.  They are only a block or so away from each other (I believe) and they do a lot together just like any other couple would.  Yet they keep that separation between living space and finances.  It works well for them and that's what I envision I would want, if I have a relationship at all.

Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I guess that makes sense.
Traci_Momof2
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM


Quoting Peanutx3:


Quoting Momniscient:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 

Quoting Ziva65:

 

Quoting OHgirlinCA:

My Grandfather died when he was in his 50's. My Grandmother had a boyfriend for about 20 years and they never married. He died a few years ago. They didn't get married because they didn't want to
complicate money issues between their children when they died. After hearing how his children acted while he was dying, I understand why that was a good choice.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw this stuff all the time. Shocking really. Kids will label things in the house before someone dies to make sure they get it. They fight over who is the financial decisionmaker, they start to outright argue in front of the dying person or the partner that is left. It's apphalling really. (I've seen it with adult kids in general, not just step ones, but it seems even worse with step ones.) It doesn't seem to matter if there is a lot, or just a little....

 That's just really sad, and pathetic....

I've never understood this mentality.

I don't either.  Wills are a very important document that I think a lot of us forget about.

Definitely.  My cousin had a live-in boyfriend.  He had cancer and died many years ago.  He had it in his will that she got the house (and other things I believe too).  His adult chidren I guess were really upset about that.  Legally, they couldn't do a thing, but that didn't stop them from verbally lashing out at my cousin anyway.  I don't know many details but I know there was a lot of fighting.  Really sad.

My mom and her husband have wills drawn up (this is her 3rd marriage, his 2nd).  They sent DH and I copies of both wills so that we know exactly what will happen in the event of either of their deaths.  I fear for the event of his death because he actually is leaving a lot more to DH and I than he is to his own kids.  He doesn't have the greatest of relationships with his own kids.  Sad really but I try to stay out of it.  That's their business.  But I do feel like at the very least there will be a lot of tension at the will reading when that time comes - even if they already know what his will says.

erika9009
Report
A Stay at home mom that used to be an engineer. Yeah, that's a big change.
Yesterday at 7:40 PM
by Bronze Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

It shows you made a commitment to each other.  You don't have to wear rings, you don't have to have his last name, you both have to know that commitment is there.

Peanutx3
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM


Quoting Momniscient:


Quoting Peanutx3:


Quoting Momniscient:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 

Quoting Ziva65:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

My Grandfather died when he was in his 50's. My Grandmother had a boyfriend for about 20 years and they never married. He died a few years ago. They didn't get married because they didn't want to
complicate money issues between their children when they died. After hearing how his children acted while he was dying, I understand why that was a good choice.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw this stuff all the time. Shocking really. Kids will label things in the house before someone dies to make sure they get it. They fight over who is the financial decisionmaker, they start to outright argue in front of the dying person or the partner that is left. It's apphalling really. (I've seen it with adult kids in general, not just step ones, but it seems even worse with step ones.) It doesn't seem to matter if there is a lot, or just a little....

 That's just really sad, and pathetic....

I've never understood this mentality.

I don't either.  Wills are a very important document that I think a lot of us forget about.

Yes. Yes. Yes. People fight so often that it makes me sad to think that its a norm rather than an exception.

Yep.  My grandma started giving her stuff away when she still well enough mentally.  I don't know if she or my grandfather have/had a will but I hope their kids don't fight over their stuff.

JessT5280
by Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM

My mom and her boyfriend live together - and they have for almost 8 years now. I just refer to him as my stepdad...  they just both don't want to get married again, and say that they are committed to eachother, so what's a piece of paper going to do? 

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