A Florida representative is currently trying to overturn a law dating back to the 1800s. The law, which carries a $500 fine and 60 days of jail time, makes it illegal for unmarried couples to live together.
Several organizations have protested this, as they believe the “government should be a stronger supporter of marriage.”
My boyfriend and I have been living together (legally — in York County!) for almost five months. Sure, there’s been some hiccups in the living arrangement — he hates when I aggressively tidy and “hide things” or make the bed — but, I must say, he’s the best roommate I’ve ever had.
Cohabitating has its perks. Aside from the boatload of money we’re saving on rent, utilities and groceries — I haven’t actually crunched the numbers on this, so “boatload” might be a slight over-exaggeration — the boyfriend and I have become really close over the past few months. Doing each other’s laundry really takes a long-term relationship to the next level, I guess.
There are some arguments against living together out there. I get that it’s messier if you and your partner don’t work out, though this is a total buzz kill to think about. I’ve had enough trouble deleting people out of my phone, but giving back house keys and splitting up mutual possessions? Yikes. I’m crossing my fingers I never have to deal with that.
But I know couples who have dealt with it. And while one story ended with a friend moving across the country with only her cat and the belongings that would fit in her car, in the end, it ended up being OK. It might sound cliche, but I’m a firm believer in the whole “if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be” thing … and if it’s not, well then, you’ll figure it out — whether you share the same address or not.
I’ve heard friends who cohabitate complain that they sometimes feel like a “wifey without the ring.” They’ve said they get sick of “playing house” without any of the perks of being married (the main thing they’re usually lusting after is health insurance). But at the end of the day, I’m of the camp that it’s not a huge deal to fold someone’s socks if you really love them (note: my tune could change after the five-month mark of sock-folding).
And there’s also some old adage that talks about buying cows and free milk that I won’t get into, but the gist is that you’ll never get married if you live with someone first.
I think my mom would be sad if I never got married. And truthfully, I would probably be too. But that isn’t to say I won’t just because I moved in with someone in my 20s. So, to that point, here’s some facts, courtesy of the Alternatives to Marriage Project:
The majority of couples marrying today cohabited first.
About 75 percent of cohabiters plan to marry their partners.
55 percent of different-sex cohabiters do marry within five years of moving in together.
The Alternatives to Marriage Project says there are currently more than 12 million unmarried partners living together in more than 6 million households, and 550,000 of those couples are in Florida.
That would be a lot of unnecessary fines and jail time tying up the state’s legal system, huh? Now that might be something worth protesting.
What do you think? Should the state of Florida get rid of the law? Do you think living together before marriage is that big of a deal in today’s society? Would you live with someone you were in a serious relationship with before marriage? Why or why not? Do you have any stories about living with your partner before your were married? Share them in the comments section.