Gone are the days when two people who were in love tied the knot, got married and lived happily ever after. Of course, marriage as an institution still exists and is still the most popular and well-regarded one; however, there are now a range of choices available to two people who love one another or choose to be together.
Each has their pros and cons and their advantages and disadvantages (at least when it comes to the law). Here is a lowdown on the different choices available today – apart from marriage – and what it really means to be in that kind of a relationship.
Live-in Relationships/ De Facto Relationship
This is an arrangement where two people who are not married (but in a romantic or sexually intimate relationship) live together on a long-term or permanent basis that resembles a marriage.
There are a number of reasons couples choose to be in a live-in relationship. They might not want the legal binding of a marriage (and the complications of a divorce should the relationship end), or they probably want to test their compatibility for a few years before committing to a legal union.
However, legally, a defacto relationship is outlined in the Family Law Act and de facto couples are entitled to almost the same rights and claims as a married couple are in terms of property and financial settlements and childcare (were the relationship to end).
Civil Partnerships are quite similar to marriages, yet have some differences when it comes to legal matters. For instance, for all legal purposes, married people cannot call themselves ‘civil partners’ and civil partners cannot assume to be ‘married’.
Marriages can be conducted through a civil or religious ceremony whereas civil partnerships are a purely civil event. They are registered by signing a document as opposed to being solemnized via a set of words.
Long Distance Relationship
With today’s generation getting work and jobs globally, or even going abroad to study, long distance relationships are becoming more common and accepted. While it takes a lot of endurance, sacrifice, self-control and hard work to keep a long-distance relationship going, it is entirely possible.
An open relationship is an intimate relationship which is consensually non-monogamous. It is often used to signify an agreement between two partners who agree to have sexual relationships but not romantic relationships with other people. The nature of the ‘openness’ and the boundaries set differ from couple to couple and relationship to relationship.
Friends With Benefits
This type of relationship came into the limelight after the popular movie by the same name. While it’s not as common as the above, it still exists. It is a relationship between friends (of course) with the addition of a sex and physical intimacy. It’s understood to be a more ‘casual’ kind of relationship.
This is an alternative solution to divorce, for a loveless couple who are still together for the sake of their children. While the benefits include not putting your kids (and yourself) through the emotional pain of divorce, it is not for every couple and requires commitment, resilience and hard work.
Photos from Pixabay