Most of us, especially those of us in our 30s or younger, have a friend or relative who lives with someone they love without getting married. Out of wedlock as they used to say. Government statistics place the percentage of unmarried U.S. couples at approaching 50 percent, and the annual number of marriages in the U.K. is at record-low levels.
People just aren’t as willing to enter into long-term commitments any more. Being able to pick up and walk out of a relationship lessens the feeling of captivity, that you have to make the relationship work no matter how unhappy it gets. And let’s face it, the world is a lot more complicated, less predictable and faster changing than it used to be. Where life takes you may not be where it takes your partner. Then there are the transactional costs of marriage. Ever priced out a basic wedding for 50 people? Big bucks. And if the marriage doesn’t work out, even a no-fault divorce is going to set one of you back a few grand.