Agreeing not to marry:
Sounds simple right? Its not. There can be many reason not to marry but in the long run this could be a recipe for breakup.
Lets look at this closer and see if you agree. We will separate situations and ask questions. Hopefully by time we are done here you will have a better idea on how you want to pursue this or not at all.
Ok so how does this even happen? One of you will bring up the idea of course. We can also assume your in this for the long haul not just a fling. I would go further as to say you are or plan to live together. Now each of you went into this relationship with attitudes and ideas about marriage. You may have even shared them. So why is marriage off the table? Is it the Divorce rate? If so then you place little trust in your ability to work through life’s problems. If so then no you should not marry. The two of you need to discuss why marriage is not an option and why? You may both feel that way but for different reasons. Your talk needs to be honest and open as with any relationship. Failure here means your not ready to move forward with your relationship in any way least of all marriage.
You need to have a plan for the future. Is marriage completely out of the question? Are both you on board with NEVER marrying? You would be surprised how many partners feel marriage is in future where other assumed it was not. What happens if you have children? Did you know that the rights of an unmarried Father are almost zero compared to a married Father? If the relationship fails do you want to have to spends countless hours in court just for the right to see your children? Ladies unless your in a common law state you could be left with nothing if relationship ends? Marriage has protections that unmarried couples don’t have.
Change of heart or mind:
What if one of you decides they want marriage or felt it wasn’t off the table completely? This falls back to the discussion. Is marriage out of the question? Do you both feel that way? What if one of you changes his/her mind? This is a very real possibility. In some relationships one partner agrees not to marry but secretly longs for it. Over time this can weigh down the relationship and or both partners wont even know this. Communication between you is key. Example on the TV shows about WWE Divas John Cena is very open to his live in girlfriend Nikki Bella he has no desire to marry or have children. Nikki understands this (isn’t happy about it but understands). John is open about this and Nikki will have to decide as the relationship continues if this is what she wants. If John has a “change of heart” great. If not Nikki needs decide whats best for her and her life.
Here is the big question. Why? If your going to live like a married couple why is getting married not an option? Do you have that little faith in your relationship? If so then why are you even taking it to next level. Look hard at why you don’t want to marry. There are more benefits to marriage than not. If your still unsure if it will last then remain where you are for now. If your partner wants next step and your not sure then ask him/her to wait. If they cant its time to move on. By the way there is more effort put in saving a marriage than saving a non-married relationship. What ever your issues are might get resolved if neither of you wants Divorce. But if its easy to just walk out door after a fight you might and then regret it.
In my opinion marriage should NEVER be off the table if you plan a long term relationship. You don’t have to agree to marry now or even plan it yet but don’t leave it off table. Make sure your partner is “The one” and build your relationship don’t rush or postpone too long anything. There are many financial benefits to being married as well as emotional ones that a live in situation just cant provide. I am not saying don’t live together (I did before marrying been together nearly two decades now) just don’t take marriage off the table. You don’t have to plan it just don’t remove it.