So, you’ve done the marriage thing, and like half of them, yours ended in divorce. You’ve found your next great love but neither of you want to go down that road again. So what does that mean? These days, it’s perfectly normal to have a committed relationship with someone and not be legally married. In fact, more and more companies are recognizing these types of partnerships and providing for them. You are married in every traditional sense except for that piece of paper. When your marriage ended, that piece of paper made the process of moving on so slow. You don’t want to go through that again if this relationship doesn’t work out. Well, this relationship will work out. You’ve learned a lot by now and you know better.
Let’s start with the wisdom you have or at least should have. A relationship is a partnership. It is a great friendship but it is also somewhat like a business, especially if you aren’t married. That piece of paper did give you some security, like a business contract, but you can have that without a marriage license.
In your marriage, did you argue about money? You must always discuss money and make financial decisions together. How much money is there combined? How much do you contribute? Should it be a fixed amount or a percentage of what you are earning at any given time? Do you buy things together? The discussion must take place in advance to avoid any future misunderstanding of your responsibilities. What about a big purchase like a house? If you do co-own anything, have a contract in place that protects you both in case the relationship ends. There’s no marriage license to offer the protection that most states give so it‘s up to you. It’s not pessimistic, it’s realistic. Married people get prenuptial agreements all the time. There’s nothing wrong with providing for yourself.
Be Sure to Communicate
Did you argue about parenting, chores, sex, interfering friends and family? Talk about these issues. Discuss your expectations on all subjects that caused friction or misunderstanding before. You really can’t ever talk too much in a relationship so talk, talk, talk. Spend more time together. Spend time apart. Have friends in common and ones that are all yours. Don’t rely on your partner for all of your happiness. That isn’t fair to either of you, so have your own friends and interests. Appreciate your partner by thanking them for things they do. Go out of your way to touch and kiss them. Remember everything that went wrong in a prior relationship and make it better in this one. Think about what you should have done and do it.
How to Live the Life
A typical day in a successful unmarried relationship is thoughtful. You get up and start with a kiss. You have breakfast together without distraction. You kiss each other good-bye before heading to work. You kiss each other hello when you get home. You cook dinner and eat together, away from the television or computer, and talk about your day.
You relax together, sitting side by side so you are able to touch. Sneak in a kiss during commercials. Every now and then, instead of watching television, play a game. Kiss each other good night. Intimacy is extremely important so make time for it. Plan social activities as often as your time and finances allow. It’s important to get out of the house and interact with other people. You can have people over or find other inexpensive ways to have fun. Once each month, you should spend a night or two away from each other. Plan regular visits to out-of-town friends or family if possible. It’s good for your relationship with your partner, yourself, and the people you visit.
If you have children, of course, include them. The same goes for your family. But, the relationship with your partner shouldn’t suffer for it. You may have learned this during your marriage. So many things can distract you from the steps it takes to have a successful relationship with your partner but you are older and wiser now. Stay focused. Don‘t take them for granted. Do the work. It will all pay off. The goal is to have a partner to grow old with and spend the rest of your life with. Isn’t that worth the effort? You have a second chance so make the most of it.