Relationships

The non-engagement: Why some couples choose not to get married

©iStockphoto.com/Laflor Photography Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Laflor Photography

Relationships

The non-engagement: Why some couples choose not to get married

After being in a relationship for seven years (and raising six kids together) Brad Pitt only recently popped the big question to Angelina Jolie. Jon Hamm and his main squeeze Jennifer Westfeldt have been going strong (minus a ring) for 14 years.Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russellhave been together for 29 years without saying "I do."

It seems that more and more couples (celebrity and otherwise) are choosing long-term love without marriage.We wanted to dig a little deeper into this trend, sowe asked Stacie Ikka, love and life strategist and the founder of sittinginatree.com, for her insight intothe most prevalent reasons why some couples are perfectly fine without a walk down the aisle.

1. They're products of divorce
It's no surprise that people who have witnessed divorce in their families might be wary of experiencing the same fate. "Many adults who suffered through the divorce of their own parents are hyper-cautious when it comes to choosing a partner of their own and making the commitment to marry," says Ikka.

Seeing parents get divorced can have a big impact on children and may shape the ways they view marriage and how they enter into relationships as adults, she explains.

2. It's no longer a big deal
With more and more people deciding not to marry, it has become less of a social stigma for couples to opt out of a wedding. The pressure is no longer there to "finally" get married.

While your parents or other family members might be nudging you toward the altar, being unmarried is no longer taboo, explains Ikka. "It is more socially acceptable today than in earlier generations to be in a romantic relationship without entering into the institution of marriage," she says.

3. They're fine with the way things are
While some couples look forward to taking the plunge into marriage and see it as a next step for their relationship, others are just fine with the way things are.

"Some couples subscribe to the school of thought that everything changes for the worse after you get married – i.e. no more sex," explains Ikka. Other couples simply feel happy, fulfilled and secure enough with their relationship that a wedding ceremony becomes secondary."Some couples simply don't require a public or legal declaration to solidify or validate their commitment to each other," she says.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover two more reasons why some couples choose not to marry on page 2. 4. Financial reasons
Weddings can be expensive, plain and simple, which is a financial burden some couples wish to avoid. "There are many practical couples who would prefer to use any money that would normally be allocated to a wedding toward a down payment on a home or a luxury vacation," says Ikka.

There are ways to have a cheaper wedding, but no matter what kind of ceremony you plan there will still be costs involved.

5. They've already been married once
With more and more people getting divorced after only a few years together, it has become common for people who have already had a marriage end in divorce to avoid a second attempt.

"Some couples who have already marched down the aisle may choose not to do it a second time," says Ikka. "When couples make a decision to get married they need to focus on the institution and what that means for them as opposed to the event," she explains. "Don't get wrapped up in the excitement of the wedding party and lose sight of why you are together in the first place."

While not marrying works for some couples, others relish the idea of a wedding. But how do you decide which option is right for you?

"Each couple is individual and unique in their own way," says Ikka. "It's important for the couple to be honest with each other about where they stand on marriage." In many cases women don't want to scare their partner away, so they might say marriage isn't important to them when really they'd love tobe proposed to. As long as you both agree and feel good about your decision, you'll be happy together whether you get married or not.

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The non-engagement: Why some couples choose not to get married

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