The number of unmarried partners living together is skyrocketing. Just a generation or two ago, it was scandalous for an unmarried man and woman to live together. Today, most couples who marry live together first — “shacking up” has gone mainstream. But that change happened so quickly, it’s no wonder things are inconsistent. Some couples find living together is easy. Others find themselves attacked by angry family members, excluded from faith communities, baffled by how to introduce each other, and discriminated against because they’re not married. In some places and situations, unmarried partners can share a health insurance policy and get certain legal protections; in other situations, they’re considered legal strangers with no rights, even if they’ve lived together for decades.
This section focuses primarily on different-sex couples, which is what most people think of when they hear about cohabitors. Of course many of the items here are relevant to all kinds of relationships. Those in same-sex relationships will also find uniquely relevant information in the LGBTQ section.