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Unmarried Seniors Living Together

When you’ve lived alone for years, a return to couples living is no small decision. Who gets the bigger closet? Which room gets the cherished antique rug? Must you really change out your original oil paintings for his Miro prints? Must we eat vegetarian?


Early on, PASHA and I talked snug-a-bug, but after about three weeks of intense time together before we’d begin to think wistfully of the solitary life. Not that we verbalized this. We use family events or medical procedures as excuses to separate for a while. It’s ironic when after years of longing for someone to share your bed and your breakfast table, you crave eating and sleeping on your own schedule and watching TV without polite compromise.  (NOTE to dreamers: Oscar Wilde famously said that the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.)

We spent four years living four hours apart before we decided that we needed to live in one home — together. We easily solved our decorating problems and our parking space problems. Sleep schedules required more seious compromise – we go to bed one hour earlier that I’d been used to and he gets up at 7 instead of his customary 6 AM.

There are many good reasons for two people to live together. It’s a whole lot cheaper. It’s streamlined (wash all the towels at once). It’s easier for friends who want to invite you for dinner – they don’t have to ask, “Is he in town?”



On the down side, all sorts of issues loom. At our age, it’s unwise to live together unwed without executing reams of legal documents – to protect our children, to protect management of our own assets, and to assure we won’t be denied access to our beloved’s hospital room when the bad times come. But be forewarned: legal arrangements are not to be undertaken by the semi-committed. More than one relationship has shattered when a couple arrived at the nitty-gritty of dividing up the responsibility and the cash.

On a philosophical level, I get all this and I’m fine with it. Practically speaking, I hate it. I’m old and I want love to be easier.

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'Unmarried Seniors Living Together' have 17 comments

  1. December 23, 2011 @ 1:29 pm Alicia

    I was married to a man who had a lot of faults, but being cheap wan’t one of them. Now I am dating someone who is just plain cheap. He gives the world to his kids but thinks buying some groceries for me now and then is enough. We hardly ever go out for dinner because he likes to cook. This is okay now, but he wants to move in with me and I am afraid this is the thing that will break us up.

  2. December 2, 2011 @ 10:35 pm Sienna

    If you’re asking if I’m anywhere close to moving in with someone I can tell you that I’m still conflicted. For me, being on my own is entirely comfortable, but only because I spend large blocks of time with PASHA. There is no doubt this is a selfish way of being in a relationship. I am selfishly enjoying the best of both worlds. I have someone with whom to enjoy companionship and more, but there remains the inclination to spend time in the solitude I became used to after my husband’s death.

  3. December 2, 2011 @ 11:26 am Ellie

    I don’t quite get where you stand on this on a personal level?

  4. June 30, 2011 @ 5:17 am Margaret

    My live-in and I were both healthy so we didn’t make any of these kinds of preparations. The first problem was not being allowed in the emergency room with him after I idiotically wavered when they asked if I was his wife. Later when his condition got worse, they actually let his ex-wife in to see him but not me. After the crisis was over I hesitated to talk about putting some arrangements on paper because I didn’t want to remind him that his medical condition was dangerous. Eventually, though, he got around to the subject himself and we now have most of the papers and safety measures you talk about here.

  5. May 22, 2011 @ 4:45 pm Sienna

    Art, I’m not sure I understand the point of entering into a marriage if you’re going to tear up the license. Presumably you don’t want to be constrained by a mere piece of paper, but it’s the commitment, not the license, that binds you to each another. Most importantly, I doubt you’ll find a priest or minister who will risk his own State license in order to marry people who haven’t applied for a marriage license or who admit to wanting to trash it. The church would retain its own record in any case, so you’d not be destroying the evidence.

  6. May 21, 2011 @ 8:29 am Art Pepper

    I want to live with my sweetheart and we have tentatively agreed that we would be married in the church and the license torn up – perhaps not applied for. Is there anyone doing this?

  7. May 21, 2011 @ 4:48 am Percy

    My lady wants a traditional relationship and we will be married, but I am not entering into this with much enthusiasm. It seems silly at our age,as I believe marriage is for procreation and getting settled into a lifetime of habits. There are the children and grandchildren to think of now, but she doesn’t think there’s a conflict. I remain torn, however.

  8. October 17, 2010 @ 9:44 am mixed up

    I am going through a really hard time with my lover. I want so much for him to live with me but he is really set in his ways and he’ll stay with me for about a week and then goes back to his apartment for about 2 weeks. It’s really getting to me. I wish I could find someone I could count on. I don’t want to live alone because I’m afraid at night. He is really sweet and kind but he won’t do this one thing that’s important to me. He calls every night, though.

  9. October 16, 2010 @ 12:25 am Arianna

    My significant other and I realized pretty early on that moving in together just wasn’t a good idea. I live in a more luxurious house and he likes things really basic. I like modern art and he likes landscapes. Etc. Still, it’s awkward socially because a lot of people assume that one or the other of us is commitment-phobic. I try at my age to decide for myself, not to please other people, but sometimes I would like us to be a “real couple” living together.

  10. October 15, 2010 @ 8:28 am austin

    It’s a fascinating subject, and you write very well. Thanks.

  11. October 6, 2010 @ 4:02 pm Zelda

    When you’re young I think you should get married and begin life together that way. I don’t have anyone right now, but when you’re a senior it seems better to live together without getting married. I agree about legal protection, though.

  12. October 6, 2010 @ 10:55 am Shauna

    I would never live with a man without marriage.

  13. October 5, 2010 @ 1:06 am Bitsy Betsy

    I remember something from a Woody Allen movie (dialogue of a divorced couple):
    She: Our marriage wasn’t going anywhere.
    He: That’s what marriages do – they don’t GO anywhere; they just lie there.

  14. September 26, 2010 @ 9:09 pm Remy

    Awesome post, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I see that nobody has lost their passion. Good to be back.

  15. September 19, 2010 @ 5:36 pm Phyl301

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why two people who have found one another don’t get married. It’s good for a lot of reasons, and one of them is that you can hold your head up high at parties and at doctor’s appointments. I’ve had enough of people dissing me because I’m not married and when I find someone I’ll want to get hitched. If he doesn’t want to, I’ll deal with that situation when it comes.

  16. September 19, 2010 @ 5:33 pm Sally247

    The Oscar Wilde quote made me smile. My significant other moved in with me about a month ago and I am starting to wonder about the intelligence of the decision. I really liked living alone, but I was afraid I’d lose the only chance I had. I am 67.

  17. September 19, 2010 @ 5:31 pm Bubbles

    Funny you should mention Miro. I know a guy who likes Miro, but I like him too. Maybe I’ll ask him to move in. :O)

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