Alternatives to Divorce: Redefining Marriage

Alternatives to Divorce: Redefining Marriage

When we get married, we vow to live happily ever after with our spouse. We vow to be there for our husband or wife, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. The truth is that forever is a long time. When you are in your 20s, you may decide you no longer want to be with the same person you married when you are in your 40s and 50s and your kids are grown. If you are 50 years old, do you really want to spend 20, 30, or maybe even 40 more years with someone who drives you nuts? People change. Situations change. We all learn and grow throughout our lives.

While you may no longer want to be married to your spouse, you may not feel that divorce is the answer. So what happens next? Are you and your spouse resigned to sleeping in separate beds for the rest of your life? Do you have to be miserable until the day you die?

The good news is that there is another option — staying married but with different rules. In traditional marriages, the couples live together and are monogamous to each other. However, you do not necessarily have to live by these rules. This may seem odd to you, but think about it. We are in 2020 now, and things are always changing. Women are becoming more and more educated. Technology is changing our lives at a rapid pace. Soon we will all be riding in driverless cars. Who is to say that marriage cannot change, as well?

There are three alternatives to marriage that many couples are exploring — open marriage, parenting marriage, and living apart together. By avoiding divorce, these couples are avoiding the financial issues that come with divorce. It is also beneficial to children, other family members, and even friends who would be affected by a divorce.

Open Marriage

This is probably the most popular type of alternative marriage. You may have even seen magazine articles from people who live in this type of marriage, so you have read a first-hand look at the pros and cons. This may seem the most drastic type of alternative marriage. It is radical in nature because you are throwing monogamy out the door and opening your marriage to other people. If you married young and have no sexual experience outside your marriage, and now you regret it, then having an open marriage can give you the sexual satisfaction you crave. If your spouse is no longer tending to your physical needs, then you can get them taken care of outside the marriage, and you will not feel bad or be accused of cheating because you have permission from your spouse.

However, an open marriage is not for every couple. Some partners are jealous and would not be open to this suggestion. Also, there would have to be clear rules involved. What activities are and are not allowed? Are all types of sex allowed? What about kissing? What about birth control? What would happen if you got pregnant or your partner got someone else pregnant?

Parenting Marriage

This is a good option if you have kids and want to stay together for their sake, but just are not feeling the love with your spouse anymore. As the name suggests, this type of marriage focuses on the parenting aspect. You and your spouse no longer live as romantic partners, which involves turning your romantic relationship into a platonic one. While this can be tricky in some ways, you no longer have to focus on keeping your marriage intact, which means you have more time to spend with the kids. You and your spouse can decide how to parent. Will you still do things as a family or will the kids spend time with each parent separately?

Living Apart Together

This can be a good option for those without kids, although it can still work if you are a parent. As the name implies, you are still married but living apart. This is an expensive option, since it requires two households and all the expenses that go along with them. However, the spouses can still live together in the marital home part of the time each spouse. When things get stressful, each person gets their own space, which can avoid arguments.

Who can Benefit from an Alternative Marriage?

Not everyone can make an alternative marriage work. It requires certain qualities from both spouses. The most important one is that you need to communicate well. If you and your spouse barely say anything more than a few words to each other, then changing up your marriage is unlikely to work.

You need to make the choice together. If your wife wants an open marriage, but you do not, then she cannot just choose to sleep with other people. That will cause jealousy, mistrust and other issues.

Also, you both have to not care what others think. If you tell your family members, friends, church, neighbors, and others about your marriage, be prepared for negative responses. If these people do not want to associate with you anymore, then you need to decide if you can live with their decision.

Seek Legal Help

Traditional marriage is not for everyone, but divorce is not always an option. Many couples want to stay together for the children. Maybe there are religious reasons involved. In some cases, they simply cannot afford to divorce. Alternative marriages are a good compromise.

However, an open marriage and a marriage where the parties live separately is not right for every marriage. A divorce allows you a fresh start and can be a good option if your marriage is on the rocks. Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can guide you through the process and help you meet your goals. To schedule a consultation, call (954) 346-6464 today.