Chapter

Conclusion

Ginger S. Frost

in Living In Sin

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077364
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077364.003.0011
Conclusion

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Cohabitees resembled married couples and emulated aspects of marriage as much as possible. Women tended to see irregular unions as ‘marriages’ whatever their legal status, while some men could see themselves as ‘free’ even in legal marriages. Stable cohabitation and marriage shared many traits and sometimes reinforced class and gender norms. All the same, cohabitees could not emulate all aspects of marriage; even those most firmly emotionally ‘married’ could not change the legal and social circumstances. Men gained freedom from cohabitation, but in doing so they forfeited some of their legal authority. Cohabitation had legal, economic, and emotional consequences. Marriage has survived the onslaughts of mass cohabitation and no-fault divorce. The legal changes of the twentieth century have ended the heavy-handed adjudication of divorce and marriage. The survival of marriage into the twenty-first century shows that the institution has weathered the changes in its definition and roles.

Keywords: marriage; cohabitation; class; gender; legal authority; divorce

Chapter.  4888 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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