Should Retired Couples Over Sixty Get Married or Live Together?

I wonder what I would do if I was alone again. Certainly, I may die first. However, statistics are on the side that I’ll be a single woman over 60. I’m very lucky to be passionately in love and have been for over thirty years. That doesn’t preclude me from falling in love one more time.

Recently, I read a blog by Adam Sheck as he discussed the pros and cons of marriage versus living together. Not having a moral position on the subject, I believe that living together was perfectly acceptable, as long as there weren’t children. Since we can assume young children won’t be involved in a couple over sixty, I concluded that marriage wasn’t necessary.

While Dr. Sheck wasn’t discussing a particular age group, he did present interesting statistics about marriage versus living together. Did you know the majority of people who live together without marriage break up within two years? In addition, the divorce rate is twice as likely for people who lived together prior to getting married.

Regardless of what you decide to do with your relationship, you might want to discuss the statistics and how it affects you. Dr. Sheck suggests you look at your commitment level. Do you both share the same sense of dedication to the relationship? If one person thinks this is a committed relationship and the other only a passing fling, you will have problems down the line.

Regardless of whether you decide to get married or live together, you need to have an agreement about your financial affairs. By the time a couple is in their sixties and beyond, each member has his and her own money. You need to agree exactly who is going to pay what.

Another critical discussion is to plan if one of you becomes ill. How would an illness play out? When you’re healthy and in love, the last thing someone wants to do is discuss dying and death. It’s important to have an understanding at the beginning of the relationship later in life.

Finally, if you have children, there needs to be a agreement about finances, property, heirlooms and inheritance. It is best to have an estate plan in place for both of you individually, especially if you don’t plan to marry. If you do want to tie the knot, you’re family needs to know you’ve thought about the big picture, as well as the big day.



  1. b+ says:

    You are pointed out some very important and pertinent concerns. There probably is no right or wrong answer. I have a friend that shares her life with a gentleman but has retained her own home and moved very slow in her relationship. I don’t see them marrying and I do think they have discussed the money issues. The illness question is one I think most people don’t want to deal with and yet it may be the most important problem of all as we grow older.


    • Cathy Severson says:

      I agree there isn’t one answer. But, we are back to the age old truism that discussing options, the future and all of the ramifications of both choices should be talked about. I agree with you, but rarely are.

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