Naomi Cahn

Perspectives on Nonmarital Relationships

CO-AUTHORS Kaiponanea T. Matsumura, Albertina Antognini, and Emily J. Stolzenberg
Family Court Review

UVA Law Faculty Affiliations


Marriage is no longer the only common way to structure adult intimate relationships. In the United States today, adults live in a variety of nonmarital relationships, ranging from committed partners who cohabit to people who cohabit with varying levels of commitment,1 to committed partners who live apart.2 These kinds of nonmarital relationships are increasingly common. Today, there are more than eight million cohabiting nonmarital different-sex couples, including about three million households with children, as well as approximately 400,000 same-sex cohabiting couples.3 The number of committed partners living apart likely equals or exceeds the number of cohabitants.4 And some intimate partners are in relationships with multiple people at the same time.5 Indeed, several recent studies report that approximately four to five percent of Americans are currently in a consensually nonmonogamous relationship.6


Albertina Antognini et al., Perspectives on Nonmarital Relationships, 58 Family Court Review 142–144 (2020).

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