Is Susan Sarandon Changing Her Tune on Marriage?

Jeanne Sager

Susan SarandonSusan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were famous for being the Hollywood couple who kept it together ... until it fell apart. So is it any surprise she's waffling on whether marriage is really all that important?

Sarandon recently told the Telegraph, "I've always liked the idea of choosing to be with somebody."

But she quickly followed it by saying, "I thought that if you didn't get married you wouldn't take each other for granted as easily. I don't know if after twenty-something years that was still true."

That the couple broke up just out and out stinks. Twenty-three years together in Hollywood is no small thing, and with her activist history she seems -- from afar anyway -- like one genuinely nice person.

So I hate to sound like I'm picking on Sarandon or Robbins here. But sometimes the "oh, my relationship is stronger because I didn't get married" shtick gets old for us married folks.

Don't worry. We're not better. I'm not going there. But we'd like to think that we have just about the same chances as the rest of you.

Statistically, anyway, we seem to be about there. While there are actual numbers for marriages based on marriage license and divorce records, there's little to no paperwork filed when two people who are cohabiting break up.

A National Survey of Families and Households, based on interviews with 13,000 people, found 40 percent of couples who live together but don't marry end up breaking up. The rest stay together -- or get married.

And what about those married people? The CDC puts the divorce rate at 50 percent.

It would seem 40 percent is doing better than 50, but who can account for how many of the 60 percent of cohabiting people ended up getting married? The odds are skewed.

So why does one side always tout they have the answer? It comes from the married side too -- Bridget Jones didn't call us "smug marrieds" for nothing.

Being married works for a lot of people. Living together does for lots more. What the break-up rates really teach us is that neither one is perfect.

Sarandon's right -- we shouldn't take our partner for granted. But we can't take for granted that our situation is going to protect us either.


Image via david shankbone/Flickr

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