Although cohabitation is increasingly common in Poland, it is usually considered a transitional, testing stage that leads to marriage, which constitutes the preferred form of family life in the country. Does it mean that couples who do not choose to marry are perceived as somewhat “worse” than those tying the knot? Using qualitative data from focus group interviews with 69 men and women aged 25–40, I aimed to answer the following questions: What are social perceptions of couples who have already “tested” their relationship, but still live together and refrain from marriage? In particular, what are the motives attributed to such couples and how – if at all – these motives are linked to the quality of the relationships? There were four themes related to such motives identified in the analysed material: (1) the perception of marriage as an unnecessary expense that does not change anything in a relationship, or even makes things worse; (2) fear of an ultimate commitment; (3) uncertainty whether this is the right partner and the resulting low level of commitment in the relationship; (4) rejection of traditional gender roles. Commitment appears central in the analysed discussions suggesting that this concept should constitute an important topic in future studies on unions in Poland.
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