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Living In SinCohabiting As Husband and Wife in Nineteenth-century England$
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Ginger S. Frost

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719077364

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719077364.001.0001

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Adulterous cohabitation

Adulterous cohabitation

(p.96) 5 Adulterous cohabitation
Living In Sin

Ginger S. Frost

Manchester University Press

Adulterous cohabitees experienced great ambivalence in their family lives and at law. Couples justified cohabitation on causes that mirrored the list of suggested divorce reforms in the late nineteenth century. Discretion was the key to a successful ménage à trois. Most cohabitees tried to find ways to marry before settling for cohabitation. Men's families might be more sympathetic than women's, since men had more sexual freedom. The cohabiting family was the most likely to face hardships, as they had few legal rights. Social ostracism was only one possible negative response to adulterous unions. The legal problems of adulterous unions are explored. Middle-class adulterous cohabitation showed both the possibilities and limitations to marital rebellion. Adulterous unions were not illegal, but the participants still faced intervention from the state. Adulterous cohabitees experienced family opposition; moreover, women suffered more than men in both groups.

Keywords:   adulterous cohabitees, adulterous cohabitation, cohabiting family, social ostracism, adulterous unions

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