Before, the usual story was for a man to marry a woman if they intend to stay together. However, there are instances where the couple is unable to marry, or simply choose not to legalize their relationship.
Concubinage is when a man and woman live together as husband and wife without being married. Concubinage is based on the word concubine, which refers to the woman in the relationship. In ancient societies, the concubine is a secondary wife. In other words, a man has a wife, but he can also have a concubine. Today, a concubine is referred to as the mistress or third party.
What is controversial in concubinage is the reason why the man could not marry the woman even if they are already cohabiting. The connotation is that a woman is a concubine because the man could still be legally married or prohibited from marrying someone else.
Concubinage vs. Adultery
Concubinage implies an extra-marital affair. It is similar to adultery. However, this is not the case in Texas and most states in the US. Adultery is having sexual relations even though at least one of the participants are legally married.
In this definition, some concubines would technically be in an adulterous relationship. Some concubines are the result of adultery, or in some cases, they were the reason for the eventual crumbling of the marriage.
Is it Legal?
Both adultery and concubinage are not crimes in the United States. There are some legal penalties for adultery, and it can also be the basis for seemingly punitive conditions for the ex-husband in a divorce.
Being a concubine has no penalty as well, but it deprives the woman of the protections and benefits of being an actual wife. For instance, she will not have any rights on the shared property, unless it is under her name.
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