Ariella Rogge is one of a growing group of wives bucking tradition: She works full time as head of a girls’ camp while her husband, Matt, stays home with their boys, ages eight and four. “Shifting roles and shattering the gender paradigms of our part of the country has been taxing,” she admits, “but I feel it’s an incredible opportunity for our sons to learn what it means to be a man.”
Maryann Karnich and Jim McCormick have lived together for nearly 17 years. Neither has children. Last year the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 15.3 million heterosexual Americans were in live-in relationships; 47 percent of them are 35 or older, and 13 percent are 55 or older. Some may eventually marry, but Maryann and Jim have no such plans.
Samantha Aulick and Alexa Lemley fell in love as teenagers at work. They both went off to college and on to other female partners, though they remained friends. In 2005, they started working together again and rekindled their relationship. They plan on marrying as soon as it's legal in Indiana, their home state.
Cozy Meyer and Joe Newman met when they were teenagers and married a few months later. Joe was in the navy and often away, and Cozy decided not to move with him when he was moved to another base. They then divorced and did not have any contact for 10 years. In 2003, they met for lunch and "the rest is history," she says.
Harper and Michael James agree that infidelity is wrong. While they both have sex with other people and sometimes participate in threesomes (or moresomes), they say they'd never cheat. Their definition of cheating? "Having sex without telling the other person," Harper says.
Cindy Nye married three times: once when she was 19, once when she was 22 and another time when she was 45. "I've never been happier," she says. According to the latest census figures, 12 percent of American adults have married twice, and 3 percent have married three or more times.
"I'm always telling my girlfriends I live with my brother," says Lynn Johnson. She and her husband, Dave, have been married for 26 years, but she can't remember the last time they had sex. After a decade of trying to have kids, "sex became like a job," Lynn says. Since she and Dave made peace with being childless, they have settled into a close, comfortable routine—confiding in each other, dining out together but pursuing separate activities.
"There’s a little old-fashioned in me," says Terry Grahl. Her husband of 20 years is the primary breadwinner. She runs a nonprofit that redesigns the interiors of shelters for abused women and their kids; she also has a part-time job cleaning an office. But when her children were small, she was a stay-at-home mom. “I’m still here when the kids come home from school,” Terry says.