An appealing alternative
In the 1800s, opportunities expanded for highly educated and financially independent women to lead lives outside of the bounds of heterosexual marriage by setting up households with one another. Sometimes called "Boston marriages," these arrangements enabled the development of decades-long, committed relationships between women--long before same-sex marriage was legalized.
Boston marriages flourished in many urban communities in the late 1800s but declined shortly thereafter, amidst shifting understandings of sexuality and increased suspicion of lesbian relationships, which made such arrangements less socially acceptable.
Explore the fascinating history of Boston marriages.
Blakemore, Erin. (2020, June 22). Women Got 'Married Long Before Gay Marriage. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/news/women-got-married-long-before-gay-marriage