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You may not imagine you'll ever be hurt. It's common for people to feel invincible. But believe me, we all get injured at some point in our lives. There are incredibly important legal rights that husband and wife have - but that boyfriend-girlfriend do NOT have. The only way you might discover this is when your girlfriend is near death from a car accident - and you aren't allowed in to see her, or even to know how she is doing. It is incredibly critical, if you are in a long term relationship, that you have the legal rights afforded to husband and wife. Sure, you could talk to a lawyer and have a series of documents drawn up and signed. Even so, there are many hospitals and other organizations that will balk at accepting them. If your loved one is injured, are you going to race to your house to grab the documents from your safe, and then run to the hospital to argue with them? Fair or unfair, many organizations *know* what husband/wife means. They won't listen to alternatives. It may literally be the difference between life and death, to have that 'be with my partner no matter what' clearly laid out.