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I know there was a thread about this not very long ago at all but well...sorry, here is another. Obvs I have name-changed.
I suppose I want to hear other peoples opinions really on whether you would end a 10 year relationship, one which is mostly good, because he doesn't want to get married. We have both been married before. We both have children but have no children together and will not be having children together. Being married is something that really matters to me. I don't want a frilly dress or a big party, I just want to be married. Registry office and a pub meal will do me. I want to make an outward commitment, I want to know that he feels the same blah blah. I also want to be legally protected if something goes wrong. Maybe because we don't have children together I don't need the legal protection marriage can offer, I don't know. We have talked about it a lot over the years and his response is always, 'it's just a piece of paper' or 'I like knowing that we are together because we want to be, not because we have to be'.
Sometimes it bothers me so much that it is the first thing that pops in my head when I wake up. I'm aware that must make me sound quite ridiculous. Sometimes I tell myself, I must be mad thinking of ending a normal happy 10 year relationship just because he won't get married.
Don't really know what I am rambling about tbh. Bit and also with it all. Opinions gratefully received.
I totally get what you mean, I am exactly the same. If marriage is just a piece of paper why is he so scared of it, and if being married means you have to stay together how come he's not still with his wife? Personally, I would and did end a relationship over this. It hurt, but I wasn't prepared to accept anything less than he had offered his ex wife.
We've been happily married for ten years now and he often says he regrets not marrying me sooner.
It's not just a piece of paper. And marriage doesn't keep people together. So, something else is going on here. His responses are glib. Have you spelled it out to him? Does he know how much it bothers you? Or do you want him to want it as much as you do? If he went along with it to keep the peace, would that be okay?
Do you live together? Did he go through a painful first divorce?
His reasons for not getting married are bullshit.
Perhaps he is worried that marriage would give you a claim to property that he would prefer was reserved for his children?
Thanks for the replies.
nfk - I have spelt it out I think. I haven't said "marry me or we split up" because I feel then that he wouldn't really wanted to have married me, he just did it because he didn't want to split up IYSWIM . He does know how much it bothers me but I find myself shutting up about it because it usually ends up with me getting upset. <pathetic>
Although just to confuse myself even further, I now find myself wondering why I want to be married to a man who clearly doesn't want to be married to me! Who doesn't think enough of me to not have me going through life as 'just' his bloody girlfriend.
MexicanHat - yes we live together. His divorce wasn't anymore painful than mine. He didn't have a particularly happy marriage but then, again, neither did I.
JoinyourPlayfellows - he has no property/money, neither of us do, that isn't the reason.
I think it's perfectly valid to say you're staying with your partner out of choice, not because you signed a contract that said you would.
My partner frequently grumbles that I won't marry him. I'm afraid that if he forced me (and I would see this as force) to marry him, I would probably go ahead but I would resent him quite a lot. And we have two children.
Clearly it matters a lot to you - and so it should matter a lot to him as well.
It is a becoming a deal-breaker to you and therefore it needs to be resolved no matter how painful it might be.
If he says no, never. Then you have to decide whether or not you can continue on that basis and your decision is the right one for you, regardless of what anyone else says.
I would never get married again (so I say now!) but I completely understand why it matters so much.
"I think it's perfectly valid to say you're staying with your partner out of choice, not because you signed a contract that said you would."
I think that's a really weird thing to say.
It implies that people who are married only stay together because they signed a contract, and not out of choice.
Plenty of unmarried people in couples are still there because they are totally stuck and unable to leave.
In some cases the fact that they are not married is a factor in their inability to leave.
I was a bit about getting married but I wanted to have children and my partner said it was a deal breaker for him, marriage before babies. And now I'm married, I love it. There is no way it's "just a piece if paper". For me, it's the foundation everything else is built on. I never expected to feel the way that I do about it... If its important to you to be married then I don't think that will go away... And I don't think you are wrong for wanting it... There's not much in the way of a compromise to be had, you either are or you aren't so I think you need to keep talking about it and see what room there is for one of you to change your minds. If there is none then I don't think you're unreasonable to consider leaving.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply.
I really don't think it is going to go away for me. I have tried to squash the feelings away for the last 10 years and if anything they are just getting stronger. One last talk and I need to know either way if its a, no it won't ever happen or...not .
It's so difficult. I could end this relationship and still end up alone and unmarried!
motherinferior - I see what you are saying completely. If I felt pushed or guilted into marriage by a man then I think I would run for the hills. I suppose that is what I am doing to him really, which makes me wholly unacceptable
I also think his reasons for not marrying you are bs. If it is just a "piece of paper" then why is he so bothered about not marrying you?. A Solicitor would soon rubbish that notion of his as well.
BTW if he dropped dead tomorrow you would be really up the creek without a paddle even if you state there is no property and or money involved (what is your status re the property you reside in, are you on the mortgage for instance?).
The law regards you as two separate individuals not related to each other. If he died you would not be able to order a headstone for him, open Letters of Administration nor claims any Widows Allowance from the government (around £80 a week currently). As well as emotional grief you could well end up in financial hardship. You would be completely at the mercies of his children. You could end up with nothing.
Well, it's how you feel. But not wanting to get married is equally valid, IMO.
It's not 'just a piece of paper'. It carries a whole load of baggage. Baggage some of us don't want.
Atilla - see I didn't know ANY of that. The house we live in now is rented, in my sole name, so on that basis, I would be OK, but I had no idea about any of the things you mention in your final paragraph. How bloody stupid am I?
But what he's doing to you is also unacceptable NameChange - he is just ignoring the fact that this means so much to you. If he's committed to you, what's the problem with getting married - it can simply be a trip to the registry office with no fuss at all and not even a meal - I presume that is the really important thing that you want and anything else is just the trimmings? And if he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life with you, better to know now so that you can make provision accordingly.
But what's the problem with not getting married? It's always presented to those of us who don't want to marry as 'just a little thing'...it's not.
This is coming across as something very important to you which you should not ignore. Seeing a counsellor on your own might help you clarify in your own mind why it is so important and how you want to move forward.
For example you could decide on firmly but kindly separating or alternatively inviting your partner to engage in exploring deeply why you have apparently incompatible wishes.
I hope you do not choose to continue stuffing your feelings down and accepting what feels to you like a fundamental lack of respect.
"It's not 'just a piece of paper'. It carries a whole load of baggage. Baggage some of us don't want."
And some of us do want, or are prepared to overlook for the advantages we perceive to be offered by it.
It's OK not to want to get married.
But arguing that it is "just a piece of paper" is very silly.
I never even got a piece of paper.
mistlethrush - I have said to him on a number of occasions that it is about the marriage to me, not the wedding. I had a "big do" when I was married the first time and spent the actual marriage miserable and depressed. I would do it in my jeans and go to McDs after this time! Doesn't change his mind though.
BTW motherinferior I totally agree that being deliberately 'not married' can be a positive choice. One DP and I are currently making.
It sounds like it matters to you a lot and I would want to know why he isn't responding to that.
I can't be bothered with marriage because to me it is just a legal thing, not an emotionally meaningful thing. But if my DP was really keen then I would get married without hesitation - I don't see the point but if felt it had meaning I would do it.
I agree with the other posts that say there is a bigger thing that is stopping him. Not bothered should be not bothered either way. he is actively opposed and that means there must be a reason.
I have to leave for work but I really appreciate all the responses and will take some time to read through again when I get home. Thanks
Joinyourplayfellows I don't think it's silly to say 'just a piece of paper'. For some, i.e. me, it really isn't a meaningful thing. I don't view a relationship differently because they are Mr & Mrs rather than him & her. I tend to judge a relationship based on things like living together, joint mortgage, having kids, longevity etc.
A wedding ceremony does not necessarily convey emotional meaning to a relationship (eg. Britney Spears' Vegas debacle). Though yes, it does have the legal baggage.
I felt increasingly trapped in my marriage. I would never marry again, and I love my partner dearly, and we agree we're together permanently now.
If you feel that being married is, or could be, more important than being with the person you're with then clearly it's not the right relationship for you. That's not love.
Calling a legal contract "just a piece of paper" as though pieces of paper are just silly meaningless ephemera is pretty stupid.
A will is just a piece of paper.
A contract of employment is just a piece of paper.
Insurance documents are just pieces of paper.
The fact that they exist on paper is just an accident of history. It says nothing about the reality of the legal obligations they express.
Even as someone who is in a partnership that have made a conscious decision not to get married, I believe that you are entitled to know the real reasons your DP is saying he doesn't want to get married. I never wanted a wedding, but imagined getting married - but when DP explained to me why he felt so strongly against marriage I understood him, and didn't feel as though he was just ignoring my desires too.
It is always difficult as a couple when there is a massive difference of opinion/belief like this, so you need to be very open and honest and understand why each of you wants or doesn't want marriage. It's only through honesty like this that you can find a compromise that works for you.
FWIW, Atilla's very helpful explaination of the law is something you need to take into consideration but to me it isn't the be all the end all. For example, we both earn the same amount and both still work f/t though we have DC, so should we separate now, I don't believe DP owes me anything, he only owes our DC support. I wouldn't get married just to get a widow's allowance either. Though this may sound very harsh (and sorry if it does) if you have no DC together, then many of the legal concerns of being unmarried v being married don't entirely seem to apply to your current situation, and I personally wouldn't use them to sway either of your decisions.
Perhaps speak to a solicitor so you have the facts correct when you have a proper discussion with DH. What happens to dependents if one partner dies, do they go to GPs?
Many people generally speaking are completely unaware of the legal implications in the event of one person dying if they are living together and not married. "Common law wife" does not exist even though there are still some people out there who believe this.
I mentioned the widows (its now called bereavement) allowance because people who cohabit cannot claim it. That fact is not widely known. Its only payable to husbands, wives and those in a civil partnership.
In OPS case I would want to know the real reasons why this man is so anti marriage. He may well think it is easier to walk away because he is not married to OP. If he for whatever reason thinks that in the event of separation a cohabitation split is somehow less "messy" than a divorce then I think he would be in for a nasty shock. I have seen cohabitee splits along with divorces amongst my friends and in each case I have seen it has been the couples who have cohabited who have had the most problems going forward with regards to property and children. It can become very adversarial.
You need to find out his reasons for not wanting to get married.
Otherwise you would not be unjustified in thinking he is just not that into you and this is a relationship of convenience to him.
I think the problem isn't that you just want to get married but that you want someone who doesn't want to marry again, to want to get married.
He isn't saying that he doesn't want to be with you but I don't think you're going to get what you want.
I have no suggestion but I expect that the unfortunate answer is to shut up or put up.
Attila they have no assets but nevertheless I feel that this issue is more of a romantic one than a practical one. You are obviously better positioned for death benefits if you're married though.
Yes, definitely Atilla. There's a lot that can be sorted out with other paperwork such as life insurance, joint ownership of a house, pensions being paid to a name beneficiary etc. I think a lot of these issues only really raise their had in a couple where one partner earns much less money or, particularly, curtails their career/employment/earning opportunities by staying at home to raise children. I've always made it very clear to DP that irregardless of his views on marriage in general, should the situation ever arise where one of us quits their job or takes themselves off of the career ladder to stay at home more with children, then marriage is probably going to have to happen, whether we tell anyone or not, to ensure the lesser earning partner isn't utterly screwed over if things go sour.
When their are no assets and no shared children, it does become more of a romantic than a legal decision.
What if a couple who were cohabiting did all the legals so neither were left up the creek in the event of one of them dying and then one of the couple changed their will etc behind their partner's back?
Would they be left up the creek then? At least if the couple were married they'd have some legal recourse if either died wouldn't they? Even if they were separated (unless one had hot-footed) it to a solicitor the minute the separation occurred.
Horsemad that's a very good point.
Wills can be secretly changed behind a person's back at any time, and yes that person would definitely be left up the creek.
In answer to being married and then separating - this is exactly why you are better protected when married, because property and assets etc are split accordingly.
So in terms of being legally protected, being married does solve that problem to a very large extent.
If you wanted to know more, I am sure there are people on here with legal backgrounds who could advise you.
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