If you're uncomfortable with marriage but got married anyway, what made you decide to go for it?

(59 Posts)
Lottapianos Mon 15-Apr-13 16:15:50

DP and I have been together 8 years, living together for nearly 5. Lots of ups and downs but have come through it all and I would say we have a very supportive, loving relationship. No DCs and that's most likely the way it will stay.

I've always been staunchly anti-marriage but in the last year or so, I've been feeling that I would like to make our relationship 'official', or take it to 'the next level' or something smile I'm not quite sure exactly what I'm looking for. I would not be a Mrs, I would not take his name, I would not wear an engagement ring (already wear a silver ring that he gave me as a gift) so nothing would really change outwardly but I find myself getting extremely excited about planning a wedding day (not a huge production at all, a quiet cheap-ish day but just a celebration of our relationship).

I support the Equal Love campaign who have launched a legal bid in the ECHR to extend civil partnerships to hetero couples, and if/when this judgement is passed (probably next year), I would absolutely jump at the chance to have a CP. So would DP, we have discussed this issue and he is up for either married, or CP, or stay as we are. So it's not the commitment issue at all, it's the 'married' part that bugs me.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts, whether you got married or decided not to, just to give me some extra food for thought smile
TIA

FinnTheHuman Wed 17-Apr-13 15:56:38

Next of kin status was important to me. I would like my husband to make decisions if I couldn't, not a brother I hadn't seen for years.

Also money, it would be easier to access a death in service insurance policy if the worst happened as a wife rather then partner.

It was the second reason that prompted marriage after 15 years as partners. Nothing religious involved, a very quickly arranged registrars do with two witnesses.

Lottapianos Wed 17-Apr-13 16:54:32

'I greatly despise women who take their husband's surname (WTF?!) '

I wouldn't go so far as to say I despise them but I find it downright sad that so many women give up their names seemingly without a second thought. I know it's a legitimate choice but from a feminist point of view, I can't see how it can be anything but an unhelpful one.

'I don't think you can eliminate the cultural baggage of marriage for heterosexual couples'

You may well be right Hullmum. I'm sure some people would still refer to us as married, just as people always refer to gay couples who have a CP as 'married', even though they can't legally get married yet.

2cats2many Wed 17-Apr-13 16:59:54

DH really wanted to and it seemed like such an easy thing to do for him. We didn't have a big wedding tho (just 5 peeps including us) and I've kept my name.

Bunbaker Wed 17-Apr-13 17:18:20

" So it's not the commitment issue at all, it's the 'married' part that bugs me."

Why?

"I love not being married. I equate marriage with loss of independent identity as it always involves some legal framework that has all sorts of cobwebs attached from bygone times when women were chattels of men. I greatly despise women who take their husband's surname"

Despise me then grin. I am me. I don't feel that I have lost my identity. I don't feel like a chattel. I have a very unsociable husband so most people know me as me and not as someone's wife or mother. Also, I got married over 30 years ago and it didn't occur to me not to take my husband's name.

I think marriage is what you make it and feel that OH and I have an equal partnership.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 17:55:17

2cats after I finally agreed to get married, I do remember wondering why I had made such a fuss beforehand

It was such an easy way to make so many people happy, and didn't affect me and my life in any way whatsover grin...

As for my name, I am utterly fluid. Sometimes I use my maiden name, sometimes I use DH's, very often I use my pen name. I love the freedom.

MsJupiterJones Wed 17-Apr-13 18:00:28

Bonsoir, I chose to take my husbands surname. Why? Because 'my' surname was really just my father's. A man I have nothing to do with and no-one else in my family had. I am no more DH's possession than I was his but I was delighted to lose the association. I kept 'Ms' though.

Unless your family has a long history of following the maternal line, your surname comes from a man. While I think it's great when those of my friends without father issues do keep their name (and one friend whose husband took hers), I certainly wouldn't despise anyone for making a different choice.

currynight Wed 17-Apr-13 18:08:24

I was always disinterested in marriage but not really against it. I decided to marry DH in the end because we wanted to live together, but circumstances meant that we'd be moving into his house. I didn't want to be in the insecure position of cohabiting with only his name on the deeds - I've read too many horror threads on MN about women who have done that, and I have a DD (not DH's) to protect.

All the legal and financial protections were relevant as well - we'd be over the inheritance tax threshold just on the house value alone, he could get step-parent PR for DD but not if we weren't married, and we may think about emigrating to his home country in the future - none of that can be sorted out with wills and legal agreements, only through marriage. He also gets a bunch of work benefits that only apply to spouses - medical/dental/travel insurance etc.

I've kept my surname though and rarely wear my engagement/wedding rings.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 18:09:16

I can't even claim that my father's name was his own, because his father adopted it when he left his place of birth!

AnyFucker Wed 17-Apr-13 18:26:14

Bonsoir, such a level of vitriol for other women's choices ?

Methinks one doth protest too much

StephaniePowers Wed 17-Apr-13 18:49:45

I think 'despise' is too strong a word, but though I try to remain neutral, I do secretly think it's a bit crap. Unless a woman is getting rid of a surname like Fister or Twatt.
I wouldn't ever say that though. (Except here.) It is everyone's free choice and it is a tradition of sorts.

HullMum Wed 17-Apr-13 19:59:36

I'd have totally kept my name if it had been either of those Stephanie grin it'd be hilarious

I never wanted to get married, however as a sahm to young kids I realised marriage was good protection for both of us really. Plus it sent a signal to us, to dcs and dsc that we really were family...
I still bizarrely identify more with the unmarrieds - call dh 'my partner' I'm still ms maiden name. I'm deluded.

Jan49 Wed 17-Apr-13 23:42:57

I got married, over 20 years ago, divorced about 15 years later. We were cohabiting and happy with that but felt pressure on both sides of the family to marry. To me, getting married also felt like the next step towards having a child as I didn't really see having a child outside marriage as an option I'd want. I saw the wedding as a nice day out and an occasion which would keep the families happy and I didn't expect it to make any difference to our relationship and it didn't make any difference. I didn't take much notice of the legal difference it makes regarding what happens if you split up but I believed we would never split up so I really didn't feel it applied.

The other thing that bothered me was that older generations in our families treated our relationship as less significant until we got married. So a couple who had been together for a year and were married would be seen as a serious couple whereas a couple who had been together for years but weren't married were seen more like a new bf and gf. Such as over who to spend Christmas with.

I didn't change my surname and we didn't wear rings.

The only time being married really mattered was, sadly, when we split up. I remained in the family home with our son for a long time but that might not have happened if we'd been unmarried. I don't think I'd have coped with having to move at that stage so I'm grateful for the protection it gave me. But if I could go back and give myself some advice, I'd say don't marry him or have a child with him.

dublinrose37 Thu 18-Apr-13 11:28:58

I could take or leave marriage. We did it to cover ourselves re inheritance tax, if one of us died the other would have to pay approx 33% of the value of our house to the tax man and there is no way we would have that money so it would mean selling the house. I wasn't going to put myself or him through that when getting married would secure our home.

Next of kin was also an issue, when I was pregnant with our first baby DH had an accident and I'll never forget the way I was treated by staff just because I was his girlfriend and not his wife. I might as well have been a stranger. That is not something I want to repeat.

We had a very small wedding, we don't wear rings, I kept my name so I don't feel married. I don't feel any different to how I did as his partner but I like the feeling of security re the home. It helps me sleep easier at night.

iclaudius Thu 18-Apr-13 11:56:30

Please please lotta start a MN campaign for heterosexual civil partnership s . Dp and me have been together maybe 23-4 years loads of kids and desperate to civil partnership ....

So unfair

StephaniePowers Thu 18-Apr-13 12:00:15

iclaudius various groups have campaigned for heterosexual civil partnerships and been rebuffed: it's just not a high priority and someone always says 'but you have it, you can get married in a register office, stop wasting our time'.

Lottapianos Thu 18-Apr-13 12:57:51

iclaudius, I have started a few threads in the past about hetero CPs on here and there are quite a few people who would love to have one. There are also a load of people who think it's a waste of time, but I think they just don't grasp the details of why marriage disturbs some people.

Have a look here

As I said upthread, there is a legal challenge going through the European Court of Human Rights to have the twin ban on gay marriage and hetero CPs overturned. It has been submitted on behalf of the Equal Love campaign by a highly respected law professor from UCL (whose name escapes me) who is confident of victory. So the campaign really does have legs. I also read somewhere that some MPs will be tabling a motion to have CPs extended to hetero couples as part of the Gay Marriage Bill currently being discussed.

I have no idea why they would not want to extend CPs to all. This government bang on and on about commitment and 'doing the right thing' - surely even more people would become legally committed to each other this way? And it would cost hardly anything to introduce.

iclaudius Thu 18-Apr-13 20:25:23

Stephanie - that attitude really grates on me!
Lotta - thanks for that! I did once follow the equal love campAign but seemed to lose it somewhere .... I am in the process of drawing up very expensive wills which annoys the hell out of me tbh

It really hit home when dp became quite seriously ill recently and whilst he was lying on the hospital gurney At 2 am I was asked if I was his wife. I am not but he has no contact with his family for over ten years now and we have seven children ' I said 'yes'

Bunbaker Thu 18-Apr-13 20:39:09

What exactly is the difference between marriage and a civil partnership?

Lottapianos Fri 19-Apr-13 12:55:55

Bunbaker, they are almost the same legally. However, with a CP there is no 'consummation' of the relationship, no presumption of fidelity, no 'husband' or 'wife' (just partners) and it's not assumed to be a life-long union (although of course it could be!). There is also no history of rings, white dresses, flowers, brides being 'given away' etc although you are free to include all or none of these as you wish. In a marriage ceremony there are certain vows that have to be spoken - in a CP ceremony you can say as much or as little as you want, you only have to confirm that you are both there of your own free will.

It's a way of becoming each other's legal partner (next of kin, beneficiary etc) but the actual terms of the relationship are down to the couple themselves to define.

daftdame Fri 19-Apr-13 13:14:29

Didn't want to split up. Didn't want to be with anyone else. The only thing that put me off was organizing the 'do'. Then as your lives become more and more intertwined you realize if anything happened you are not next of kin in the the law's eyes. You would have to fight to prove that you should be considered as such - possibly in a stressful situation. Add kids and property to the mix and marriage seems more and more the best idea. We got married!

AutumnMadness Wed 24-Apr-13 12:26:35

Lattapianos, thanks for the explanation of the differences between marriage and civil partnership. I always wondered. But I think, that instead of campaigning for heterosexual civil partnerships, I would campaign for redefined marriage for everyone, gay/straight/whatever. If you want to get married in church - then you've got to promise whatever church wants to you believe (fidelity, life-long commitment, etc.). But if you get married in a civil ceremony at the registrar's, then you should be able to promise whatever you want, including omitting stuff about fidelity and "till death". After all, marriage has been redefined throughout human history. Why cant' we redefine it a bit more? As for labels - 'husband' and 'wife' can sound a bit 'oppressy', but they are just words and their meaning depends on how we understand them. They don't need to be about oppression. "Partner" does always sound like a law firm or a dental practice to me, but it's just my personal perspective.

turkeyboots Wed 24-Apr-13 14:41:50

We did it as a public celebration of our commitment to each other. So a very simple reason.

Had civil ceremony and big party. Didn't do anything too white weddingy. Except for buying myself a bouquet the day before, as felt odd to not have them. Was a great day and fondly remembered by family.

Lottapianos Wed 24-Apr-13 14:53:10

I know what you're saying about re-defining marriage AutumnMadness but to be honest, I think some people like all the 'baggage'. I heard young women at work going all gushy about how someone they know has got engaged, and the bloke asked her dad's permission first - awwwww hmm And endless excitement about white dresses, engagement rings and name-changing. Not to mention hen nights (last night of 'freedom') <heaves>

So I think if some people would like a 'traditional' kind of marriage, go for it. However, it's not for everyone and this is where CPs come in. As it happens, I don't think that sexual relationships should be prioritised over other types of relationships - I think CPs should be available to any pairs/groups of people like long-term flatmates, siblings, long-term friends etc.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 26-Apr-13 10:21:23

We (NZ) legalised gay marriage a week or two ago, so to my mind the more insidious traditional aspects of marriage are slowly being eroded. Which is only a good thing. The UK may not be ready for gay marriage just yet, but it will be eventually. No doubt about that.

Marriage has a lot of negative history, but you can happily make it work for you, and it has changed beyond recognition over the generations. And continues to do so.

I didn't initially take DH's surname, but did once I was pregnant. I umm'd an ah'd over it for ages and in the end decided to as I wanted us all to have the same name. Flimsy reason. I miss my name a lot and am not convinced I did the right thing, but whatever.

It doesn't bother me if people despise me for it; it's their effort to expend however the wish; it has zero impact on me. smile I do think that until more children take on their mother's name, keeping your own name (while any children default to the father's) is really only paying lip service. Although it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

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