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To think we would alleviate a lot of misery and some poverty if we phased out marriage in favour of a straight financial contract without a monogamy requirement?

(302 Posts)
thepeopleversuswork Tue 16-Jun-20 16:22:23

So my view is that its unrealistic to expect people to be monogamous for life.

There will be a small number of people who genuinely remain happily monogamous for decades, yes, but for the overwhelming majority of people a scenario where your financial security is explicitly tied to your ability to remain monogamous is outdated, unrealistic and punitive.

It pushes people to remain with someone long after the relationship has passed its sell-by date and often leaves them trapped with someone they no longer love or even like very much because they don't want to upset the children or disentangle finances.

Could we reimagine a kind of financial contract that essentially requires the financially stronger partner (usually, though not always, the man) to guarantee a certain level of financial support to the weaker partner for the duration of the time the children are at home -- or potentially later -- potentially renegotiable in the event that financial capacity changes -- but without the absurd requirement for monogamy?

Haven't thought this through in great detail so bear with me but to me the main reason why divorce is often so rancorous and damaging is because of the "cheating" and the recriminations as to how that should impact on the finances (ie you left me for your secretary, I'm going to take you to the cleaners).

If people were free to renegotiate their emotional commitment to one another without having to redraw the boundaries on the financial commitments linked to child-rearing, or vice versa, it would remove a lot of the most emotionally difficult elements of marriage breakdown, and the stigma.

Children would become more comfortable with the idea of their parents as a financial partnership who love and are committed to them but without the expectation that they have to remain together in perpetuity.

I have observed so many times that the thing that damages children in divorce is not so much the separation of their parents in itself, but the behaviour of their parents either in relation to new partners or in relation to money and the division of spoils.

If the financial element were clearer and not tied to sexual fidelity, and the stigma was removed around people dissolving relationships, would that not make it somewhat easier for children to accept this change in a non-damaging way?

Finally, getting rid of marriage would get rid of the loathsome cult of the wedding and all the toxic effect it has on generations of young women.

Anyone with me?

OP’s posts: |
Poetryinaction Tue 16-Jun-20 16:24:20

Sounds good to me.

CarrieBlue Tue 16-Jun-20 16:24:41

Marriage works just fine for me, thanks.

SadSisters Tue 16-Jun-20 16:26:19

There’s nothing currently preventing people from agreeing to be married and non-monogamous. The fact that so few people opt for this is most likely an indication that there isn’t a widespread appetite for it.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 16-Jun-20 16:28:12

It sounds so clinical. I am aware I am lucky that my marriage was so happy, but I cannot imagine reducing it to a financial contract.

user8558 Tue 16-Jun-20 16:29:38

I think it's just too complicated.

Private and secret affairs have been the lesser of all evils for some time.

BillywilliamV Tue 16-Jun-20 16:30:03

The whole point of marriage is the "forsaking all others" which I was happy to do. You can have any kind of financial contract you like drawn up by a good lawyer if you want to shag around.

Euclid Tue 16-Jun-20 16:30:13

If one spouse cheats, the hurt will be there for the other, regardless of whether there is a marriage or a financial contract.

I think that it is a terrible idea.

AliasGrape Tue 16-Jun-20 16:32:41

Yeah I’m happy with marriage thanks (and my wedding was great, we had a ball, only spent what we could afford and enjoyed every minute - nothing loathsome or toxic there).

People are free to negotiate marriage on whatever terms they wish, or to draw up some other kind of agreement I suppose if they think that suits them better. Neither DH nor myself wish to be free from the requirement of monogamy, that’s the kind of relationship we both signed up for and thus far have had no issue keeping it in our vows. Granted, we’ve not been married that long (together longer though) but if he honestly came to me and asked if I fancied entering a ‘potentially renegotiable financial partnership with no expectation of monogamy on either side’ I’d tell him he could keep it, ta. We wanted to be married, not business partners.

Costacoffeeplease Tue 16-Jun-20 16:32:50

Ridiculous idea. Unless you’re happy with an open relationship, and not many people are, then the situation would be the same

BillywilliamV Tue 16-Jun-20 16:33:17

Actually, I really, really resent the implication that people cant be monogamous for life. Its not hard, if you love your husband and children and want to do what is best for them!

Thelnebriati Tue 16-Jun-20 16:33:40

I get your point but voted YABU for suggesting this kind of contract should replace marriage instead of being available alongside it.

thepeopleversuswork Tue 16-Jun-20 16:34:09

SadSisters legally this is true, but the foundation of most faith-based marriages is fidelity. And certainly if you're getting married in a church/mosque/synagogue its an expectation.

OP’s posts: |
Desiringonlychild Tue 16-Jun-20 16:34:58

I am fine with my marriage but I can see your point.

However, if my DH wasn't monogamous, what would stop him from having a child with another woman? That would dilute his resources from being spent on my child and he isn't as rich as Boris Johnson! He would probably be able to support my child on a basic level (while supporting another family) but that's not good enough for me, I want both our resources to go into our family, not shared with someone else's family.

Granted that this can all happen within the current confines of marriage and divorce but I wouldn't be comfortable entering into a contract where this is a distinct likelihood.

thepeopleversuswork Tue 16-Jun-20 16:35:28

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with monogamy when you're in a committed relationship. I'd demand it. But I think the idea that your financial security should be conditional on it is barbaric, to be honest.

OP’s posts: |
Prisonbreak Tue 16-Jun-20 16:35:34

Not married and never want to be. I also don’t rely on my man financially. I make my own money and I am proud of what I have

thepeopleversuswork Tue 16-Jun-20 16:37:57

BillyWilliamV some people can be monogamous for life, many can't, or at least not without making themselves fairly unhappy. I'm not arguing that people should not strive to be monogamous in their relationships. I'm arguing that having monogamy as the condition for your financial wellbeing is outdated.

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Devlesko Tue 16-Jun-20 16:38:26

Gosh where to start.
Not all people cheat, and marriage is important to some people.
Far too easy to say I do, anyone can do it without proving they are fit for marriage.
Weddings are only toxic if the bride is Bridezilla. It's the marriage that's the important bit, not white dress and lots of expense.
You can get married for a few quid at a register office, then home for egg and chips, if you like.

nicelyneurotic Tue 16-Jun-20 16:39:08

I see your point. However, I wouldnt have opted to have children without the monogamy part of the contract.

PrincessConsuelaVaginaHammock Tue 16-Jun-20 16:42:43

thepeopleversuswork

SadSisters legally this is true, but the foundation of most faith-based marriages is fidelity. And certainly if you're getting married in a church/mosque/synagogue its an expectation.

Religious marriages are a minority of those conducted in the UK and have been for ages now. There also aren't likely to be many people choosing a religious ceremony who aren't aware of the availability of a secular option, so this doesn't seem especially relevant.

Devlesko Tue 16-Jun-20 16:43:35

I'm arguing that having monogamy as the condition for your financial wellbeing is outdated

Speak for yourself, plenty do manage a monogamous marriage. If people can't be monogamous they have no right to marry.

I'm wondering how a marriage cert makes any difference, most people want their partner to be faithful with or without marriage.
Do you think it would still be nice and friendly if one of them cops of with someone else, enjoys shagging around whilst the other is sat at home playing happy families.
Fair enough if both want an open relationship, you can choose this irrespective of marriage.

user1495884620 Tue 16-Jun-20 16:44:13

Effectively we have this already, If someone gets married and has children, they know they will have to support them until they are adults. You simply can't decide at the point of marriage what the maintenance will be in the event of a split. Apart from anything else, when people marry before having children, it is very common for both parties to be on a fairly even footing financially. Women then tend to fall behind by taking maternity leave, or going part-time or seeking lower paid jobs that fit in with child care. They would be big losers if future financial commitment was set at marriage.

SurreyHillsGirl Tue 16-Jun-20 16:45:41

Nope, my marriage is wonderful thanks. Also I make my own money.

Finally, getting rid of marriage would get rid of the loathsome cult of the wedding and all the toxic effect it has on generations of young women

confused my wedding day was one of the best days of my life and I love attending other people's weddings, they are joyous occasions, the antithesis of 'loathsome' hmm You sound v angry.

thepeopleversuswork Tue 16-Jun-20 16:47:43

Desiring that’s a good point... maybe the solution is just to come down harder on men who don’t support kids.

I do think the idea of linking sexual fidelity to financial well-being is pretty Byzantine though... can’t really get past the idea that we need to rethink this.

OP’s posts: |
Porcupineinwaiting Tue 16-Jun-20 16:50:05

I dont see how it would help unless it were enforceable. And how can anyone guarentee to provide x amount per year? What if they lose their job, or become long term sick? What if they father other children outside of the marriage, dont they then have to support them?

I would support the enforcement of child support packages when relationships end. Lots of countries manage that.

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