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Pregnancy, hormones and marriage - wwyd?

(64 Posts)
BuntyCollox Tue 18-Feb-14 13:40:18

I have been with my partner for 10 years, we are in a committed long term relationship, both work full time and rent a house which we have lived in for 8 years.

We have spoken in the past, usually after a bottle or two of vino, about marriage and kids. I have always said that ideally I would like to be married before having children and he said he felt the same but I suspect he doesn't feel this quite as strongly as I do.

I am currently 20 weeks pregnant, it wasn't exactly planned but was a nice surprise and we are both delighted even though it wasn't part of our life plan quite yet. I had flippantly dismissed the importance of marriage before but now that I am pregnant I can't think of anything more important (other than the baby)

The main reasons are -
My partner to have full parental responsibility should anything go wrong before registering the birth
Emotional security
Financial security as I will most likely be giving up work
His financial security as the savings account is in my name
For us all to have the same surname
To call him my Husband

I have tried to broach the subject about parental responsibility and need for a will / solicitor advice before the baby is here as we are not married. I half jokingly (tongue in cheek hinty hinty don't try to sound too desperate Bunty) said it would be easier and cheaper to get married, and how we would only need both parents there as witnesses and how neither of us are interested in the big white church do. He kind of mumbled agreement then changed the subject. We had both decided that the baby would take his surname but after reading some advice on the net, I'm now not sure.

I know I should just have this convo with him but I don't want him to marry me just because I want him to, does that make sense? It would feel reluctant and like I am dragging him along for the ride. I can make hints but he isn't the most observant and I would still feel like I was pressurising him, I'm not normally one for playing games either. WWYD?

I can't believe I am sounding so crazy, I always felt like I would keep my surname when married keep my independence etc etc. Now this squiggly thing in my tummy has changed all of that.
Can I blame the hormones?

Thanks if anyone got to the end of that!

Granville72 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:54:26

It's natural to feel those things with hormones and a new life coming in to the world. Suddenly everything you thought important is insignificant and your mind is full of baby stuff and nappies.

Wait until after the birth and then your hormones are rampaging and you think WTF is going on and you don't know where you are for a few weeks.

I refuse to get married again, but we have a 18 month old together. We put a Will in place before he came along, cost £100 for the two of us so cheaper than marriage. It ensures the little one is cared for if either one of us dies / or both die etc, what happens to the house and all that.

We're about as committed to each other as can be without having a piece of paper involved to say we're married

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Feb-14 13:59:13

You're very sensible to want things like legal and financial security in a situation where a new baby could potentially compromise your earnings and increase your dependency ... so don't put this down to hormones. Instead take your tongue out of your cheek when you put it to your partner. Whether it's marriage you want or some legally binding equivalent for property, inheritance and so forth is almost irrelevant. 'Nothing' is not an option. BTW don't give up your job until there is something very solid in place.

Jess03 Tue 18-Feb-14 14:24:57

I think you should sit him down and have a proper conversation pre dc's arrival and enact those plans. Either it's marriage and that protection or legal documentation if he's not happy with it. If he's not committed enough to get married fwiw I wouldn't sah, you'll be in a weak position if you do split, I just don't think he's really taken on board what he's committed to. Sort it out now, much harder when both sleep deprived and have no time to put plans into action.

BuntyCollox Tue 18-Feb-14 15:29:17

Thanks for the replies, I suppose I do have more traditional views than I realised.
Ultimately marriage is what I want, but forcing him into it seems to dampen the romantic side and feels desperate - although tbh I don't suppose being pregnant is the most romantic reason for wanting to get married either. DP knows I think marriage is important, I guess he hasn't realised how important, but it does worry me that he hasn't got the idea after 10 years together. Or maybe he has but he doesn't want to marry me.
I will definitely take the points on board about sorting something out before making a decision about work, I don't have a fantastically well paid job but I would be screwed if he left me with a child to raise and no career prospects. Either way we need some arrange in place before DC arrives.

Jess03 Tue 18-Feb-14 15:51:15

Good luck op. Remember you've given him 10 yrs to pull of a romantic proposal already, it's good to have the security of having it sorted out.

wallaby73 Wed 19-Feb-14 06:59:43

Completely agree OP with all your reasons for marriage and the security legally it gives you; i know this will be an oversight, but nowhere on that list of reasons does it simply say "because we love eachother". I don't doubt you do, and it's often not mentioned as "well that bit is obvious, i don't need to mention that!"...but when faced with a partner who seems to be dragging his feet, who if presented with that list as it is may begin to feel overwhelmed (unjustifiably to be fair, you are about to be parents), just stating the most obvious line right at the end may be a good move?wink

Granville72 Wed 19-Feb-14 09:23:24

Have you looked in to what Maternity Leave pay your Employer offers or whether it's just SMP you will be getting.

Don't forget you get 12 months off on maternity with 12 months SMP so you don't need to rush back to work or make a hasty decision once your little one enters the world.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 19-Feb-14 10:12:18

Do NOT give up work while you are not married.

That is crazy talk.

Forget about bullshit romance, real romance in this situation is doing what needs to be done to protect your family.

Also - under NO CIRCUMSTANCES agree to give the baby his surname on the basis that he might marry you one day.

Give the baby your surname and he can worry about having a different name (if he cares).

BuntyCollox Wed 19-Feb-14 12:08:00

I tried to bring the subject up again last night, to try and cut a long story short he agreed that some kind of arrangement needs to be put in place before DC arrives, I did press the point about my job security and being financially dependant on him. We are going to look into contacting a solicitor to see what options we have. I have no idea where to start and it sounds expensive but this is a priority so will have to start researching.

At one point during the discussion he did say in a rather patronising way "we can get married if you want" to which I snapped back "I don't want a pity marriage". Sigh* I really don't do myself any favours do I? But that was how I felt, as I have said before I don't want to drag him into this as that's not a good way of starting any relationship. We both need to do this for the right reasons.

Wallaby - You're right, I missed the most important reason in that list. I really do love him.
Granville - I'm entitled to basic SMP, I do feel a sense of loyalty to my company so would like to give them notice of my intention to return to work but I know I have time to make the decision. If I paid FT childcare I would have very little of my salary left, I need to check out tax credits to get an estimate of potential income, another thing on the to-do list.

What are the cons of giving DC his surname in everyone's opinion? I'm really ignorant to this. I did say last night I needed to do more thinking on the surname issue and may look to hyphenate (although we both have long surnames so it would be a bit awkward) he was OK with this.

He is practically perfect in all other ways, he has been my rock these last few months while the stress and terror of being pg has hit, he irritates the hell of me sometimes (and I'm sure I do the same to him) but he is a wonderful person. I'm beginning to wonder if I should just pick my battles and be happy that everything else is so good.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 19-Feb-14 12:31:40

What are the cons of giving DC his surname in everyone's opinion?

Don't you want to give your children your surname?

Why would you give the baby his surname?

I can't think of a single reason to give your baby your boyfriend's surname.

He's not prepared to make this a forever thing, so why create headaches for later on?

It will be presumed that the baby has your name. And the baby's birth can't be registered without you being there, since you're not married.

We are going to look into contacting a solicitor to see what options we have.

What a complete waste of money. You don't need to see a solicitor when the option you have to sort this all out is marriage.

If I paid FT childcare I would have very little of my salary left

Why would YOU be paying for childcare?

The child will have two parents to cover this cost.

Don't forget to factor in your long-term earning potential too, plus pension contributions. It's about a lot more than the number of pounds left at the end of the month.

Granville72 Wed 19-Feb-14 14:58:14

Look in to whether either yours or your partners employers offer Childcare Vouchers. It can save quite a bit of money when paying for childcare.

Also look at Childminders as opposed to a nursery when it comes to you returning to work if you have no family help. Childminders charge a fraction compared to a nursery and we have have to run in-line with Nursery and pre-school requirements.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 19-Feb-14 15:02:45

I haven't found childminders to be much cheaper than nursery, but I much prefer to have my children minded in a home setting and build up a relationship with a single carer.

Also, IME they don't tend to pick up as many bugs as babies because they aren't exposed to so many other typhoid Marys children.

Plus nurseries can be a PITA about not bringing your child if they are even a tiny bit under the weather. The CM's I've hired have been fine to have a child who isn't tip top, but isn't really sick.

Jess03 Wed 19-Feb-14 15:48:32

I really don't think you should let it go. Actually it sounds as though he was really dismissive and made you feel bad for bringing it up - after 10 yrs! He isn't sounding like a good guy to me. Get that solicitor appt ASAP and show him how much the non marriage alternative is going to cost him. Please don't be fobbed off. And please don't SAH because you're not splitting childcare costs between you.

BuntyCollox Wed 19-Feb-14 16:38:24

joinyour I think I would like to give DC his surname as he is the father, I know he sees marriage in the future but as is evident perhaps not as near in the future as I would have liked. I'm unsure about the surname bit, does anyone know any financial / legal reasons it would be better for DC to have my surname? Other than it's a brilliant surname wink

You raise a valid point about childcare, it is our shared responsibility. I suppose I have always weighed up the cost of childcare against my salary as I would be the SAHP if I finished my job, however our current living arrangements could change and I need to be prepared for that too.

I have looked into chid minders, I would be looking at around 80% of the cost of a nursery in my area but it would be my preference. The cost would still take a large proportion of my salary / our joint income.

I do feel like I am doing him an injustice, he is a laid back person and has no urgency. I on the other hand need to plan, organise and be in control of the situation. I suppose that's one of the reasons we work so well. I could have handled it better last night than snapping back "I don't want a pity marriage" and then the subject of marriage was dropped and the talk returned back to arranging a solicitor. The whole convo lasted about 5 minutes.

Without proposing myself I see no other way around this other than crying and saying "why won't you marry me sob sob sob" and I have more dignity than that.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 19-Feb-14 16:43:51

I think I would like to give DC his surname as he is the father


Well you're the mother.

The law says you get to decide.

You seem to defer to him in very old fashioned ways.

He has to propose, he has to have the child given his surname, you are prepared to stop working (despite that being incredibly risky for both you and your child in the long term if you are not married).

But he's not old fashioned because he's quite prepared to knock a woman up and not marry her (but avail quite happily of her giving up work to do his childcare at zero cost to himself).

Of course he's laid back. He has fuck all to lose here and you are clearly so desperate for him to eventually agree to marry you that he holds all the cards. And he knows it.

I have more dignity than that.


MidnightRose Wed 19-Feb-14 16:47:15

On the surname issue, if you don't get married and split up or have separate holidays (assuming you would be the main carer, since you've already talked about giving up work), you could have issue s taking your child abroad. My sister has had real issues with her son having a different surname to her. When my daughter born she had both our surnames for that reason and also, I carried her for 9 months and gave birth to her I think I deserve some recognition of that fact.

MidnightRose Wed 19-Feb-14 16:51:01

Also why the hell would childcare only come out of your salary!! That is madness, this is his child 50% responsible and all that. Have a real good think before deciding to give up work, it was the worst choice I ever made. It puts you in such a vulnerable position.

flamby Wed 19-Feb-14 17:23:43

It sounds like the conversation has ended up being you "asking" for things (marriage, legal protection) and him considering whether or not he is going to "give them" to you. It is frustrating because there is a power imbalance in the conversation and it shouldn't be like that - I imagine you want to feel that you are both making decisions about your family in the future as a team.

Could you try presenting him with some scenarios for how things could be and what you would both like? Be really clear with him that you don't want your career to be disproportionately affected (compared to his) so that will involve 50:50 splits of things like looking after the baby when he/she is ill and can't go to nursery, an equitable division of childcare costs, properly organised finances that share costs. This stuff is fair enough anyway and it is good to discuss it now and make sure you both know where you stand. What definitely isn't fair is to want you to take on the extra work and expenses and have your career suffer without legal protection or the knowledge that you are in this together for the long term.

That way you aren't "asking" for things - you are giving him some options to discuss. You are a partnership, it is totally legitimate to want to talk everything through and look after yourself. The big, romantic proposal is all very well, but honestly it is more romantic to be in a relationship with someone who wants to do the best for you and look after your interests as well as their own.

I'm pregnant too (congrats, btw!) and I've been trying to make a list and go through it of all the things I can think of that we'll need to have agreed before the baby arrives (e.g. guardianship of the baby, sleepless nights and sleeping arrangements, financial stuff, division of household jobs, parents visiting, basically anything that crosses my mind!). I'm a real planner and he isn't so this isn't so much his style but it helps me feel like I'm setting us up for as good a start as I can. It is tempting to just nest and hope it'll all be OK but I feel better knowing we are talking about things already and communicating.

Jess03 Wed 19-Feb-14 17:37:22

Don't you just need to have another calm chat to him? No need to get emotional or desperate about it. It's your life, I'd hate to see a thread on here in a year where he still isn't going to marry you and you still don't have the rights you need.

BuntyCollox Wed 19-Feb-14 18:57:11

I don't think I have made myself very clear here, I realise I sound like I'm defending him but you are only getting my side of the story and he isn't here to explain himself so I was trying to give a more balanced view. He isn't holding all the cards. He isn't a bastard.

The potential decision to give up work is mine alone, not once has he asked or expected me to. I earn less than him, not by a massive amount but it makes more sense for me to provide full time care to DC than him, if I earned more he would consider giving up work. Our money is combined, and mainly managed by me. When I talk of the childcare coming out of my wage I mean the bit I earn that contributes to our joint income. If I went back to work FT a majority of that money would be swallowed by childcare costs. But I hadn't properly considered how vulnerable this could leave me if we separated and I know I neetd to seriously consider this and look at the options of PT etc.

I'm more shocked than anyone at my sudden traditional views, I never valued marriage this highly before but pregnancy has messed with my usual opinions. DP is very liberal it's me who is having the sexist views. He is more than happy for DC to take my surname. I know that I sounded wet in my last post but I certainly have dignity and respect for myself and for my DP.

I agree that we do need to have a serious chat where I can bring myself to talk openly and honestly about what I need from the relationship. I need to grow up and get on with it without bursting into tears, easier said than done these days. After 10 years I don't want or expect a romantic proposal or a big do just a mutual decision about our future for all those reasons I mentioned in the first post. I suppose I'm just frustrated that we are in this position and he can't work out how important this is to me, I would like to think it was important to him too.

Thanks for the advice re surname and holidays, that's very interesting.

I hope all of this makes sense, I'm trying to post on my phone so excuse weird typos.

Apocalypto Wed 19-Feb-14 21:02:27

My partner to have full parental responsibility should anything go wrong before registering the birth

So that's a maximum of six weeks before he gets it anyway.

Emotional security

Not seeing the connection

Financial security as I will most likely be giving up work

Zero sum though because at his expense and risk. I wouldn't use this one

His financial security as the savings account is in my name

so his upside is the contents of the savings account, his risk is...see previous

For us all to have the same surname

Deed poll

To call him my Husband

What's in it for him?

You've listed 6 advantages which are either advantages to you or are obtainable without being married. The advantages to you are equal and opposite disadvantages to him.

You need to come up with 6 genuine advantages to him. Or at least one.

The suggested advantage likeliest to work was probably "if we get married you could have kids", but you are where you are.

His position is now optimised. I think you'll just have to hope it works out. But if it's not happened after 10 years it's not going to.

Apocalypto Wed 19-Feb-14 21:09:03

show him how much the non marriage alternative is going to cost him.

less than the marriage alternative, he clearly thinks.

DP knows I think marriage is important, I guess he hasn't realised how important, but it does worry me that he hasn't got the idea after 10 years together.

Sorry OP but he realises perfectly well. I don't understand why you are assuming he ignores your hints because he's a bit slow. He's ignoring them because that's his view.

eurochick Wed 19-Feb-14 21:09:35

I think you would be absolutely mad to consider giving up work without the protection of being married.

And I second what others have said about travelling with a child with a different surname.

Apocalypto Wed 19-Feb-14 21:16:52

Has he ever bought you a car stereo for your birthday?

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