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To marry, or not to marry

(29 Posts)
user1488751927 Sun 05-Mar-17 22:21:43

I have a past of DV with a previous partner, so perhaps that is making me ultra cautious/scared.

I am currently 19 weeks pregnant, and my partner (baby's father) wants to marry.

I often read on MN that a woman would be a fool not to marry if she is pregnant. However I have my reservations:

If I marry, I will lose my social housing (he lives in a bigger house and won't move into mine because his privately rented place is bigger), and I will lose my child tax credits - thus making me more dependent on him. I'm a student with just a scholarship.

Can someone explain why marriage is touted as the safest option?

HeddaGarbled Sun 05-Mar-17 22:49:39

It's because a lot of women give up work or go part time or their careers take a hit when they have a child. So the man owns all the money, has a pension, often savings and the house as well. Then if they die or split up, the woman has no entitlement to any of those assets if they aren't married so can end up homeless and poor, while he keeps everything.

It sounds like this doesn't apply to you so you do sound like you are being sensible.

user1488751927 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:00:21

Thanks for the reply.

I am the financially weaker partner in this relationship (obviously as I am a student and on benefits - whilst he works with a decent wage) so I always got the impression (from MN) that marriage would be in my best interests. I'll be having a year off as maternity but I don't plan on being a SAHM.

Will it only become my best interests once he buys a house? (He plans to from the proceeds of his divorce - absolute coming through any day).

I'm confused. Being married never protected me in the past when I left my abusive husband with just the clothes on my back. He owned a little flat but it was in negative equity and barely worth anything. I had to survive alone with only benefits, my scholarship and furniture donations.

scoobydoo1971 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:19:29

Marriage is not a safe option these days. Historically it was deemed the only acceptable way to bring up children and acquire financial security through the income and capital of a man. These days, women have careers, child-care options and aspirations, and relationships break down all the time for all sorts of reasons.

Your education is important, and while you may not be earning now, that could change in 5-10 years from now? If you are not happy to get married, but wish to live with him then you may wish to discuss tenants in common or joint ownership of the property he is looking to buy. This is because as time goes on, you will be contributing towards household expenses through employment? If you are not married and not an owner on the property, your financial status in the event of a relationship break-down may be perilous. I would add that if you do move together, ask the council if you are entitled to a grant because many offer incentives for releasing a social tenancy these days.

Marriage means different things to different people. For me, it is just a bit of paper and a legal status...but for some people the perception is one of a declaration of an emotional bond and commitment, so they do not construe it in terms of how it personally benefits them, it just the next and final step with a relationship. If you are not sure how you feel, don't rush in to do the right thing. Perhaps you should live together for a while and then decide.

TalkingofMichaelAngel0 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:30:02

How long have you been together?

user1488751927 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:30:37


I'm already contributing to joint household expenses now using my studentship, but it's a rented property. (Yes, my benefits cover my social housing, but I spend most of my time at his so contribute towards groceries and other expenses at his).

I would add that if you do move together, ask the council if you are entitled to a grant because many offer incentives for releasing a social tenancy these days.

Very interesting! I never heard of this before. Can you explain?

I am drawn to the romantic/emotional connotations of marriage but I'm very, very scared of losing what little independence I have managed to claw for myself since leaving my abusive ex husband. I literally lie awake at night worrying about this (hence being on MN right now).

user1488751927 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:30:59

Been together just over a year.

TalkingofMichaelAngel0 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:35:52

You got pregnant very quickly after meeting him. He isnt even divorced yet! Personally id slow down a bit aNd see what happens / jow you find him as a parent

SanityAssassin Sun 05-Mar-17 23:43:10

No fan of marriage from a religious or social perspective but made sure I did it before having kids - Research your right on youGov - marriage is a contact all the other smarmy romance shite around it is immaterial - protect yourself..

user1488751927 Sun 05-Mar-17 23:49:21

SanityAssassin please read the details in my OP. If you were in my position, would you marry?

MiddleClassProblem Sun 05-Mar-17 23:52:40

So when the baby comes you will be living separately?

Asking this question irregardless of marriage. Just curious as to set up x

LineysRun Sun 05-Mar-17 23:57:06

In your particular circumstances, I wouldn't touch marriage with a barge pole.

CrazyDave Sun 05-Mar-17 23:57:15

You've been together a year and you're 19 weeks pregnant...I think you're right to be cautious. Things have moved very fast and as I'm sure you're aware having been in an abusive relationship before you're much more likely to find yourself in another one. Listen to your instincts, I'm not saying it won't all turn out today but you are independent and in a sensible position. Its not easy to get social housing in a lot of places and if you were to marry and it not work out it might be very hard to get back to where you are now. I agree with pp, slow down, see how things go when the baby arrives. Do you already have other dc?

CrazyDave Sun 05-Mar-17 23:58:12

rosey not today!

antimatter Mon 06-Mar-17 00:01:43

You have your own property on which you are paying bills - how comes you are contributing towards joint household expenses?
What's joint expense?

HCantThinkOfAUsername Mon 06-Mar-17 00:05:30

I've been on a course for dv victims and apparently a red flag is;
-moving in together
-having a baby

If any of these occur within the first year, the fact you've doubts about it speaks volumes.
Do what is best for you & your child flowers

user1488751927 Mon 06-Mar-17 00:12:51

MiddleClassProblem I'd probably live unofficially at his until I feel safe enough to let my social housing go.

You have your own property on which you are paying bills - how comes you are contributing towards joint household expenses?

My benefits cover the rent on my social housing. There's very little in the way of bills to pay at that property as I'm hardly there at present.

What's joint expense?

Groceries, petrol, bills.

HCantThinkOfAUsername I've done the freedom program and I can't remember those flags. I think perhaps I should re-do the course.

ExplodedCloud Mon 06-Mar-17 00:31:46

Don't bank on living at his until you're ready to let your social housing go. My friend was doing that until someone complained that she wasn't using it and she had to pick one or the other very quickly.
I think the thing about marriage is really about how entwined your lives are and the retention of your earning capacity.
Being a SAHM with dc, no career, no marriage and worst of all living in his house is setting yourself up for disaster. Another friend did that and he threw her out when he had an affair.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 06-Mar-17 01:07:28

It all has to do with financial security.

If a woman is self-supporting OR has qualifications that would easily translate to a supporting wage then marriage isn't as big a deal. The point being that she can take care of herself. If she becomes a SAHM, her education/training would enable her to reenter the workforce should the relationship end, so married or just living together, it makes no difference.

If, however, a woman has never worked or doesn't have easily employable skills, marriage theoretically provides her with a bit more security in the event her husband leaves her as she would be entitled to a portion of the marital assets and possibly spousal support. In this case, if she wasn't married her partner could just leave and she'd be left with nothing. Obvs there are cases where marriage didn't provide security because a husband lied or cheated to hide income or assets, but generally speaking a wife comes off better than a partner in the event of a split.

If I were you, I'd stay where I am, continue and finish my education and only then think about marriage.

MsMims Mon 06-Mar-17 01:24:20

If you're living as a couple (even in separate houses) then you technically should be declaring him for benefits purposes already. It would be very difficult to argue you aren't living as partners when you're expecting his baby too.

I would be very cautious. You're already pregnant and now he wants to get married? What's the rush?

Ellisandra Mon 06-Mar-17 07:29:18

I'm usually the first person on here to shout about paying your way.

But this man earns more than you, you still have a house to run (it's his convenience for you always going to him, not you're!) you're a student and you're pregnant.

What kind of person takes money off a partner they supposedly love enough to marry, in those circumstances?

Pregnant after 6 months to a man who insists you come to his and takes money from you.

Don't marry him yet and DEFINITELY don't give up social housing.

VikingVolva Mon 06-Mar-17 07:45:59

The downside risks that you mention all follow if you move in with him properly.

They are not risks of marriage in itself.

It's seems that you are reluctant to commit to this man at all.

I think you need to pause, live properly in your property and work out how your future will work without becoming dependent on this man. The sort of ramshackle half-living-with but reluctant to actually commit to cohabitation on any footing seems too insecure.

HCantThinkOfAUsername Mon 06-Mar-17 07:47:54

user I've just completed the freedom programme and now on the Mpower course which has just covered "healthy relationships". I hadn't heard of it either.
Makes sense in hindsight, I was pregnant after 8 months, married shortly after, moved in together and then he turned into an abusive twat.
Every relationship is different but it's taught me a different way of thinking about relationships

wonderwoo Mon 06-Mar-17 07:54:58

Please don't give up your social housing. I think that would be a big risk. It's so hard to come by and after everything you have been through, it gives you some security.

This is all happening very fast, and that concerns me. Take a deep breath and slow down a bit.

Also, you mention what he wants quite a bit (marriage, to live in his house etc), but I am not getting a sense of what YOU want. I realise the point of this post is to discuss this, but it's really important to have a strong sense of what you think, and what you want to stop you getting too wrapped up in his opinions and doing something you later regret, if that makes sense.

user1488751927 Mon 06-Mar-17 08:46:11

I want to get married. I think it provides the ideal mental foundation for a couple/family. However, I am fearful of losing independence due to my past experience.

Ellisandra do you suggest I keep all my money to myself and he pays for everything? My scholarship is £14k untaxed, so enough to contribute. Why does pregnancy mean I become a "kept woman" when I'm not exactly on nil income? Your comment triggered me because on the surface it seems unreasonable, yet it taps into a real fear (that he will take advantage of me like the last man did).

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