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Help! I don't understand the concept of marriage!


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14 minutes ago, Pleasedonot5 said:

Marriage is not necessarily the final stage of a relationship.

Interestingly when I was scared of marrying a particular person I used to describe it as "ending in marriage" -now I strongly believe - if there is a "concept" of marriage that it is the beginning when you marry -the beginning of your marital commitment, your married life together.  Nothing else needs to have ended for marriage to begin but it's a wonderful beginning.

Edited by Batya33
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2 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Er, the OP is against marriage (the institution), doesn't want to marry, he says.

However, it would appear he will/would sign a Cohabitation Agreement.

I could co-sign a mortgage tomorrow with one of my brothers. But it wouldn't mean I'd marry him or cohabit either.  The fact is that it is the bank that OWNS the property until the very last re-payment is made. You don't have to be married to enter into a mortgage with another person. 

 

 

This is true, LaHermes. But the government's courts will give teeth to the agreement, just as they would to marriage. [I made a slight edit to the wording of my last post to more aptly capture what I meant].

I recognize the OP has views against the institution of marriage, but I also do not want to see OP's relationship fail. If OP's partner wants marriage, the OP is at a crossroads: one of those two items (relationship or intention to marry) will have to budge. So, I am trying to persuade OP that there are ways to alleviate his worries without casting away the institution of marriage entirely. 

My attempt is similar in my mind to that I do not want children for reasons that I think it is morally wrong to bring a being to life when I know that it will suffer. Someone could point out that adopting, fostering, or becoming a stepfather would alleviate my worry without casting away the concept of children entirely. 

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4 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Be your true self, is what I say.

And that is the truth, Bolt. 

And in my case too it was he who wanted to marry, and persuasively and slyly heh heh  he got me there. No regrets. So it is definitely not just women who are keen on marriage. Not at all. 

 

I think, PDN, that the decision one way or another is entirely the OP's and not our job to persuade him to marry.  His position is not enviable, but then he has been with this woman for three years so I am sure they have discussed many things.

He absolutely must not go against his convictions just to ensure she stays with him. That would be terrible. 

Cohabitation legislation in the U.K. is moving forward considerably in these times, due no doubt to the figures (which I quoted earlier) of the millions who now cohabit.

Edited by LaHermes
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My point is that if you are claiming to genuinely want "to be with someone forever", well that's marriage - only in legal writing.

Marriage is binding and "forever" isn't, it's just a mere word. So, what's actually stopping him from having a binding life-time commitment?

I'm not saying that he needs to get married. No, not at all. But if it's that important to her, and he's supposedly willing to be with her for life - well, then why not make it legally official?

Edited by greendots
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7 minutes ago, greendots said:

why not make it legally official?

Once more, with feeling.

OP does not wish to marry, he is against marriage.  He has said so. 

Neither marriage nor cohabitation are binding.  If they were, there would be no divorces (and the divorce stats are high) , no annulments and no separations. 

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1 hour ago, LaHermes said:

And that is the truth, Bolt. 

And in my case too it was he who wanted to marry, and persuasively and slyly heh heh  he got me there. No regrets. So it is definitely not just women who are keen on marriage. Not at all. 

 

I think, PDN, that the decision one way or another is entirely the OP's and not our job to persuade him to marry.  His position is not enviable, but then he has been with this woman for three years so I am sure they have discussed many things.

He absolutely must not go against his convictions just to ensure she stays with him. That would be terrible. 

Cohabitation legislation in the U.K. is moving forward considerably in these times, due no doubt to the figures (which I quoted earlier) of the millions who now cohabit.

I appreciated those stats (and other U.K. solicitor advice you cited earlier, too)! 

I agree that the decision is OP's to make and that he should not go against his strong inner convictions just to stay in a relationship. When you put it like that - good point. 

However, if OP has met the woman of his dreams -- he has said in this thread that he wants to be with his partner forever -- and there are mental blocks which keep OP from being logically ok with marriage, then I think it is good to show that the worries / blocks can be resolved. 

OP has identified three main worries/principles with regard to why he is worried about marriage.

Conclusion: I do not want to marry. 

Supporting Principle 1: I do not want the legal or financial risks associated with marriage. 

Supporting Principle 2: I am libertarian; I do not like government involvement in my life. 

Supporting Principle 3: People do not need to marry to be together; it is not much different than living together in a relationship.

(1) is solved with a prenup (in a way similar to the cohabitation agreement - also, people have pointed out that being co mortgagors presents similar legal and financial risks, so OP is applying this worry inconsistently). 

(2) is inconsistently applied by the OP. A mortgage agreement, though the bank is the mortgagee, will be legally enforceable in a U.K. court sitting in equity (i.e.,  the government). 

(3) is true, but could also be used to support the conclusion that "I should marry because my partner wants it and it will not change much." @greendots pointed this out.

So if there are ways around the worries, it comes down to this:

1 hour ago, greendots said:

My point is that if you are claiming to genuinely want "to be with someone forever", well that's marriage - only in legal writing.

Marriage is binding and "forever" isn't, it's just a mere word. So, what's actually stopping him from having a binding life-time commitment?

--

I'll end with agreeing that if this is not logical (most people are not vulcans) but rather a deep internal conviction, then no logic of mine would or should change OP's mind. In that case, he should stand firm on those convictions and not marry to appease - this would probably lead to resentment/a failed relationship down the line. 

I appreciate the productive back and forth. 🙂

Edited by Pleasedonot5
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18 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Once more, with feeling.

OP does not wish to marry, he is against marriage.  He has said so. 

Neither marriage nor cohabitation are binding.  If they were, there would be no divorces (and the divorce stats are high) , no annulments and no separations. 

Any way you see it as, marriage is a legally binding arrangement. (https://www.family-lawfirm.co.uk/blog/what-does-marriage-mean-legally/)

Yup, he has stated that he is worried about marriage. But she isn't. She wants to marry. Now, he claims to want to be forever with her. Marriage is that "forever" except in legal form.

A bit of a crossroad. The way I see it, for this relationship to work in the long-term someone will have to concede or both will have to find a middle ground.

🙂

Edited by greendots
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I don't think there is a lot of middle ground. And we shall have to see what the OP says. He could (only surmising here) convince her of the nefarious aspects of getting married and the institution of marriage.  But if her convictions are that marriage is for her, and OP will not marry (for various reasons he has stated), then it isn't about conceding. As another poster remarked, let him find a woman who is also anti-marriage and let the OP's GF find a man who wishes to marry her.  I am sure the breakup would be hard on them, but they wouldn't be the first or last couple to break up over convictions.

I'd think the OP is sincere, now, that he wishes to be with her forever.  And there are many unmarried couples who have been together a very very long time. One couple comes to mind: 40 years co-habiting.  

Yes, marrying is a legally binding arrangement (I got that!) and is until it isn't and is dissolved by divorce and/or annulment.  So, no, not forever. 

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Some people will really stick to their values though. My polyamorous friend was dating this woman who is monogamous for just over a year. She said to him that she doesn't want him to see anyone else so if he finds other women as well to let her know and it'll be over. Then he ended it himself two years ago but he's never found anyone else since. He said he ended it because he was really committed to his polyamory beliefs.

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And the point is too, Tiny, that the OP is perfectly entitled to have these convictions. If he is against marriage then so be it.  He did mention that she didn't seem (wishy-washy were his words) keen one way or another re marriage, so I suppose (and heaven knowns we should never suppose anything) the moment of truth has NOW arrived. 

If he marries her to appease her and keep her, and heads down the aisle with a virtual two-barrel at his back, then he will be always resentful. 

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47 minutes ago, greendots said:

My point is that if you are claiming to genuinely want "to be with someone forever", well that's marriage - only in legal writing.

Marriage is binding and "forever" isn't, it's just a mere word. So, what's actually stopping him from having a binding life-time commitment?

I'm not saying that he needs to get married. No, not at all. But if it's that important to her, and he's supposedly willing to be with her for life - well, then why not make it legally official?

Because it’s not just a word to her. If it is then fine.  To most people it is not. It’s not just “legally official”. It’s much more to most people.  In my experience - the people I know and know of my whole life. Married and unmarried people who feel this way about marriage whether or not marriage is for them (for the not married people). 
I can genuinely want to be with someone forever and that person can feel the same but if one wants a marital commitment and the other doesn’t then the “I want to be with you forever” doesn’t mean the same thing to each of those people.  And it’s not just a difference in legality or a technicality.  With rare exception. 

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16 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

Some people will really stick to their values though. My polyamorous friend was dating this woman who is monogamous for just over a year. She said to him that she doesn't want him to see anyone else so if he finds other women as well to let her know and it'll be over. Then he ended it himself two years ago but he's never found anyone else since. He said he ended it because he was really committed to his polyamory beliefs.

Yes. I never went on a second date after I was 23with anyone who didn’t want marriage. At 23 I went on a first date with a 22 year old who said he really wasn’t so interested in marriage and wanted to wait till at least 30. But at that moment I’djust ended an engagement and was fine with his stance.  Not looking for serious.  We fell in love.  He proposed to me when we were in our mid 20s and because of our ups and downs I said no. We broke up   He was in denial about being gay and I had no clue  

 He did get married - when he was in his 40s to a man he’d met 10 years earlier.  Now with the person over 20 years.  So happy. 
I think the monogamous woman was foolish for dating a polyamorous guy.  I think he was finally right to realize they were not compatible.   

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It doesn't really matter "why" the OP doesn't want to marry. It could be because he thinks weddings are unlucky or whatever. I don't think he presented his reasons because he wants us to talk him into wanting marriage. It seems like he's trying to get people to explain why others want marriage...not that he wants us to talk HIM into wanting marriage. So presenting an argument in favor of marriage is not really relevant here.

What IS relevant is recognizing that he may lose his partner over this issue. And that he should not (and his partner should not) proceed with the relationship under the assumption that the partner will change his or her mind eventually.

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16 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

he may lose his partner over this issue. And that he should not (and his partner should not) proceed with the relationship under the assumption that the partner will change his or her mind eventually.

Right on Bolt.

Makes no sense whatsoever to argue in favour of marriage here. Each to his/her own.

He may well lose his partner over this anti-marriage stance. and if that happens then so be it. Three years is quite along time, and it will not be easy on them. But no way should one proceed in the hope (all too often vain) that the other will change his or her mind.

And yes, this is precisely my point PDN.

"he should stand firm on those convictions and not marry to appease - this would probably lead to resentment/a failed relationship down the line. "

The 3.3 million (2016) cohabiting couples in U.K. must also have had reasons (convictions) which made them eschew the married state. 

Edited by LaHermes
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58 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

I don't think there is a lot of middle ground.

I agree with you there for sure.

58 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

I'd think the OP is sincere, now, that he wishes to be with her forever.

Definitely, and as you pointed out, unfortunately, there isn't much of a middle ground. She wants marriage and he doesn't seem to.

Certainly, though spot to be in.

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It's crazy to buy a house with someone you've never lived with before.  Not "libertarian".

It's simple.

You cosign a lease for a year each buy your own furniture, etc. with receipts, etc. then you can assuage all your fears about "if it doesn't work out". And you're not acquiescing to evil government interference into your personal lives.

If at the end of the lease, "it doesn't work out"., you take your furniture and move out and she takes hers. No fuss no muss, no attorneys no useless pre- this  or co-  that agreements.

You two are too at odds to consider an investment like a house.. it's doubtful you'll even make it to the end of a yearlong lease without ending it.

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And although the OP and this woman have "been together" for three years the OP has disclosed that they do not live together. Perhaps she lives with family, or friends, or even in another country. 

If she is working would she be paying half the mortgage. Or more importantly, does SHE wish to enter into a mortgage arrangement.  Without knowing much about them one can assume they have viewed properties together. 

 

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41 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Because it’s not just a word to her. If it is then fine.  To most people it is not. It’s not just “legally official”. It’s much more to most people.

Definitely agree with you here. Marriage means much more to me as well. Officially, it's a legal document. I pointed that out questioning whether the legal aspect is the only thing that's stopping him from crossing the threshold. Only he knows.

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On 7/27/2021 at 4:13 PM, Reg said:

I don't see the point in spending tens of thousands on a wedding day, and entering a legal contract . And following the wedding, nothing is different about the day to day life of the relationship between married and not married, so what's the point? 

That is what the OP himself said.  Those are HIS reasons. Although as many subsequently pointed out, the "wedding" and "marriage" are two different things. 

He did say he was a Libertarian and hence against marriage. So, OP did give reasons. 

And we grind back down to the basics: he does not wish to marry and she apparently does.  The reasons are perhaps beside the point. 

Cohabiting may mean just as much to him as marriage means to the proponents of that happy state. 

We could be here all night writing about "what marriage means to me/to you/ to those who are married (and who wanted to get married). 

 

Edited by LaHermes
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1 hour ago, greendots said:

Definitely agree with you here. Marriage means much more to me as well. Officially, it's a legal document. I pointed that out questioning whether the legal aspect is the only thing that's stopping him from crossing the threshold. Only he knows.

I got the strong sense not.  But I could be wrong. My marriage consists of both a legal and religious document and neither of us would have been comfortable without also being married religiously. So it depends what his girlfriend wants in that regard too. 

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51 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

That is what the OP himself said.  Those are HIS reasons. Although as many subsequently pointed out, the "wedding" and "marriage" are two different things. 

He did say he was a Libertarian and hence against marriage. So, OP did give reasons. 

And we grind back down to the basics: he does not wish to marry and she apparently does.  The reasons are perhaps beside the point. 

Cohabiting may mean just as much to him as marriage means to the proponents of that happy state. 

We could be here all night writing about "what marriage means to me/to you/ to those who are married (and who wanted to get married). 

 

As I wrote in the beginning he does understand the concept of marriage. Telling himself he doesn’t is lying to himself and avoiding the real issues.  How anyone else does is irrelevant. My opinion about marriage is don’t unless you’re 100% enthusiastic about it and you and your partner are getting married for the same reasons. 

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There are so many reasons to either want to get married or not.  There is no right or wrong answer.

My husband and I didn't have a lavish wedding.  We had a small wedding (150 guests and small by my standards where I come from), fed everyone a delicious catered prime rib meal, had a DJ, married in my husband's hometown church, reception was at an old Victorian mansion across from the church and honeymooned in the tropics.  In hindsight, I would've been content with a smaller wedding or married by the justice of the peace followed by a backyard BBQ with friends and family.  It would've sufficed and we would've still received a toaster! 🙂

My husband and I married because we are seriously bound and committed to each other for life including legally, financially, all of it.  I agree with others, it's security mentally, economically and for us, regarding the institution of marriage itself, we're traditional.  We both agreed to everything including the white picket fence in the suburbs, raising our sons together and we lead a conservative lifestyle.  It works.  This is our long haul comfort zone.

Since you're unenthusiastic regarding marriage and your girlfriend wants marriage, do both of yourselves a favor and stop wasting your and her time.  Both of you are not on the same page.  It's inevitable that both of you will go your separate ways eventually.  No sense hanging onto dreams which won't come true; especially for her.  You're not willing to give what she wants and for that matter, you don't want marriage.  The two shall never mix. 

Only be with a person who shares your philosophies because you'll be able to relate better and there will be no misunderstanding whatsoever. 

I respect your choice regarding not believing in marriage.  However, others have the right to marry and carve out their own happiness together.  Do what is best for you and the person whom you are with.  At least have an agreement and if you two don't agree, then be with someone who is compatible. 

 

 

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23 hours ago, abitbroken said:

What if you have kids, she stays home with them a few years and puts her career on the backburner in favor of yours  - a prenup in areas where the split is equitable based on financial contribution - you could leave her destitute. 

I just wanted to point something out here. I've read a fair bit about prenups, as there was a time where I was contemplating marriage in the far future and I decided that I would never, ever get married without a prenup. Simply put, legally, courts cannot enforce prenups that try to stipulate child custody or child support. You cannot have a prenup that says so-and-so will get the kids and/or how much child support will be paid. Okay, well, you CAN have that prenup but no judge is going to uphold it and it will be thrown out. This is to protect the children.

A prenup will not leave a wife who was not working and raising the children destitute. If she's destitute, then so are the kids. Will she have the same kind of lifestyle that she had when she was married? Yeah, no, probably not, but child custody and support will have to be figured out by the court and it would be done in the interests of the children. 

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Anyway, OP, not sure if you're still reading but I'll give you my $0.02. 

My feelings about marriage have fluctuated through my life, a bit, although I've always been somewhat sour on it. During my last relationship (I ended years ago), he really wanted to get married. I did love him, he was a good man, but this was something I really struggled with. Commitment and monogamy wasn't an issue, we were together for years, lived together, hell, we were domestic partners so he could be on my insurance. I live in a state that does not grant common law and I would never live with a partner in a state that does grant it. So really, no risk and I got a lot of benefits of a long term relationship but minus the marriage.

However, it was something he really wanted. I tried to talk it over in therapy. "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with my relationship that I can't go through with this? What's going on?" At the end of the day, I couldn't reconcile. At this point, I chalk it up to my own personal philosophy. The idea of getting the government involved in a personal relationship doesn't appeal to me and I don't like how marriage is so difficult to leave. No, I'm not from divorced parents, my folks are still married, and most couples I know have been together for a long time, no divorces. It's just my own personal view. I am inherently mistrustful of people and I think emotions are fickle and I'll be damned if I am going to sign a legal contract with an emotional basis. Hard pass for me.

Yes, it's very important to many people, including your girlfriend. That's fair and fine but just because she wants it doesn't mean you have to give in. Best thing to do is to let her go. You risk spending many years and investing a lot of time with her only for her to fester resentment and then break up with you. Neither of you should compromise. 

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