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


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Whatever any of us might say about marriage is irrelevant. The woman you want to keep has HER reasons for wanting marriage, and so SHE is the one to ask about what marriage means to HER.

That information is your guiding star. She may not care about the 'show' of a big expensive wedding. Find out what the contract of marriage means to her, and if you want to keep her in your life badly enough, you'll figure out whether or not you're willing to take that step with HER.

Edited by catfeeder
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Ok I could be cynical about this but maybe the mortgage is the OP’s idea of locking down his gf without any real commitment. The mortgage kind of, sort of ‘seems’ to be a commitment but it’s really just a way to keep her tied to him, pacify her wish for a real commitment, and maybe help get onto the property ladder at the same time. Would he be able to afford buying a home on his own? Either way, I think this relationship is doomed and the mortgage is a really bad idea, given they’re not on the same page about what the future will look like.

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2 hours ago, Unsure2021 said:

 the mortgage is the OP’s idea of locking down his gf without any real commitment. 

Agree. Sounds like he believes buying is cheaper than renting so wants an investor to get himself out of mom and dad's house.

If he were interested in her, they would get an apartment together already and look for something when the relationship is solid.

The entire "libertarian" argument sounds like a used car salesman's routine.

Why buy a house? Get an apartment.

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Thankyou everyone. Lots of good viewpoints and lots for me to consider. 

Just some more information that was requested across several posts:

  • Yes, we both work full time/can support ourselves.
  • I have previously rented several places. I moved back in with my parents prior to the first Covid lockdown just to help them out. I'm not looking to spend any more 'dead money' on rent, and will be looking to buy a house in the near future. 
  • I can afford to purchase a house on my own if I needed to. I'm not trying to buy a house with my GF just to use her as an investor. 
  • We do not live together currently, but we have spent time living together previously in the relationship at various points, for varying lengths of time (eg we cohabited during the second Covid lockdown, and there was a month where her parents asked us to live in a property that they owned when they were without a tenant, for security purposes). So we have 'trialed' living together before, and there were no issues. 
  • My Libertarian views aren't just an excuse to try and avoid marriage. I won't put you all through the pain of boring you all with my personal philosophies haha, but I thought it was important to list it as one of my reasons.  

I agree that there is no point in us all trying to explain marriage to each other, as it will mean something different to everyone. I understand this now following this discussion, so thanks 🙂 

The general sentiment here is that we shouldn't get into a mortgage together if we have differing views about the future, and I totally agree. This is why I made the post in the first place as I'm figuring out how to navigate this.

I will talk to my GF on this and update here after our conversation. Many thanks.

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I think you have come to the right decision.  I really enjoyed and found insightful a lot of the viewpoints here.  Given your current stance on the matter if I were going to pick and choose I would pick what Fudgie wrote. Why? Because she is a person who has chosen not to be married, she explained her reasons why, and even did her utmost to explore with a professional what to do given her (ex) boyfriend's desire to marry. 

So she's been through it all so to speak and she came out the other side deciding to end the relationship -but also significantly -completely understanding why her boyfriend wanted to marry, knowing she even has good role models for marriage like her parents, etc.  So she has a "positive" background on the matter, decided it was not for her, decided she shouldn't be with someone whose desire to marry she respected, yet was not shared by her.  So in all you're getting as close to an unbiased perspective as possible.

(On a personal level I related more to Cherlyn's analysis -it resonated more with my feelings on the matter but for your purposes I'd choose to reread Fudgies should you want to sort of review the different viewpoints from someone who did not want marriage and so did not get married).  

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22 hours ago, Batya33 said:

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.

Yes! Since I was one of the first in my college friend group to get married, I remember talking with them about it, after we'd been married a year or so. And I explained how all the fairy tales have the romance *end* in marriage, but really, it's a new beautiful beginning!

Definitely changed their perspective of a Happy ending. It's really a happy beginning of a long journey.

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4 hours ago, Reg said:

Thankyou everyone. Lots of good viewpoints and lots for me to consider. 

Just some more information that was requested across several posts:

  • Yes, we both work full time/can support ourselves.
  • I have previously rented several places. I moved back in with my parents prior to the first Covid lockdown just to help them out. I'm not looking to spend any more 'dead money' on rent, and will be looking to buy a house in the near future. 
  • I can afford to purchase a house on my own if I needed to. I'm not trying to buy a house with my GF just to use her as an investor. 
  • We do not live together currently, but we have spent time living together previously in the relationship at various points, for varying lengths of time (eg we cohabited during the second Covid lockdown, and there was a month where her parents asked us to live in a property that they owned when they were without a tenant, for security purposes). So we have 'trialed' living together before, and there were no issues. 
  • My Libertarian views aren't just an excuse to try and avoid marriage. I won't put you all through the pain of boring you all with my personal philosophies haha, but I thought it was important to list it as one of my reasons.  

I agree that there is no point in us all trying to explain marriage to each other, as it will mean something different to everyone. I understand this now following this discussion, so thanks 🙂 

The general sentiment here is that we shouldn't get into a mortgage together if we have differing views about the future, and I totally agree. This is why I made the post in the first place as I'm figuring out how to navigate this.

I will talk to my GF on this and update here after our conversation. Many thanks.

Glad you can see this.

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4 hours ago, Reg said:

I'm not looking to spend any more 'dead money' on rent, and will be looking to buy a house in the near future. 

there was a month where her parents asked us to live in a property that they owned when they were without a tenant.

Are her parents wealthy? 

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5 hours ago, Reg said:

My Libertarian views aren't just an excuse to try and avoid marriage. I won't put you all through the pain of boring you all with my personal philosophies haha, but I thought it was important to list it as one of my reasons.  

Glad to read you Reg.  You are entirely entitled to your views on marriage and on anything else. And if you don't wish to marry then, I repeat again, then don't.  Don't let those peddling the fairy-tale view of marriage change your mind. Sadly, a very large proportion of marriages end in divorce, and that is the hard truth. Marriage is a serious undertaking, not some airy-fairy Narnia-like environment.  

5 hours ago, Reg said:

I agree that there is no point in us all trying to explain marriage to each other, as it will mean something different to everyone

You are quite right Reg.  No point at all, and less so insist that marriage is the only way. 

Let us know how things progress. 

If you wish to buy a house then buy one.  Why not?  I certainly prefer living in a house, and I have, yes,also lived in apartments. 

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19 hours ago, Fudgie said:

I You cannot have a prenup that says so-and-so will get the kids and/or how much child support will be paid. 

You cannot dictate child support but if you have a prenup that each party only leaves with what they came in with, the spouse whose career took a back seat will come out with nothing.  Harder to rebuild a career after 10 years home with the kids working part time after a divorce. One of my coworkers had this happen. They both had careers going into it. She works several part time jobs to support her teenagers and gets child support but its not a lot. She had no share of the home because he bought it a year before they got married. He's out of the picture and besides that little bit of child support, he doesn't help.

 

they only really got married because they wanted kids and the toll o fertility treatment ripped them apart

Edited by abitbroken
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That is a good point, abitbroken. Pre-nups can't dictate child support but if a woman doesn't have the means/ability to support herself, it will be hard post divorce.

I don't necessarily blame prenups as a whole though. I am not getting married but I still like the idea of prenups. If it was so unfair, not sure why she signed it, or maybe she didn't even look at it before signing it. It's irresponsible to do that regardless if it's a prenup or not. 

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A prenup in my U.S. state (and many other states following the uniform / model act) must meet several requirements. It must be fair, reasonable, and equitable. Also, there must not have been a substantial change in facts and circumstances (including financial situation) from the time the prenup was signed, which would render enforcement of the agreement unfair or unreasonable. [Other requirements omitted]. If one of these requirements is not met, then a court here would not enforce it.

It appears that U.K. courts have several safeguards in place, too, to determine how much weight they give to signed prenups. In the U.K., there is a similar requirement that the agreement be fair. Additionally, both parties must have received legal advice prior to signing. 

It may depend on exactly where someone resides, but I doubt many courts sitting in equity would enforce an agreement which destroys one of the parties. 

---

Not legal advice. 🙂 

Edited by Pleasedonot5
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In any case the very word pre-nuptial means prior to marriage. So quite irrelevant here as the OP is not going to get married. 

The OP spoke of a cohabitation agreement, which is for co-habiting couples. 

And the OP clearly stated:

"The general sentiment here is that we shouldn't get into a mortgage together if we have differing views about the future, and I totally agree. This is why I made the post in the first place as I'm figuring out how to navigate this."

Edited by LaHermes
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For someone who is extremely cost conscious (won't rent, won't marry, won't have a wedding, etc.) Not getting married and not buying a house together is the best option.

"It isn't cheap to get a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement. One California firm says the average prenuptial agreement its attorneys write costs between $2,000 and $6,000 per person. If you have no money, you have no prenup"

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It doesn't seem like the OP wants to be talked into getting married. So I think discussing aspects of a prenuptial agreement is not especially relevant.

I'm curious to know how the discussion went. I hope his girlfriend doesn't agree to not get married just to "keep" him or to try to get him to change his mind down the road.

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31 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I hope his girlfriend doesn't agree to not get married just to "keep" him or to try to get him to change his mind down the road.

I also hope not, Bolt. Truly.  That would be dreadful. 

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Why get married?

If you are interested in a deep, philosophical, insightful, and unique perspective - check this out. I'm not Jewish, but I am interested in different cultures and literally blown away by the wisdom of this Rabbi Manis Friedman. Pretty entertaining too...

 

 

Edited by mical
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Female here: I never got married myself, but we have been together for over 30 years. In the eyes of the Canadian government we are common-law and are subject to the same laws as being married.. BUT to a lot of women, marriage/wedding is very symbolic. I never understood the desire but some women NEED that. They need that special day because they dream of it. They won't feel complete without it. She hung in there hoping you would change your mind this I know. Now it's niggling at her. She wants this. You better stop everything if this is a dealbreaker for the both of you. TBH I don't think she's gonna stick this out with you. The getting the mortgage is the catalyst....it's making her teeter on the fence.

Edited by smackie9
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It will be interesting to see how the OP is solving this dilemma.  A difficult one to be sure. OP has specifically stated he does not wish to marry, and his GF has (more recently it seems) expressed the wish to marry. 

I think Smackie may be right.  Maybe OP's GF stayed in the relationship (3 years) in the hope the OP might re-consider.  It happens. And even if she were to accept the Cohabitation Agreement (U.K.) she may still live in hope of marriage. Definitely not stable ground to be on. 

The fact that the OP remarked quite early on about big wedding bashes and the cost and so makes me wonder if perhaps GF had already begun to look into a "big wedding". 

I had no particular enthusiasm about getting married and greatly enjoyed my single status.  I would just as happily have cohabited with my husband.

Nor do I understand that absolute need to get married. Certainly, I know that many marry because Mary/Jane/Linda down the road or in their workplace got married. I am not kidding.  Then there were others with the "cow/milk" syndrome.  The reasons are myriad.

 

 

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2 hours ago, smackie9 said:

Female here: I never got married myself, but we have been together for over 30 years. In the eyes of the Canadian government we are common-law and are subject to the same laws as being married.. BUT to a lot of women, marriage/wedding is very symbolic. I never understood the desire but some women NEED that. They need that special day because they dream of it. They won't feel complete without it. She hung in there hoping you would change your mind this I know. Now it's niggling at her. She wants this. You better stop everything if this is a dealbreaker for the both of you. TBH I don't think she's gonna stick this out with you. The getting the mortgage is the catalyst....it's making her teeter on the fence.

I don’t think he should marry anyone who is marrying only or mainly for the symbolism. Or mainly for a special party.  Or because they “need” marriage as opposed to wanting it for the right reasons. Unless that’s also his motivation.  I know of several people who planned more for the reception than the marriage.  It’s sad. 

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I can't speak for everyone but I married because I wanted the exact OPPOSITE of my parents' hellacious marriage.  I wanted a permanent, enduring marriage just like my MIL (mother-in-law) and FIL (father-in-law) and provide a very loving, normal, nurturing home life for our sons just like the stable home life my husband grew up in.  We were on the same page and in it for the long haul. 

I've been blessed to have in-laws as my positive role models.  The only reason why my marriage succeeded and prospered is due to my in-laws setting the bar very high.  They were strong influences and fine examples of what a marriage should be ~ filled with love and respect. 

Marriage isn't for everyone.  However, if the right person of stellar character is found, then marriage can be very rewarding indeed. 

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1 minute ago, Cherylyn said:

if the right person of stellar character is found, then marriage can be very rewarding indeed. 

Precisely, Cherlyn.  And that's the core of the matter "the right person" and "stellar character".  My parents were an example. Married all those decades.  Both independent characters yet in tune with each other. 

Problem is that all too many are headed for the divorce road from the day they marry precisely because they marry for the wrong reasons, and not for those that you mention.

You'd be amazed at how many think that "stellar character" means "boring".  The "exciting" lunatic is what they want.  I despair at times of people's lack of discernment. 

 

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2 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

You'd be amazed at how many think that "stellar character" means "boring".  The "exciting" lunatic is what they want.  I despair at times of people's lack of discernment. 

 

I agree, LaHermes.  I've found "exciting" to become quite boring quickly and eventually problematic because "exciting" is temporary and often times insincere.  Boisterous, pretentious, charming, very extroverted, "life of the party" social butterflies or hyperactive, odd behaviors grows old and boring very fast.  I choose even keel any day over "exciting." 

My house is humble and my husband is a great man of noble, very honorable character. 

Then there's my BIL (brother-in-law), my sister's husband.  He and my sister reside in a mansion in a very affluent community.  He is a package deal.  He's a jerk, treats my sister and their kids with utmost disrespect, disrespects others during social settings and at his workplace.  He is not admired nor well liked yet my sister is stuck with him because he provides the affluent lifestyle she would otherwise not be able to afford. 

Then there is my other BIL, husband's sister's husband.  He too has a "mouth problem."  Outwardly, he's seemingly normal but once you get to know him better, his foibles are too much and intolerable.  He is some piece of work.  Both BILs are embarrassing, humiliating and shameful.  They are bad apples. 

So even though my life is of more modest means, who is the richer lady now? 

High quality character is everything because it's the only thing that lasts.  Nothing else matters.

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So I think "too nice"  - i.e. doormat/passive -is often mistaken for stellar character as opposed to insecure people pleaser.  People who act like doormats can come across as boring.  But it doesn't mean the opposite extreme - arrogance (often mistaken for character-driven "confidence") is the answer.  It's the person who is  reasonably secure and confident, comfortable in his own skin, and who chooses to act with character and integrity that is the real gem.  Now that person might not be flashy or extroverted (maybe but not necessarily) -so the quiet/reserved/quietly confident person of good character can be overlooked when a woman (especially) is looking for larger than life/swept off your feet.

I think the women who search for bad boy excitement then feel like they won the person over and likely are more interested in showing off their arm candy/trophy at a large party celebrating the wedding.  The big wedding receptions of course get lots more attention and this becomes a stereotype of what "girls" want in a mate.  

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13 minutes ago, Cherylyn said:

So even though my life is of more modest means, who is the richer lady now? 

High quality character is everything because it's the only thing that lasts.  Nothing else matters.

Utterly and absolutely Cher! Yes!

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