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  • sirtacos 8 Jul 2013 01:57:03 8,017 posts
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    Love and marriage. It's a unity you can't disparage. Apparently.

    Is anyone else at 'marrying age' or beyond, and what are your personal experiences with the realities of it?

    (Personal shit/rant ahead. Skip if you want.)


    I've been in a relationship for over 2 years. Co-habiting for 1.

    Rarely, the topic of marriage will come up.
    Both of us are sure that the other is "the one" (/eyeroll).
    However, my partner, being a girl, seems to put the idea of marriage on a pedestal, and I just can't figure it out. Logically I can, sort of. But that's not what I mean..

    To clarify: she hasn't been pressuring me or anything. I've made it abundantly clear that marriage is only something I'll consider way down the line, when we're financially secure and when it seems appropriate.

    She seems cool with that, and is entirely rational about the whole thing... the furthest thing from nuts... she even shares some of my doubts about this undisparageable institution...

    ...but how much of that easy-going attitude is just a facade (in order not to freak me out)?
    Obviously that's not a question anyone here can answer, but I think the wider question is interesting. To some extent, I'm sure many women downplay their desire for a wedding ring.


    Women have an entirely different relationship to marriage - call it cultural conditioning from an early age, peer pressure, media propaganda, "soulmate" myths, a desire for security, etc.

    Men, on the whole, don't share that.

    I'm not 'afraid of commitment', or of 'waving goodbye to my single life'.
    As far as I'm concerned, my single life is over. I'm fully committed to this girl. I just don't see how a marriage contract would change that.

    Recently, she off-handily referred to marriage as "the next step", and that pissed me off. Here's why: it implies that our current state is unsatisfactory in some way. It insinuates that our relationship needs to be legitimised, that it constantly needs to 'progress' towards something - like there is an 'end goal' to be achieved.

    (Obviously that end goal, biologically speaking, is reproduction. And I suppose that's what needs to be 'legitimised' in order to not make the kids 'bastards'. But that's another topic.)

    What's wrong with simply being together?
    If you're committed and in love, why would you need the illusory sense of security provided by marriage? It doesn't change anything, except for bureaucratic things like taxes and visas.

    What I find disconcerting is marriage's power to lull people into a false sense of permanence/security.
    It misleads them into thinking that it has changed the nature of the relationship in some fundamental way. It's the utterly un-romantic bureaucratic reification of a simple connection between two people.

    The practical aspects of the union I understand. It's a social contract, a financial agreement, a product of convention. It's the emotional connotations that are completely lost on me.

    To me, it seems to represent the absolute antithesis of love as an intimate connection between two people. The two people are the only thing that's real. The ceremony, the piece of paper, are mere accessories. And yet they are viewed with such reverence!

    I have no problem marrying someone who views marriage for what it is.
    I don't want to tie the knot with someone who sees it as some sort of magic bullet that justifies their existence as a woman.

    Edited by sirtacos at 02:23:53 08-07-2013
  • Nanocrystal 8 Jul 2013 02:15:51 1,675 posts
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    Tell her you refuse to marry until same-sex couples can too. Should buy you a few more years and will make you look like all deep and principled to boot.
  • sirtacos 8 Jul 2013 02:27:10 8,017 posts
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    Hehe ;)

    To distill my wall of text into the crux of my argument: at its most poetic, marriage is a symbol. It frustrates me that, for so many, the symbol is held above the thing it's meant to represent.
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 02:32:32
    Personally, I find marriage awesome, but if you don't find it has any emotional connection or big statement worth making, then don't get married. Nothing wrong with that. The problem would be explaining that to your girlfriend.

    Of course, you could do what a load of people I know have done and get engaged but then never actually set a date. Known someone who's been "engaged" for about eight years now. I suspect it's similar(ish) to your situation, in that they've got engaged to satisfy the broad social scheme of things (in that people in general seem to take you more seriously as a couple if you're engaged or married), rather than any desire to do so themselves.

    Which is what it all boils down to, really. A balancing act between doing what you want and doing what society expects of you. Like how my wife and I basically don't want kids, even though most of our family seems to almost blindly expect them to appear in short order.
  • neilka 8 Jul 2013 02:39:42 21,202 posts
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  • sirtacos 8 Jul 2013 02:48:39 8,017 posts
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    @meme Hah, that must be fun. (Relatives expecting you to spawn offspring any minute.)
    I have to offer my congratulations on finding a woman who sees eye to eye with you on the 'no kids' thing. Sounds like a gem.

    Not entirely comfortable with the idea of an indefinite engagement - seems disingenuous. I can definitely understand why people would do it, though. And if both of them are cool with it, then more power to them.

    Edited by sirtacos at 02:50:08 08-07-2013
  • sirtacos 8 Jul 2013 03:01:22 8,017 posts
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    Yeah I suppose the real root of my discomfort - aside from all those lofty justifications I put forth - is that I am very ambivalent about putting a child into this world. I see a million reasons not to do it - practical, philosophical, personal and whatnot.

    But then again, I was once responsible for an abortion. Whilst knowing full well that it was the right decision, I also unexpectedly felt a twinge of pride and paternal feeling towards this life which I had created. Then, completely out of the blue, remorse and guilt at snuffing it out.

    Eh, maybe one day I'll definitely want a child. Or maybe another 'accident' will force me to realise that, despite not being ready (is one ever ready?), I actually do want to be a dad.
  • CosmicFuzz 8 Jul 2013 06:39:00 32,214 posts
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    For me, marriage doesn't have to be linked to religion. I certainly won't be having a religious ceremony I wouldn't have thought, the vows would simply be to each other.

    But if you really want to spend the rest of your lives together, then perhaps you should look at getting married as a form of security. It's not very romantic I know, but I've seen first hand how (in Scotland anyway) the cohabitation laws are a total mess, with no certainty as to what happens should the relationship come to an end for whatever reason.
  • MrTomFTW Best Moderator, 2016 8 Jul 2013 06:46:45 47,491 posts
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    I'm married with two kids. I love it, best thing I've ever done. But I had to be cajoled into the idea of marriage at first. In the end though all that's changed is that I now wear a ring, plus I got an excuse for a fun party and an awesome holiday without any of my family tutting at the expense!
  • angeltreats 8 Jul 2013 06:53:22 2,601 posts
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    RightBean wrote:
    Marriage is a religious thing to me, if you're not religious then why get married, to whom are your vows.
    Um, to your spouse? My vows were to my husband. I'm not religious at all.

    I was never that bothered about getting married till I'd been with my other half for a while, but suddenly it seemed important. But then I come from a huge extended family full of happy marriages - there has only ever been one marriage breakup in the whole family (including second and third cousins!) and when you grow up surrounded by happy marriages you probably want a piece of the action for yourself. It certainly wasn't for reasons of wanting a big wedding either - we had eleven people at our wedding, including ourselves (although we did have a big but not at all weddingy party a month later).

    Been married five years now, still enjoying it. And I definitely felt different afterwards - more settled I think.

    Plus there are a few tax advantages if you actually have enough money to have an IHT problem or large capital gains...
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 06:59:04
    Don't rush, I was engaged after three months and married after two years.

  • Tonka 8 Jul 2013 07:03:03 27,677 posts
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    In Sweden there's a lot of juridical benefits to be married over just living together. But fuck that shit.

    I got married four years ago and it fits me perfectly. I'm quite family oriented like that. But me and my wife talked about it on our anniversary and rally it's just an excuse to invite a bunch of friends and have a big party. We both rate the day we met as more important.

    The biggest impact it has had on my life is that I can now say "This is my wife" or "my wife who does ..." etc where I used to have to say "my partner" or the yucky swedish term "My sambo" (partner you live with).

    And since Naming something is the most important thing in the world according to Confucius that's got to be something.

    I'll end in the words of another wise man:

    Marriage is an important part of getting ahead: lets people know you're not a homo; married guy seems more stable; people see the ring, they think at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch; ladies see the ring, they know immediately you must have some cash or your cock must work.
  • Dougs 8 Jul 2013 07:18:59 85,243 posts
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    MrTomFTW wrote:
    I'm married with two kids. I love it, best thing I've ever done. But I had to be cajoled into the idea of marriage at first. In the end though all that's changed is that I now wear a ring, plus I got an excuse for a fun party and an awesome holiday without any of my family tutting at the expense!
    That's just it. Your relationship doesn't magically change just because you've said a few words and exchanged rings. Some might like the extra commitment and security that brings but I doubt that's universal. My wedding day was easily the best day of my life and don't regret a penny of the fortune it cost us!

    But yeah, I think the OP nailed it. (Most) Women grow up dreaming of their wedding say, and are conditioned to some extent. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and give in imo!
  • Trafford 8 Jul 2013 07:30:46 8,012 posts
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    neilka wrote:
    Other methods of contraception are available.
  • MadCaddy13 8 Jul 2013 07:50:16 2,833 posts
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    I've been with my gf for just shy of 7 years, been living with her for 3 months. Hardly had a word about marriage.
  • CosmicFuzz 8 Jul 2013 07:58:29 32,214 posts
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    Sounds like your sex dungeon has excellent insulation.
  • FWB 8 Jul 2013 08:08:27 54,409 posts
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    For someone not considering it, that's one big opening post. ;)
  • chopsen 8 Jul 2013 08:09:05 19,993 posts
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    sirtacos wrote:
    I've been in a relationship for over 2 years. Co-habiting for 1.
    I was in a relationship for 10 years, and living together for 5 or so of them before I got married. And even then I wasn't convinced it was the right thing to do. Don't regret it.

    Inertia's a bitch.
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 08:14:04
    Seems to be me you are the one putting marriage on the pedestal. She doesn't see anything wrong with your current relationship, she just sees marriage as a part of that. No rush though.

    We were together 9 years before we got engaged. Talked about it now and then and we both confirmed that it was what we wanted to do. We/i just wanted to wait until I was no longer a student.
  • rockavitch 8 Jul 2013 08:42:44 1,003 posts
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    My main issue is she is from Hungary, I'm from Ireland and she's got family in Serbia, Germany and Croatia so it'll be a lot of hard work and I think that's the most off putting part.

    Marriage isn't a big thing for me but it is for her, and since she's a big thing for me it's something we'll do eventually, probably sooner than I expect as I've noticed more and more bookmarked engagememt rings appearimg on MY laptop haha talk about a subtle hint.
  • Tonka 8 Jul 2013 08:51:42 27,677 posts
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    Marry once and have multiple parties.
    I know people who have had up to four different wedding receptions because of their family being spread out. That said, in their culture you get money on your wedding so cost isn't an issue.
  • ZuluHero 8 Jul 2013 09:21:59 6,320 posts
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    Here's my story:

    Met 1999, married in 2004, child in 2007, divorced start of 2011, got back together end of 2012. 2013 we're all living together again, and things are going well, but...

    If we get re-married it will be just a registrar office and maybe a meal in a restaurant afterwards and a couple of guests. The wedding was basically an excuse for a 'fairytale' wedding, and that's where it started to go downhill. Her expectations of both the wedding and me were too high, she'd built us up too much that the only thing that could happen was to fall. I was too young and I think i was pushed into it too much as well, thanks to family pressure (her side) and what is considered 'accepted' social conventions.

    If you do go down the wedding route, don't let her put pressure on you for the kind of wedding she wants, make sure its the kind of wedding YOU want too. Believe it or not, what happens on your wedding day sort of sets the tone for the entire marriage.

    Edited by ZuluHero at 09:24:06 08-07-2013
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 09:25:06
    ZuluHero wrote:
    If you do go down the wedding route, don't let her put pressure on you for the kind of wedding she wants, make sure its the kind of wedding YOU want too. Believe it or not, what happens on your wedding day sort of sets the tone for the entire marriage.

    I'd actually lean towards the total opposite and say in my experience women are far more likely to have long term regret and resentment about their wedding day than men are, so I'd lean towards giving her whatever she wants.

    That's based on what's happend with my friends anyway. Luckily for me my wife and I were pretty much on the same page.
  • trav 8 Jul 2013 09:33:47 984 posts
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    Been together two and a half years, lived together for two years, been engaged for six months, planning the wedding some time in 2015.

    I'd be the first to admit that things have moved on a quick pace, but I personally thing it is the best thing I have ever done. We both get along incredibly well and we love being together.

    Marriage has been brought up multiple times and I wanted to wait until the second year at the earliest before getting engaged, especially living together as well.

    We both don't understand what changes so radically for people once the rings are on, that things don't need to change a huge amount after the vows are given.

    We are in the planning stage at the moment. Money is the major issue, but I can't wait until the big day.
  • atomicjuicer 8 Jul 2013 09:36:20 324 posts
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    I think it's great! No regrets :)
  • TheSaint 8 Jul 2013 09:38:29 17,646 posts
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    We've been together fifteen years and have no real intentions of getting married.

    When my brother got married last year we talked about it again and both agreed that we were perfectly happy as we are.

    The main advantage I could see as referring to someone as your girlfriend when you're in you thirties is starting to feel a bit strange but then that would be a silly reason to get married.
  • Deleted user 8 July 2013 09:40:23
    FWIW I had a great marriage. We just saw it as a celebration with our loved ones of a commitment to spend our lives together. It wasn't ridiculous big or expensive. It was just close friends and family, very intimate, not stupidly expensive and very nice indeed.

    As I say, I'm lucky in that my wife and I were very much on the same page of what it should be like, but then again us being on the same page for most things is one of the reasons why I wanted to marry her. Sometimes I look at these couples who are a million miles apart on the issue, and think maybe that should tell them something...
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