Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Week of Secrets: #3

Psssssssssst....I'll tell you a secret.

OK, it's not really a secret that I'm trying to keep, but lots of people don't know it.

Partner-Guy and I are not married.

We just can't be bothered.  It's not important to us. 

But what's a little funny to us is how important it is to other people that WE should want to be married. 

This is a real conversation between a neighbourhood-mommy and myself.  She was talking about her husband's job and I mentioned something about Partner-Guy.

Then this:

HER:  How long have you been married? 

ME:  We're not married. We've been together about 7 years.

HER:  So what do you celebrate?

ME:  Silence.
The confused look on my face was enough to indicate that I had no idea what she was talking about, so she elaborated.

HER:  For an anniversary. Do you celebrate your first date? or your first kiss?

The only response I could come up with was, "No. We're not into that."

HER:  Don't you want to celebrate your relationship?

ME:  We celebrate our family every day. 

HER:  But don't you want to have something that is just for the two of you?

ME:  No.

DUH. So apparently her whole concept of being married is that she gets to celebrate an anniversary? Yeah, that's important.  Maybe she was just making conversation.  Either way, it shows a real lack of understanding of the diversity of successful relationships in modern culture.

Partner-Guy and I consider ourselves to be sharing a sophisticated arrangement. We started out on a 3-to-5-year contract with the option to renew for a second 3-to-5-year contract at any time.  The contract was a verbal agreement not to look for other relationships.  At 7 years, we consider ourselves to be free to stay together for as long as we want.  And not a moment longer.

It's an unmarriage.
No marriage equals no expectations. No expectations equals no disappointments. No disappointments equals a very happy, stable relationship.

Since many of the married people I know are at least semi-miserable, I think our arrangement is working out pretty well. And Partner-Guy and I agree that if our children someday ask us to get married (and if they're old enough to think that it would really make a difference to them) then we will, without question.  We aren't anti-marriage.  We just prefer to live in an unmarriage.

The mother of one of Partner-Guy's friends recently told him "You have a beautiful family.  So why don't you make it right by marrying Patti?"  It's funny that people think we are doing it wrong.  Another friend asked, "Don't you want to say the words I promise?"  Aaaah, let me think on that.  No.  Promises can be broken.  Broken promises lead to disappointment.  No promises, no disappointments.

I'm quite fascinated by WHY people choose to get married.  I suspect that most people have reasons that are a lot bigger than having something to celebrate. 

So that's my third secret.  Any comments?


  1. Hey Patti - much respect for treating marriage like a conscious decision. My partner and I were going to pass on marriage but for us it ended up being the better financial choice. It's so crazy how people don't bother to question your choices as long as they are "normal" :)

  2. My husband and I got married for a green card. We have many friends who got married for health insurance. We have many more friends who are choosing an "unmarriage"...if they have children, they get the same "make it right" comment. It's silly.

  3. I completely understand and agree that getting married is not for everybody. People do it for different reasons. My husband and I have been married for 8 years, we got married young (22). I think we did it because "that's what you do" in catholic families when you want to live together. Now looking back, we think of our wedding day and we would've done differently: less people, no big white dress, no church. More like a celebration of a new stage of our lives. (We had a long distance relationship for 5 years before getting married). So, I really enjoy reading your post today, it shows how our society is changing for the better (if you ask me :)

  4. Marriage is 'right' for husband Steve and I (I'm more traditional than you Patti! ;p)

    I feel it's the ULTIMATE comitment...Although I KEEP my promises, MANY people do NOT...and so these are NOT EMPTY WORDS to EITHER of us, repeated by an officiant blah blah, they are personal MESSAGES to each other...our DECLARATION! ;)

    Our commitment *to US* is STRONGER because we chose to "mark" the moment...and MAKE these commitments out LOUD, to each other, with our family & friends ALL around to...I have NO problem with the expectations, some will be met, or not or even EXCEEDED!! 8) I am a big girl, I will handle the crappy stuff...side by side with my husband & children! 8)

    *********Please do NOT take this to mean that I believe that just because someone's married that they're MORE committed than people in OTHER arrangements!!!*********

    IMO, I think Steve would agree, it isn't about celebrating one anniversary or another, it's the REMEMBERING the TIMES together...whatEVER the memories ***how all of that got us HERE!!***8)

    Whether a person commit by words or actions, it is the COMMITTING that is the point...either way, we are all or each just making a LIFE together with our mate or partner & whomever ELSE comes along (kids pets)

    Marriage or "unmarriage" as you refer to it is a personal CHOICE...and it needs to feel RIGHT for the's just the MARKING it all...and CELEBRATING in whatEVER way feels RIGHT for the people...that's the important part to ME!!! 8)

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I agree with every thing you wrote. I never wanted to be married for the reasons you share plus a few others including not supporting something that isn't available to everyone regardless of who they love.

    We've been together for 20 years. We've been married (under duress, but that's another story) for just shy of 11 years.

  6. For me, marriage is a covenant, so not just between us but also with God. But I've often thought it was a little weird that people who didn't believe in God put so much stock in getting married. Especially when they've been living together beforehand... "So, you got married and now you're committed to each other... um, what were you this morning?" :-)
    For the record, I like that you and I have so much in common in some areas and almost nothing in common in others. Makes for a fun friendship!