Marriage and Why I Don’t

This is something I want to talk about.  I can’t really talk to anyone I know about it because they would get all wierd.  My mother especially.  People don’t really like the word marriage over here so much anymore.  I am not married to my partner and I have no intentions of ever doing so.  The truth is I don’t believe in marriage.  I don’t believe it’s a life long plan especially since divorce came through over here.  If it was such a commitment, it wouldn’t be so easy to get out of so what’s the point?  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a wedding day either.  I just don’t see any…upside to being married.

I just wanted to get that out there first before I explain things a little more.   I have always said throughout my entire life that I don’t want to get married.  I don’t really have any happily married couples as role models in my life.  I’m not including the blog world in that because I know a lot of you are probably happily married but I’ve only come across you recently so that doesn’t really change my lifelong view of things 🙂

My parents were very unhappily married.  They got engaged a couple of months after they met.  She was 19 and he was only 17 (he had lied about his age at first).  They had gotten pregnant and decided to get engaged.  My mother was extremely naive and was pretty much led astray by him completely.  She also wanted to get out of her home as quickly as possible because she felt like her mother was insane controlling.  They lost the baby but they got married two years later when she was 21 and he 19. 

I’m not sure of the timing but maybe around this time, maybe beforehand, he had a son with somebody else.  That somebody else, let’s call her the She-Devil ended up stalking my mother and making her life hell.  She was also a lot older than my parents.  My mother miscarried quite a few pregnancies but when she was 23, she gave birth to me.  The She-Devil gave birth to my father’s second son about five days before I was born.  She named him after my father so that my mother couldn’t if she had a boy.  I think that my mother was aware of this woman by then but again, I can’t be sure on timing.  Fast forward a number of years and my father is in jail, has four sons with the She-Devil and two with my mother.  My mother went to visit him in one of the most notorious prisons in Ireland and was told that his wife had already visited him.  Turns out the She-Devil had already been there and laid claim therefore using up his visits.  For the record, he refused to see her but the visit still counted. 

My father was a loser.  A charmer, but a loser.  He almost single handedly managed to ruin my mother’s life, making her a nervous wreck and a complete looper giving us, his two children, a really fucked up and crappy childhood.  Today is not the day for it but let’s just say that I reminded my mother of my father and I paid for his wrongdoings.  I was his only girl at this stage and I was the only one he gave attention to so at the time I thought he was only wonderful.  I soon learned.   I keep getting tempted to tell the wrong story, sorry!  Marriage, Claire, it’s about marriage. 

When he was in prison, she left him and moved us back into my Nanny’s house (it was her sister’s house really, they live together).  Neither of these women were ever married.  My mother’s father had fecked off home before my nanny could tell him she was pregnant/after she told him she was pregnant and later on the love of her life was a widower who proposed.  His children stopped the wedding so my Nanny remained a single woman even though she looked after him til he died (his children remained firmly against the relationship).  My nanny’s sister had her heart broken by a man in London who turned out to be already married and never went near a man again so it isn’t really surprising that i’m not interested in marriage. 

My mother remarried but they both think that they were happier before they got married, go figure.  My father since remarried too but I have no idea how that relationship is going.  I do know that even after he had kids with that woman he cheated on her (and before she had kids he got my mother pregnant, wonder how he would have explained that one if she hadn’t miscarried).  So basically, I don’t think a whole lot of marriage.  There have been a few married couples that I thought were happy…until they divorced the second that it was made legal over here.

So back to me.  My partner and I have been together for five years and have two children.  He did propose to me before but it was sort of a stupid, desperate, last resort thing that he put no thought into at all.  He did buy a ring but it was probably the first one he saw that day, he was in a hurry to embarrass himself with a completely desperate act, you see.  He tried to propose another time with the same ring but we agreed that it was a bad idea…he does things sometimes because he thinks they are romantic….or what I want but that isn’t my idea of meaningful.  He says things like, one day I’m going to marry you and calls me his Missus.  He has my name tattooed on his body.  We plan on having more babies and we are completely in love.  I don’t doubt his commitment and at the moment I feel very comfortable the way things are. 

I don’t like it when people judge me for being unmarried or consider my relationship to mean less because I’m not married.  Once, online, a man said to me that I was very young to have two children (that pisses me off too by the way).  He asked me was I married and I said no and he turned around and said – “Oh, he didn’t ask you then.”  I can’t remember what I said back but it probably wasn’t very nice.  It bothers me that people assume that women are unmarried because nobody wants them.  It’s a bit backward but whatever.

Anyway, Mr. Claire has been talking about marriage a lot more lately – a sure sign that he is having a lovey dovey stage.  It’s just a phase 🙂  Yesterday, he pops in after work and gives us all hugs and kisses as usual.  Then he looks at me with this majorly guilty face and I’m thinking, uh-oh, what’s he bought now.  Because that’s usually why he looks guilty 😉

He goes all red in the face.  “I want to marry you.”  We both started laughing.  If you saw his face when he said, you would have too.  He told me that somebody from England was over in his job today (it happens sometimes).  This guy got married a couple of months ago and is expecting a baby in a few weeks.  He asked Mr. Claire when he was going to get married and God knows what Mr. Claire said back but the man said, “Ah, you need another child, then you’ll get married.”

Am I the only person is totally confused by that statement?  Sometimes I worry about how men think…I hate when people put things into his head by the way.

I was like, what’s the difference if we have one, two or three?  What’s that going to change?  He kept saying I don’t know and hugging me.  I’m a little bit suspicious that he just blurted it out to cover what he was really feeling guilty about.  You see, I think he says things like that to make me think we’re going somewhere – I think that he assumes it’s something he’s meant to do.  But I’d really rather if he didn’t.  It makes me a little bit nervous.   So, anyway, I’m not into getting married, neither is he.  But he feels like he has to bring it up now and then.  We have absolutely no plans for that type of thing.  Even if we did and we got engaged, the engagement would last forever.  That’s just the sort of people we are!

I know that marriage works for a lot of people but I can’t see any way that it would improve or change our lives.  I wouldn’t take his name, that’s for sure!  Our children already have his name.  So the only thing that would change would be the major debt we’d be in after forking out on a wedding.  It said in the paper that most people spend at least 20,000euro on their weddings.  Feck that, I can think of a lot more things to do with 20grand 🙂 

There is one thing that takes the marriage thing from being 100% no to maybe 99% no.  My aunt.  She’s getting very old and she has alzheimers but my mother told me that she told her that she would love it if Mr. Claire married me.  My family idolize Mr. Claire by the way, it’s pretty sickening.  The fact that she says things like she wants to live to see me get married makes me feel extremely guilty about being adamant that I don’t rather than I do.  But the rest of my family would be upset if I got married.  My brother was engaged and my mother still doesn’t know because she would have flipped out.  Most of my family do not want me to get married – to anyone, not even Mr. Claire 🙂

So that’s my thoughts for today.  I had nobody else to talk to about it so I launched it all on you lot.  Now before you all attack me, I’m sure there are lots of happily married couples in the world…I just don’t know any of them 😉


17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Elle said,

    Don’t apologize for your feelings. If it works for you and Mr. Claire, then WTF? Those who love you, will understand where you are in your life, and you certainly have every reason to be very wary of the institution. BUT, on the other hand, if it gets to be more of a burden not only on yourself but on your little family, you may want to consider it. Things are so slow to change and people say such hurtful and thoughtless things sometimes.

  2. 2

    clairec23 said,

    I haven’t even been to a wedding since I was a kid. Except for my mother’s second marriage. It’s sort of gone out of fashion over here 🙂 I think two girls I went to school with got married this year and everyone was shocked. Most of the kids that my children will go to school with will have parents that aren’t married so I doubt it will ever affect them. I’m sure there are lots of people even over here that think I’m looking at things wrong but for the most part, marriage isn’t expected of people anymore. So I think maybe I would be a little bit more sensitive about people making remarks because I’m not used to it.

  3. 3

    bluesleepy said,

    I think as long as you are giving your kids a stable home with your partner, and it works for you, don’t worry what anyone else thinks. Mainly the reason I am married is because it’s harder to leave. If I weren’t bound by law to my husband, I would probably have left long ago. My marriage isn’t easy, but because we are married, we feel we have to work harder on sticking it out than if we were just living together. BUT that is just us. It’s different for everyone.

    For the record, I had the world’s cheapest wedding ever. And I loved it! I hate the huge expensive parties they throw here because they spend all this time and money and effort on the wedding, and then when the wedding’s over they have no idea how to work on the marriage. There were 12 people at my wedding, I had it in a park, and if you wanted to come to my wedding, you had to bring food. I have no idea the exact amount of money I spent, but I know it was under $1000. My dress was $70 because I just wore a pretty dress I found at a department store, Kurt wore his uniform, the cake we got from a grocery store and it was $100, and the rental of the area we got married in was something like $250. “Cheap as chips!” as that guy from Bargain Hunter likes to say. 😀

    But yeah, just concentrate on making the best home life for your kids, and you should be fine, married or not. 😉

  4. 4

    clairec23 said,

    Really bluesleepy? I think if I’ve stuck here this long, I’ll stick around a bit more 😉

    That is exactly what I think about weddings btw. People put too much thought into the day itself and not enough into what will happen next. I think your wedding sounds lovely. I wouldn’t have the balls to tell people to bring food! I’m not that close to that many people so if we did get married and just invited close family, it would probably amount to 10 people, anything else would just be…a bit of an excuse for a family reunion 🙂 I’ve never met anyone that got married outside before, that sounds better than a church or registry office to me.

  5. 5

    bluesleepy said,

    Oh my wedding was LOVELY!!! I liked it. 😉

    I’m thinking that things are different in Ireland than it is here. Here, I would say that most people who are serious about one another are married. There are quite a few couples that aren’t, but most folks are. So I think maybe I am looking at it a little differently. Also my parents were so pissed off that I lived together with Kurt before we were married, and my grandma is so shocked that my cousin is living with her fiance. I think the only reason my parents forgave me is because I got married.

    If I met you on the street, and you told me you weren’t married, I wouldn’t judge you. I wouldn’t think you were going to hell or whatever. What works for one couple wouldn’t work for another.

    I didn’t have a good role model for marriage either growing up. My real parents got divorced when I was 2. My dad got remarried when I was 6, to my stepmom. They fought all the time — my dad had a violent temper, and my stepmom can be rude without even realizing it. It was hell growing up. But like I said, there’s more social pressure here to get married, I think. I don’t regret getting married; I think personally I needed that level of commitment to stick things out when it got tough. I think I would have given up long before. 😉

  6. 6

    clairec23 said,

    As long as you’re happy then it’s all gravy. It is a lot different here. We used to be such a scared Catholic country but then the church got a bit of a backlash and it’s like everyone is doing exactly the opposite of what people were expected to do in the past.

    I didn’t realise that there were still so many people in the world that were expected to get married until I came online. I tend to be surprised when I read comments like yours – I mean about your parents being pissed off that you lived with him first – because mine would be pissed off if I got married first 🙂

    Ireland is different though. People don’t really “date”. And they definitely don’t date a couple of people at the same time (and it will be ok) or have to say that things are exclusive for the other person to be faithful. It’s just a given that if you go out with someone a couple of times, you’re with them. Not always, just usually. Things are changing though – I mean we’re not quite Sex and the City but we’re getting there 😉

  7. 7

    clairec23 said,

    I just wanted to add…it’s funny how different people react to their parent’s marriages. Mr. Claire’s parents are still together but he wishes his mother had left his father years ago and that’s why he doesn’t like marriage pretty much

    I’m more of the “I’m not putting the last five years down to a waste of time” type of persuasion btw 🙂 I think that marriage would just put an extra bit of pressure on me. The way I feel about it in general, I would think that I’d react badly to being married. I don’t think that it would suit my personality. I wouldn’t be good as a wife…

  8. 8

    antibarbie said,

    F*ck marriage. I don’t want it. All the couples I’ve known are ether miserable in their marriages or divorced. (with the exception of my maternal grandparents but even then my grandmother loved my grandfather like a best friend and brother rather than the love of her life)

    My parents only got married because she was knocked up with me and it was a horrible, mismatched union. He was an abusive, emotionally retarded, cheater with a drug problem. My mom is a Jesus freak who thinks everything is a ‘sin’. I’m sure you can tell how well that relationship went up until the time he passed.

    My boyfriend’s parents split when he was younger too.

    I think monogamy came about to give children stable, loving homes but all in all, I don’t think long term (as opposed to serial) monogamy works out too well for a lot of people. I don’t think it’s in our nature to be with one person forever (on average). I mean, I would love for it to be so but numbers don’t lie. Perhaps I am just too cynical.

  9. 9

    clairec23 said,

    You are very cynical 🙂 The atheist bit makes a lot of sense now 😉 Luckily my family don’t mention sins, even though my nanny and her sisters are all old and religious, they don’t push it on anyone. They accept my gay cousin and consider him to be married to his partner for example, and my nanny was fully supported by the family as a single mother in 1960.

    The problem I have with crappy marriages is that the kids are always affected in some way. But I think that my mother wanted to get married because my nanny didn’t and now I don’t because my mother did and it was bad, way bad.

    I’d like to think that people can stay together happily for ever. Only time will tell if I can. I think people’s heads can easily turn but there is a difference between window shopping and sampling the goods 🙂

    Just got off the phone to Mr. Claire. He reckons that it’s a way for people to prove that they love each other. Make them more secure in the fact that the other person really loves them. I suppose it is a way of proving it so is a tattoo of the person’s name. That lasts forever too 😉

  10. 10

    melbs1969 said,

    hi! i’m going to give my opinion…
    you have to do what makes you and your partner happy but…you also have to take into consideration, your children. i don’t know what it’s like in ireland. here, i believe that kids of a non-married union, would be teased in school. i’m not judging! i just think about the kids. and, since kids repeat what they know…you have to think about, whether or not, you want your kids to have the same kind of life you grew up with…or, do you want your kids to grow up with what you, probably, wanted to grow up with…a mom and dad…perhaps being husband and wife…a happy home. i’m not pro or con marriage. it’s strictly an individual decision. but, when there are already kids involved…i think that takes precedence.
    yes, a marriage is just another declaration of love and commitment. so is the partnership that you and mr. claire have. but, really…what is the difference…if the partnership breaks up or the marriage does? the dissolving of a commitment is the dissolving of a commitment. i don’t know exactly what it is i’m trying to say. but, if the situation works…then, it works. i just think that, you really need to decide which of the working commitments…works for the best for the kids.
    either way you go…i’m sure that you totally have the best interest of your children, at heart!
    I feel for you, though. the way you grew up…it sounds so sad. did you have a happy childhood, at all? i hope you have some happy memories of being young! that’s such an important thing.
    well, i’m sending you a big hug…i think it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. and, when the time comes…you’ll do whatever it is that is right!

  11. 11

    clairec23 said,

    Obviously, the kids are most important. But, over here, I can’t see that happening. Even my own mother, who didn’t have a father, always says that she was never teased by anyone and never once called the “b” word. That’s saying a lot for the time she grew up in. I was never teased because my parents had split up or even cos my Dad was locked up. Most of the kids I went to school were in similar situations. My brother is 10, most of the children in his class have parents who are unmarried. My point is there will be more unmarried parents than married when my kids are in school. It’s not even something that gets talked about really. Even the girls that I mentioned who got married this year, they already have children in schools themselves, the reason they got married was to do with housing and benefits – long story.

    I can’t see marriage improving my life so I’m afraid it would make things worse. If something isn’t broke, why fix it? I think people like you are brave to go through it twice. My mother had no intentions of doing it twice after the first disaster but her partner hadn’t been married and proposed basically the week the divorce came through and she changed her mind 😉

    And no to the happy childhood. I honestly struggle to find happy memories. Most of them don’t involve being at home! I’m sure there must be some – they’re just hard to find 🙂

  12. 12

    Kate said,

    I can see where you are coming from. I am married (for the second time, but that’s a blog post) but at one time, I was adamant that I never would. Mind you, I said I would never have children either, I now have 5 LOL Anyhow, I can understand why some people would choose not to marry, a strong relationship is about more than a bit of paper and a party. Really, you’ve already made a commitment to each by deciding to raise a family together, which (I think) is a much bigger thing. I would say more, but this could turn into a post.

    Oh, one more thing – I wouldn’t worry about your children being teased as someone mentioned above. It’s very unlikely that they will be the only kids whose parents aren’t married and even if they are, it doesn’t have the stigma it might have done at one time. I can also identify with your Mum’s experience at school. My parents were divorced and I went to an all girl convent school (in the 70s and 80s) and it was never an issue. I think kids only care about that sort of thing when adults encourage them to.

  13. 13

    clairec23 said,

    I agree about that last point Kate…it would never occur to most kids here to think that was something, erm, teaseable? I suppose the area where you live may have something to do with it too. lol @ you having five!! To me, having the kids with him ties us both together for ever one way or another. I know things can change but right now I can’t imagine anything that would break us up. I really can’t fathom it so I suppose I’m not seeing things the way an outsider would. I can’t really explain it properly but to us right now there isn’t any question of us not being together forever.

  14. 14

    cardiogirl said,

    My initial thought was: are you denied any rights that you would have otherwise if you two were married? I’m thinking specifically of health insurance, life insurance, making decisions for him or him for you should you become incapacitated (power of attorney, etc.)

    Otherwise, what works for you works. Groovy!

  15. 15

    clairec23 said,

    Not that I know of. Common-law-wife and all that. Ya, ’tis groovy 🙂

  16. 16

    This was really interesting. I used to feel the same. You might have noticed over at my place I changed my mind!

    For me, it always comes back to the fathers’ rights. It is terrible but true that unmarried fathers have very poor fatherly rights, at least here in UK. I want my man to demand he be treated as a parent who is as important and relevant to his children as me (modern feminism for you again) and that means getting married.

    I would hate to think people would judge you for choosing not to do it or for having your children young though. Tell ’em to feck off! (How’s my Irish coming along?)

  17. 17

    clairec23 said,

    Your Irish is coming along great! And everyone has the right to change their minds about these things 🙂 I know how you mean about father’s rights. People always want to deal with the mother and tend to be surprised when the father gets involved. Which is sad. Even silly things like dealing with health nurses, they don’t want to talk to the fathers, but I always give them his phone number. They still always ask to talk to me even though they just ask me a question that he could have answered! That’s only when they’re newborns really though. I always insisted he was involved in everything to do with the kids which sometimes raised a few eyebrows but that might have been because there are still so many Dads that don’t get involved. I know that he was always the only man in the room if we had to go for injections or meetings.

    I think the UK is worse than Ireland for father’s rights. I know lots of men that have custody of their children rather than the mother and from what I hear, that wouldn’t really happen in the UK. Although it probably doesn’t happen as much as it should over here. Things are slowly changing.

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