I feel as though some people struggle to understand why some people don’t get married immediately- if at all.
Jesse and I were not legally married. If common law marriage still existed here we likely would be. I am not sure why it was taken away.
We held each other out to be the other’s spouse. We owned property together. We shared accounts. Had 4 children.
We just delayed getting married because it wasn’t about what other people needed- it was about what we needed. It wasn’t a rush. We were already together.
When you are not married but you are in a long term committed relationship it does not mean you don’t love each other or its a pass for cheating. To my friends in this similar position of being “unmarried,” there is no shortage of love or loyalty in the relationship.
Actually, I sometimes think there is more, because what is holding you back from leaving? Certainly not marriage, or being afraid of losing assets. It shows you are there purely because you want to be. You are loyal not because of consequences- you are loyal out of love.
Cliche standards of what love is don’t matter. Love is what you and your person agree it to be. If it works for the two of you, it works.
Jesse and I always intended on getting married, but we didn’t get the chance. We figured after I was done with school perhaps. Just he and I somewhere- like Transylvania (yes, we are referencing back to Dracula)…or Ireland. Then maybe some small party back home to appease family.
When I told Jesse I was pregnant with Chloe at 19, the marriage question immediately followed. He asked if we should. I said no and shrugged. Not because I didn’t care or didn’t want to, I just didn’t want to be married “just because” we had a child. I’ve seen this so many times and it drives me crazy. I’ve also seen people get married just because they are lonely. I’ve seen people get married just to settle or to get married just to be able to say they are married. I told him if we really love each other we don’t need it, not yet anyway. He agreed and we nailed down this philosophy together. Being intensely dedicated to each other without paper or societies view of what love should look like. It ended up working out well. Everyone around us could see it.
Practically speaking, I also didn’t want a court house wedding. I am kind of an all or nothing person.. give me the best or give me nothing. A $100 court house wedding just didn’t appease me. A $200 ring didn’t appease Jesse. The ring thing I wasn’t too concerned about- I ended up getting a ring from him, but he always said he wanted my wedding ring to be “1/3 his salary.” I don’t know where he came up with this concept and cant judge it because I wanted a wedding in a different country. But with all of our children and college- that wasn’t doable just yet. So no big deal, we just wait right?
Wait until after law school.
Except he fucking died 6 months before I graduated.
All of our hard work… and nothing.
He should be here to reap the benefits… but nothing.
All of this waiting… for what? So I can be alone and if I become an awesome attorney- maybe one day cry by myself in a Bentley? Go home to the 15 cats I own and quiet house? This pisses me off so bad.
The original goal was that I’d be a lawyer and we would save money and start traveling places.
Now I do realize this could be opposite.
Jesse and I had our first child at 19. We did things “backwards.” While I am upset to a degree I will never be married (weird saying that because I literally didn’t care), I am glad we picked kids first because otherwise maybe we never would have had them.
Unfortunately it did matter that Jesse and I were not married because it has effected the control I have over things.
Working at an attorneys office I had a will, power of attorney, etc and Jesse was named. Jesse didn’t work for an attorney- and I never pushed him getting documents done because who the hell thinks they are actually going to die at 32?
I know this would have upset him- if he wanted someone else to control things he would have listed them as his beneficiary as well right? But he didn’t. I am his beneficiary, because he wanted me to have and control everything- but I digress.
Us not being legally married has caused issues for Wren too. Again, my main thought being pregnant wasn’t “oh Wrens dad will die before shes born.”
While in the hospital, the woman came in to do Wren’s birth certificate. She was very distraught. She said she had been avoiding me all day because under “father,” she legally had to put “unknown.”
Wren and I both have his last name now, but neither of us are legally recognized. I recently changed my last name to his, which was bittersweet. I wish he could have seen it- he would have been so happy.
For Wren I am fighting this- via a dna test. When that gets cleared she will be recognized but until then she isn’t. This won’t change anything financially, but it is important to me that she has a father listed on her birth certificate.
That sounds absolutely crazy when I type it.
I suppose the whole thing frustrates me because at the end of the day- I know of couples where the woman is pregnant by another man, husband has no idea, but the state will recognize the baby as the husband’s simply because of the “presumption,” that it is his because they are married. Even couples that have separated are acknowledged. But Jesse and I? 13 years? Nothing.
I am pretty sure that Jesse and I have enough to support a presumption too. But they won’t change it without a fight.
At the end of the day, I still hold these same values about marriage. That it is not the marriage title that makes the couple it is the couple themselves.
I have seen and continue to see many hollow marriages. Marriages that give up when it gets too hard. Marriages that do not have open communication. Marriages that don’t broach uncomfortable subjects. Marriages that do not have growth because God forbid you call your spouse out on their bullshit. Marriages that don’t forgive. Marriages that are not accepting or understanding.
I suppose this may be why I have a hard time taking marriage seriously in the first place?
If Jesse didn’t pass, I still wouldn’t be rushing for the paper. I’d still be casual about it. Because I knew how much he loved me. I didn’t need others confirmation. I knew how we spoke to each other. How we always got through things… and how we always called each other out on our bullshit.
All widows should be recognized. Married or not. The pain doesn’t decrease because of a legal status.