No, We’re Not Getting Married

To All of the Well Meaning People In My Life,

I know you are both excited and worried about me having a baby. Actually, it’s probably more worried than excited, but I understand.

No, my situation isn’t ideal. But sometimes, things happen and hopefully you know me (and my family and/or friends) well enough to know everything is going to be A-OK, or at least, no worse than anyone else you know who may be having a kid.

Many of you have not met my boyfriend. Perhaps that is a little disconcerting to you. He is a mystery and also the father of my baby. I don’t expect you to trust my judgement or to not have an opinion on the matter. But I will say that sometimes things can be unplanned and unexpected, but not, all at the same time. Or in other words, some accidents are happy ones.

The one thing that seems to come up over and over and over again that I would like to make clear is: No, we have no plans to get married at the moment.

For some reason, this is a big deal to some of you.

Maybe it’s because in your mind, there is a logical course of action that must take place in “situations like these”. Maybe the only way we can prove we’re in this together is to make it official in the eyes of the law.

I don’t buy that.

I never have, even before all of this happened. I don’t have to believe it because it’s not true. 100% of people who get married don’t stay together. Not even 70%. Not even 55%. Marriage guarantees nothing, so there’s no need to put everything in writing just because a kid is involved. In fact for me, it’s very much the opposite.

What I mean to say is, I’m very happy to have a partner in this. A voluntary partner. And if for some reason he no longer wants to stay, he doesn’t have to. Because I can’t make him. Because no one and no ring and no piece of paper can.

Having a child is probably the biggest reason TO stay as opposed to anything else, so if this isn’t what keeps us together as a family (and by that, I don’t mean we’ll necessarily be a couple), then I don’t know what would. I’m also very aware that people break up when their kids are young, so there’s that no guarantee thing again.

If you think him marrying me gives any kind of indication of how long we’ll be together, then you know something I don’t about every married couple you’re acquainted with. It must have been really hard going to all of those weddings knowing some of those marriages would end.

Don’t get me wrong: If marriage is important to you and you are important to me, then I fully support what you want. But I’d appreciate it if you didn’t push what you think is important on me.

I’m sorry if I sound defensive, but I guess I’m just a little tired of having to explain myself. If you know me, then you already know my life is not on a typical path and I’ve turned out pretty OK.

Besides, do you really want to have to buy me a baby AND wedding gift?

-Carly

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3 Comments

Great post, Carly! And congrats!

My first niece was a surprise to my then-unmarried brother and girlfriend. They chose to get married before she was born but I totally get not getting married just for the sake of being married.

On the pragmatic side of things, if things go well for a while don’t rule out marriage and however you two choose to structure your relationship be sure you both understand the financial risks to the child of his or her parents not being married if, god forbid, something happens to either of you. Social Security and certain other government benefits do still hinge on marriage, so just be aware of that. It’s just part of the unromantic, pragmatic angle that relationships have to at least be aware of once a kid is part of the picture.

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