Why I want a civil partnership

I’m straight, and I’ve been with my boyfriend for coming up to 10 years.  We’ve been being asked when we’re going to get married for about 9 years.   And both of us have had our reasons for not wanting to.  Boyf’s are generally around not wanting to feel old, liking having a girlfriend, and that a mortgage is a bigger commitment anyway.  I’m generalising, but he can write his own blog if he wants to.  These are my reasons.

I am committed to my boyfriend.  I’m happy that we have joint ownership of our house, a joint mortgage and a joint bank account for our bills.  I like his family, and happily refer to his mum as my mother-in-law-almost/sort-of.    I’ll even answer to Mrs boyf’s-name when employment agencies call and ask for him.  So it’s not him that’s a problem, it’s marriage.

I don’t want to have a wedding.  I don’t want a white dress.  Why should it be the woman who’s proving / implying her virginity on the wedding day all done up in white, while the man where’s a dark suit?  I don’t want to be given away.  I don’t want to split our friends and family into “bride” and “groom”.  I don’t want to repeat vows that make people think “I notice they omitted the word obey…”.

But that’s easy, I could have a civil wedding, in a nice hotel or the registry office.  But I would still end up being a Wife.  All the words connected with wife I don’t want to be.  House-wife.  Little-wife.  Good-wife.  Wife&Mother.  Ex-wife.  First-wife.  Loving-wife.  Trophy-wife.  None of the words that sum up our relationship go with wife (except maybe “loving” I suppose, if I’m feeling soppy).  No equality, no partnership, no facing the world together.

So why don’t I just stay co-habiting?  Boyf is right, it frequently seems a lot harder to dissolve a mortgage than a marriage.  But last year, during an extended period of unemployment, we nearly lost the house.  So what would we have had then?  Co-habitation works when things are good, but the “better or worse” part of the marriage vows is one of the bits I actually like.  That whatever else we lose, even if we have nothing, we’re still a committed partnership.

Worse, at one point I nearly lost boyf.  What would I have been?  Doctors wouldn’t have spoken to me, police wouldn’t have confirmed his death with me.  I know his family would have involved me, as mine would him if anything ever were to happen.  But actually I want this responsibility, and I want him to have it for me.  All the time I’m conscious I make the most important decisions along side him.  So if I were ever not able to make decisions for myself, it’s him I’d want making them for me.

And then there’s what our families want.  Not just a chance to make a speech or wear a hat on a certain day.  But to have a chance to celebrate our relationship.  We already have an anniversary we mark, and I like that it’s private, a chance for us to celebrate our relationship.  But I know that my Mum would like a chance to send a card to both of us each year, saying “I’m pleased it’s working out”.   I know my Dad would like the chance to stand up and say he’s proud of me, and happy that together we’ve made a good life for ourselves.

I want the chance to publicly register our relationship.  I want everyone in every situation to know that he is the most important person in my life, and I in his.  I want to give our friends and family a chance to celebrate our relationship.  But I don’t want to be a wife.

So, if the law is changed, as suggested in the Guardian, and heterosexual couples could enter civil partnerships, I would want to be at the front of the queue.


One Comment on “Why I want a civil partnership”

  1. MandyM says:

    And I’d be close behind! Having been one of those who put her foot down 35 years ago, to have the ‘obey’ removed from the vows, changes are a long time coming. Keep blogging!

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