Why I want a civil partnershipPosted: March 6, 2011
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.