23 answers

Marriage - Hazelwood,MO

So I asked a question earlier that really had nothing to do with this, but received a couple of comments asking about it and wanted to respond seperately and partially see if it really is that big of a deal.

I am pregnant with my first child. My boyfriend has a crazy ex (see other post). No we are not married. We are not even engaged. We do live together and split finances. When the baby is born he will be staying at home with the dad and I will be supporting the household, which I have no problem with. It is going to help us with childcare costs for out child and be better for his daughter with his ex. If we break up, then I will simply place my son in childcare, which I could do now, collect my child support, and he will move out and maintain his relationship through visitation. We haven't actually talked about this, because I don't see us breaking up in the near future, but i have figured this would be how I would handle it. He is fairly laid back and tried to keep the situation with his ex as limited in drama as possible. The most important thing to him is to have a relationship with his kids.

We are not planning to get married anytime soon. The reason for this is because we were not planning it before I got pregnant. We had just started living together when I got pregnant. Yes, we have been together sometime, but we hadn't had a lot of discussion about marriage, just that one day it would happen when we were ready. Now that we are having our son together, people seem to be very focused on the marriage thing (It's not just here, as the two comments that were made weren't really that big of a deal it just got me thinking). We don't want to be forcing ourselves into a marriage just because we are having a baby together and didn't think the timing was good. It would feel like that to us since we weren't really talking about it before. I believe that marriage should be done because two people WANT to get married and are READY to get married. We started planning for the baby because he surprised us, but honestly, we still have some control of the marriage part and want it to always be remembered as something we did for each other by both us and our families. Also, I REALLY won't get married to him just to help reinforce to his ex our relationship or because one day I might be in her position. I could be in her position even if we do get married. I actually had someone at work tell me that I should kick him out if he does not "do right by me" and it seems like the first question I get asked when they talk to me about the baby is when we are getting married.

I guess I just don't fully understand what the big deal is? I have no problem with marriage. I wanted to be married when I had my first kid, but it didn't work out that way for me. But, I certainly won't marry someone when that is the main reason it would be happening at this time, or at least it's the way it would come across. Plus, marriage is not anymore secure as any other relationship now considering how many divorces there are. My parents have been married for 30 years and would love for that to happen one day, but I just don't think now is the best time, so why do people keep bringing it up?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Just a few things.

For the record, it is not that we are not ready to get married. It's just if we get married right now it will forever be viewed as the wedding that happened because "I got knocked up." We love each other. We are very committed to each and have been for a while now. We have talked more about marriage since I got pregnant. We just don't want it to be because I'm pregnant, so we are waiting till it becomes more about us and our decision to get married. Even though we love each other and even though we talk about spending our lives together, right now it would feel like it was for the wrong reasons.

I absolutely hate to believe that marriage is what commits a man to taking care of me and my child. If he doesn't want to be there to take care of either of us in whatever way, then marriage is not gonna all of sudden change everything and make him do it. He'll just find a way within the marriage to avoid responsibilities. Also, I'm not of the mind-set that fathers are supposed to 100% financially support their children while mothers care for their children. I believe both parents are supposed to do what is best for the child. In this case, he is being the stay at home parent while I work. I don't think it would be questioned nearly as much if it was the other way around. I actually discussed with a lawyer about the events of our break up because we were both in the process of having wills created at the same time so I thought it would be a good idea because you don't always know whats gonna happen. I am a planner. It's how my mind works. That is why I had a general idea of what would happen. It's not that I'm sitting here thinking we're gonna break up or having doubts about our future. Would you think the same thing about person who has their fiancee sign a pre-nup to protect their assets? Probably not and people do that all the time! Most of the marriages that I have witnessed ending in divorce are because they either 1) got married for the wrong reasons (i.e. baby not because they loved each other, this is what happened with my dad's first marriage) 2) they fell out of love 3) financial conflict and then finally 4) due to cheating/abuse/alcoholism. In my experience, the last one is RARELY the reason most people get divorced. Also, all of the people I know who have gotten divorced had long drawn out battles in trying to get everything they felt they had a right to. Not all unmarried dads are dead beats, as it seems to be implied. Like I said before, he spends every day with his daughter and takes care of her as much as possible. He would do anything for her and would drop everything if she needed something. He is just excited about our child.

Also, I know all the statistics about single moms and such. I work in social work with juvenile delinquents. Those kids have many other issues too that they are exposed to each day that causes their problems. My son will have two loving parents in his life. That is all a kid needs to be successful and he will have that. I would have put the baby up for adoption if I didn't think he was going to have both loving parents around. I focused on all of my options when I found out I was pregnant because I was going to make the best one for him. In the end, we knew we could do this together because we are both mature adults about things.

Oh and the palimony thing was actually something my lawyer did bring up, but said that there had to be a legal agreement for him to recieve it. Instead we are in the process of drawing up forms stating that he will not ask for it in the event of our seperation. No I don't think this is a dooms day thing. I don't think we will seperate. I think we will get married one day. Just not today and I want to be covered.

And to the other one who asked. I have a power of attorney who can make medical decisions for me. It is my mother. She is also the executor of my estate if anything were to happen to me and gets custody of our son if anything were to happen to both of us.

Featured Answers

OK...I totally get what you are saying. I agree, that you shouldn't get married, just because a child is involved. But what I can't understand...how in the world are you two ready for a child...if you aren't ready for a marriage?

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. But if he is good enough for you to have a child with, why isn't he good enough to marry? Or vice versa? What will take you too to decide you are right for each other?
Living together hasn't convinced you, having a child didn't do it for you, you're dealing with all his past as if you were his wife. What's missing?

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I think you're mentally opposed to marriage right now, and your mind is already made up. So it doesnt matter what is said in the responses you get.

I will mention this: The first 5 years (and especially the first 36 months) after the baby is born are very challenging on relationships. You will be sleep deprived, stressed from juggling work and home demands, adjusting to not having any personal time, feeling distant and unappreciated from your spouse/partner.... Sometimes, the one thing that keeps a couple together during this time is the fact that they are married, that breaking up isn't easy--it would involve attorneys, divorce court, and the money to do it. And then, once the child is older and the time demands/distractions are less, the relationship gets back on track.

So, I suggest that you keep this in mind over the next few years: You will have ruts and bad times with your boyfriend--sometimes those bad stretches last many months, perhaps even a year or so. The goal is that you reconnect with him after the infant and toddler drain. If you stay together without being legally married--great, kudos to you both! You just need to be able to see the forest through the trees, be able to recognize what influences the baby is exerting on your relationship at those times when you feel like ending the relationship out of frustration.

And keep in mind, you and him never promised to stay together through financial hardship, illness, hard times. While half of marriages may break those vows and get divorced when the marriage becomes inconvenient, the other half do honor their vows and see marriage as a life long journey. It all depends on how you as a couple perceive marriage--are you together because it's convenient or because you're a partnership on a life-long journey.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful

OK...I totally get what you are saying. I agree, that you shouldn't get married, just because a child is involved. But what I can't understand...how in the world are you two ready for a child...if you aren't ready for a marriage?

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. But if he is good enough for you to have a child with, why isn't he good enough to marry? Or vice versa? What will take you too to decide you are right for each other?
Living together hasn't convinced you, having a child didn't do it for you, you're dealing with all his past as if you were his wife. What's missing?

4 moms found this helpful

Ok you want to know what the big deal is? I'll tell you, as the child of parents who NEVER married and after 20 years brokeup. Then Daddy goes and marries the next bimbo who pops up. It sure made me and my sibling feel like less than_______. What my mom was good enough to marry just to "PLAY HOUSE" with but not worth marrying? Before people start living together I really wish every one would think about the what if's. No your baby is on the way it's time to stop playing and be Adults. Stop and think were your parents ever married? If they divorced how did that make you feel?

4 moms found this helpful

I'm all for people living together without being married and especially prior to marriage before you legally commit yourself. HOWEVER, when kids enter the equation -you need to be married! Legally and financially you are miles ahead if you're married and then you break up. You can't count on him to do anything when it comes to a break up -it doesn't matter HOW you think it would go -you actually have no idea. I will also say this -I was talking to some friends the other day and we're all married. We are good friends with a couple who split up last year after being together for 22 years. They were engaged but never married. We started talking about the fact that, yes, it IS different when you're married. We're all very modern, educated women with very liberal social viewpoints, but we all agreed that there's a level of commitment that comes with marriage that you just don't get by living together -even if you have a baby together. If you don't want to marry this guy, then you need to have some legal papers drawn up regarding your child and what will happen if you ever split. Did you know that by supporting him and working while he stays at home with your baby, he can sue you for palimony and receive it if you break up? How does that sit with you? You want to send him a check and pay for childcare if things go south? Think long and hard about it.

4 moms found this helpful

My best guess? Because here's how it might look to some: He's already knocked up two women he wasn't married to and brought babies into the world with them, there is no indication he has any motivation to stop this behavior, and in all of the detail you provide, there is never any discussion of HIS role in the whole situation. You work, ex creates drama, daughter deals, and he sows seed. I think asking about marriage is sort of a way of saying, "How big of a sucker are you?" Then again, there is a big Christian posse on this board. No doubt for some of them it's just that. Do what you want to do. You don't owe anyone an explanation. But if I were a betting woman, my money would be on more baby mommies in your man's future.

3 moms found this helpful

I support you 100%. You are obviously more mature than many women in your situation, and I suspect things will work out for the best simply because you are going into this with your eyes wide open and have a good head on your shoulders.
People keep bringing it up b/c they are looking at your situation through lenses colored with their own personal opinions and religious beliefs. You do what is best for YOUR family, and ignore everyone else.

The fact that people who live together first have higher divorce rates is not true.
See here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-07-28-cohabitati...

Best of luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful

You sound like a very smart lady. Stick with what is right for you and your child.

2 moms found this helpful

You say "I believe that marriage should be done because two people WANT to get married and are READY to get married."

Me too.

I could alter this to express another belief "I believe that having a baby should be done because two people WANT to have a baby and are READY to have a baby."

And now you are going to drag a child through all of this with you.
That's why I do think it's a big deal.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and (and I'm not implying that your baby is a mistake) although one mistake does not need to be followed by a second, it is my firm belief that children have the right to be brought into a stable home with parents committed to each other. Yes a marriage license does not guarantee a lifetime together but it does put you both on the same page as far as moving forward together, with longevity in mind.
Good luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful

I refused to marry my husband when I got pregnant. I waited until he was 2yo... and 6 years later... found out that STILL the only reason he married me was for our son.

We've been on the divorce fence since kiddo was 3.

People associate marriage with stability. It's an erroneous assumption.

EDITED TO ADD:

The argument that gets brought up all the time that is FALSE logic honest to god cracks me up:

The "If you aren't ready to get married how can you be ready for a child?" question. TRYING to imply that if you can make a baby in order to be "ready" for it you must be married or "else".

It's the whole : All people with broken bones are in pain. Therefore eveyone in pain has a broken bone.

Nope. False logic. If A then B does NOT equal then if B then A. You can't take every argument and have it be true backwards.

And having a baby while not married... if you're already pregnant...Ummm... horse out of the barn on that one. Following the false logic of "if you can't be ready to be married then you can't be ready to have a child"; THEN what? That a child born out of wedlock should be killed or aborted? Patently ridiculous. You can't run logic backwards to prove a point. ESPECIALLY when even the original logic is flawed. Because not ALL married couples are ready to have a child.

A spouse may have a wonderful marriage, but not be ready to be a parent. A person who is unmarried can be more than ready to be a parent, but not ready to be a spouse. The key word is MAY, meaning NOT ALL.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm a firm beleiver that 2 people should be married before deciding to have a child together. However, things don't alway work out that way. Marraige is a big deal. It's a huge committment. Being happily married for a lifetime is extremely difficult.

IMO you're looking at things from a great perspective. You have thought things out and you have a plan. You and BF are in agreement. You know how you'dr going to support and care for your child, and most importantly realize that this may not be your "happily ever after".

Speaking in general term and about the majority, many women who find themselves in your position don't have a plan. Many of these women believe "if I have a child then he (the BF) will love me and take care of me and our baby". When in reality, the BF isn't ready or doesn't want a committed relationship and/or a child. So IMO most of what you're hearing is speaking to the vast majority.

2 moms found this helpful

I didn't read your first post, and I only skimmed the other responses. Here's my story. I was married once before, and we ended in divorce. I always wanted a marriage like my parents.....until my mom left my dad (when he was super ill) after 35 years of marriage. I got with my boyfriend, after 2 years of knowing him, and I got pregnant after 3 months of dating.
I know I want to be with him, I know I will eventually marry him, but I am in no rush.
I honestly could care less if I have a piece of paper stating we are man and wife. I got the whole "when are you getting married?" when I first announced I was pregnant, and now that the baby is almost 2 I get "Oh so you guys haven't gotten married yet?" I always respond with "nooo I love living in sin" ;) lol. Yeah, i'm a smart a--. I also agree with you, it has nothing to do if I am ready or not. We live just like a married couple, just without the legal union of it, and my child has both her mommy and her daddy in love, living in one house. We're ready, it's just not the exact right time. The only "downsides" (although I don't view them as those) is that we can't share medical insurance through my boyfriends work, and he can't claim me on taxes. Whoop-dee-doo.
I love Riley J's statement "People associate marriage with stability. It's an erroneous assumption." That is soo true. I am more stable now in my non-married life, then I was in my previous marriage. I thank God everyday I didn't have a child with my ex-husband, it would have been the worst thing for that child, had it happened.
I don't get defensive at people who believe/say differently. I just laugh in my head when they are soooo persisitant about it. I don't need to hear statistics, or what the "normal" is, or that people my age don't value marriage or are naive.....I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, this is my life and I live it however I want...i'll take the odds.
Ohh and just to warn you, after you have the baby, when you call your SO "boyfriend" you *may* start getting the statement "ohh is he the dad?" LOL Thats when you can reply with "Watch Maury's paternity special to find out." =) yeah....I have fun with it.
You keep doing whats best for you and your family. Congrats on the baby! =)

2 moms found this helpful

Actually, I agree with you.

I became pregnant with my SO's child after we had been together for a year. We had been living together. Now, three years later (we've been committed to each other, had a business, split finances, are raising two children and own a house), we are getting married. It is timing and a "plan" that works for us.

Conventional "wisdom" isn't always correct. You have thought it out from your perspective and context - you are the the only one living your life. Do what feels right. Anything else will be wrong *for you*.

ETA: Too often we confuse what is right for us and our families, as being what is right for everyone.

2 moms found this helpful

I did not read the other responses but just wanted to tell you my own story since its sounds similar to yours. My hubby and I had just moved in together when we got pregnant with our daughter. We had not really talked about getting married before that point, except just general, like it will happen someday down the road when we're ready. When I got pregnant, his family immediately started pressuring us to get married---that he should do the "right" thing. They even started to convince him and he asked me if I would like to get married. I told him straight out "no", I would not get married because I was pregnant. My parents were the type that "stayed together for the kids" until we were in our 20's and trust me it didn't do either my brother or me any favors. A baby is not a good reason to get married, imho. I told him, lets wait and have the baby, then after a year or so if you really still want to spend the rest of your life with me, then ask me again. Having a child is a huge change in a person and couple's life and that was enough for me at the time. When we decided to have our daughter, the only commitment I wanted from him was to be a parent to his child. I made the same commitment. We obviously already had a committed relationship to each other, or we would not be living together. When my daughter was about a year old, he surprised me with a genuine proposal. (ring, down on one knee, had called my dad to ask his blessing) I accepted because I wanted him for my life partner and knew it after watching how he treated me and his daughter over the past couple years. The day we got married was one of the happiest days of my life and I know I did it for the right reasons. Not because he felt "obligated" to marry me or it was what his parents wanted.

As for the people that bring it up, I would just change the subject, or say something like "when/if we are going to get married--we'll be sure to send you an invitation to the wedding!" Honestly it is rude for them to ask anyway and you do not need to justify your actions to anyone. Enjoy the relationship you have and allow it to grow into something more naturally--don't force it because of other's expectations. If your bf is going to be a good father, then he will be a good father. No marriage certificate is going to change that one way or the other--if it did, then is this really the kind of man you would want to marry? I wish you the best--congrats on your pregnancy!

1 mom found this helpful

One thing I can suggest since you aren't married and don't plan on it anytime soon is to fill out a health care surrogate form. This clearly states who you want to make health care decisions for you in the event you can't make them yourself. I bring this up because what if you need a c-section, what if other medical decisions need to be made. The hospital would look to your closest blood relative. Is that the person you would want making decisions? Just some food for thought.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you are 100% right. I got pregnant with my son and the first thing most people said after I told them that I was pregnant was, "Are you getting married?" I did not get married to my son's father until the boy was 15 months old. The marriage did not happen because we wanted to get married but because my family was ready to disown me. Now I have figured out that I am never going to get the acceptance from my family and people can accept me for who I am or they can just get outta my face. Marriage is a very beautiful thing and it should be shared by two people that are ready. I am glad that you are taking the needed steps to protect you and your child. The most important thing is that you are strong in the relationship and feel happy with your life. Your baby gains so much from your happiness. My daughter really thinks things through and covers her butt and I feel really proud for her and wish I would have been that way. I should mention that my marriage ended in divorce and I could have handled being a single mother much easier then divorce. You do what is right for you!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm uncertain where I stand. As Marci said "to a child (having his parents together) it's everything" Yes, divorce happens but at least I tried my hardest to make a family for my children. My first marriage didnt work and ended in divorce but my children will know I tried to make a family with their father, I didnt just sleep with him and then drift apart.
Anyway I think all that matters is how much do you and he love each other and how committed are you to each other. If it isnt enough to get married now it probably wont be in the future so I hope you can work out the best way to raise a child together and let him or her have both parents in his/her life. Good luck to you and your new little one.

1 mom found this helpful

Get married when you are ready and you know he is the one. Just because you have a child together does not make forever. You will forever be co-parents, but that does not mean the choice about marriage must be made now. Best of luck with your future.
Blessed Be

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I got married after we got pregnant with number 2. HOWEVER, we did NOT get married because I was pregnant. We were planning a real wedding, but went ahead and just did it because with another baby on the way, why not. Some people have asked the question over the years and we both shoot them down. We got married because we are in love and were going that direction, we just sped it up :).

Conventional thinking says that if the girl gets pregnant, the boy should "make an honest woman out of her" and marry her. I don't see anywhere in your post where you haven't thought this out fully. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders and I applaud you for not rushing into marriage. At this point if things don't work out, it's easier to split, whereas if you were married it could and probably would be messier.

I'm sorry people keep bringing up marriage. If you just stand your ground and keep telling people that neither of you are ready for that, eventually they will get it.

I also wanted to say that I think it's awesome that your boyfriend is going to stay at home with the baby. I'm still scratching my head over why it's ok for a woman to be a stay at home mom but people wonder why a man catches flack for staying at home with the kids.

I am glad that I got marrried. We were all ready planning to get married then sped it up when I got pregnant. I think his Mom will ALWAYS see it as "I trapped him" (nevermind how old we are or how long we'd been living together). Someone will always think you made the wrong choice - no matter what you choose! SO - while I am happy that I got married, I say you do what feels right for you.

Most people just believe you should be married to the person you have children with. It is the ideal family.
In your situation I would not rush into marriage... give it the time you need and then decide. A man with baggage and a crazy ex can be a real strain on a relationship.
If you don't stay with him, you will be that person to some guy some day.
It's just seems to be the way the world goes round these days unfortunately.
America has a problem with the family unit. People getting pregnant before being committed and finacially stable and mature enough for a family. It's tearing the country apart. The family is the most important single unit in our country...... and it has been very compromised since the 60's when it became okay to "do what feels good" and not worry about the consequences.
I am in no way pointing a finger at you... just making a general observation. I got married to my kids dad when I was 2 weeks away from delivering my son... and I shouldnt have married him. So, I do "get" you.

I think you have your head on straight. Just keep going with what you feel and know is right and not with what others are pressuring you to do. Relationships and child-rearing are not an exact science. Life does not have to follow that old children's rhyme of 'first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...a baby carriage...' What is important is that your child will have two loving parents who are committed to each other. Marriage does not guarantee this.

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