Dear KitschMix,

My girlfriend is 31, I’m 28 and we’ve been dating for 5 years, have been living together for 3. We’re both committed to each other and I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anybody else.

Here’s our problem know, she doesn’t “believe” in gay marriage. As in she doesn’t see why it’s a thing. She thinks it’s stupid that a piece of paper and a public ceremony can define love and commitment. I on the other hand do “believe” in marriage. I agree that a piece of paper is just a technicality, but I want to be her fiancé, to be her wife someday and call her my wife. She thinks it’s stupid.

Whenever we talk about this, we get in a huge fight. I get too defensive which makes her sarcastic, which makes me more defensive and it’s a cycle. I tried bringing up that if we do get married, we get tax benefits but she pointed out that it’s BS reasoning because she did the math and we actually save a few hundred dollars on taxes by not getting married. I thought maybe it’s because she’s not committed to me, but we’re going to start the process of having kids in a few months.

It’s like she makes me feel bad for wanting to get married. I feel stupid for wanting this. I don’t know why it matters so much to me, or even how to talk to her about this when all that happens is me getting my feelings hurt and her being sarcastic.

Well, reader, I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear right now but… Not everyone believes in marriage. They might change their mind eventually, but they might not – and pushing the issue isn’t likely to change anything.

I’m inclined to agree with your partner about it being a technicality. It’s a technicality with a lot of expectations – most of which apply when you have a kid together, too (especially if you go through the trouble of making sure the child legally “belongs to” both of you). Don’t get me wrong – I am engaged. But I don’t think I would mind so much if the wedding never came. The marriage can end, just like the relationship without the marriage can end. Sure, there’s a couple extra steps involved, but if a little extra work is the only thing stopping me from leaving my partner – yes, I’m still going to leave.

Believe it or not, this is a romantic idea, though. If you think about it, she’s basically telling you that she doesn’t want to feel like she has to stay just because of a piece of paper. On the other hand, she probably sees your position as you needing a contract to prove she loves you. Both seem petty to the other side, but it’s just a matter of personal preference.

She’s right about the tax thing, too. In most cases, getting married isn’t going to help you out on taxes overall. The partner who’s making more money now might have a lower tax responsibility, as it balances out with the person who’s making less. But the partner who’s making less will have a higher tax responsibility because it’s assumed that half of her partner’s assets are hers, too. Unless you’re both well-established already, tax benefits from marriage are non-existent.

If you’re going to have any chance of changing her mind (not that I’m recommending you push the issue – obviously it’s not yielding the best results so far), you’re going to have to rely on the facts that matter to her – not the ones that matter to you. For example, if one of you will be the biological mother of the child, the adoption process is worlds easier if you two are married – many places will allow the married partner to be automatically listed as the “second parent” on the child’s birth certificate.

Without this (or in places where second parent recognition is not listed on the birth certificate), you may have to fight for years to get the official status as a parent – during which time, the biological parent will have the primary legal authority over the child. In most situations, a divorce alone will not be enough to take the parental status away.

Or, maybe insurance is the topic that will appeal to her. In most cases, insurance companies will not recognize an unmarried partner. There are some insurance companies that allow for unmarried partners to be beneficiaries or dependents, but it’s not legally required for them to do this. They are, however, usually required to acknowledge legally-married spouses.

Personally, I don’t think the issue of marriage should ever be forced. I have some friends who have been with their partner for over twenty years, who are not legally married – and some who have been divorced multiple times. There’s nothing automatically wrong with either situation, it’s largely a matter of personal preference.

Some people want to get married – and they have every right to get married one day.

Some people don’t want to get married – and they have every right to not get married.

Sometimes this means that the two people won’t be together in the long run – and that’s not automatically a bad thing, either. Other times, one of the two will end up changing their mind. If the two of you take the focus off the idea of whether or not there’s an eventual wedding, you can see where time takes you – and see if it’s even an important issue to fight about.

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