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Why I am not getting married, even though I have a baby

So this is a big topic right now for my mother and apparently other people in the family, which is probably why it’s a big deal for my mom.

She’s trying not to freak out about it being Catholic and all, but she just finds it so.. abnormal and strange that while I was pregnant and even after I had Baby Bun I did not want to get married.

My mother (bless her heart) is trying her best to be that mother she promised she was 3 years ago when she was nagging me to just “HAVE A CHILD so that she could enjoy more grandchildren before she knocked off” (in her words, not mine).

Now that I am finally following her rather unorthodox advice given 3 years ago, she’s having second thoughts about having been so liberal.

Kind of makes me chuckle.

It’s not a sticking point in the sense that it’ll tear the family apart or cause major fights, they still want the grandchild more than a piece of signed paper, but it makes her anxious that the baby could be considered … a… *gasp*.. bastard.

I took her complaint seriously and went online to see if in fact, under Canadian laws, my baby would be considered ‘born out of wedlock and illegitimate’.

Turns out, I’m in a pretty progressive province (Ontario and then Quebec), because none of that applies.

A lot of Quebecois by the way, are not married. It is a 50/50 chance for me to find people who have actually had weddings, wear engagement rings and wedding bands, and insist on it.

Most people just don’t bother with it. Or they get married after having kids.

My partner is my common-law partner, who is akin to a husband (to me) without that $30,000 price tag of an average wedding and my baby is recognized in that union. Sure there are some drawbacks, like my not being able to claim half of his assets, but.. he can’t claim half of mine either.

I told my mom that and she breathed a little sigh of relief, but I know she would still like it if we nipped over to City Hall and signed a few papers.

…so why am I not doing this if I don’t think marriage is that big of a deal?

Mostly because I don’t see the point. The only benefit is that it would make my mother happy.


The downside is that I would now be under pressure to do any or all of the following:

1. NOT nip over to City Hall, sign a few papers and get away with it

2. Throw some sort of reception, preferably a wedding

3. Pay for it all and put a dent in our savings

#4 is what irks me the most, if you haven’t already guessed, with #2 and #3 coming in a fight for very close second and third (like I need more stress).

If neither of us really cares about this, and it’s really just my mom’s Catholic guilt trying to force us into doing all of the above, I don’t want to do it. Neither does BF.

If my parents (or his parents) offered to PAY US to do this (and cover the wedding as well as hiring a insomniac wedding planner), we might consider it.

…but ultimately, I’d probably just beg for the money to go towards the baby and our lives rather than some grand fete I didn’t want in the first place.


(Although I am kind of wistful that I don’t get to shop for a dress, and stuff my face with all of my favourite foods and so on…)

I really don’t think I’m being strange at all.

Plenty of people in Canada, the U.S. and Europe have children together these days without being married, and it’s not as frowned upon as it would be in the past.

The only thing that does bother me slightly is when my cousin tried to act all uppity and judgmental to make me feel bad because I was unmarried with a child but he did it by trying to go through my MOTHER.

Cousin: So Aunt M, how do you really feel about marriage? Seems a bit odd no, with a child on the way? It’s so .. er.. unusual and unorthodox.

My mom: …. Well she’s not married technically but she’s common-law, so it’s not like she’s a single mother.

..then my uncle starts in on how it is not tradition that I am NOT married with a child and started berating my parents for being far too liberal with their children (namely me) by not disowning me and forcing me to get married.


This is only on my side of course, his side couldn’t care less, they’re French.


  • LaMesha

    We got married at the courthouse and spent probably a total of $250 on the entire thing. Simple and easy. But we’re american and our circumstances are different (he’s in the military, I needed to be able to travel with him). I think people put too much value on being married, especially my single friends. Being married is not really a goal, it’s nice and serves a purpose, but being single or partnered and not married is just as good. Plus, getting divorced is a pain in the ass.


      I think you get tax breaks too

      • Kandice

        Actually, in the US there is something colloquially called the marriage penalty, because taxable income subject to tax in each bracket for married people isn’t double the amounts applicable to single people in each bracket. There are many other legal benefits afforded to married people, but not two unmarried partners.

        Regardless, you should do you — if you and your partner are happy as is, that’s what matters. Other people should mind their own business. I’m very independent, head strong, and a feminist — and in a few weeks my husband and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. We started dating when I was 19 and married when I was 22 (he was 24). It sounds totally crazy even to me now, because we were so young, but I still charged full speed ahead with my career and he with his.

  • Lisa

    I got married with just a civil ceremony at the City Hall. No engagement ring, no wedding, no wedding gown and I am perfectly happy. You are correct, I would hate to dent our savings to pay for a wedding so I chose to not have one instead. 😀

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    Haha people who get all uppity about marriage as if it’s not “easily” (and expensively and painfully) undoable if it doesn’t work out or people change too much. It’s undone rather frequently so you’re paying for the wedding AND the dissolution in money, tears and recriminations when it happens.

    Marriage and children have never been magic bullets to create a happy relationship or dependable partners or good parents, why the hell would one mean the other? How would marriage make your partner suddenly a good father if he wasn’t before, or how would it make a rough relationship smooth? People act like it’s a band-aid, a cure-all, a magic wand and then are surprised that it didn’t work that way.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t believe in marriage and the traditions that surround getting married. I do actually appreciate the beauty of a custom passed down for many generations. If I were healthy, I might even have done it because I don’t HATE participating in traditions that I grew up with. But that would have had to be an active choice and not one that sprang from the belief that marriage was the key to anything.

    We do have some financial and legal benefits in the US when married. PiC can’t testify against me, woo! Naturally since he’d never do anything illegal, I guess he wouldn’t care about enjoying that benefit 😉 We also benefit from step-up value in real estate ownership, once per person, so that’s quite valuable. I think there may be a few other things, I don’t remember. I get to play with both our monies, which I wouldn’t do if we weren’t married, which gives me a great deal more buying power when it comes to investing. I like that a lot 😉 It comes with a huge burden of trust of course.

  • Ramona @ Personal Finance Today

    We’re pretty traditional here in Romania, so we did get married. But we just signed the deeds at the City Hall and then invited few friends for lunch. That’s all. It wasn’t that costly as you can imagine. I never wanted a ‘real’ wedding, so we just skipped it.

    I was 4 months preggers then, but we’d been together for 11 years prior to this.

    We’d still not be married, since it’s not such a huge deal, but it wasn’t a costly thing to sign the papers and it does keep other issues away (naming the baby, inheritance for her, etc.)

  • Linda

    I’m not sure if there are any financial advantages to marriage in Canada, such as lesser taxes, and greater retirement and healthcare benefits. Here in the US, I believe there are some advantages, such as being able to collect social security as a surviving spouse with children. But, IDK. Maybe that would still apply in a common law marriage.

  • Mattie @ Northwest Native

    Wow, the fact that your uncle thinks that you not being married is so unorthodox that he suggests your parents disown you?! That is crazy.

    I say live and let live. Get married, don’t get married, have kids, don’t have kids… Do whatever works for you (you specifically, but also a collective ‘you’) and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! And hopefully your mom can find some peace with that eventually.

  • ArianaAuburn

    The traditional view of marriage has changed. You are lucky where you live is very progressive.

    Your mom should be SUPER HAPPY that your partner wants to be in your life and in the baby’s life, regardless of whether you two are married or not. Marriage doesn’t guarantee anything except expensive divorce lawyers.

  • JustAReader

    “Sure there are some drawbacks, like my not being able to claim half of his assets, but.. he can’t claim half of mine either.”

    You’d still be common law partners and have a child together, this likely isn’t true. Unless you’ve set something up legally (I haven’t read anything to date that suggests you have), I think it would make a great post!

  • raluca

    It’s so nice that your relatives are so involved in your life *cue sarcasm*.
    I bet they would love it if you responded in kind, by asking them about their retirement contributions and their portofolio.

    Marriage has been good to me, but resisting my parents interference with the wedding process has made for a difficult half year. If I knew then what I know now, I would just have eloped. That might just be the option for you 🙂

  • anonymous

    I don’t know your religious views but I suppose your mother may be worried, as in Catholicism, it would be living in sin not to get married and thus putting your soul in jeopardy. There is an easy compromise though. You can still get married in the Catholic Church without having it be legally recognized. You could have a small gathering at church for your witnesses for your matrimony and have a small reception at a nice restaurant instead of a big hall. It’ll save you all that money that most people spend on while you and your boyfriend still cannot claim half of each other’s assets as City Hall would not be involved and thus not legally binding on the both of you. You don’t need the government to make your marriage legit.


      That’s a good point. I am an atheist actually, and so is he. We are not religious by any stretch of the imagination but our mothers are….

      • Anonymous

        My mother was Raised a strict Catholic but we moved to the Deep South, US when I was a kid. My sister & now husband of 20 years tried to get married at our Catholic Church a year after their oldest son was born. They flat out refused. Judgmental, much? I don’t think that’s changed but I could be wrong.

        Do you. You know what’s best for your family. I’ve been following you for a while. Trust your instincts.

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