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Non_Passerine
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16 Feb 2011, 1:10 pm

Why do people in dating relationships say that they're not single, when single is the legal term for unmarried? I've seen plenty of people with boyfriends and girlfriends be committed to them, and it looked like they were married except for the legal bonds, but still.

On tax forms and other applications there are only these choices under marital status: "single", "married", "separated", "divorced", "widowed".

If you're not married but have a boyfriend or girlfriend, what do you check off under marital status?



Jonsi
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16 Feb 2011, 1:12 pm

Single in the case of marital status.



Bethie
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16 Feb 2011, 1:36 pm

Non_Passerine wrote:
Why do people in dating relationships say that they're not single, when single is the legal term for unmarried? I've seen plenty of people with boyfriends and girlfriends be committed to them, and it looked like they were married except for the legal bonds, but still.

On tax forms and other applications there are only these choices under marital status: "single", "married", "separated", "divorced", "widowed".

If you're not married but have a boyfriend or girlfriend, what do you check off under marital status?


Someone with a significant other is not single,
except in the legal sense you mention.


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wefunction
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16 Feb 2011, 1:39 pm

This should not be an issue unless you're doing their taxes.



Jono
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16 Feb 2011, 2:50 pm

Non_Passerine wrote:
Why do people in dating relationships say that they're not single, when single is the legal term for unmarried? I've seen plenty of people with boyfriends and girlfriends be committed to them, and it looked like they were married except for the legal bonds, but still.

On tax forms and other applications there are only these choices under marital status: "single", "married", "separated", "divorced", "widowed".

If you're not married but have a boyfriend or girlfriend, what do you check off under marital status?


Better question: why do they need to know marital status at all? If it's about whether or not you could have children, then the problem with that is that even people who have never been married can have children and they still have to pay maintenance.



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16 Feb 2011, 2:51 pm

I don't see why a label is needed in every day life?



ntgrl
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16 Feb 2011, 8:04 pm

Thank you, thank you for posting this. It has driven me crazy lately that the person I am in a relationship with said he was single 2 weeks ago. I told him that he wasn't exactly single since he had me and he said he knew what I meant.

I was thinking that perhaps he meant we were not married, and now I see that people can have different views on what single means. He and I often have slightly different ideas of what words mean, so I wasn't as shocked by this as I would have been last year!



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16 Feb 2011, 9:02 pm

Single.

Which annoys me no end, we desperately want to be married but there is no way we'll ever be able to afford to be married...so not only does it mean fewer legal rights and financial benefits as 'single' people verses 'married' people, not being able to dedicate ourselves to each other in front of family/friends/religious community, but it also seems to mean our relationship is never gonna be as valid as a married couples in general.


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kohne
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16 Feb 2011, 9:20 pm

Bloodheart wrote:
Single.

Which annoys me no end, we desperately want to be married but there is no way we'll ever be able to afford to be married...so not only does it mean fewer legal rights and financial benefits as 'single' people verses 'married' people, not being able to dedicate ourselves to each other in front of family/friends/religious community, but it also seems to mean our relationship is never gonna be as valid as a married couples in general.


You don't need a big huge ceremony to tie the knot. You can get a marriage certificate, and I think you can have a judge officiate it. The fees would be nominal. You don't necessarily need a fancy dress, rings, and a honeymoon abroad either. This whole ritual of throwing money around to prove you are married is absolutely unnecessary legally, and seems to me rather unfair unless you're well-off. Screw upper class traditions.

Throw a small party right after you sign the paperwork, and invite a few people you both care about. If the trappings are important to you, you can certainly trade fancy rings later, or make a big deal out of your next anniversary.



Bloodheart
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16 Feb 2011, 9:46 pm

kohne wrote:
Bloodheart wrote:
Single.

Which annoys me no end, we desperately want to be married but there is no way we'll ever be able to afford to be married...so not only does it mean fewer legal rights and financial benefits as 'single' people verses 'married' people, not being able to dedicate ourselves to each other in front of family/friends/religious community, but it also seems to mean our relationship is never gonna be as valid as a married couples in general.


You don't need a big huge ceremony to tie the knot. You can get a marriage certificate, and I think you can have a judge officiate it. The fees would be nominal. You don't necessarily need a fancy dress, rings, and a honeymoon abroad either. This whole ritual of throwing money around to prove you are married is absolutely unnecessary legally, and seems to me rather unfair unless you're well-off. Screw upper class traditions.

Throw a small party right after you sign the paperwork, and invite a few people you both care about. If the trappings are important to you, you can certainly trade fancy rings later, or make a big deal out of your next anniversary.


Unnecessary legally...we would be doing the wedding separately to the legal part anyway as I'm pagan so the ceremony is not legal, but even the most basic wedding is still money we don't have. It's not about throwing money around, it is about making a day special to mark the event and the tradition of the ritual showing the importance of that day to our community. Please don't belittle my religious and personal views on marriage by referring to the importance of the ritual as 'trappings' or implying it's just about throwing money around.


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kohne
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16 Feb 2011, 10:45 pm

Bloodheart wrote:
kohne wrote:
Bloodheart wrote:
Single.

Which annoys me no end, we desperately want to be married but there is no way we'll ever be able to afford to be married...so not only does it mean fewer legal rights and financial benefits as 'single' people verses 'married' people, not being able to dedicate ourselves to each other in front of family/friends/religious community, but it also seems to mean our relationship is never gonna be as valid as a married couples in general.


You don't need a big huge ceremony to tie the knot. You can get a marriage certificate, and I think you can have a judge officiate it. The fees would be nominal. You don't necessarily need a fancy dress, rings, and a honeymoon abroad either. This whole ritual of throwing money around to prove you are married is absolutely unnecessary legally, and seems to me rather unfair unless you're well-off. Screw upper class traditions.

Throw a small party right after you sign the paperwork, and invite a few people you both care about. If the trappings are important to you, you can certainly trade fancy rings later, or make a big deal out of your next anniversary.


Unnecessary legally...we would be doing the wedding separately to the legal part anyway as I'm pagan so the ceremony is not legal, but even the most basic wedding is still money we don't have. It's not about throwing money around, it is about making a day special to mark the event and the tradition of the ritual showing the importance of that day to our community. Please don't belittle my religious and personal views on marriage by referring to the importance of the ritual as 'trappings' or implying it's just about throwing money around.


If that's the case, then the legal rights of marriage are open to you at any time. Your choice to accept legal rights only when you can afford a ceremony that is too expensive for you, while this is entirely within your rights, is a choice you and your SO make within the context of your surrounding religion/community. It hardly makes you a victim of society. As a matter of application, your beliefs define 'marriage' as something only people who are richer than you can have.

Personally, I have my own opinions about the connection of money-draining rituals to marriage, which is not an attack on a particular religion - but is a complaint against a social custom that is fundamentally prejudiced against the poor. I consider these rituals to be trappings because, to me, the ceremony is about dedication to one's partner, with the rest being 100% optional. If you attach enough meaning to these items that the ceremony cannot occur without them, then that's your call to make. But your attachment of meaning to these things makes me wonder if you would consider someone who got married 'on the cheap' to have a second-class marriage. Certainly you seem to imply that a lack of these rituals would make your own marriage invalid.

Like I've said, I have my own concerns about prioritizing wealth over love and commitment in the marriage bond. I don't mean to cast aspersions upon any one religion; I only want to point out the discrimination that this practice causes against people who have love, but not money.



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16 Feb 2011, 11:31 pm

Fewer and fewer people are even bothered to get married these days.

I know a number of couples who have been together for years and even have children together.

As for older couples, who aren't going to have children, why do they bother getting married?



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17 Feb 2011, 2:42 am

It might mean that in legal standard, but from street standards, which everyone pays more attention to, if you are in a relationship, you are not single.



kohne
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17 Feb 2011, 6:40 am

After sleeping on it, regarding my previous posts:

1. My objections against certain marriage practices, while I still hold those objections, is severely off topic. In the interest of not hijacking the thread, I'm done discussing it here.

2. Bloodheart - If I implied that you yourself were 'throwing money around' or that your beliefs were the result of your somehow taking any of the elements of marriage lightly, I apologize. That was not my intention. I can see that you do take it seriously. On review, I could see how I mis-communicated there.

3. I and my mate will likely be getting married on the cheap, whether we have the money at the time or not. An exchange of rings (just one set), would be the only exception. I believe the best approach for fixing broken traditions is to simply discontinue them, rather than debate them.

4. To the OP, et al., Single means they're unattached, and looking for someone. Even if the label can be sensibly applied to a non-married person, I'd be cautious if my partner identified him/herself as 'single' instead of 'taken'. It could show how they view their availability, regardless of the socially accepted meaning.

5. To Wombat - People who have no intention of reproducing get married because to them (and to me) marriage is not about reproduction. It's about starting a phase of your life where you are dedicated to working together to build something important (presumably based on a deeper connection). Sure, there are people who would as soon dispense with the ceremony and/or legal protections. I personally don't consider them any less 'married', although I'm sure many would disagree with me.



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17 Feb 2011, 12:39 pm

Wombat wrote:
As for older couples, who aren't going to have children, why do they bother getting married?


There are some people who get married but don't want children.



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17 Feb 2011, 10:52 pm

I've noticed that it's the older generation that tends to use the boolean single/married logic. I once was talking to some people at my church about how I'm still single at 21 and they were all pretty much going "you shouldn't be thinking about marriage at such a young age"... except I wasn't. I was only indicating how much I wanted a girlfriend, not to get married right away.