• Kristin Perissinotto

I don't need marriage to legitimise my relationship

I have been with my partner for eight years. We are both 28. Most of our adult life has been spent in a relationship. We own a home together and we have a solid partnership. We have separate finances but share bills 50/50. We have no pets, no children and no intention to ever get married.

As an outspoken feminist with a shaved head (which is ALWAYS relevant, IYKYK), it's not often that people broach the subject of marriage with me. I'm definitely lucky that way. But occasionally a little questioning or judgement will slip in when I talk about my intention to never be married.

It's not about my partner, it's not even really about my feminism (though that is a very legitimate reason for many). It's just that I never wanted it. Marriage means nothing to me. Absolutely nothing. And I know that some times, when I'm questioned about it, I get a raised eyebrow almost undetectable to the naked eye. But I always see it.

The eyebrow might be a "well that's what you say now" or it might indicate the person questioning my commitment to my relationship. A topic they almost always know nothing about. Or it could be what they think is a 'knowing' glance among women. But I'm not waiting for my partner to put a ring on it - far from it.

And the worst eyebrow raise of all is one that signifies questioning the validity or legitimacy of my relationship. How can I possibly be dedicated to this partnership if I won't invite 200 of my closest friends to witness a declaration of love?

I find it hard to talk about my distaste for the institution of marriage. I don't judge any individual for choosing it, but at the same time I question its existence as a whole. I always find myself worried about offending another person when I say, which I regularly do, "I just don't get the point of it."

But the crux of the issue is that I feel judged by the people so dedicated to an institution I fundamentally don't understand. This year, I felt this judgement from a progressive person whom I'd told my views to. "But you would get married if you had kids wouldn't you? It's more stable for children." A fact which many children of divorce (or parents who should have been divorced) will loudly contest.

And it's moments like these when I rethink my concern of offending. Never have I seen an unmarried person speak to a married person like this. I don't care if you get married. It has literally nothing to do with me. Just as my unmarried status has nothing to do with you.