I'm engaged, but don't want to get married

I'm engaged but do I really want to get married?!

Alice Tapper

Tell me a bit about your relationship.

We’ve been together over a decade and engaged for over 6 years. We have a loving but un-needy relationship; we are both very independent in our day-to-day lives and work, and most of our time and energy goes into our respective businesses which we are both lucky enough to have in fields that we are passionate about and have both built up from the ground by ourselves over the last 12-15 years. We respect and have a total understanding of each other’s lives and livelihoods and understand that when you have your own business, there are times when work has to come first and there are times when there is no spare cash to go and do things.

What’s your philosophy/thinking around marriage?

I feel that the idea of marriage is very antiquated and is based upon originally women needing to be married in order to fit into society, and a need to be financially supported via ownership by a man. When we very first got engaged, he put me on a 2 month ban from organising a wedding so we could ‘enjoy’ being engaged. At first I wanted to get swept up in the wedding planning but the time made me reassess my reasonings for wanting to get married (mainly being swept up in the moment), and in that time I read a few books on marriage and why we marry including ‘committed’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, and realised our relationship was more important than a wedding and my independence was one of the most important values to me. Marriage in many ways would, even if just psychologically, take some of that away from me.

(We have discussed having a wedding with family and friends but not doing the legal bit but decided that it was a lot of money to spend to not end up married!)

Why was getting engaged important to you?

I thought getting engaged was important to me, but since getting engaged I don’t think it is as important as I first thought. Being engaged shows we are committed to each other and I can feel safe and secure in my relationship as we have committed on that level, but I do find it uncomfortable that strangers can tell my relationship position from a ring on my finger, yet men don’t have those assumptions made about them by strangers. I don’t like the aspect of being someone’s ‘other half’. I am whole and complete by myself- he’s just wonderful to be by my side, but I certainly don’t need ‘another half’ to complete me.

Do you feel happy with the financial aspects of your relationship?

Very happy! We are both financially equal in our relationship, and we have a joint account where we both pay in the same each month to cover the household bills and share them 50/50 from that. Any other money we have is our own to spend or save as we wish (we earn similar amounts). When it comes to big joint decisions and purchases, we always just seem to naturally agree on the same things so far. And as far as our businesses are concerned, if we married, his business is his and my business is mine. I have no interest in the part of marriage that means we would be entitled to 50% of everything the other has worked so hard for if we were to ever marry then end up divorcing in the future, our personal livelihoods should not be dependent on a successful marriage.

In hindsight, would you be happy without an engagement?

In hindsight I would be happy without an engagement, but I did think I wanted it before we got engaged. I guess it shows our commitment to each other, but he has always made me feel that anyway; I’ve never had to worry about how ‘in it’ he is.

Ultimately, at the moment I don’t see the benefits of being married, but if that changes in the future then so be it, we can always change our minds.

Also, I absolutely hated telling people we were engaged, it was just so awkward!

Financial Confessions