Wedding Woes

"What's the issue with long-term legally committed partnerships?"

Dear Prudence,

My girlfriend’s family doesn’t get along in general on either side, and both autism and serious OCD run on both sides, and there’s a lot of conflict. Maybe as part of this, very few people in her family on either side form long-term romantic attachments or get married. Even fewer have kids. This extends up to many of her uncles and aunts (now in their 50s) and her great uncles and great aunts (aged in 70s through 90s!) who remained single for life on both sides. (It doesn’t seem like it is in a closeted way either, although obviously I can’t know for sure.) She has no cousins: Her parents were the only people from their respective nuclear families to have kids.

My extended family is more average around connection: Everyone talks to each other, and most people form romantic connections and marry. Many people have kids. I’m absolutely not pushing my girlfriend for marriage besides stating that it’s a long-term goal of mine, one she’s said she also wants. But after going to my brother’s wedding this winter and meeting my family, she complains they’re “obsessed with marriage.” She’s asked me multiple times why “everyone” in my family marries. I see marriage as a way to mark a very serious long-term commitment with tax benefits and legal protections, one that is extra special because it wasn’t always available to us as lesbians. I also believe in divorce but I hope not to need it.

How do I respond to her when she makes these complaints? I don’t bring up marriage, it’s way too soon. And no one else in my family is either, I’ve asked around to see if there’s pressure somewhere. I think our families just look different, so “obsessed” is just “90 percent of people over 30 are married and a couple cousins are divorced.” She complains about this a lot, so it means something.

—I’m Missing Something

Re: "What's the issue with long-term legally committed partnerships?"

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    levioosalevioosa member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    If it's "way too soon" then just drop it for now. Only time will tell if she's actually the right person for you. And if she is, and if she disagrees with marriage, is that a deal breaker for you?

    Also LOLing to "marriage gives tax benefits." Marriage destroyed our taxes. But yes to the legal protections which was important to us, especially with healthcare and his family's big differing opinions on quality of life and what to do in serious health care situations. 

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    Ask her, "Why are you obsessed with why you think my family is obsessed with marriage?"

    Okay, no not really, lol.  It's weird she keeps bringing it up.  I'd ask why she feels that way.  But it sounds like it's just because almost everyone in the LW's family is married.

    I looked it up because I was curious. 75% of 40-year-old adults and 51% of 30-year-old adults in the US have been married at least once.  Her family is on the low end, while the LW's family is on the high end.  She needs to take a chill pill.

    Since I was down the rabbit hole and for an interesting comparison of eras.  In 1962, 90% of 30-year-olds in the US were married at least once.  As compared to the 51% it is today. 
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    When she makes a comment like that ask her what is making her feel that way. If it’s too soon to talk about marriage to each other don’t bring that up, but part of getting to that point is having conversations about what marriage may or may not mean to each other and it seems like she has strong feelings you don’t understand. So find a way to hear her out (and vice versa). 
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