Relationship? Married? If so, why?

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
Noided

Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Noided » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:43 am

There is something I find odd in forums like this. I don't understand why people think differently (compared to the average joe) about so many issues, but when it comes to marriage, I think most people here (who are in a relationship) still do it (that is my perception, could be wrong) and I don't understand why.

What do you gain by doing it compared to a civil union? Don't you stand to lose a lot by being married if things go sour?

Another thing I find odd is that people join their finances. I just don't see any rational reason for doing that, even if you want kids.

Go ahead and explain me your reasons.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby DutchGirl » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:35 am

Yes, I'm in a relationship. No, I'm not married. I'm 36 years old by the way.
We are in the Netherlands and we have added some legal bits to our relationship by signing some legal documents. These documents help with retirement planning and inheritance planning.
The house is my boyfriend's (because it was his already before I moved in, we might share a house later), we split our shared expenses 50/50 (mortgage interest, utilities, groceries). For both of us, this has reduced our expenses when compared to living on our own. Other expenses are paid from the person's income - so my boyfriend bought a NAS and a telescope recently from his own money, and I buy gifts for my nieces and nephew from my money.

Noided

Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Noided » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:47 am

I persobally have an arrangement similar to yours. However we don't own a house. We rent an apartment and split the payment in half.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby IlliniDave » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:53 am

Not currently in a relationship, probably will not marry again. I can't say how much of that, if any, is truly linked to ER. On the surface it's easy to say "I don't want to get married because I don't want to derail my plan". But that might not be the crux of it. Or it might. For now I enjoy plentiful solitude and a high level of self-determination. It would probably take an extraordinary woman to cut through the fog of my current selfishness, probably one far too extraordinary to be bothered with me to begin with. :)

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Sclass » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:40 am

I'm needy. And selfish.

At the end of the day it's what makes me feel good. And somehow I meet the needs of my SO.

Strategically from an ERE perspective I could live cheaper alone. And I did for a good part of my life. But it was empty moving in and out of relationships on a yearly basis with mates that wanted to change me into Mr. Middle Class Dad of Two, salary getter, church tithe participant, bling buyer. Everyone seemed to have this five point agenda for changing SClass.

At my old residence up the street there was an old guy who worked at HP before me. I rented next door. He drove this old city utility truck bought at auction with the labels sprayed over. Had a run down house. Famous guy who put a lot of products in the catalog. He was retired at 45. He'd quit. Ironically I landed a job in the same office after he'd left. I kept hearing his name and finally I teamed up on a project with a lady who had dated him for awhile.

She said he was an interesting guy who didn't spend much. She remarked about how he could afford to retire and pay off his home through cheapness and investment. She moved on because he showed no interest in permanence. Not needy I guess. Looked lonely. I didn't want to be like him...but in many respects I am nowadays with the exception of being coupled up.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby JasonR » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:23 am

My wife said if you have to ask, then don't do it.

But I don't understand it either, however it's for a different reason: why people put more thought into which stock they'll buy then who they marry.

TMND said something to the effect that choosing a mate was the most important decision one can make on a whole spectrum of qualitative measurements. And here we have a forum populated with enough rational, cynical, jaded humans (or INTJs) that I would expect them to approach something as gross as love with the same hyper-logical efficiency they put into wondering if they should sleep in a bed or wash themselves or buy a REIT.

Instead the question isn't how to marry properly, but why should I since I stand to lose so much by doing it. Because I have so much gold.

The question of risking everything if you marry is predicated on the notion that you will be the top earner/wealthiest. Don't be. Marry rich. Then divorce gives you another option to win or is neutral from a financial standpoint. And finances are the only thing that matters.

But this has been discussed before. I said something about two people being able to row against the currents better than one, but I realize that doesn't require a marriage license. Ego said something about how the contract is akin to riding without a helmet. Because he hates insurance and helmets and safety. So the contract injects risk by forcing you to have something to lose. Then you'll work harder at making it work or something.

Or you could just marry rich and add one more fail-safe to your financial plan to win life.

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Ego
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Ego » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:58 am

Symbiosis. Our cooperative results far outweigh our individual contributions.

Marriage, for better or worse, is the commitment that allows each individual to give everything. Anything less is.... less.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby GandK » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:23 am

Marriage is a social arrangement, and these days, a couple enters into it less for relationship building and more to create a new set of attitudes and legal rights around their partnership.

Broadly, marriage is of benefit to society. A judging society (think in terms of both Extraverted Feeling and Extraverted Thinking here) likes for there to be absolutes. Example: a ring on the finger = someone has a life partner and must not be approached sexually, but may be approached conversationally without fear of such conversation being taken as a sexual advance. There's value in that sort of social certainty. The more things we can take for granted in any situation, the fewer resources we have to spend on examining and maintaining the situation. And that is quite possibly the least romantic thing I've ever written, especially as we're talking about marriage, but there you have it: romance may be about possibility, but society abhors it. Studies have shown that married people are more likely to do things that society (Fe would say "the Joneses," Te would say "the government") values: have children, pay taxes, participate in institutions, and abstain from violent and antisocial behavior. Consequently, society still confers certain benefits upon those who enter into marriage - the state of contractual matehood - and certain penalties upon those who exit it.

Now, many of the benefits and the penalties of marriage are nebulous, and their value and severity varies by region. A married couple in rural Mormon Utah != a married couple in progressive NYC, regardless of the fact that they're using the same bit of terminology to describe their union. A community property divorce in California != a divorce in a state like Ohio where everything is negotiable, even though both are called "divorces." It matters greatly who and where you are.

I am in my second marriage (I have been divorced). The benefits of marriage as opposed to unofficial domestic partnership - both of which I've experienced - are these:

* Financially: thousands per year in federal and state tax savings when married
* Financially: insurance (health, car, home, life, et. al.) and inheritance laws are more favorable to married people
* Socially: married women interact more, and more kindly, with other married women as opposed to single women***
* Socially: men (both married and single) are less hesitant in interacting with married women as opposed to single women***
* Socially: members of older generations no longer pressure you to marry (if that's an issue for you)
* Socially: religious pressure on your unmarried relationship, if any, is muted (there will still be pressure to have kids)
* Relationship: people feel and behave more relaxed in a marriage because marriage is theoretically permanent
* Relationship: people from a conservative background see marriage as proof of lifelong commitment, and many of them also see lack of marriage as lack of lifelong commitment
* Relationship: WRT children, children of a marriage are not stigmatized

*** Some people, especially conservative people who live in conservative places, do not draw a distinction between unmarried people who do have a partner, and unmarried people who don't. To them, single is just single. And if they have no way of quantifying the threat that a new or newly single person could potentially pose to their own pair bond, they will avoid the person completely. Yes, this is silly... we all know that a problem in my marriage is not the fault of a passer-by. However, certain second- and third-level effects of my marital problems can be avoided by avoiding unattached strangers. And this is the route that many conservative cultures take, to the detriment of singles and those who choose not to marry, especially women IME. Many people assume the unmarried are always on the lookout for a better situation. Marriage is usually the antidote to this brand of unearned social exclusion.

Again, the real tangible benefit of most of those things depends entirely on the area in which you live and the circles in which you move.

The problems of divorce are:

* Financial: assets are split. This may not be financially damaging in the long term, but it's always psychologically damaging. If we are married, and we have $500k, then you and I have $500k. If we divorce and split that, then you and I have $250k. Same amount of cash, but completely different degree of emotional safety.
* Social: social stigma exists for a divorced person, even if the informed world would agree that the divorced person was not at fault in the situation
* Social: some people reflexively withdraw from divorced people***
* Relationship: WRT children, children of a divorce are assumed to be worse off than children of married partners
* Also WRT children: divorced parents are often assumed to be self-centered... if they loved their kids more, they would have stayed married and "worked it out," etc.

Based on my own experience, I think marriage would offer the greatest benefit to a young couple living in a conservative area who did want children and whose incomes and asset bases were roughly equal. It would definitely pay off for them. The fewer of those descriptors were true, the less it would be likely to be of benefit. It would still benefit society, but perhaps not the couple.

In my own marriage, the greatest benefits by far are social. G's an Extravert and I'm an INFJ. It's very important to both of us to fit in. For an INTJ it would be less so, although most potential partners are either Extraverted or Feeling (or both)... an INTJ might end up in a situation where, if you want a particular partner, you must marry because marriage is what's psychologically best for that person. And let's face it: most objections to marriage are ideological objections, not practical objections (all of which can be circumvented with judicious planning). Ideological combatants always end up wandering into the "do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy" forest. Some never emerge.

All that said, if (God forbid!) G were to die, I doubt I would remarry. I would want to emotionally, but protecting my children and my asset base from predators would be far more important to me than any of the intangibles I listed.

Noided

Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Noided » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:14 pm

GandK wrote: I am in my second marriage (I have been divorced). The benefits of marriage as opposed to unofficial domestic partnership - both of which I've experienced - are these:

* Financially: thousands per year in federal and state tax savings when married
* Financially: insurance (health, car, home, life, et. al.) and inheritance laws are more favorable to married people
* Socially: married women interact more, and more kindly, with other married women as opposed to single women***
* Socially: men (both married and single) are less hesitant in interacting with married women as opposed to single women***
* Socially: members of older generations no longer pressure you to marry (if that's an issue for you)
* Socially: religious pressure on your unmarried relationship, if any, is muted (there will still be pressure to have kids)
* Relationship: people feel and behave more relaxed in a marriage because marriage is theoretically permanent
* Relationship: people from a conservative background see marriage as proof of lifelong commitment, and many of them also see lack of marriage as lack of lifelong commitment
* Relationship: WRT children, children of a marriage are not stigmatized

*** Some people, especially conservative people who live in conservative places, do not draw a distinction between unmarried people who do have a partner, and unmarried people who don't. To them, single is just single. And if they have no way of quantifying the threat that a new or newly single person could potentially pose to their own pair bond, they will avoid the person completely. Yes, this is silly... we all know that a problem in my marriage is not the fault of a passer-by. However, certain second- and third-level effects of my marital problems can be avoided by avoiding unattached strangers. And this is the route that many conservative cultures take, to the detriment of singles and those who choose not to marry, especially women IME. Many people assume the unmarried are always on the lookout for a better situation. Marriage is usually the antidote to this brand of unearned social exclusion.

Again, the real tangible benefit of most of those things depends entirely on the area in which you live and the circles in which you move.

The problems of divorce are:

* Financial: assets are split. This may not be financially damaging in the long term, but it's always psychologically damaging. If we are married, and we have $500k, then you and I have $500k. If we divorce and split that, then you and I have $250k. Same amount of cash, but completely different degree of emotional safety.
* Social: social stigma exists for a divorced person, even if the informed world would agree that the divorced person was not at fault in the situation
* Social: some people reflexively withdraw from divorced people***
* Relationship: WRT children, children of a divorce are assumed to be worse off than children of married partners
* Also WRT children: divorced parents are often assumed to be self-centered... if they loved their kids more, they would have stayed married and "worked it out," etc.

Based on my own experience, I think marriage would offer the greatest benefit to a young couple living in a conservative area who did want children and whose incomes and asset bases were roughly equal. It would definitely pay off for them. The fewer of those descriptors were true, the less it would be likely to be of benefit. It would still benefit society, but perhaps not the couple.

In my own marriage, the greatest benefits by far are social. G's an Extravert and I'm an INFJ. It's very important to both of us to fit in. For an INTJ it would be less so, although most potential partners are either Extraverted or Feeling (or both)... an INTJ might end up in a situation where, if you want a particular partner, you must marry because marriage is what's psychologically best for that person. And let's face it: most objections to marriage are ideological objections, not practical objections (all of which can be circumvented with judicious planning). Ideological combatants always end up wandering into the "do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy" forest. Some never emerge.

All that said, if (God forbid!) G were to die, I doubt I would remarry. I would want to emotionally, but protecting my children and my asset base from predators would be far more important to me than any of the intangibles I listed.


Some people on this thread seem to be confused about what I am asking. I am not asking: why are you in a relationship? That is obvious. You like the other person. What I don't really get is why people spend money and time signing the contract (marriage).

You propose a lot of pros and cons about marriage, and I am going to address them.

Pros
*Financial: In Portugal, where I live, the tax brakes for married couples are very small and many times it is better to fill taxes separately. Then again, you can do this in a civil union. I won't talk about insurance because I don't have experience with that.
*Social: If people treat me differently because I married, those are not people I want to be around.
If a guy approaches a woman, the woman can always say "no". The reverse also applies.
We are on the ERE forums... what do we care what (old) people think?
Again, social/religious pressure. Its pressure, not an obligation.
*Relationship: I am perfectly relaxed about my girlfriend, don't understand this.
Again, social pressure, irrelevant to my equations.
If you do something because you are afraid your kids will be mocked, to me that shows lack of character.

Cons
*Financial: I think I would have an heart attack if I had to share my wealth with anybody. Even more when we are breaking up.
*Social: Don't get married, you avoid all this.
*Relationship: The idea that because you are married (bound by a contract), will make you work harder for it to work seems silly to me. Yeah it might have that affect, but at what cost? You will probably be miserable. That is not worth it to me.
Using that logic we would hire people to put a gun to our heads while we work. Hey, it would improve productivity.

In the end I agree with you "I think marriage would offer the greatest benefit to a young couple living in a conservative area who did want children and whose incomes and asset bases were roughly equal".

I am an ISTJ and my girlfriend is an INFP. I haven't studied this a lot but from what you are saying, we would have the propensity to try and fit in. Yet, we both think marriage is a bad contract. We have two choices: do nothing, or get married. Getting married opens a lot of room for negative consequences. Why would we move away from not doing anything?

I would not feel comfortable with a partner who "pressures" me to marry. Social pressure seems to be a key aspect about marriage and that is why I kind of despise it. To me it signals: "hey, im just like you guys". I don't like that. If anything, I would prefer to signal: "Fuck all this conservative bullshit".

People, please don't take anything I say as a personal attack, I just want to understand why people feel so compelled to follow this tradition. I like understanding people.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby jacob » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:41 pm

Marriage is essentially a contract that's recognized by the government/governments, culture, and religion. Depending on what you care about, you can disregard the others. I mainly care about the government/s.

In that case, it bestows some of the following benefits.

* Being of different nationalities, we effectively get a dual passport (e.g. a way to residency in either country/countries). W/o being married, we'd have a long-distance relationship run on tourist visas.
* A close equivalent of power of attorney (officially and unofficially(*)) to the other if either one of us ends up in the hospital. (*) For example, I can give my library card to my wife so she can pick up my books but that wouldn't work as well if we didn't have the same last name.
* Similarly when dealing with other bureacrats.
* Corporate subsidized health insurance often extends to the spouse. It never extends to be GF/BF.
* Big tax advantages in the US!

Ideally I would prefer the existence of multiple and more flexible contracts that would be easier to enter and exit. Something along the lines of an non-business S-corp or a trust.

Unlike Europe, the US/state government don't recognize any two adults living together (cohabitating) for an extended periods as being de facto/equivalently married. You'd have to sign on the "I do(tted)" line.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Tyler9000 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:58 pm

Ego wrote:Symbiosis. Our cooperative results far outweigh our individual contributions.

Marriage, for better or worse, is the commitment that allows each individual to give everything. Anything less is.... less.


Well said.

If one approaches a relationship from purely utilitarian terms of sex, companionship, and splitting the bills then I can understand how marriage doesn't make a lot of sense. I don't fault anyone for making the best decision for themselves.

I believe there's more to it than that. Things like marriage certificates and joint accounts are aspects of deeper ties like trust and partnership that are emotionally important to many people. There's a big difference between a wife and a roommate. As an old pastor used to say, a strong marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. It's 100/100. All-in.

That's hard to fake, though. Holding off on marriage until you truly feel that way isn't such a bad course of action.

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GandK
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby GandK » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:17 pm

Noided wrote:You propose a lot of pros and cons about marriage, and I am going to address them.

Pros
*Financial: In Portugal, where I live, the tax brakes for married couples are very small and many times it is better to fill taxes separately. Then again, you can do this in a civil union. I won't talk about insurance because I don't have experience with that.
*Social: If people treat me differently because I married, those are not people I want to be around.
If a guy approaches a woman, the woman can always say "no". The reverse also applies.
We are on the ERE forums... what do we care what (old) people think?
Again, social/religious pressure. Its pressure, not an obligation.
*Relationship: I am perfectly relaxed about my girlfriend, don't understand this.
Again, social pressure, irrelevant to my equations.
If you do something because you are afraid your kids will be mocked, to me that shows lack of character.

LOL... I'm probably one of the (old) people.

It's like this, dude: we can all hate that society has designs on us. We can resent, and even make a game of, deliberately frustrating other people's expectations (I'm looking at you, INTJs!).

What we can't do is pretend that's logical. It isn't. A truly logical approach to life isn't neglectful of public opinion. It uses it. It accounts for both the rational and the irrational simply because both exist, and it strategically mines both for possible benefit.

You sound as though you want to be cool-headed about the marriage question, but I think you're not being cool enough. Your resentment of older ways of doing things - ways which served the purposes of many, for many centuries - is palpable. But by discounting social expectations, you will not negate those expectations or their effects on you. You will simply remove any possibility of profiting from them yourself.

Noided wrote:I am an ISTJ and my girlfriend is an INFP. I haven't studied this a lot but from what you are saying, we would have the propensity to try and fit in. Yet, we both think marriage is a bad contract. We have two choices: do nothing, or get married. Getting married opens a lot of room for negative consequences. Why would we move away from not doing anything?

I would not feel comfortable with a partner who "pressures" me to marry. Social pressure seems to be a key aspect about marriage and that is why I kind of despise it. To me it signals: "hey, im just like you guys". I don't like that. If anything, I would prefer to signal: "Fuck all this conservative bullshit".

People, please don't take anything I say as a personal attack, I just want to understand why people feel so compelled to follow this tradition. I like understanding people.

No offense taken at all! I'm just glad you're asking the question before marriage. :D

Perhaps marriage does not make sense in your case. It might not. It made a lot of sense in mine because a lot of my life's goals involve relationships, and marriage and the traditional family is the gentlest, easiest avenue for achieving what I want. I made a conscious choice to use the social systems that were already in place to achieve my goals. I did not bend to coercion.

Now, could I have achieved my relationship goals in other ways? Of course. But all of those other avenues require more social and emotional effort, and the only reward I could identify for being a rebel was the inner joy of being different. Embracing my inner weirdo is not enough of a payoff for me as a Feeler. Like I said, I value fitting in. If you truly prefer to signal "Fuck all this conservative bullshit" then you may not, LOL. But I think if you were truly being logical and you didn't value marriage, you'd just go on your merry way without any need to flip off the establishment.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby akratic » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:37 pm

Things might be different in Portugal, but in the US there are some undeniable benefits of being married.
- spouses can join each other's company health insurance plans
- inheritance between spouses is untaxed
- spouses have hospital visitation rights
- spouses can make medical/financial decisions on behalf of incapacitated partners
- spouses can share Social Security benefits
- spouses can file their taxes jointly and pay significantly less tax overall depending on income levels
- spouses have immigration rights
- the list goes on and on and includes things like ability to adopt, ability to take leave from work to care from a family member, ability to terminate the relationship in a different state from where the relationship originated, etc.

Some of these things you can work around, like you can hire at attorney and create a legal document regarding power of attorney. Other things (like those involving the federal government) there's literally nothing you can do.

For me thinking differently is not defaulting to the contrarian position, but instead simply deciding for each aspect of life what makes the most sense for me personally, and in the case of marriage, for me, the pros outweigh the cons.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Dragline » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:13 pm

Correct -- its a legal relationship that allows two people to function essentially as one unit for many intents and purposes. It's only been relatively recently in human history than anyone married "for love".

Where the rubber also really hits the road is on inheritances. A married partner has huge advantages, both heir-wise and tax-wise. And an unmarried one might not get anything at all, even if you'd been shacked up for a decade or more. Instead, the money would typically go to children, parents and siblings of the deceased.

As for whether you stand to lose a lot if things go sour, it depends on which partner you are -- you might actually gain a lot. This is why there are such things as prenuptial agreements.

But if you don't want to be tied together legally at all, then marriage is not for you.

The reason you would join finances is to obtain larger mortgages/lines of credit, etc. and also if one of you plans to retire before the other one. Frankly, you're being pretty foolish if you don't know what the other person's finances are like, even if not formally joined in some way. There are too many potential negative consequences to not know what is going on.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Riggerjack » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:50 pm

When I was growing up, all I saw was divorced couples and couples who hated each other. It was clear that marriage leads to misery. I swore I wouldn't do that to myself or someone I loved.

As I got older, and friends of friends got married, I started to see successful marriages. They were different. The approaches and goals were different. There were a lot of things I needed to understand and behaviors to change before I could extend a relationship to a lifetime. My wife came from a more stable background, and seems to take to this more naturally. I think not having kids makes it easier.

As to the money side of things, 2 incomes and combined expenses makes saving easier. We got together before I started looking at retirement. I don't know how couples with vastly different resources do it, but everything except my dating life has improved since I met my wife, and I wouldn't want to retire without her.

I've been married now for eight years. And would change nothing.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Hoosier Daddy » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:20 pm

I'd say if you date someone 10 years and are going strong, go ahead and get some tax benefits. Otherwise I'd wait... Too many divorces occur within 5 years etc.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Ego » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:37 am

Tyler9000 wrote: As an old pastor used to say, a strong marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. It's 100/100. All-in.


Wise pastor.

Relationships like those RiggerJack mentioned above are the result of at least one partially committed individual. Something else is more important to them than the relationship. Marriage is the tie that binds two into one and allows for a relationship where 1+1= something greater than two.

Noided

Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Noided » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:08 am

Some of your arguments make sense, but as far as I've researched it, in Portugal, a civil union has most of the rights as a married couple, but the finances stay separated, which to me and my GF is perfect. No, I am not oblivious of my GFs finances, nor would I need any money from her in case of a divorce.

You also talked about using social expectations for one's own gain. I don't see how. In my life experience, people just like to put you in boxes (I do it too), and I don't see how me being married would make me feel good. It would only make others feel good. I do use the social system to my own advantage, otherwise I would be living in the Amazon.

I also don't agree with people that say "less then marriage and joint finances is just less". Those kind of emotional arguments seem something taken out of a Stephenie Meyer's book.

I guess I don't live in an area where I am ostracized for not being married (few of the positives of Portugal). Also, I laugh a little on the inside by not doing what everyone else is doing, specially, if I don't see the point.

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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby jennypenny » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:39 am

Ego wrote:Symbiosis. Our cooperative results far outweigh our individual contributions.

Marriage, for better or worse, is the commitment that allows each individual to give everything. Anything less is.... less.

I agree with this. There is an element of 'burning the ships' when you formally marry and join finances.

Noided wrote:I also don't agree with people that say "less then marriage and joint finances is just less". Those kind of emotional arguments seem something taken out of a Stephenie Meyer's book.

But relationships are emotional to some extent. So are the benefits. It's hard to remove them entirely from the argument.

I know many people see being married as a trap, or, at the very least, an unnecessary legal entanglement. I see it more like an anchor than a trap. It's a HUGE commitment, no doubt, and one that will chafe sometimes. OTOH, it's not just about your ties -- that person is also tied to you. Don't be naive or conceited enough to believe that you won't have some difficult times in your life -- health-related, emotional, financial -- and being anchored to another person (who can't easily walk away) can be what gets you through those times.

Of course, all of this comes with the caveat to choose your partner carefully and with the right balance of emotion and calculation, as JasonR said.

Noided

Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Noided » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:02 pm

I agree with you, having an anchor is good. But introducing a complex contract into the situation just seems weird to me.

I already learned a little bit from this topic, marriage depends on the people involved and the place.

I think im going to study the specifics of the issue a bit more, but even if I eventually marry because of some advantage I might get, I will ask for asset separation (don't know if it exists outside of Portugal)

henrik
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby henrik » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:52 pm

Noided, you might enjoy this thread :)

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Riggerjack
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Riggerjack » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:12 pm

My previous relationships I was referencing above were really extended short term relationships. By that I mean they lasted a long time, (1+, 1+, and 6+ years) but they were always temporary in my mind. Until things go bad. Jaws always comparing it with being single, again, knowing eventually it would end.factoring in how bad the break up would be. Kind of like a renter deciding if the rent increase or landlord headache was worth moving to avoid.

Wow, that sounds bad!

What I mean to say is in the marriages I've seen work, the above commitment (less is less, 100%+100% type of thing) is true. That commitment is the difference. If you don't feel it, or want it, adding the paper won't change anything.

This takes nothing away from unmarried relationships. They are what they are. And they can be both very good, and a lot of fun. Adding that commitment may make it better, or worse, or make no difference at all.

That's up to you. But that lifetime commitment, with the dedication to placing your relationship first, to thinking in terms of decades, rather than months/years, is what folks espousing marriage are talking about.

George the original one
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby George the original one » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:12 pm

Trying to avoid repeating what's been said, I've only come up with:
When cohabitating, you're aren't married to your partner's family. In marriage, you are. If that family is a good match, then you'll gain more by being married. It is the icing on a cake for the strength of your relationship.

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Dragline
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby Dragline » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:27 pm

Ego wrote:Symbiosis. Our cooperative results far outweigh our individual contributions.

Marriage, for better or worse, is the commitment that allows each individual to give everything. Anything less is.... less.


I was just thinking about this and recalled that I said to DW before we got married, "You make me better than I am." I suppose that's as good a criteria as any for making the leap.

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JohnnyH
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Re: Relationship? Married? If so, why?

Postby JohnnyH » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:55 pm

I would say for most of the not yet retired men in this forum, who are considering children, the risks greatly outweigh the rewards and approach with extreme caution. Not only can you potentially lose nearly every asset in a divorce but I've seen retired PhDs forced to gain employment (to quote the opposing lawyer "even if it is minimum wage"). A bitter divorce can destroy your wealth (transfer, lawyer/legal fees, taxes...) and life (stress, lose custody/visitation of children, forced out of retirement, jail if you do not comply). If you end up with an alimony payment based on a previous wage earned (google Dave Foley divorce) you can end up an indentured servant for the rest of your life.

No relationship in my life so far has been able to overcome my fears of the above. Also, I think the rewards of marriage do not come close to justifying the risk to MOST FI people... Prenuptial routinely get thrown out be omnipotent judges and can be picked apart by future legal teams with far greater resources than those that created said agreement.

All that said I still see married people generally have better lives, and I want to join the club. But call me a monster, I'm going to protect myself and it's most likely not happening until I'm retired, making nearly zero income and I can demonstrate that by marrying me she accepts that I've A) gathered my wealth through my own efforts before entering this partnership and B) my income is in the bottom bracket at the time of this marriage, with no plans for that to improve... From what I've read so far, in most states that should be adequate protection.

"Benefits of marriage"
*Tax savings: Virtually everything on federal and state forms just doubles. Only if there is a disparity of the two wages large enough to move significant income out of one bracket. For two people with similar incomes there is very little savings to be had. There is also a significant loss of opportunity and flexibility. As two individuals you can have two primary residences you can claim the capital gains tax exclusion on (rather than 1, with double exclusion). You can trade your dependent children back and forth yearly for tax optimization. There are countless gotchas like this.
Can someone here, where you both work and have similar incomes, please post examples from their lives about these massive tax savings?
*Financially: I suppose my already [nearly] insignificant insurance rates might go down, but I could care less. Power of attorney, hospital visits, inheritance tax, sure, but again that can be mostly mitigated through proper, if tedious, estate planning.
*Socially: We can wear rings, tell people we are married (this might trigger common law marriage) be they a womans club, conservative old people (who cannot look-up records online anyway), or people who want to commit adultery. Even children, choose what last name to give them and tell them you're married and/or do not advertise you're not. This is not Victorian England, most children do not even know what a bastard is and if they do it so common as to not warrant note. Likewise, no official of the Crown/Church is hunting down people who present themselves as married without receiving the sacrament.
From my own standpoint I am completely puzzled as to why a sacrament (ring/wedding license) handed out by a priest (judge) of a church I do no subscribe to (government) should influence my behavior.
*Relationship: I understand and empathize that marriage provides people, especially women, with a sense of permanence and secure commitment... Despite the fact that it clearly is not, regardless of all the all in, 110%, go big or go home, burn the bridges rhetoric.
*Benefits: Employer health insurance is huge, potentially over-ruling any negatives. [Dual] citizenship, same. Social security, same.

Noided wrote:Another thing I find odd is that people join their finances. I just don't see any rational reason for doing that, even if you want kids.

This stupidly destroys so many marriages. So many couples combine checking accounts (I see zero benefits, yet many potential pitfalls [both signatures to do anything]) and fight about each other's purchases. As someone who is good with my finances and outside of sharing those skills, I can imagine no reason in the world this would benefit myself or our collective two. Can anyone here give me a reason why I should?

Sclass wrote:Strategically from an ERE perspective I could live cheaper alone. And I did for a good part of my life. But it was empty moving in and out of relationships on a yearly basis with mates that wanted to change me into Mr. Middle Class Dad of Two, salary getter, church tithe participant, bling buyer. Everyone seemed to have this five point agenda for changing SClass.

So you eventually met someone who didn't try to change you into all those things? Can I ask if this happened before or after you retired?


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