Thursday, 8 September 2011

For richer, for poorer...

I usually steer clear of politics on my blog, but yesterday's news has got me really riled.

There's no reason why you would or should know this, but I'm not married.  That's right, I'm an unmarried mother. I'm living in sin.  I have a child out of wedlock. And any other labels society wants to land at my feet.

Myself and my partner are in our 9th year together.  We have shared a home for 8 years.  We have a child. A mortgage. A dog.  Yet, since the government decided to abandon plans to give co-habiting couples the same rights as married couples, in the eyes of the law should our relationship end, it will be as though it never existed.

On the other hand, the government will cease to allow me to receive child benefit next year because my partner and father of our child earns over their threshold.

I am not entitled to receive tax credits or help with childcare if I want to return to work because my partner earns too much to qualify.

Fair? I don't think so.  I'm not saying that means-testing is wrong, but what I am saying is if the state recognises a relationship when making one policy, how can it be so hypocritical not to recognise it in other policies?

Yes, I'd love to have my day in a big white flouncy dress. Yes, I'd like to publicly declare our commitment to each other, but sadly my other half seems to have a morbid fear of weddings. I don't know why, I mean, who wouldn't want to marry me?!

But if there's one thing I do know, being told by the government we should get married is only likely to make him dig his heels in further!


  1. Exact same here, and I'm incensed! Me and Mr G have been together 21 years for chrissakes. No hope of a wedding now ;) But Liz, at least you have a dog - I'm not even allowed that!

  2. I hear you sister. In exactly the same position and it sucks mightily. I HATE hypocrisy of this kind. Who are they trying to kid that ths encourages family 'togetherness'? Most of my married friends have divorced, splittling up families, leaving children being shunted back and forth. My partner and me have been together for 11 years and parents for 3 and are very happy in our state of non-married-ness. Why should a piece of paper, signed by a registrar make any difference? Are we in the 21st century or still stuck in the middle ages...?


    rant over

  3. Totally agree with you. I'm not married, we may or may not do eventually. Your last statement is very much how I feel, i'm less likely to want to bother if it's a case of 'conforming'. I'm very annoyed about the whole thing.

    Sam x

  4. I really can not even comment on what I think of this governemnt. I do not wish to fill this comment box up with bad language! But just to say the conservatives have alway looked down their noses at unmarried couples,teenage mums, single mums - I've fallen into all 3 of those catagories in my life time.

    I had my daughter at 17 and I have worked non stop since she was 6 months old, she is now 17 herself at college and working part time.

    I have no issue with means testing but you have to set the barrier at the right level. The government is getting it all wrong. Which is *exactly* what I knew would happen.

  5. Thanks for your comments ladies. I'm glad I'm not seething alone :0(

  6. Oh that makes me so angry! We seem to be heading back to the 19th century let alone the 1980s that everyone is saying! I too don't object to means testing but I do object to the hypocrisy and the fact that it's the people who are most vulnerable ie, young families, single parents, the elderly & the infirm that are getting hit the hardest by every policy change this government is making
    Kirsten x

  7. Oh Liz, that's awful. If I hadn't seen your tweet I would never have known about this news. We've been together 10 years almost and we're not married yet! Why should the people that don't have a piece of paper to make things official have to suffer, surely they could save money elsewhere instead of cutting the things that matter like education, policing and childrens services/things for children in general. Sorry, mini rant over!

  8. I've been with my partner 5 years & as he has been married before and 'stung' in a divorce he won't 'make that mistake again'. I have the occasional rage about this but on the whole I'm ok with it as I'm an independent woman (a feminist even...) and have no intentions of getting my hands on his money or assets should the relationship break down so I accept that there will be no provision in law for me should we seperate. However, we pay everything 50/50 (despite him earning more, but that's a different issue) and I pay any expenses relating to my two children from a previous relationship on my own (ex doesn't pay a penny but again that's a different issue) so I am also incensed that the child benefit that I get will now be affected because of my partners earnings. It is hypocracy, either recognise every aspect of our relationship in law or don't at all.


  9. This will affect me too then, as an unmatched mum of two who cohabits with their daddy. I hadn't known about this until I read your post so I will now be mostly going grrrrrr!! Xx

  10. I am married, but I also accept that people choose not to for whatever reason & I accept that your lifestyle choices are none of my business just as mine are none of yours. I appreciate that the govdrnment had to make cuts, but i don't see how taking widows benefit off co-habiting couples is going to make that much difference!

  11. Completely agree - it annoyed the hell out of me too, and I am married. I think they seriously need to get real!

  12. Thanks for all your comments in support.

    Current research suggests that one in six couples are cohabiting, and the number has increased 60% in the last 20 years and is still rising. The government need to accept this and show consistency in their policy making!

  13. My fella and I plan on getting married, but this doesn't leave me any less angry at this backwards step, for the sake of my many friends with no desire to marry at all! Why should we be dictated to on matters such as these?

    Perhaps we should take an even greater step backwards, to the days when you could "get married" simply by declaring your committment down the pub on a Friday night - before religion and government got involved and began to make demands on our time and lifestyle choices. It would make a lot of things (weddings included) a LOT simpler!

  14. I'm recently married but have been with my partner for 16 years and, yes, the system seems very unfair. I felt like we were only viewed as a couple when it suited the authorities (and always to their advantage).