Is there a good alternative to marriage? Which is better

I still want a ring. I just don't want to put myself and my boyfriend through all the trouble of marriage- my parents were never happy, and I don't believe in divorce.

I feel like marriage becomes this dark cloud over your heads. This is really based on my childhood, because my parents always fought.

And yet, I want him to propose. I feel torn. On one side, I'm very old fashioned. But on the other, I don't want to corner both him and myself in a box if things don't work out.

I do know we both love each other very much. But doesn't marriage sometimes ruin even the best of relationships?

Advice and opinions are welcome :)

this is really more just a discussion that could maybe help me decide what to do :\


The poll is just to see what a person's personal opinion is, of which is better.

  • Marriage
    Vote A
  • Living Together/ Long Term Relationship as Boyfriend/Girlfriend
    Vote B
Select a gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy


Most Helpful Girl

  • I love this quote--I apologize for the length:

    "I’m asked with increasing frequency, “But why marry?”, a question to be taken seriously. The desire to make sure that there is integrity in love, that neither partner wants to use or manipulate the other, is a healthy one. But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other much ask themselves how much they love for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take.

    If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession but participation.

    When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together, we become a new creature.

    [Someone once said]…that marriage is a question not of creating a quick community of spirit by tearing down and destroying all boundaries, but rather a good marriage is that in which each appoints the other the guardian of his solidtude. My love for my husband and his for me is in that unknown, underwater area of ourselves where our separations become something new and strange, merge and penetrate like drops of water in the sea. But we do not lose our solitudes, or our particularity, and we become more than we could alone."

    -Madeliene L’Engle, The Irrational Season

    I hope this helps. I'm too young myself to say that I have real experience with marriage, but I read a TON about it, as part of my interest in sociology, psychology, religion... I could point you to a few blogs that talk about this struggle of living together versus married life from personal experiences, if you'd like.


Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 8

  • Out of the questions I have answered here and for my friends (or their families)

    A relationship that starts in the early 20's or under that leads to marriage within 4 years has usually lead to a divorce. Usually these relationships started off happy, but ended up separating due to a violent break up (examples: Break up, Non-Loving, etc)

    I recommend a strong, long-term relationship. When you can maintain the spark in that relationship then I would consider a marriage.

    Good luck~


  • An alternative to marriage is like saying " I want to get married but I don't want the bad things that come with it ".. marriage takes discipline.. as does anything in life that is worth doing..

    I choose marriage.. no excuses.. of course at first, we would have a normal relationship and get to know each other to see if we are compatible physically and mentally.. if I'm not sure about the girl, then I would obviously not ask her to marry me..

    In the end, the reality... the REAL reality is that we have to take the good with the bad.. and work through it.

  • marriage only runies it if you think it will. what will be the diffrence if you just stay with him long term vs you marry him? basically if you wanna leave him you don't have to go thru a divorce.. so ur not officially tied down.. I would much rather be married than be boyfriend/girlfriend your whole life. to me that would make me feel like your afraid to commit. make me feel like your waiting for someone better than me to come around and leave me for him. its kinda funny usually the guys are the ones who don't wanna get married. and about the fighting thing. any long term relationship your gonna fight. its just human nature to take stress out on someone when something doesn't go their way. money is one of the biggest reasons people fight, and weather your married or not you will fight over that. so this whole thought of marriage destroying things the second it happens isn't true. people think it is so bad because they don't see the great things about marriage like sharing a life time of commitment with the one you love. not to mention with some family's like mine they don't believe in living together unless you are married. so it depends what you really want from the relationship but I just think that marriage is a good thing. yea there's fights and what not but if you truly love the person and know you are gonna spend the rest of your life with them and not leave them in 5-10 years then why not get married!?

  • When you meet the right person, you just know you MUST marry them (I learned this at 32).

    When I meet my someone (speaking only for my side of things) I just knew it was right and would work. Before I meet her I was wondering if I should marry my ex girlfriend thinking prehaps I was a commitment phobic person.

    ArtistBBoy said it really well though to be honest, though I would add that you should be just friends with boys for a good time so you have a chance to find what you want in your life and how the see you as a person and outside of their sexual attraction to you.

    So my advice. Make lots of long term friendships, hug the friends you care for the most, hold hands and kiss with the friends your attracted to. If you find one friend is more special than all the rest and you start worrying about someone else "snagging" him from you, have him as a boyfriend and spend time together as a couple (but keep seeing / being friends with your other male friends and him being friends with other girls, but put each other first).

    At some point, lighting with strike either with your boyfriend or with someone completely new and unexpected and you will know what you have to do.

    Maybe for some they will just settle into their long term relationship.

    People forget that Marriage is special and unique. Some people think its something that "just happens" to people, but not necesarily everyone should marry, its something special that happens to people and tends to happen alot, but its not a guarenteed part of life like birth or death but a miracle in your life, like having a healthy child or finding a long lost relative.

    • I should add, that some people are too keen to have that special event and it prevents them from ever knowing what its like because they seek to create marriage in their life rather than waiting for it to find them / them to find it.

      People marry for all sorts of poor reasons. Don't look at bad marriages and blame being married, its the people being greedy for marriage (generally speaking) or being selfish within marriage that makes it bad not the sate of marriage which is a blessing.

  • We married because my parents in law insisted on it ( her father more than her mother, of course LOL)

    Since this means paying more taxes here, I regret it, yes. Otherwise we would still be together, unmarried.

    My brother married two years ago, their oldest kid was 5 or 6 then, the youngest 3 or 4.

    • [Edit] First marriages for all of us, no kids from other relationships.

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    • Wow - thanks for all of that :D

    • Be my guest :)

  • Check out 'zipless f***' towards the bottom: link

    I think this is where it's at.

  • people aren't perfectly monogamous/monandrous, nor are they perfectly polygamous/polyandrous. Marriage is just a tradition that was originally more for symbolizing the joining of two families, both of which were in it for power and the dowry. It has been perpetuated and romanticized into a perfect union of two lover who are supposed to never get sick of each other, despite what human nature continually proves otherwise.

    commitment is great, but nobody is perfect and nobody can foresee the future.

  • there is no third way about it, you either risk your life and heart with someone in one house and have kids with him (and risk them as well) and then he may cheat/leave/abuse/disappear and you wouldn't be able to do anything but take it... the other choice that is scaring you off is that you choose a man with manners, values and respect for you at first and for the family you are going to build together, then go ahead and attach yourself to him trustfully, intellectually and emotionally when you're sure it feels right, then in the end legally, why legally because human beings can't be trusted on their feelings and thoughts for the life time, that's why marriage was found in the first place, you have to have a freaking strong bond with your life partner, there is no joking about this, it's your life and years you're spending with him, it's you deepest feelings, your kids and the rose of your youth you're gifting him, so why the f*ck do you want to stay on the loose? do you really love heartbreaks? do you love being kept on your toes? not now maybe, when your in your 40's? don't you prefer sleeping in peace and waking you in the morning knowing you're living within a tight and firm and loving family?

    do you really prefer the nasty crap that the culture of the boyfriend/girlfriend has offered us in these times?

    after all I've seen, I wouldn't waste a day or a portion of my feelings on a woman that I'm not planning to marry, same for her if she doesn't see me in her marriage plans in the future, she can find someone else before we share a cup.

    At least when something nasty happens when you're both having kids, the law is going to be at your side if you were married, the community will look at you in respect, people will feel it with you, you are on the LEGAL and the CLEAN.

    And believe me, no one, no one in this world can be trusted for life, I've seen girls that I thought they were angels, I thought they aren't going to cheat or replace me or even leave me one day unless they die, but all my guessing and thoughts about them resulted in this sentence: angels are angels, humans are humans, they will never become angels, they are on earth because they're sinners, and they (need) need law and rules to organize our living, otherwise we'd be the same as animals.


What Girls Said 6

  • Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Can I say I wish I could hug you?

    Let me tell you that marriage is just a piece of paper (that allows you certain legal rights to one another). Marriage does not destroy relationships, and as much as it feels awkward for me to say this (because sometimes it is hard for even me to believe it) children do not ruin marriages. My parent's had a horrible, horrible marriage, and an only slightly better divorce. They were "old enough" when the married, that you would think they would be more wise in their decisions on who to choose as a life partner. The truth is, they only knew each other for five months before they were married, and had a whoopsie in their mid thirties.

    Build a strong foundation now, and talk NOW about those things that marriage involves. I think the real reason why marriage "ruins relationships" (trust me... I've said those exact same words... even in my marriage now, but I will get to that later)... is because people think loving one another is enough. I want to believe it... and I still believe that if you love some one enough then it is enough, but love in itself is not always enough (confusing I know). There is more to building a lasting relationship than that. Chances are, prior to marriage, the couple hasn't talked about finances, hasn't talked about when they want kids, what their career goals are (maybe), who goes to grad school first, how they want to parent, what time is a good bed time, and who gets what side of the bed (who does the dishes and who cooks the dinner)... the list goes on. You won't be able to dream up and talk about every scenario, but there are some major things to talk about before the marriage part to make sure you guys are on the same page. Both people need to be able to compromise.

    Probably the biggest reason I said "marriage ruins everything" after I got married, was because I had different expectations of the marriage and had imagined things would go much differently. Reality settled in, and I realized it wasn't this picture perfect thing I had imagined. I found my husband was a late sleeper and unwilling to compromise any early than midnight on a bed time. I found it difficult to sleep when he was up and about doing things in the same room as I, so this of course posed a problem. I stole the covers in my sleep and pushed him off the side of the bed by rolling a lot... again... more problems. I thought he would spend more time with me but he ended up spending much of his free time playing video games. There are parts of your s/o life that you do not always see (the parts when you are gone) and they will become revealed in married life (in a very tangible way). That is why compromise is key, coming to terms about what each of your expectations are is key, listening and caring and loving. I still have to get on to my husband about playing video games, and I have adapted my bedtime to his, but he has also made a better effort to listen to me and spend time with me.

    • Is it perfect? No. But our relationship before marriage wasn't either. I don't believe in divorce either, so this plunge was a very huge one for me to take. The legal benefits that come with marriage are worth it. Just continue to work on and build your relationship afterward. A really smart guy (on this website actually) gave me some advice concerning just that. Often times people enter marriage and become complacent. Don't become complacent - you can't pull all the weight, but that is why

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    • I LOVE your answer :)

      it helped me soooo much

    • Thanks - I'm glad I helped :)

  • Marriage is like that for SOME people. My marriage is wonderful! My parents have been married 30 years and still act like their honeymooners! They've set a wonderful example for me and my sisters. No, marriage does not ruin the best of relationships. Its supposed to make it stronger and sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

  • I've never been in a relationship, and I don't plan on making a decision like this at my age. But I must say that I'm completely for common-law marriage. I don't think that in order to show that you physically, emotionally, spiritually love someone, that you should have to make it legal. Just wanting to be with the person should be enough. If it's all legal and it doesn't work out, you'll spend thousands of dollars to show legally that you don't love this person, which seems plain idiotic to me.

  • I made a vow to myself not to live with a guy unless we were married. If a person and their significant other decides to play house then its a possibility that is all the relationship will be...playing house. Why by the cow when you can get the milk for free?

  • The best alternative to marriage is to not get married at all. For marriage the negatives out way the positives. Just live together and stay together forever, you don't need a piece of paper and a ring to prove your love for one another.

  • Marriage is stupid.. I mean, I get it, you want to be bonded and have everybody know that you are together forever and all that, but as long as both of you know it I don't see any problem with just staying boyfriend and girlfriend, maybe having a commitment ceremony? I may just be being cynicle but if(when) you break up if you are married it takes a lot of time, effort and money. Don't waste your time cause nothing lasts forever.