Relationships

9 Millennials On Why They Never Plan To Get Married

By Monday, July 12, 2021

All the single ladies, all the single ladies (and fellas). Put your hand up!

In a time where co-habitating is the norm and self-awareness is at an all time high, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning their noses up at the idea of marriage. We recently asked our single (and non-single) readers to tell us why they never plan to get married and the responses were the most colorful yet. From divorcees who have sworn off re-marrying, to polyamourous partnerships, to finanical reasons or just an overall love for one’s independence, check out the responses below!

1. “The idea of getting married seems less romantic and more like a protective action for our assets.”

I am a woman in my mid to late 20’s and my boyfriend and I just celebrated 10 years together! We are often asked when we plan on getting married, having children, etc. We have decided that marriage is something that isn’t as important to us as it has been to our peers. We have recently purchased our first home together and we have 2 pets who are at most, our fur children. We have a wonderful life together and at this point in time I have no plans to get married.

From my perspective, I am a child of divorce and I have watched both of my parents continue to have dysfunctional relationships throughout my teens and now adulthood. I fully envisioned living my best single life well into my 30’s before settling down into a long-term relationship or a marriage. I have always been ambitious about my career and future and I have completed my undergraduate education and I am working on getting a master’s degree. I just so happened to meet someone right out of high school and fall in love with them and get into a long-term committed relationship.

I currently work in the medical field and I can understand in certain situations, such as a medical emergency, why being legally married would be important. Since we have become homeowners, the idea of getting married seems less romantic and more like a protective action for our assets.

I highly value my independence and that is why marriage has not been a priority for me in my life. I also feel that a lot of traditions surrounding marriage are outdated and can appear to be sexist at times. My partner and I have both had conversations about wanting to be the cool aunt and uncle that are childfree by choice, not married, and get to spend all our disposable income doing whatever we feel like. I don’t know if that will be our reality forever, but for now, it is something that I am very content with. – Christina, 20-something

2. “I watched my mom give up a lucrative job in the name of ‘saving her marriage’ only to end up broke with 2 kids.”

I was raised by a single mom, who remarried when I was seven and then divorced again when I was fifteen (and my little brother was three). I watched her give up a very secure and lucrative job in the name of “saving her marriage” to follow her husband, only for her to end up broke with two kids, going back to a place she hated to live with her sister and borrow her dad’s old car. This spooked me profoundly at the time, and coupled with my being forced into sister-momhood as a teen, ensured that I was never going to give my all to another person and be left with nothing for myself. I’m now almost forty and I’m still trying to figure out the funny little muddle that is me after years of supporting my folks, and I don’t know how long that’s going to take. – Victoria, 39

3. “Staying unmarried is the only way to keep our student loan payments affordable.”

I’m in a long-term relationship (10 years this month) but we have no plans to get married. We’ve discussed doing a ceremony but not the paperwork, but a wedding is expensive and we have other financial priorities. Even if we did decide to have a ceremony, doing the paperwork to actually get married isn’t a financial option for us. With the current income-driven repayment plans available for federal student loans in the US, staying unmarried is the only way to keep our student loan payments affordable. Beth, 38

4. “If I’m happy in a partnership, why do we need the paperwork?”

I went through a big breakup and now on the other side of things, I have no desire to get married anymore. My reasoning is that I just don’t see the point. If I’m happy in a partnership, why do we need the paperwork? I actually think there’s something even more romantic about trusting the person enough to believe in a commitment without all the extra stuff. I do one day want a partnership,  and I want children. But to me, wanting to be together is a big enough commitment and all that really matters to me. This could change with the person I end up with; I’m not entirely opposed to marriage, I just see no need for it. – Anonymous

5. I’m polyamorous; I’ve dated some married polyam people before and it’s hard to accept that in the eyes of the law, I will always be ‘secondary.’

I’m polyamorous and live with a nesting partner. He and I share the viewpoint that marriage is inherently patriarchal and would compromise our ability to be as non-hierarchical as possible in our non-monogamy.  If we were married, we would inherently have “couple’s privilege” even as we date separately. I’ve dated some married polyam people before, and it’s hard to get over the fact that, in the eyes of the law, I will always be “secondary.”

Marriage and property ownership are also inherently linked. After the invention of the plow and moving to an agrarian society, men needed a way to ensure their kin inherited their land—they needed to know which kids were theirs. Hence, monogamy, women staying at home, women as property.

From a financial perspective, marriage certainly has benefits, but also drawbacks. Merging property and finances is risky. Weddings are incredibly expensive. Divorce can be costly. We split financial responsibility at home and regularly discuss finances at our monthly check-ins, but I prefer to keep them separate.  There are a lot of state-sponsored incentives for marriage: Visitation rights, health insurance, childcare, tax benefits. This feels strange to me: Why should the government dictate how I want my relationship(s) to look?

All that said: there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married or with monogamy. It’s just not for me, and we shouldn’t assume that monogamy (and cisgender and heterosexual) are the norms. -Anonymous, 28, Non-Binary

6. “I have the best relationship with myself!”

I won’t wed due to many reasons.

  • 1. I have the best relationship with myself. I have found that romantic relationships don’t make me any happier than being on my own.
  • 2. I have AMAZING relationships with my friends and my immediate family.
  • 3. I tend to lose interest and I feel that life is too short to try to “make” something work if it doesn’t.

I’m not against marriage – it’s just not for me 🙂 – Hannah, 28

7. “I think marriage is a facade of safety. Anyone can leave you at any time.”

I’ve been with my current partner for three years and neither of us has any intention of ever getting married. The financial abuse my mother experienced from my dad during their divorce has made it impossible for me to feel comfortable with ever signing a binding relationship contract. More existentially, I think marriage is a facade of safety. Anyone can leave you at any time, and I would rather be in a relationship that acknowledges that openly where both parties have to spend each day choosing each other, than being trapped in a legal commitment that can turn nasty very fast when the light of day hits. (I know that sounds really harsh. I promise I have married friends whose relationships I care deeply about – this is just me!)  – Anonymous, 23 

8. “I’d rather live how I want to live and make decisions that align best with my wants and needs.”

I have found I value my independence more than finding a partner for life. I’d rather live how I want to live, spend money how I want to spend it, and make decisions that align best with my wants and needs. It might sound selfish, but I will always live with myself so I  might as well do what is best for me. – Michelle, 27

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Below we included one writer’s submission and extensive breakdown of why she will never, ever, ever get married, despite being in a 10+ yer relationship with kids!

9. “People think he won’t propose but I’m the one that doesn’t want him to.”

Summary: My partner and I have been together for a decade, and we have one son together. Partner has two kids from his previous marriage. People think that he won’t propose, but I am the one that doesn’t want to do it.

My Background: First-generation Vietnamese-American, daughter of a teenage single mother. Mother has a terrible track record with men, including her second “husband.” While I call him my “stepdad” for simplicity reasons (because they never legally married) my mother’s and family’s relationships really redefined my opinion of marriage.

My Issue with Marriage, I Mean Weddings: I have been surrounded by unhappy and dysfunctional relationships, marriages and pseudo-marriages my entire life that it’s quite shocking I’m in a healthy and happy long-term relationship. My mother and father were teenagers when they had me in Vietnam. My mom and I immigrated to America when I was five; my dad stayed behind. Eventually, he immigrated to the states, but it was too late for any chance of a relationship, and at that point, my mom was doing things solo (with the transitional help of her siblings. My dad was also physically abusive when he drank so that was probably another deterrent.) I won’t bore you with more details.

So growing up and just witnessing so much misery in relationships, I knew I’d rather be alone. Outside of the first few years in the states living with her siblings, my mother did everything for my and my two younger sisters. When my mother had my baby sister, my stepdad didn’t even bother going to the hospital because she had a girl and he never contributed one cent to her upbringing. (My stepdad isn’t a terrible human. I think a lot of the first-generation immigrant men, especially those who came as refugees and lost parents in the war, don’t know how to be in healthy relationships or parent. In fact, my dad lost his dad in the war and his mom basically abandoned him as a newborn so she could go to America with her new American solider husband. I’m not making excuses for bad behavior, just acknowledging that we are human and my dad was 16 and impoverished.)

My partner got married young—24–because, “That’s what I thought I had to do—get married and then have kids,” he says. So when we started dating, he had two young kids from his failed marriage. This is absolutely my get-out-of-jail card because I often say, “You already had a wedding and marriage, and how did that work out for you?” So he doesn’t pressure me anymore. Our son has his last name and I’m used to people calling me Mrs. XX when talking about my son. We own a house together, have appropriate legal documents, etc. So for me, I’m not quite sure there’s a need [for marriage] anymore. He’s five years older and jokes that we will need to get married for health insurance, but other than that, we don’t see much benefit.

This may make me sound like a terrible person, but here is why I choose not to get married:

  1. Why am I wasting so much money on a party for others? I also don’t like dressing up so the allure of a gown and makeup and hair gives me agita. It’s such a waste of money. Don’t even get me started on American weddings and the cost of being in a bridal party. It’s full of entitlement.
  2. I want to maintain my financial freedom. We have joint accounts and personal accounts. I will always have a backup plan if my upbringing has taught me anything.
  3. Right now we’d suffer the tax “marriage penalty.” We both make good money and would be penalized for it.
  4. Stepchildren need to include stepparents’ income on FAFSA. Of course, I will support my partner and his kids, but I prefer not to mingle my private information with the ex-wife. While I’m sure there are confidential protocols, I would just prefer to protect my identity and not be involved in the process.
  5. Marriage does not guarantee that he will stay with me forever or vice versa. I have friends who say that marriage is reassurance and a commitment that he will stay around forever. If a man (or woman) wants to leave, nothing is stopping them. Yea, divorce is expensive and marriage makes it harder to leave, but do I want someone sticking around if they don’t want to, even if it’s for the kid(s)? I have my coin and it’s not like I would be a single parent if the guy is still involved in the kid’s life. My mother is the epitome of a single parent and if she did it, it’s not scary.
  6. I don’t want a wedding because I’ll have to invite my partner’s family. Lol. I am not joking.
  7. I love my financial independence. Being a poor immigrant still plays a major role in all my decisions.

Anyway, how many people are on their second, third or even fourth marriages? How many people focus on the wedding and not the marriage?

I am certain people think that my partner “won’t put a ring on it” and this is just my defense mechanism. We are basically living our lives like a married couple, so what is the point of legalizing it? Although I do joke, but not really, that maybe we will get married toward the end so I can get spousal benefits after he’s dead.

I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to get married. But they shouldn’t judge me either. Can we just normalize that it’s ok to redefine what relationships/marriages should be? But let’s also be honest, how many weddings have you been to and thought, “I give this marriage xx years”?

For simplicity, sometimes I do refer to my partner as my husband when talking to strangers or dealing with situations involving my son, because boyfriend sounds so juvenile and “partner” sounds as if I’m in a gay relationship, which is absolutely fine, but then people harp on details, etc. I’m sure some married couples find that offensive, because how dare I use a term that’s reserved for those who don’t have commitment issues. Or I refer to him by name in conversation. If you’re close enough to me, you know who he is. If you’re not, you can assume he’s my dude and/or the father of my kid. Anonymous, 35

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