News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084

• December 03, 2016, 06:14:47 AM

### Author Topic: BWW after a decade of living together...  (Read 25546 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

#### Poppea

• Member
• Posts: 2466
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #135 on: July 22, 2013, 10:38:04 PM »
You know, you guys have convinced me.  In an age when roughly half of all marriages end in divorce anyway, why should I bother marrying my girlfriend?  We'll just live together and make a family and tell everyone that we're husband and wife without going through the ceremony and public declaration.  Nobody here would have a problem with that, right?

Since no one know you IRL I think you should make your decisions based on what makes you happy not the anonymous members of a forum.

My point simply was that there has been at least one thread in the recent past where people got up in arms over a couple claiming to be married without actually having had the ceremony, yet here in this thread, people are saying that to them, it's not any big thing when people bother to get married after living together for an extended period of time, because really, they're just thinking "finally" instead of "congratulations."  It's an utter belittling of the fact that people choose to commit to marriage based on nothing more than taking longer than others to choose to do so.

If a discussion on an etiquette board can make you reconsider your marriage then I think you really aren't ready to take that step.

#### Poppea

• Member
• Posts: 2466
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #136 on: July 22, 2013, 10:39:51 PM »
I personally don't care what kind of wedding any couple has..to me if they want after all this time the BWW, fine.  But they should realize there are somethings that aren't quite right..3 showers?  Showers are to help the couple set up their home..after 10 years that should be established.  Registering for things, and expecting large wedding gifts?  No, you are already established.  So throw whatever party you want, but understand that after 10 years, it is not so much congratulations as finally!

Is there a "Finally!" section of wedding cards I have missed in the Hallmark aisle? The bolded is a fairly offensive sentiment. A couple waits a few years longer than some other couple, and suddenly they don't even get 'congratulations'?? Just 'finally!'? That's utterly heartless and extraordinarily condescending.

There's not actually any etiquette rule that I'm aware of that decrees that showers are only allowed for 'unestablished' people anyway. I've been to quite a number of wedding showers over the past few years, and not a single one has been for a bride that was still living at home with her parents, or even in her first year out of their home.

And as has been asked before: what does it mean to be 'established'? If you aren't supposed to have a shower if you are 'established', does that mean if you don't meet your mate until you are 40 that, tough luck, no shower for you?

I don't know if there is a general rule but after three children you are certainly established.

#### thedudeabides

• Member
• Posts: 586
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #137 on: July 22, 2013, 10:43:44 PM »
You know, you guys have convinced me.  In an age when roughly half of all marriages end in divorce anyway, why should I bother marrying my girlfriend?  We'll just live together and make a family and tell everyone that we're husband and wife without going through the ceremony and public declaration.  Nobody here would have a problem with that, right?

Since no one know you IRL I think you should make your decisions based on what makes you happy not the anonymous members of a forum.

My point simply was that there has been at least one thread in the recent past where people got up in arms over a couple claiming to be married without actually having had the ceremony, yet here in this thread, people are saying that to them, it's not any big thing when people bother to get married after living together for an extended period of time, because really, they're just thinking "finally" instead of "congratulations."  It's an utter belittling of the fact that people choose to commit to marriage based on nothing more than taking longer than others to choose to do so.

If a discussion on an etiquette board can make you reconsider your marriage then I think you really aren't ready to take that step.

I've never wished so hard for a sarc mark as I am right now.

#### Poppea

• Member
• Posts: 2466
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #138 on: July 22, 2013, 10:46:56 PM »
You know, you guys have convinced me.  In an age when roughly half of all marriages end in divorce anyway, why should I bother marrying my girlfriend?  We'll just live together and make a family and tell everyone that we're husband and wife without going through the ceremony and public declaration.  Nobody here would have a problem with that, right?

The problem is the difference between what a couple considers their relationship and how that is perceived by the surrounding community.

Over and and over again, I have heard how people don't need "a piece of paper" to have a life together.  I agree!  You don't have to get married to make a life together.

But, after living together and making a life together, going through a step that you skipped doesn't obligate the community to behave the same way as if it was a couple who were just starting out.

In contrast to the previous threads that had a problem with people getting legally married, say, less than a year before having a BWW, I don't see it as a problem.

But, if you are going to live in a stable relationship, have children and in every way share your life with someone, I am going to treat you the same as any other couple who is married.  I wouldn't use the terms husband or wife but in every other way socially...

Do you want to be treated differently?  Do you want me to consider that your relationship, though very similar to married couples is somehow not as permanent?  Not as important?

How do you want me to treat you differently from people living in the same way with the only difference being a piece of paper?

I guess I just never realized that there was a sliding scale of marriedness for some people.  I hope that none of the people I know in real life feel as you do, because I find it to be incredibly offensive that someone I might invite to my wedding would consider it to be somehow less important than the wedding of my friend who dated her now-husband for four months before their elopement.

It's not the living together that changes my opinion. It's the living together for 10 years and having 3 kids together. Having a BWW after a life together like that to me says. "During that last part of our lives while we were bringing children into the world, we weren't really sure if we were 100% committed to each other for the long haul. Though we believed in the concept of marriage, we weren't sure if we wanted to live together forever, and wanted to be able to easily change our relationship status. But now we've decided we want to have that commitment and we think our children will be happy to know mommy and daddy plan to stay together for the next few years."

It's why I couldn't understand why people made such a big deal about Brad Pitt and Angalena (sp) getting married. They had adopted kids together and had bio kids. Was a document going to tie them together anymore than that? Were they really less committed to their life together before having a wedding ceremony?

Clearly they did, or they wouldn't have bothered to get that little document in the first place.

I don't understand why you feel you have any place to judge whether or not other people feel any more or less committed by having a marriage license than simply by living together.  It's an exceedingly personal decision.

Sure you can judge.  Whne i receive a shower invitation from someone I don't really know I judge (gift grab),  When I get a shower invitation from my BFF's cousin for her third wedding, I judge (gift grab -inappropriate),

Any time I have to pull out my wallet I feel entitled to make a judgement as to whether I should spend money on the event.  If you don't want to be judged have a cocktail party "In honor of"

#### jedikaiti

• Swiss Army Nerd
• Member
• Posts: 3648
• A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail.
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #139 on: July 22, 2013, 11:15:41 PM »
You know, you guys have convinced me.  In an age when roughly half of all marriages end in divorce anyway, why should I bother marrying my girlfriend?  We'll just live together and make a family and tell everyone that we're husband and wife without going through the ceremony and public declaration.  Nobody here would have a problem with that, right?

Your local gov't and the IRS might disagree, but I don't.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

"The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture

#### Psychopoesie

• Member
• Posts: 1758
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #140 on: July 22, 2013, 11:49:44 PM »
If friends at any stage of life want to celebrate their marriage - whether their ceremony is casual beachside, traditional BWW or a Star Trek themed - I'm just happy for them. I admit I'd feel the same way if they had a commitment ceremony of some kind.

Whether they've already had sex, kids, lived together, or own a potato peeler and crockpot, it's really none of my business. Inviting me to a celebrate with them wouldn't change that. Only thing that would is if their behaviour was deceptive, gift grabby (almost typed grift there) or otherwise rude. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

Whatever I personally think about marriage, the fact that is my friends are making a fuss about it. This indicates it's an important step for them. One they're really excited about. If I care about them, that's all that really matters. YMMV

Gifts are one way of expressing my happiness and wishing them the best for the future. A registry is helpful with that & one with lots of items with a wide price range to choose from is very welcome.

If I felt resentful towards a couple, I would decline and not send a gift. I wouldn't want to rain on their parade.

#### Bob Ducca

• Member
• Posts: 5332
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #141 on: July 23, 2013, 02:55:33 AM »
I see both sides of this issue, but the crux of the matter for me is the difference between a couple *presenting* themselves as "man-and-wife" vs. the *perception* that they are a married couple.

If a couple has held themselves out as married, referred to each other using spousal terms, etc. then a big wedding with all of the trappings after 10 years and 3 kids would be off-putting to me.  I would assume, in this case, that they were already married, so having the big ceremony/celebration would just be confusing.

If, on the other hand, it was a couple generally considered married because of their lifestyle, who had never represented themselves as such, I wouldn't blink an eye, children or no.  Just because other people considered them married, or even assumed they were, doesn't mean the couple was obligated to feel that way about themselves, or that they forfeit the right to marry publicly. It might be more tasteful to do a small, private ceremony, but that's a taste issue.

So for me, the situation in the OP might raise my eyebrows for a second, but more in good-natured amusement than anything else, since it seems to be common knowledge that this couple is not currently legally married.  If I am incorrect and they have represented themselves as married, my opinion changes.

#### Gyburc

• Member
• Posts: 1917
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #142 on: July 23, 2013, 05:43:38 AM »
Okay, my opinion is that in NA (I realize showers are not generally done in other parts of the world) is that showers have lost their original purpose.

They seem to have originated in the post-WWII years, when most marrying couples had been living with their own parents, or perhaps in very basic student housing.  They truly needed very basic items to establish a household - things that would cost perhaps $15 in today's dollars - things like tea towels, laundry hampers, kitchen-utensil sets, etc. But these days, the majority of marrying couples have been living independently - either individually or together - and already have the basic stuff. These days, shower gifts seem to be meant to come off the general wedding gift registry - therefore, people give shower gifts of about$ 50 value (such as espresso makers) - plus, being expected to give a wedding gift if they attend the wedding.  So I question the necessity of showers in many cases.  No, it's not my call to to call them "rude" - I can choose to attend, or not.

I would always give a wedding gift, no matter how long they have been together.

I agree absolutely. Actually, I think this hits the nail on the head.

When you look into the photocopier, the photocopier also looks into you

#### Roe

• Member
• Posts: 6891
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #143 on: July 23, 2013, 09:50:30 AM »
I personally don't care what kind of wedding any couple has..to me if they want after all this time the BWW, fine.  But they should realize there are somethings that aren't quite right..3 showers?  Showers are to help the couple set up their home..after 10 years that should be established.  Registering for things, and expecting large wedding gifts?  No, you are already established.  So throw whatever party you want, but understand that after 10 years, it is not so much congratulations as finally!

Is there a "Finally!" section of wedding cards I have missed in the Hallmark aisle? The bolded is a fairly offensive sentiment. A couple waits a few years longer than some other couple, and suddenly they don't even get 'congratulations'?? Just 'finally!'? That's utterly heartless and extraordinarily condescending.

There's not actually any etiquette rule that I'm aware of that decrees that showers are only allowed for 'unestablished' people anyway. I've been to quite a number of wedding showers over the past few years, and not a single one has been for a bride that was still living at home with her parents, or even in her first year out of their home.

And as has been asked before: what does it mean to be 'established'? If you aren't supposed to have a shower if you are 'established', does that mean if you don't meet your mate until you are 40 that, tough luck, no shower for you?

Yes, exactly what I was speaking to earlier.  I met my partner a bit before my 40th birthday - got engaged at 41 after almost two years of dating, will likely be married when I'm 42/43.  We haven't been living together for a decade, but independently we each had been functioning as adults for quite a while (he's younger... not sure how or if that factors in).  I don't want, and will refuse, a shower, but as someone who's heard others complain about couples who didn't register for their weddings, I feel like I should register.... but for what?  If I select normal household items, apparently some will look askance because I do already own a carrot peeler and my bed has sheets.  China is expensive and falls short on the daily utility scale, so.... what to do? As someone said earlier, no matter what I do, I feel like I can't win.

I'm grateful that my mom apparently doesn't share those views - she has happily been emailing me wedding dress photos for the last couple of days despite my advanced age and established household.

Please don't let this thread take away any of your wedding happiness!  And don't second guess yourself! You've earned the right to be as giddy and happy as a 20 year old bride.  FYI, most people IRL aren't as judgmental as many are appearing on this thread.  Your family and friends will be thrilled for you. And if you happen to know a few who aren't as "fizzy" for you due to your age, good riddance is what I say!

#### Hmmmmm

• Member
• Posts: 8743
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #144 on: July 23, 2013, 10:01:11 AM »
I personally don't care what kind of wedding any couple has..to me if they want after all this time the BWW, fine.  But they should realize there are somethings that aren't quite right..3 showers?  Showers are to help the couple set up their home..after 10 years that should be established.  Registering for things, and expecting large wedding gifts?  No, you are already established.  So throw whatever party you want, but understand that after 10 years, it is not so much congratulations as finally!

Is there a "Finally!" section of wedding cards I have missed in the Hallmark aisle? The bolded is a fairly offensive sentiment. A couple waits a few years longer than some other couple, and suddenly they don't even get 'congratulations'?? Just 'finally!'? That's utterly heartless and extraordinarily condescending.

There's not actually any etiquette rule that I'm aware of that decrees that showers are only allowed for 'unestablished' people anyway. I've been to quite a number of wedding showers over the past few years, and not a single one has been for a bride that was still living at home with her parents, or even in her first year out of their home.

And as has been asked before: what does it mean to be 'established'? If you aren't supposed to have a shower if you are 'established', does that mean if you don't meet your mate until you are 40 that, tough luck, no shower for you?

Yes, exactly what I was speaking to earlier.  I met my partner a bit before my 40th birthday - got engaged at 41 after almost two years of dating, will likely be married when I'm 42/43.  We haven't been living together for a decade, but independently we each had been functioning as adults for quite a while (he's younger... not sure how or if that factors in).  I don't want, and will refuse, a shower, but as someone who's heard others complain about couples who didn't register for their weddings, I feel like I should register.... but for what?  If I select normal household items, apparently some will look askance because I do already own a carrot peeler and my bed has sheets.  China is expensive and falls short on the daily utility scale, so.... what to do? As someone said earlier, no matter what I do, I feel like I can't win.

I'm grateful that my mom apparently doesn't share those views - she has happily been emailing me wedding dress photos for the last couple of days despite my advanced age and established household.

Please don't let this thread take away any of your wedding happiness!  And don't second guess yourself! You've earned the right to be as giddy and happy as a 20 year old bride.  FYI, most people IRL aren't as judgmental as many are appearing on this thread.  Your family and friends will be thrilled for you. And if you happen to know a few who aren't as "fizzy" for you due to your age, good riddance is what I say!

Kaymar, your post is why I noon dislike the importance that is put on wedding gifts bin relationship to a wedding. I think you and your groom are entitled as big of an celebration as any other couple. Young are starting your lives together and to me that isn't the purpose off an wedding celebration, no matter what size.

And I'd be happy to give you nam gift to acknowledge my joy in your marriage. And since you and your groom would be starting your combined household,I wouldn't find it odd at all if you registered for a flatware or glassware pattern young town chose together that reflects your combined taste. Or new bedding or bathroom accessories. And if you didn't register for anything, I'd probably be giving monogrammed linen napkins to reflect your joined lives.

I just don't see any correlation between your circumstances and the couple in the OP. They have already (or should have been in my opinion after 3 kids) been living in a long term committed relationship.

#### rashea

• Member
• Posts: 9813
##### Re: BWW after a decade of living together...
« Reply #145 on: July 23, 2013, 10:16:34 AM »
I think it's a personal thing, but I hope if there are people close to me who feel this way, they just don't come. Sorry, but just because we've been living together almost 4 years and engaged for 3 doesn't mean we don't deserve to have the wedding we want.

Yes, in some ways we're established in that we have crock pots (though not a sink at the moment, so maybe we're not so established), and animals, and a loan for a tractor together. But, while we've planned a life together, we've not made that commitment in front of friends and family. And that commitment still means something to me, it's the next step in a relationship. It's the point where turning back becomes even more difficult, but it's also the point where you relax into a security. That moment, it still means something very important to me.

We'll likely choose a smaller wedding simply because DF isn't great with large groups, and this is one day he doesn't have to humor me with my extended family. But, if we decided to have the big hoopla, I would hope people would be supportive and understand that while we've been together, this is still a fizzy moment for us. I fully expect butterflies in my stomach when I say those words.

Maybe it's also that more and more in my circle, people are living together before marriage. My sister and her fiance bought a house together shortly before their wedding. My cousin put off his wedding because they wanted to buy a house more than they wanted to have the BWW. In many ways, I think a lot of people are making those choices now. A wedding is less about starting a life together, and more about cementing and celebrating something that has begun.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont