Why My Boyfriend And I Are As Legitimate As A Married Couple
I don’t dislike the concept of marriage, nor do I disrespect it. What I don’t, however, buy into is the concept that married couples are more legitimate or stronger than long-term couples who aren’t married. I don’t think a piece of paper guarantees that you’ll forever treat each other well, and put in the hard work it takes to keep a relationship not only alive but healthy. I don’t believe a piece of paper guarantees a couple will stay together forever. Divorce is a thing. Separation is a thing. Couples who stay legally together but agree to be sexually and emotionally with other people—that’s also a thing. The concept of marriage is beautiful but a wedding is just a day. And a marriage license is just a piece of paper. No one single day, or one piece of paper, can solidify a relationship forever. A lot of other things do that. Which is why I believe my long-term boyfriend and I are as legitimate as a married couple. Almost.
We’ve stuck it out for over five years
I know married couples who have only, in total—from dating to marriage—been together for three years. So, I’m sorry but, we have them beat. Just putting in the time means more than signing a piece of paper.
We’ve been there for stomach disasters
You know what I’m talking about. Those times when one person had to sequester themselves to the other side of the apartment, only to go near the restroom every so often (with a mask on) to ask if the person is okay/needs water/needs a magazine/needs peptobismol/wants someone to talk to. We’ve been through many nights like this together.
We barely have sex and still love each other
We have a low-sex relationship. We’re at that point. But we’re still in love. No piece of paper is forcing us to stay in this. Do you know how many couples are miserable, aren’t having sex, and just don’t feel like getting a divorce? Staying together, when the spicy sex life dies down, by choice—that’s commitment.
We’ve argued with each other’s family
We’ve crossed into that arena from which you cannot return—we’ve had to sort of get into it with each other’s family. I’ve got news for married people out there: if you haven’t gotten into and survived a dispute with your partner’s family, you just can’t be certain your love will last.
We have a pet
Okay, Okay—I know that we aren’t more committed than couples who have kids. But, as a couple with a pet, we are more committed than couples who don’t have kids or a pet. If you can share the responsibility of caring for a living thing, you’re more bonded (I believe) than a couple who never has.
I’ve cleaned his dirty underwear. Dirty.
Do you understand what I’m saying here? I’ve cleaned this man’s boxers covered in skid marks. And then, on that same day, we had sex.
We’ve been in each other’s friends’ weddings
Now that’s a doozy. Being in the wedding of your partner’s friends. Just being in your own friend’s wedding is a big deal. The money spent. The emotional energy drained. Now imagine doing that for not even your own friend or family member, but your partner’s.
We have traditions
We’ve been together long enough to develop traditions. We have a hotel we’re about to visit for the fifth year in a row. We have this one landmark we always visit during this one road trip. Seven restaurants have our order on file.
He’s my emergency contact
I’m my boyfriend’s emergency contact and he’s mine. He’s the one who will have to drop everything he’s doing and rush to the hospital if I ever need my appendix removed. Or, ya know, if the doctor realizes it was just gas.
I discuss his health with his mom
My boyfriend’s mother and I are in cahoots over his health. We’re always scheming up new ways to convince him to get his annual physicals or look into that mole on his neck.
He’s my beneficiary
If anything happens to me, then my dog, my records, and my extensive collection of crystals are going to my boyfriend. Okay I’m not exactly well-off but still.
We are together by choice
Nothing is keeping us together but our desire to be together. If we wanted to walk away, we could. We’re sticking it out because we love to, and not to avoid a divorce.
We are there for each other through everything
We’ve been there for each other through devastating letdowns. I can’t tell you how many disappointments my partner has gone through that, I really wasn’t sure he’d recover from. But I stayed, and made sure he did. He’s done the same for me several times.
We’ve survived poverty
We’ve been through some financial ups and downs. I’ve seen a lot of marriages fall apart because they couldn’t emotionally stick together through hardship. I’ve seen a lot of married couples realize their connection relied on a certain standard of living. That definitely is not our case.
We’ve survived depression
We’ve survived each of us, respectively at different times, going through major depressions. If you’re married to someone for a lifetime, you’re bound to experience this—and it’s another event that can break up some marriages.