Like many moms who are unmarried, Denise E. questions the "big race" to march down the aisle. She and her boyfriend decided to have kids together without getting married, and she believes that having a child, or even a baby on the way "should not affect the decision about marriage."
As conversations on Circle of Moms reveal, Denise's view of marriage and parenthood is no longer in the minority. Here, she and other Circle of Moms members share the reasons they’re living with the fathers of their children rather than marrying them.
1. We're Committed Even Without a License
Kimbeley is among many unmarried moms who feel that every child needs and deserves a happy, loving and supportive upbringing, but that over time, actions speak louder than a title or written declaration. In other words, raising kids right doesn't necessarily require married parents: “I have a baby, he was planned, his dad and I own a house together, and we're not married,” she offers. “I think a good solid relationship based on love and understanding is the most important thing, not a relationship forced together ‘for the good of the kids.'"
She and her boyfriend are among the many couples who are choosing to become parents together but not get married because they simply don’t believe that a legal agreement promises stability or happiness. Stephanie C. is another, and she explains it from what she feels is the child's perspective: "Honestly in my opinion, I don’t think it really matters to the child if you are married or not. . . If it’s a happy and loving home your child will thrive and live a great life."
2. Marriage Isn't What It Used to Be
Times have changed, says a Circle of Moms member named Maria. "It is just ‘the older generation’ that believes you should get married," she says. Yes, our grandmas might insist that marriage is the only way to have children, but Maria is just one of many who believe that the institution doesn’t seem as significant anymore. As Chantel R. explains, “I don't think being married makes you any more committed than two people who live together for years without that piece of paper."
And Emma B. feels that today's economic realities are stalling many young people's launches into stable adult lives without squelching their desire to become parents: “In an ideal world we would all be married to wonderful men, be financially stable, etc. before we have our planned pregnancy. But how often does that happen? Forcing a relationship that isn’t functioning is teaching your kids the wrong message about relationships.”
3. One or Both of Us Isn't Ready for Marriage
Many young moms (and dads) are also resolved that unplanned pregnancies should not translate into an automatic walk down the aisle with the wrong person. “I have a friend who got married when he was 20 because he knocked up his girlfriend,” says Kate C. “He was so terrified of his mother that he caved when she demanded the two get married. It's been about 5-6 years and they are getting divorced, have three children together, and have been cheating on each other for years. I think getting married because you're pregnant is not a good idea. I think you should get married because you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
Finally, although people commonly assume it's the father who's not ready for the committment of marriage, Denise, whose daughter is now four, says she's the one who simply isn't ready. While her boyfriend has wanted to get married for some time, Denise feels she won't be ready until she has a career: "Everything we have is technically his. It’s so important to me to have a career. I pretty much feel incomplete and I want to better myself before I take that next step.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.