Weddings, Marriage, and Poly.
The cat is out of the bag: S and I have decided to tie the knot this summer! It's been a very interesting process getting to this point, and then also noticing the responses that others have to the news. It isn't that the opinions of others impact our decision, but it's still intriguing...
D was overtly pleased, and seems to feel this is a good choice for me. My prospective in-laws are pleased that they have something convenient to call me, after years of trying to figure out a title. My ex-mother-in-law (or as I now consider her, my mother-in-love), was supportive and concerned about potential impact on her grandchild. PG was pleasant and kind. Business associates were a bit surprised, but overall positive. My parents were less than excited, largely because they filter things through the lens of their own values and life experiences, and it seems precipitous to them to marry again within a year of the formalization of the divorce. My main concern was how this might impact the kiddo, who's been struggling with the transition of having two households.
I had some apprehension opening up that conversation, but it went quite smoothly! My daughter wanted to talk about what will happen with my name, and have input on that decision. She was also concerned about securing a pretty dress, a fancy cake, and some punch that isn't carbonated for the party after the legal stuff is completed. She wanted to make sure that no parents were going away, that S is looking to be my spouse, and not her dad. In some way, it seemed to be reassuring, since our household would look more "normal", and she'd have an easy way to describe people in her home that's readily recognizable to her peers.
We announced the upcoming nuptials at one of the local poly discussion groups last night, and had a nice warm response. It seemed a bit puzzling to some folks though, as formal marriage seems to have a semi-bad rap among the poly crowd in general. Why would we want to do this? Why not just keep things informal?
There are many answers for that question for me. High on the list are the significant legal and financial protections, rights, privileges and responsibilities marriage brings that, although they can largely be arranged through other legal channels, are much more expedient and inexpensive to line up through marriage. It shows our intention on the importance and priority of the loving connection we share. When it comes down to it, I like being married, having a spouse, and being a wife, and S is a wonderful partner to share those things with. The social and cultural reinforcement doesn't hurt either. For me, it would be better to expand out who can have these benefits, rather than opt out entirely because the institution doesn't look precisely as I would like it to.
Becoming married this time doesn't feel exclusive. I think that, having been poly the entire duration of our relationship, it's easier to continue that way, without needing to unlearn proprietary behaviours. We are still looking to take a hiatus on adding in new factors at this point, but are still staying socially engaged. I look forward to our next adventures and growth together. Thank you, S, for saying "yes"!