Columns Feb 5, 2014 at 4:00 am



If RING is going to have children, he needs to hash out religous differences. If you think the priest telling you to kiss your bride is disturbing, wait till you hear the part about your non-baptized baby going to hell.

If they aren't going to breed, then give in and get married. It's not like divorce is hard to come by, especially for childless couples, in the event of bedroom death.
RING's approach to his wife's wish to marry is so immature, I doubt that it is true. Fake letter.
I'm just glad to see heterosexual rimming brought back into the mix again.
Has RING looked at the legal rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, whether at the federal level or in his state? Getting married is not about the state’s permission to have rimming contests. It’s about the potential for exploitation inherent in sexual relationships and placing limits around how far that can go. I like my marriage contract. It’s fair and sensible and one of the two defaults provided by my jurisdiction. At the most basic level I don’t have to worry about getting into horrible fights in the event of divorce or about who inherits what in the event of a death — and the relationship is going to end one way or the other.

RING sounds a teeny bit like those guys who resent court-ordered child support. They don’t like someone else telling them how much they have to pay. They want to be adults and pay voluntarily. The problem is, it always turns out that what they volunteer to pay is much less than what the court has decided is reasonable.

I don’t know who is making more money, whether there might be children or which parent might end up becoming more dependent in the case there are children. But RING needs to think about these things realistically and be willing to accept constraints to ensure both parties are protected.
Uh, why does it matter that the employee was Mexican? Weird detail.
@6 Yeah, I know--I mean, he's a restaurant employee. Seems rather redundant.
I think RING is too proud to admit he's afraid of marriage so he has to go through this whole "look how evolved I am" condescending explanation of just how "petty" his partner's feelings are while simultaneously harping on her religion. Very charming. Never mind if you never get married there very serious legal and financial protections you will never get, including access to the other's social security checks if you do make it into your golden years.

With all the recent 'omg marriage, not that!' I'm starting to think we should just add anti-marriage to the list of identifiers that people use to describe their ideal relationships. It would save a lot of people some significant time and effort.
RING, and his wife, should know that to get married in a Catholic Church, one must first go through classes taught by the priest where such rules are taught as, "only fuck on fertile calendar days" (because the Catholic Church has ALWAYS known about the calender and doesn't have science to thank for that... NOT). Also RING will have to become a confirmed Catholic. Oh, and did I mention that the Catholic Church is still wrought with homophobia (and Pope Francis is not as forward thinking as the media plays him up to be?) Sounds like a compromise for them both.
Is rimming a Pope-approved activity?
@9: No, and no, and no, and no.
My sister got married Catholic and did not go through any classes where she was told to fuck only on fertile days.
You don't need to convert to Catholicism if you want to get married Catholic as long as the other partner is Catholic.
The couple just has to vow during the ceremony to accept any children God will give them, and the non-Catholic partner has to agree for the children to become Catholics.

Anyway, as I understood RING, his gf wants just to get married, not to get married Catholic necessarily.
Ugh, the language of this guy. So pretentious.
@3 Why would anyone bother to write such a boring fake letter? Where's the girlfriend with two clits? The sexual encounter with a pair of twins described in graphic detail? The forced blowjob with the hot police officer?
(Actually, the immaturity on the author's part is probably a big tip-off that it's a real question.)
RING: Wouldn't it be easier to just say you're scared rather than natter on about this entirely irrelevant anti-Catholicism bullshit?

Wow, Catholic Americans are not kidding around with their hate for abortion...

In France, it's understood that you'll baptize the kids - but there is absolutely no vow during the ceremony, either about abortion or about the kids becoming Catholics !

Those catholic weddings were in Germany, not in the USA.

The basis of a Catholic marriage are that it cannot be divorced, that the couple will accept any children god will give them, and that these children will be raised Catholic. So the priest asks this during the wedding rite. I am pretty sure that the questions will be asked during every Catholic wedding in any country of the world.
see point (3)…

The children thing is not so much about abortion, as it is about any kind of birth control.
@18 but I think the guy is opposed even to a secular wedding?
@16 Same in Italy, and people are supposed to know their Catholicism there.
I think Dan should have asked a microbiologist, not someone who sells sex toys, about ITCH's question.

The yeasts that cause thrush are all around us all the time. A vaginal over-growth of these yeasts has probably more to do with a pH-imbalance of the vaginal ecosystem than with getting infected by a few yeast cells on a toy. Otherwise, any contact with one's own hands or the partner's skin will probably re-infect one's vagina unless one disinfects any part of skin that'll get in contact with the vagina.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, a thorough wash of the dildo with dish washing liquid or soap and rinsing with plenty of water should do the trick.
Sex toys in the dishwasher? I never would have thought of it. Just remember though: top rack only.
It depends on whether RING really intended, when he proposed the coin toss, to follow through with the marriage had he lost. If he would have done so, then the proposal of the coin toss indicates that he would genuinely rather marry than split, and at least this isn't like the question of children where the risk is too great and permanent to chance lukewarm enthusiasm.

But I suspect there was not good faith behind the suggested coin toss. Given his view that a break-up seemed inevitable if the issue were not resolved, an unscrupulous person might well decide that a toss-up chance of continuing the relationship without marrying was better than nothing. Had the coin toss gone wrong, such a person would have been prepared in advance to break up before the wedding.

Even if he was genuinely willing to wed had he lost the toss, I think his suggestion of the coin toss rather poisons the relationship, and advise parting officially for a short period with the proviso that a reunion entail the complete erasure of the slate on the marriage issue - the old Forgive-and-at-least-Pretend-to-Forget.
I don't think either of you, including Dan, understood RING's real problem. Did you get the part the part where his girlfriend refused the coin toss? That was because she doesn't want to marry him even if she wins the coin toss! That's the real issue here -- if he now says "okay, whatever, if this bullshit ritual is so important to you, sure, what the hell, as Dan said" -- she will say "Sorry, that's not good enough -- marriage has *meaning* to me, and I won't marry you until I'm sure that it has at least some meaning to you as well!"
That's the problem -- it's not whether they marry or no, it's that they have radically differing views about something that the girlfriend considers quite important! There is no compromise, alas.
@24 No. It's because making any decisions with a coin toss is incredibly stupid.
As a Brazilian who has been to a lot of Catholic weddings, we don't have this shit about promising not to abort or to raise children as Catholic. It would be seen as really weird and out of place to even mention those things during a wedding ceremony.
@26, they don't discuss raising kids at the wedding. That WOULD be out of place. But I assure you they ask you beforehand. If you want to use the church for your wedding, it should be because your faith means something to you. Not because you think the building is pretty.
@11, not sure how much has changed, but for my first marriage the church barely mentioned birth control.

After my first wife passed, I married again and they made a big deal about it. So maybe it varies by parish.
His dislike of the Catholic church (and of getting married in general) is more important to him than his like or love for his gf. That's a pretty good sign they shouldn't get married (and also a pretty good sign she should ditch him).

Or he could grow up.
@6-- I had the same response. @7-- the racism in your answer suggests you and the employer might make great pals.
@26, 27, 28:

It's very short, and you probably haven't noticed because the priest does not explicitly ask "Promise not to abort your children". Instead, it is phrased more humanely:

"Address and Statement of Intentions

All stand, including the bride and groom. The priest asks the couple to state their intentions about their freedom of choice, faithfulness to each other, and the acceptance and upbringing of children (unless the couple are beyond the child-bearing years)."…
Ring, just get married outside (beach, forest, backyard, etc) and hire a secular officiant. The right one will let you write your own vows AND ceremony, and you two can work together to make it anything you want, whatever works for you. That way you get the commitment and advantages of marriage without all the squicky religious stuff. Your wedding and relationship is about the two of you, not a priest or wacky rules that have nothing to do with you.

Here's a compromise that may work for you. If the religion issue is the only thing getting in the way, visit

It's a website where you rent a priest for your wedding or what have you. That way, your fiance can have a Catholic priest while you can avoid the Catholic church.

My husband found a priest from the site for our wedding twelve years ago. His family is Catholic, but we aren't. It was a suitable compromise, and it will be thirteen years this St. Patrick's Day.
I fail to see why the nationality of ERR's employee mattered.

And I'm even more surprised Dan didn't pounce on that like he pounced on CREAMPIE (two weeks ago) for referring to a fuck bud only as "Big Black Cock".
RING's problem is not so much the Catholic thing as the married thing. He says that a courthouse wedding isn't much better. Something about bed death, I dunno.

Do you think your girlfriend is pulling a bait and switch on you? If so, you should break up with her, because you don't trust her. If not, then what's all this about bed death?

Probably being gay, this bothers me more than it does some, but this deriding of marriage, as if it means nothing, really bugs me. This is something we've fought for, for years, and some folks treat it like it's nothing. A coin toss? Like you're choosing between Italian or Mexican for dinner? Come on, man. Grow up.
RING's problem isn't that his girlfriend is Catholic and he's not, it's that he has obvious contempt for her. I can't believe she wants to marry him when he clearly disdains her feelings and beliefs so deeply. Pro tip: You don't have to be a disrespectful jerk to be an atheist.
One can take the inclusion of the employee's nationality as going with "spiritual": something along the lines of "different cultural background from myself, and possible Catholic influence here, which are not quite my bailiwick, but I can tell he's really distressed about this."
@35 FTW
To people commenting on RING: When a catholic person marries a Jewish person isn't there often both a rabbi and a priest at the wedding ceremony?? Maybe RING could do something along those lines.
Too bad RING wasn't a satanist- that'd be funny.
RING, I hope you're reading this. Your gf is telling you that the status quo is not enough for her. Forget the religious aspect altogether for now. When you say that the idea of being given permission to kiss her is repellent, she is hearing that someone that she wants to be permanently bonded with does not feel the same way about her. It almost sounds like you're trying to goad her into leaving you. If you really can't see yourself ever coming around to wanting to marry her, then do her a favor and break up; don't make her waste years of her life waiting for a commitment that you never intend to give her.
she has a certain dedication to Catholicism

Her dedication to Catholicism, and all of the various psychopathologies such dedication usually entails, will last a lot longer than her enthusiasm for rimming you. I'm wondering if the rim jobs are a paradoxical reaction to her guilt over premarital sex. Marry her, and the guilt goes away, possibly taking the rim jobs with it.

I know that a marriage license doesn't automatically come with a dead bedroom

I've yet to hear any man claim that the sex got better after the wedding, although many couples will experience a "second wind", especially after the kids become less dependent and she approaches an age where she no longer takes the male gaze for granted.

Personally, I'd advise you to enjoy the Catholic guilt while it lasts, and then find someone else. I'm partial to secular Jewish girls myself - not necessarily extreme in bed (unless they're Israeli), but philosophically grounded and intellectually open, both of which will help sustain the relationship and the sex once the passions settle down. Whomever you end up with, yes, at some point she's going to want to get married, too.
RING is naive. "But we're great rimmers" will get you nowhere on this list:…

One major legal rationale for equal marriage is that so many rights and privileges are associated with that piece of paper. If you want to be with her from now on, you're naive at best, stupid at worst, not to marry her.
@42: I'll make this claim, thought it's always been between 'damn good' and 'off the fucking chart'
For RING - love is about giving, so be big boy and say "for you, sweetheart, anything" and be a hero. most people have to put up with tons of BS at work for $$, so why not put up with a bit of BS to make your love happy? anyways if RING isn't Catholic, canon law will prohibit the marriage unless the non-Catholic formally converts (baptism, etc) or the Catholic petitions for a formal letter of dispensation from the bishop. So RING's woman has pretty muched scotched the catholic marriage thing by falling in love with a non-Catholic. if RING were Catholic and not formally lapsed then he gets to sit through the how to fuck lessons from a priest. either way though, he comes out a hero
@RING You don't need to have a "secular courthouse wedding" to keep religion out of it. You can have the wedding at any gorgeous location you desire (a castle, a field, indoors, someone's house, an art gallery, whatever). Just have a Justice of the Peace preside over the ceremony instead of a priest.
Yeah I was never big on marriage (esp. the religious variety) and since we don't want kids I would have been happy with the status quo but at some point I realized that IT'S NOT FUCKING ALL ABOUT ME.
The man I love wanted to get married, our families wanted us to get married, and it wasn't going to hurt me to go down to the courthouse and say a few words.
Plus it came with jewelry, a big party, gifts, and a vacation so why not?
I think Dan and the other comments are jumping to conclusions about Ring's views on getting married. I read them differently.

By what he says, she wants to get married not for financial or legal purposes,but to give a sense of legitimacy to their relationship. On his side, considering his disdain for the type of power attributed to God's "earthly representives," he objects to the idea that he needs the blessing of some stranger in a black frock to have his love and commitment verified ("kiss the bride" being the standard end point of the marriage ceremony and declaration of legitimacy).

He also voices his concern that the Official Commitment has the potential (not probability or certainty) of Bedroom Death due to his partner becoming complacent about pleasing her partner because he's "commited" to her now. This isn't an argument to be taken lightly, as it is VERY common. Many will pipe up "that didn't happen in MY marriage" but I bet everyone knows someone who has had that happen.

So as it stands, he has his side, that the church wedding is repugnant to him, and the courthouse wedding can have either no effect at best,or very negative effect at worst. She has her side, that... Well, she wants an on-paper commitment and doesn't feel comfortable with their current lifestyle because the religion she only partly subscribes to (okay with premarital sex but not for too long) says it's a sin. It is important to both, and no compromise exists between married and not married. I read the coin toss with that respect. Not that it's trivial, but that it would be the only FAIR way to choose between two relatively equal positions.

And commenters, like @35 and others suggesting he "grow up," don't push your own ideas and experience on him. Just because you fought/fight for the OPPORTUNITY to get married doesn't mean Hets have an OBLIGATION to do so in their own lives, just as the opportunity for religious freedom doesn't entail the obligation to follow one. They may not be planning kids, aren't currently looking at buying a home or otherwise have a stake in joining financially. Perhaps if she made that argument, it would be something that would make him see necessity. He may just think "The God I believe in has rules I haven't followed in the past that you don't believe exist, and those rules compel you to make a financial and legal commitment to me now so I stop sinning," is not a compelling argument.
@3, I believe it's real.

RING's dilemma reminds me of an issue I had with my ex-boyfriend. I wanted to get married and be monogamous. He wanted to never get married and be polyamorous. A binary problem with no means of compromise. At one point, however, he tried to offer one: he'd marry me if it could be an open marriage. In other words, we'd both be unhappy. I told him never to use marriage as a bargaining chip again. (I know you're all shocked to hear our relationship didn't last...)

RING and his GF apparently don't have the sexual incompatibility issue we had, but the core issue is the same: if something is a relationship deal-breaker, then it's a deal-breaker. If RING doesn't want to wed, never ever ever amen (or not-amen), that's his choice. But it may well be one his GF decides to leave him over.
"Breaking up over the details of your future life together seems like a dumb thing for two smart people in love to do..."

Actually, RING, smart people in love do this all the time (absolutely correctly, in most if not all cases), if those "details" are deal breakers for them, especially big things like kids/no kids, marriage/no marriage, or where to live.

For the record, RING, I also think you're probably scared. Which is OK! And you don't have to marry if it scares you that much. But if it's fear, own it instead of dressing it up like some enlightened belief system (that your girlfriend isn't enlightened enough to share) or telling her that this thing that's so important to her is "utterly unnecessary." That's dismissing her feelings. Tell your girlfriend you're scared (if indeed you are), and why you're scared, and then have THAT conversation.
It upset the sh*t out of me that comment about the employee being "mexican".. are you fu*king kidding me? what does that have to do with anything? are you implying mexicans can only be employees and cheaters?

Glass dildos would also be a good option for ITCH. They are non-toxic, non-porous, & can be sterilized exactly the same way steel dildos can. Plus they're cheaper & easier to find.
As for the coin flip, someone from Seattle really ought to have drawn the parallel to the time when a Mormon came to town on Here Come the Brides and stirred things up by wanting four wives. I have some vague recollection of a disagreement between Candy and Jeremy being what eventually led Candy, Biddy, Ann and Amanda to go off with the Mormon only to show him (perhaps deliberately as a result of not liking his thoughts about women much once they understood him better?) that living with four women would surround him with constant petty disagreements. In the end, Jason decreed that the only fair solution for everyone was for the Mormon to restrict himself to one wife, and the only fair way to choose would be to draw one of the four queens from a deck of cards. The Mormon drew the queen of hearts, representing Ann, the selection which provided the greatest satisfaction all around. I have a vague idea that someone (probably not Joshua) questioned the method of selection, whereupon Jason revealed that Ann was the inevitable choice as he revealed the unchosen cards to be the queen of hearts, the queen of hearts and the queen of... clubs? Oops. My memory is hazy, but that's probably as close as Biddy ever got to the altar.
The snag is that she has a certain dedication to Catholicism and wants us to marry.

I think this is the crux of the argument even though I can't dispute that RING's attitude seems to be flippant about the matter.

However, I really believe his gf is struggling with the merging of her exuberant (to put it mildly) sexual expression and orientation and her desire - guilty obsession - whatever - to be married to conform to what her faith expects from her. I cannot see her so-called "dedication" being fulfilled by a secular or non-denominational religious ceremony. If her desire to conform to RCC edicts is very strong, then nothing but a church wedding will satisfy.

She'll also have to hunt for a parish and priest willing to conduct such a ceremony to a non-believer. If she's getting married in the RCC faith, she'll have to go to confession before the ceremony. If it's been a while since she's been, that's sure to be a long recitation of sins of the flesh!

So I do believe that RING's fears are valid, especially after she's been reminded of what a Catholic marriage entails.
and some people
"cheat" because they're
married to "good guys" or
"good gals" who have sexually
neglected and/or rejected
them..... Thanks for saying that. I thought it'd just be me being resentful. I never thought it could/would happen to me cos my bf and I married because we were both SO highly sexed. The last year though? I cry because I can't think straight cos I just ain't getting it. Still not unfaithful though. Well, only in my head.
and some people
"cheat" because they're
married to "good guys" or
"good gals" who have sexually
neglected and/or rejected
them..... Thanks for saying that. I thought it'd just be me being resentful. I never thought it could/would happen to me cos my bf and I married because we were both SO highly sexed. The last year though? I cry because I can't think straight cos I just ain't getting it. Still not unfaithful though. Well, only in my head.
and some people
"cheat" because they're
married to "good guys" or
"good gals" who have sexually
neglected and/or rejected
them..... Thanks for saying that. I thought it'd just be me being resentful. I never thought it could/would happen to me cos my bf and I married because we were both SO highly sexed. The last year though? I cry because I can't think straight cos I just ain't getting it. Still not unfaithful though. Well, only in my head.
Grumpyatheist @45 Please read @11migrationist for the true facts about Catholic marriage requirements.

My father was a Catholic and my mother a Methodist. She only had to pledge to have us kids baptized as Catholic and raised in the Catholic religion.

I didn't know about the, "have all the kids god gave her" thing, but she did and it almost killed her. That's the short version.
Holy fucking SHIT, Joe!! I wouldn't want that up my ass!
But...I guess that's really Dan's and your point. Hokay.
@21 migrationist & @22 saxfanatic: Good points made concerning ITCH's sex toy situation. Good lick with the sex toys, ITCH.

For my own individual reasons, I think I fall right into RING's category about avoiding marriage (once was enough for me). It isn't for everybody.
@61: Grizwatch Update: We'll see what happens next after this Friday at my amazing naturopath's office! Stay tuned!
LW1-If you are concerned about reinfection then discard the toy and replace it. When you do, ask the clerk at your local sex toy shop about toy cleaner. If you shop online it will pop up as a recommended purchase. A word of warning about glass toys, they can actually hurt. If used wrong as there is no give.
LW2-You and your lady need to have a heart to heart about your relationship and the direction you see it going. Because you both should not marry out of a residual catholic guilt about premarital sex but you should not take marriage off the table because you have a disagreement with the church. Marriage predates christianity and its up to you as a couple to decide what it means to you. In celtic traditions a couple would handfast agreeing to be married for a year and a day. If at the end they no longer wished to remain together, they seperated with no blame on either, if they decided to stay together they made a more formal commitment.
LW3-Please advise your young friend that he did nothing wrong. The woman in question did not disclose her marital status. Now it could be because she has an open marriage, they were seperated at the time, or she decided to cheat. However, in no way should he mention their dalliance to her husband unless he asks directly. This is an example of this situation gone wrong. Almost 20 years ago I was working at a laundromat that was In the same shopping center as a western the ed steakhouse. A waitress was having an affair with a cook at the resturant. Her husband found out, came into the resturant with a gun and was brandishing at the couple. An off duty cop was in the resturant with his family and tried to subdue the husband. Instead of calming it down, the cop was shot and killed in front of his family, the husband then shot the wife, her lover and himself. I heard the gunshots and went running from my store to the resturant in time to watch in horror as the husband ate his gun.
why did the ERR person have to bring up that his employee was mexican? what the hell did that have to do with anything? same advice, steer clear, and don't assume you know anything or assume the blame. internationally reasonable reply. who says that? my mexican friend and my gay friend sit over here, and my persian friend is by the window. what the??
A priest actually doesn't give you permission to kiss, that only happens in movies. He turns around to fiddle with the altar. Furthermore you could just have a civil service which is just as valuable. The woman (!) who married us merely said: you can congratulate each other now.
The catholic church doesn't give permission to kiss. The priest usually turns around for a silent prayer while you can go on with your business. I was married in a beautiful civil ceremony, no church involved. The woman (!) who married us merely said: you can congratulate each other now.
RING--Put marriage out of the discussion for a while and instead talk about how you and your girlfriend envision the rest of your lives together on the following topics.

Children. Do you want them? How many? Who takes care of them? What values do you teach them?

Conflict resolution. You're going to disagree. How will you handle disagreements? Who yells the loudest? Who can win a passive-aggression competition? Coin flips?

Family. You both have them. How important are they? Do you take care of aging parents down the line? If a family member needs help, do you provide it? If that help involves allowing the family member to move in or giving away money, do you do it?

Fidelity. What constitutes infidelity? What constitutes an emotional affair? Is it cheating to go out after work with the guys? Is it cheating to have sex with someone else if the primary partner doesn't know? Would permission ever be granted to have sex outside of the primary relationship? Under what circumstances?

Health. One or the other of you is going to get sick at some point, maybe briefly, maybe for a longer time. What are the responsibilities in that event? Who takes care of whom? Consider mental health in the equation.

Housework. It has to be done, but how much? To what level of cleanliness? Who does it?

Leisure time. Spend it together/spend it apart? Television? Ski vacations? One sleeps while the other surfs the net?

Location. If you're going to spend the rest of your lives together, you'll have to live somewhere. Where will it be? How will you choose?

Money. What are your attitudes towards borrowing it, making it, saving it, spending it? What makes a good purchase? Is it to be considered joint property? Will you each support yourselves?

Religion. What are core beliefs, practice, church attendance?

Sex. Frequency, practice.

In other words, with or without a marriage license, how do you define a marriage?

Granted attitudes about all these things change, so it would be stupid to take any of the discussion as a contract, but it makes sense to know ahead of time if you're on the same page at all. It would also be stupid to lie with the idea that since it's not a contract, one can say anything in order to get what one wants in the short term.

In other words, think about the future.

My guess is that if you really engage in this discussion, (and you might want to do it with a marriage counselor/referee), your girlfriend is going to decide that you're not the right man for her, and you won't have to decide how important that piece of paper is.
If you want to avoid phthalate plasticizers but don't want to splurge on silicone, then avoid anything made out of PVC. It's as simple as that. Nothing wrong with rubber if you're on a budget.
Ms Crinoline - A nice, extensive list. As you're the expert, though - or at least more expert than I - may I ask what reasonable opposite-sexer calls going out with comrades after work infidelity? I've seen numerous objections to such a practice and don't particularly quarrel with them, but cannot immediately recall ever seeing it labeled Infidelity. Were you implying that "going out" entailed a destination particularly conducive to the mingling of opposite sexes?
LW1- Is your dildo just a dildo or a vibrator? It is best to either contact the manufacturer or the sex shop you bought it from for instructions on how to sanitize it. They also sell cleaning kits for vibrators & rabbits & such.

LW2- Before you marry this woman (and trust me... you will inevitably have to marry her to keep her seeing how marriage is this important to her), you should discuss whether you want children. If you want children, you should then discuss how you would want to raise them. Why? Because I am catholic, and I can tell you she will want to raise her children catholic. Part of raising the child catholic will be having the child Christened as a baby. You will need to decide and discuss with her in what context of religion you are okay with having your child raised. Unless you guys can either make a compromise or come to a decision on this, you really should either not marry or not have children together. Couples frequently divorce after having babies together because one spouse feels they must "protect" the child from the other. You do not want to marry just to have this happen. It is best to have a true discussion about this now AWAY from the priest.

(I say away because catholic priests require premarital counseling with the priest prior to marriage, also that you attend mass regularly before the wedding, etc.... ... .... And it is a big deal for her cause if she marries outside of catholicism, the priest will consider her lapsed and not let her take communion.... ... ... So you really need to decide if you are okay with marrying a catholic. Religion is a good reason to not marry someone. It causes fights over how to raise children among other things. Even if she agrees to something now, she may change her mind once she is holding that baby. You really need to HEAVILY consider this!)

I am a catholic who married an agnostic. He does not care if his children are raised catholic, which is what we agreed to before marriage, but the compromise is that he refused a catholic wedding which is what I agreed to before marriage, so I am a lapsed catholic due to marrying in a non-catholic church, lol.

LW3- Good advice.
I'll restate this so it makes more sense: When a catholic marries outside the catholic church (as in, in a baptist church or any type of wedding that is not catholic), the catholic church does not recognize the union. To the catholic church, she would not be considered married, as the marriage is invalid. She will be married in the eyes of the United States federal law, but not in the eyes of the catholic church. The catholic church will see it as "turning away" from the church, which is why she will be considered lapsed and not allowed to take communion.

This is why it is a big deal for her, cause once she marries outside the church if she wants to be able to take communion again, she will need to have her marriage blessed. To do that, both you and her will have to go to these classes at a catholic church and what not. It is really a hassle which is why I have not had my marriage blessed.

This comes down to- How catholic is she? I consider myself married and my marriage blessed even though the catholic church does not, and am a bit offended for someone to claim I am not married when I am. Being married to a catholic who actively participates in the catholic faith when you are agnostic can be a huge hassle (just ask my husband) so as I said before, you need to HEAVILY consider marrying her. When you have kids, she may expect you to go to church with her and the children as a family (Mommy, why doesn't dad have to go?) so weigh this carefully. I am only telling you about all these catholic rules so you understand why she is making such a fuss over this.

And now all the non-catholics will say, "the church is crazier than I thought!" And this will be the only time I agree with you.

I don't expect my husband to go to church with me and the baby, so it may be alright for you guys to marry & it all may work out well. It can work, you just need to plan first.
Her "certain dedication to Catholicism" doesn't seem absolute considering the bisexuality, premarital sex, assumed use of contraception.

Many Catholics are into the tradition and pomp and circumstance but not the absolute dogma of Catholicism, which is the category that I would believe that RING's gf falls into. Its probably that she has always envisioned herself getting married in the Catholic church rather than having a dedication to it.
If you see marriage as a cage, then you're either immature or marrying the wrong person. Marriage is meant as a protection. If you don't believe you have anything to protect, or are comfortable knowing that you aren't really interested in forever, just for now, then don't waste this woman's time. For those who ask, if its all the same if we stay together or get married, why not just not get married...the answer is, why not get married? There are far more benefits to being legally wed than not. Just ask those of us fighting for marriage equality.

And, if you shun marriage because you want to keep your options open, then you're just a douche.
seandr @42
>> many couples will experience a "second wind", especially after the kids become less dependent and she approaches an age where she no longer takes the male gaze for granted. >>

That's not how I experienced the second wind. I had stopped seeing myself as available once we were seriously dating. My husband's midlife crisis led to him pushing me to flirt and have sex with other men, which is what reconnected me with the male gaze. If a woman felt men were starting not to notice her, I would think that would make her feel less sexual, not more sexual. YMMV.
Just wanted to say @21 is a much better answer than Dan got from the dildo salesperson. It is possible for a couple to reinfect each other with yeast infections because one has a raging case while the other is treated. If both are treated they still have yeast living in their junk, but it is not so overwhelming that natural cleaning and basic hygiene can't fight it off so it does not matter.
as someone who is in a 15+ year unmarried monogamous relationship, I resent the assumption by many of you commenters that choosing to not get married (or not liking the idea of marriage) is somehow a manifestation of fear of marrying. that is BS. personally I find it to be a discriminatory institution, and I don't need a piece of paper or legal contract entering into my relationship. this has nothing to do with fear or being scared.
A rimming contest sounds like a win-win! After all, how bad could it be to take second place--or third, fourth, fifth, nth?

But how does one conduct such a contest? Please advise soonest. Competitive persons want to know.
ITCH (and everyone else for that matter) Should really check out the products from Tantus, Fun Factory and Vixen Creations. Love them :)
69 Ven-- Allow me to draw your attention to your insertion of the caveat "reasonable" in your question on opposite-sexer practices. In my effort to provide an exhaustive list, I went with a few examples of unreasonable. So no, a reasonable opposite-sexer would not consider going out for drinks with the guys an example of infidelity, but I have heard of that accusation being leveled by a screaming jealous shrew. (In this case, a female, but unreasonableness and jealousy can apply equally to both sexes.) To me, it's the logical extension of the idea of an "emotional affair." I've heard of emotional affairs (and thus infidelity) with platonic friends, elderly and needy parents, sports on television, etc.

Having reread the original letter now, I realize I might also have included possibilities in fidelity/infidelity stemming from her bisexuality. There are plenty of women who don't include sleeping women in their definition of infidelity-- just as I assume there are men who don't see sex with men as being unfaithful to their wives. Whatever. They just need to bring up the subject and talk about it.
I'm a little more snarky than usual today, but the coin toss thing really annoyed me. He wins, she loses out on something really important to her. She wins, he gets forced into something he doesn't want to do. Both ways you both lose.

Probably you're going to break up, because it seems like a pretty fundamental incompatibility to me. But you say you don't want to break up, LW2. So if you want to try and save things, you're going to have to be the one to bend. Why? Because the two of you have already tried things your way. The way you are right now - committed-ish but unmarried and having lots of great sex - is the way you like things, right? But she's not happy. She already knows that she's not happy without marriage. You THINK you might not be happy being married. You may well be right. Or you may find that once you're through the ceremony, being married is just fine.

I'm not a huge fan of marriage - I think it works for some people and not for others, and I don't yet know which camp I fall into. But I know I wouldn't be happy to stay in a situation where I was content and my partner wasn't. That wouldn't sit well with me at all. Keeping an unhappy status quo just because changing things might make it worse seems like selling the relationship short, too.

Either you're willing to try the marriage thing to save the relationship, or you're not. If you're not, if it really makes you want to gouge your eyes out just thinking about it, then I don't think there's any shame in that, but it probably will be the end of your relationship. Me, I'd try, because while there's the possibility that you'll hate marriage and the relationship will end anyway, there's also the possibility that you won't hate it once you're there and things will go on much as they are, except you'll both be content instead of just you. But I reiterate, she's already tried your way, and knows she's unhappy. It's unlikely that that will change for her, at least not for a long long time.

I admittedly have a somewhat casual view of divorce, and also know nothing about the legal system in any part of the US (I'm English), but I imagine - perhaps naively - that as long as you hold off on kids and large shared purchases until you're sure that you're happy in the marriage (IF you're happy in the marriage) and have a good pre-nupt (though that may be a bit superfluous if there are no kids or shared property) then a divorce after, say, a year, wouldn't be life-ruining.

*shrugs* For me it'd be a risk worth taking. Maybe not for you. But your girlfriend's been pretty clear about what she wants, so now you need to choose whether you can give it or whether you need to set each other free to find what you both want with someone else.
@76: Thank you. Really sick of all the "get married already you cowardly idiot" bullshit. Not getting married doesn't mean you're "doing it wrong" any more than getting married means you're "doing it right".
(continued, since SLOG ate my comment edits):

There are some legal advantages to getting married, and there are some significant legal disadvantages as well, should you ever need to disentangle your lives. Which about 50% of you will, so now who's being "naive"?

Two gay people getting married doesn't devalue anyone else's marriage, and two people choosing NOT to get married doesn't devalue anyone else's choice either.

FTR, Rimboy sounds like a douche.
In reply to #9 (2/4 @ 9:34 PM)

> Also RING will have to become a confirmed Catholic.

Not true. I am a confirmed atheist, got married in a Catholic church by a Catholic priest (normal, male, ordained, dyed-in-the-wool Catholic priest from a traditional seminary background) where I insisted on no "nuptial mass" but just a normal one, and no mention of J.C. Was all good.

You're right about classes, mostly. We did go through the classes taught by a priest (a different one) and I thought the classes were quaint, especially considering they couldn't possibly have any idea what it was like to share a married life with someone--but it wasn't horrible, and didn't last that long. Also, there was stuff about kids, but nothing about calendar days.
@35: (Legal) Marriage isn't nothing, certainly: it's an actively discriminatory system intended to coerce certain household and family structures. In the old days, it was largely a matter of securing inheritance rights on the basis of established (social) paternity. More recently it's been largely about maintaining the nuclear family in order to get (generally) women to provide free labor maintaining the well-being of present laborers and producing new ones, without capitalist firms having to pay for it. I realize a lot of people have a pernicious tendency to essentialize cultural values, but did you ever stop to consider exactly WHY you were fighting for the right to marry instead of fighting to end legal recognition of marriage at all? Both result in you getting the same treatment as committed heterosexual couples, but only the marriage case grants you special privileges relative to unmarried people.

Those benefits to marriage everyone keeps mentioning that are so very important? Those are, obviously, only available to married people, establishing differential legal treatment of a particular class of people. That's literally private law, the very definition of privilege. Instead I ask: why should one need to be married to be able to enjoy what so many people clearly deem incredibly important protections and rights?

The gay marriage movement, on the balance, is a fucking travesty, a push for privilege to be extended to a slightly larger group than it is presently while still maintaining the basic structure of the privileging/marginalizing system. It's people like you who pushed me out of the movement, by making it clear that once YOU were allowed to marry, you didn't give a flying fuck about the legal discrimination against single people, multi-generational households, cohabitating immediate family members, polyamorous households, etc. I was (and am!) willing to work for the small victory on the way to greater equality, but I'll be damned if I'm going to support a bunch of self-involved people who love allies helping them but flatly refuse to help those dissimilar from themselves who are also discriminated against by marriage law (here I am only describing gay marriage activists to whom this applies - I've met plenty who WERE sympathetic to others; they constitute a tiny minority in my experience), considering the institutionalization of legal same-sex marriage to be the endpoint of reform attempts.

I realize the above may well be a bit venomous - you struck a sore point. After years of hearing gay marriage activists dismiss identical plights faced by non-gay people, I'm just plain sick of trying to be deferential to people whose empathy extends only as far as their self interest, even if it's just out of ignorance. I know it sucks to be excluded from something for so long, and then when you almost or finally have it, to have someone come along and say you're now part of the problem, and no one should ever have that cool thing that so many other people got to have and that you so wanted. It's not even close to fair. Ultimately, though, the only way for marriage law to truly be fair to all citizens is for it to not exist at all; it's discriminatory by design.
RING seems like he doesn't really love the woman that much, or else he'd get over himself, honestly. His description of her sounds more like one of his drinking buddies who happens to stick her tongue in his ass sometimes.

Believe me, differences in religion in a marriage can be a real drag, too. Doesn't sound like it's a go.
As a Universal Life minister, I officiate many, many gorgeous and meaningful "spiritual" and not religious weddings.... right in the middle of the Bible Belt.
LW#3 I am not why the fact the employee is Mexican has any relevance to the story. I was expecting a "climax" related to his nationality.
Ms Crinoline - I included "reasonable" because your post was clearly pro-GF; it seemed appropriate to conclude you were at least presuming her to be reasonable.

I was thinking of more of a tiered system of sorts, that going out with comrades of the same sex could mean -

* going to a bar or somewhere else that facilitates pickups

* going bowling or doing something neutral where both men and women would be present

* going to a segregated club or activity where no women would be present
@40: They could agree to brand the children with 333.
LW #1, please consider another source for a recurrent yeast infection. Normally a woman's vaginal fluid has a low pH which prevents infections. But if we see a woman come in repeatedly for yeast - and she hasn't been taking antibiotics for other problems like dental work or other traumas, then we test her urine for diabetes. It's a huge red flag.
LW#1, please consider another cause of a recurrent yeast infection. Usually a woman's vaginal flora are too low a pH to allow yeast to grow. But if a woman comes to our clinic repeatedly for this problem, and hasn't been taking antibiotics for dental work or other problems, then we check her urine for diabetes. It's a huge red flag.
Mr Horstman (and Mr Balls) - Well, had the solution of the problem been mine to solve, I'd never have gone the marriage route at all. I'd have invented an entirely new institution, but that wouldn't have flown.

I shall pay you the compliment of assuming that you would sincerely expect people to volunteer for the absolute PR nightmare that working to separate marriage from attached legal rights FROM WITHOUT would entail. For many, the suggestion would be highly disingenuous, but you have the ideological purity to undertake such a position yourself. My response is that, if marriage is to be divested of the legal rights attached to it (theoretically an excellent idea), the main movers and shakers have to come from the inside. Who could pull off being the Big Bad Bogeyman Coming To Steal Your Rights as a member of an already despised minority? I respect you for being sincere in asking people to try, but on this one I shall emulate Catarina Sforza to some extent and reserve the bulk of my tiny force for fights in which I can accomplish something.

The next part is that I am nearly convinced that pulling down married OS couples to the levels of unable-to-marry SS couples wouldn't do any practical good at all in the long run. There would have to be some system for acquiring those rights instituted, and the opposite-sexers would find some way to exclude the same-sexers. There are plenty of anti-gay people in the groups you mention who do have legitimate complaints under the current system, and I've seen plenty of them perfectly willing to ditch the same-sexers just to be sure they get theirs. There was an article not long ago about a lot of women of colour who supported Proposition 8 and then got furious to be criticized about it when their motivations were not personal hatred towards same-sex couples. Some were acting out of their own difficulties in not being able to access marriage for themselves (for social rather than legal reasons); some were members of a distinct movement to end legal recognition of marriage. But it became clear after lengthy discussion that they were only interested in shouting WE'RE NOT HOMOPHOBES, to which the response was, So What? The effect of the vote was the same. It was one thing to acknowledge that they were not motivated by personal hatred, but quite another that they demanded to be given a cookie.

How is your post not a What About Teh Straightz? version of the ubiquitous What About Teh Menz? posts lobbed at feminists?

Let me conclude with a not entirely frivolous suggestion that same-sex marriage may be the fastest road to attaining separation between marriage and the rights at present attached to the institution. Recall if you will all the school districts only too eager to kill all scholastic clubs in order not to have to allow a club that would accommodate non-heterosexuals.

So go work to keep same-sexers locked out of marriage and tell us all it's for our own good because we'll all be so much better off in your Utopia. I'll even pay you the considerable compliment (I wouldn't everyone) of believing it not to be a trick on your part, and I'll work with you when our interests coincide, which will be more often than you perhaps expect. But I won't give you a cookie.
@EricaP: If a woman felt men were starting not to notice her, I would think that would make her feel less sexual, not more sexual.

Yes, that rings true.

The age I had in mind, however, were the years prior, where it hasn't yet happened but you can see it coming. (Men go through something like this as well, probably more so.)

Some women react by bidding their sexuality adieu and assuming a matronly identity. I have an old friend in that category (married to a man 10 years her senior) - don't see much of her anymore, I find her depressing, and I'm sure she finds me immature.

Others seem to appreciate the attention, or at least find it reassuring, perhaps more than they did when they couldn't imagine it ever coming to an end. Then again, perhaps I've got it all wrong. I just know that I often register something, I don't know, agreeable? receptive? about women my age. Maybe it's just wisdom.
Am I the only gay person left who resents the struggle for gay rights having been hijacked by the marriage movement to the exclusion of other more urgent issues?

No, you are not the only one. It's pretty much done now, though, so you can feel free to focus on more urgent issues, rather than being angry and petty about this.
Re 84, 88:

Arguing for gay civil rights in terms of expanding an existing privilege (marriage in this case, to serve in the military or vote or dozens of other things in other civil rights cases) to include a currently excluded group is a method that actually works. It's something people can wrap their heads around, can understand how not letting women vote or people of different races marry or people of certain ethnic backgrounds hold the same jobs as those from certain other backgrounds is unfair and discriminatory and not in line with human rights, even when they are not in the group being discriminated against.

Arguing that the whole being married/ able to vote/ able to hold certain jobs/ able to serve in the military/ etc thing is just stupid and unevolved and you don't want to do it and you think everyone who does it (even though that's the majority) is stupid and why don't we re-examine the whole idea of society anyhow and build it over again from the ground up according to new principles, is not a good way to win allies. (Or people who listened past the first paragraph.) Presenting oneself as extremely boring--i.e. just like everyone else when you get down to it, someone who likes cheeseburgers and the A's and wants to rent an apartment to share with their family like everyone else, and not an exotic quasi-martian no more-average person could ever understand--is a good way to gain acceptance by the vast mass of more average people. And thus change the definition, over time, of what an 'average' person might be.

Marriage is a form of social stability, encouraging long-term ties beyond just parent-minor child. (And making that last one stronger, as on statistical average married parents are correlated with stability, lower rates of poverty, and a lot of good outcomes for children.) Societies are going to want that: we live in highly-mobile collectives of millions, now, so relying on the sort of communal bonds we could get back in the tribe of 150 or so just is not going to work. Marriage is one way to form long-lasting social units, rather than having all relationships be viewed as temporary and fluid.
Wow, as an environmental chemist and toxicologist (and huge dildo afficianado), I have to say to Hannah Jorden "way to overstate the risks of phtlalates!". All in the name of selling a few more overpriced sex toys.
90-Ven-- My first post was pro girlfriend. When I read the original letter, I was so taken by RING's immaturity between the assumption that great sex means a great future together and the coin flip idea that I jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that GF had to be better off if only by default. She, at least, had some idea that there's something more to life than one day at a time.

With the wisdom of this group and the chance to think it over, I see that my initial response is not necessarily the correct one. GF might be just as addled, just in a different way.

Now to address tiered systems-- Mine moves through time. In a relationship with agreed upon sexual monogamy, having sex with another constitutes infidelity, but when does the infidelity start?

Being open to the idea without acting on it?
Just looking at sex sites on the internet?
Going out for drinks with the idea of acting on it if the occasion should present itself?
Taking a more active role in seeking out the 3rd person?
Being emotionally available while maintaining the self delusion that you won't fall in love?

This is where GF or girlfriends like her run into trouble. They may have different places along the continuum where they see infidelity.
You wouldn't advise ERR to tell the husband about the infidelity? that's weak Dan.

Bros before Hoes Dan, even gay guys know this, Bros before Hoes.
@76/81 You're missing the point. One partner wants to get married and the other doesn't. One presents it as a life goal, the other presents it as a coin toss worthy dilemma. Think of it like this- there's this place you always wanted to live at and your partner was "well I don't care for it in particular, in fact I think it's overrated, and I don't see what's wrong with where we're living now, but I guess we could toss a coin". You really can't see how passive aggressive and petty that is?

If you AND your partner would rather stay unmarried and deal with all the technicalities and extra expenses that entails I don't see the issue as you've both made a mutual decision together. It isn't some weird situation like the LWs were he's acting like he's considering it but he's really only thinking of a way out that allows him to keep having sex with her even if it damages her long term goals.

Though seriously, I always thought marriage was something you did to prepare and maintain a stable wholesome environment as a couple for raising children so if children aren't on the to-do list down the road I can see why the LW's a little stumped, especially at 18 months into a relationship. He still sounds like a douche though.

Dear RING:

If you marry in a Catholic wedding, what happens if you two have kids?

Possible pressure from Catholic in laws.

Interfaith marriages tend to run into trouble when children are born.

Pressure to have the kids baptized then educated as Catholic, thats what.

Two, suppose your pregnant Catholic missus gets sick or in an accident, and the Catholic in laws put her and keep her on life support, for sake of the unborn kid? You'll be in the middle of a biomedical shit storm.

Finally, as others have noted, what if she loses interest in sex after you two get married?

You'll end up with a Catholic missus and a dead bedroom.

And if kids are part of the picture, its lousy for them.

Former RC in San Francisco

(F-RC in SF)
@102 That doesn't sound infantile and tacky at all.
Ms Crinoline - You make me think of President Carter lusting in his heart.
106-- Right! But the idea of committing a sin by wanting to do it isn't limited to Carter's brand of Christianity. It's a very Catholic concept too.

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