huunuu life stories is a chance for us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. This month, one of our huunuu team members tell us her story...
In life’s big check list I did a few things that I wouldn’t change for the world. I met a man, fell in love and we set up home. It was all quite natural.
But there are a few things I haven’t done that I think society would like me to do; get married and get a will. Both of these from a legal point of view are incredibly sensible and would offer me some security if his Lordship popped his clogs.
So what’s stopping me? I don’t want to get married (gasp) and whilst I love a wedding as much as the next person, am genuinely delighted and excited for my nearest and dearest that say ‘I do’, it isn’t quite right for me. In my head it is as simple as do you prefer tea or coffee? It requires little thought and comes with absolutely no judgement.
Despite me being part of the UK’s biggest growing type of family, the fact is that the law hasn’t quite caught up with us. In short if one of us dies, legally we don’t have the same rights as a married couple, despite us living together for over ten years. Ahh.
For me, meeting my life partner just doesn’t come with the need to have that 'special day.' Quite a few people feel bold enough to ask me the most personal questions like ‘doesn’t he love you enough?’, ‘aren’t you committed?’ ‘are you waiting for someone better?’. Questions which I try not to be upset by, because I’m quite happy thank you. Yes, really!
Marriage wasn’t something I had or have to do. But going to far-flung places, seeing the world, being kind, writing, painting, being true to myself, falling in love, setting up home – these are the things that matter to me. I really think that a person should lead an authentic life, whatever that means to them. I am very “live and let live”, I just wish more people were.
I try and wilfully ignore people that don’t allow you to just simply 'be'. I find those who have big opinions about how I should be living my life are, frankly a bit tiring. I’m a big supporter of loved ones that choose different paths; we should celebrate diversity and be generous of spirit a little bit more.
We live in a 1930’s house, complete with veggie patch and roses in tubs and the two most adorable rescue cats. It’s our little sanctuary. We aren’t super rich, so we have a mortgage, which we’ve signed over to the other one if one of us dies.
However, if either of us die ‘intestate’ (without a will), legally only married and close relatives can inherit. ‘Common law marriage’ is a myth. Whilst the house may come each other’s way, other assets may not. How annoying!
We’ve covered ourselves in other ways. If he dies whilst working with his current employee, I get his death in service, I’m nominated in his shares etc. He has ‘expressed his wishes.’ But the fact is as an unmarried person, I could still face problems as I’m not legally ‘next of kin’.
I’m hopeful for the future that things will catch up. When I recently had some surgery, the hospital allowed me to put my partner down as ‘next of kin’ which I thought was great. He was the person they would discuss big decisions with, alongside my family if it all went a bit wrong. I want him to be able to make those sort of difficult decisions at all times. And, honestly, I don’t know if legally he’d have been able to, but I happily signed that bit of hospital paper. It felt right.
Communication is key: have those tricky discussions about what you want to do in this life and how you want to live and die with as many people that you can. I recently told my best friend about the exact dress I wanted to be buried in (the bloke may be great, but there’s no way he’d remember that!). What’s really important is live your life – freely and wildly! Do whatever floats your particular boat and, most of all, be kind to each other.
So whilst you may not see me tripping up the aisle anytime soon, you will find me writing a will, not because I’m overly concerned about who gets my favourite ring or gold boots (they are epic) but so it’s easier for my partner and my family and friends to know what’s what, because it’s the loving thing to do...and I’m a lover not a fighter.