Am I normal? I really, really don't want to get married.

Should I get married, “for the sake of my children”?

I have been with the same man for nine years. We have two hilarious kids and I love him very much. But I really, really don’t want to marry him.

Is there a problem with that? It seems so.

Everyone is pressuring us to get married. Still, after all this time. And although I have never been one to worry too much what other people think, some of the criticism is beginning to bite. Are they right?

I have never been the girl who fantasises about the big white dress and the diamond and The Day.

I love going to my friend’s weddings as much as the next person, I love the celebration of happiness and family and commitment. And the free bar.  But I don’t want one of my own.

My partner feels pretty much the same. He would do it if I wanted to do it, but he’s never been bothered if we don’t. We both feel very committed to each other, and neither of us are under the illusion that making it official in the eyes of the law would make what we have any more secure. Has no-one seen the divorce rate?

But these days, with family and friends constantly suggesting it, even he has begun to suggest that maybe it’s time. “You, know, for the kids.”

This is why people tell me we should get married:

– “So you and your kids could have the same last name.”  

There is no way on God’s green earth that if I got married I would change my name. It’s my name. It’s been with me all my life.  It speaks of my family, and my roots and where I come from. Why on earth would I change it? My children know I am their mother.

– “It would make you feel more secure in your relationship.” 

I already feel secure in my relationship, thanks. What bonds us is love and history and (now) blood. Marriage would not change that.

– Convenience.

Yes, paperwork might be a little easier. Sometimes, in medical and tax situations, say, it takes a little explaining that we are de facto and have different names. But it takes 10 seconds. Paperwork is not a compelling reason to lawfully bind yourself to another.

I am always a little uncomfortable explaining the reasons I don’t want to get married, because it is so easy for it to be taken as a criticism of (most, in my circles) other people’s choices. Which it is not. I am very happy for all my married friends.

But I have never aspired to be a wife. It’s not on the list of words I ever imagined associated with my name.

Am I wrong, and am I being selfish for my children and my family?