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Can We Just Marry for Health Insurance?

My parents will be so upset

Q: Dear APW,

My fiancx’s job is detrimental to his mental health. It’s not an issue that can be resolved by speaking to any sort of HR or higher-up, as his higher-ups are the root of the problem. He has sat down with them on multiple occasions to voice his concerns to no avail. I’m heartbroken watching him come home more and more dejected and withdrawn with each day he has to be there. And he has to be there for the health insurance, as he’s recently had surgery for a serious condition.

I want nothing more than to get him on my health insurance. Our wedding is ten months away. We are seriously considering getting legally married very soon so that he’s covered by my insurance and free to leave his job. We would still have our wedding in ten months and save the exchanging of vows and rings as well as my name change for that day.

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My biggest concern is telling my parents, who will be upset. But, if my fiancx leaves his job, they’ll be aware that he doesn’t have health insurance and will maybe suspect what we’re doing. I’m aware I have a lot of ingrained fear of disappointing them, and am bad at lying/hiding things. I’d love to be able to tell them our plans if I weren’t so afraid of the emotional fallout. It may also be worth noting that my relationship with my parents has been severely damaged in the past and is worlds better now, but our history is definitely contributing to my fear of telling them.

Thoughts? I hate that anything is holding me back from a solution that would make my fiancx’s life a lot easier; really just the knowledge that he can leave and still be covered would give him some much needed peace of mind. I’m just debating whether or not to share our plans at all.

—Secret Bride

A:

Dear Secret Bride,

They don’t have any right to know. Get secret married, if that’s your prerogative. If you choose to tell them, it’s only because you’re allowing them to be looped in, and not because it’s any of their business. Right now, this wedding: this is the point where their disappointment stops mattering.

I mean, it matters in so much as you love your parents and presumably respect their opinion. So take what you assume to be their opinion, and weigh it. Analyze it for wisdom and clarity and objectivity. Think about why they would be upset, and decide if it’s valid. Consider changing your plans, not to avoid disappointing them, but only if their perspective makes sense.

If it doesn’t, carry on.

I know that doesn’t change how difficult it is to face their disappointment. But maybe shifting your perspective slightly to recognize that they don’t get a say will help you treat their opinions with the appropriate weight. Then, maybe, it won’t feel like you’re “hiding” anything from them—because it’s not anything they need to know!

Besides, there’s something fun and romantic about a secret elopement! And this situation you’re finding yourself in, marrying before the wedding for health insurance? Oof, is all too common for people our age, in this financial climate.

This is it; you’re getting married. This is when you start prioritizing being a supportive partner over whatever makes your parents feel coziest.

—Liz Moorhead

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTIONPLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

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