She can't marry the love of her life. The reason? She'd lose her health insurance.

For one woman, getting married is a life or death choice.

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Imagine having to choose between your life and marrying your significant other.

I have two rare chronic illnesses, Blau syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Both of these illnesses require extensive testing, blood work, appointments, and inpatient infusions on a regular basis.


If I were to marry, I not only lose my disability benefits, but I also lose my health insurance. If I were to lose my health insurance, my treatments that not only provide me with quality of life but literally keep me alive would be unaffordable.

Since I was diagnosed, I knew marriage was out of the question — not just because it would be a life or death choice, but because I believed nobody would ever want to have a relationship with me due to my significant health issues.

It’s one thing if your partner develops a major illness after you have connected, but quite another when you know exactly what the rest of your life together looks like. As much as we’d like to assume our partner could handle a major change in health, that isn’t always the case. The partners who can are wonderful people, just like my significant other.

When my health situation became bleak and I had exhausted my local options, I moved across the country to Minnesota to live near the major medical center that had been treating me for years. I settled into my new life, 2,000 miles away from my entire support system, including my family and friends. Thankfully, the treatments I moved for improved my health, and I had the energy and desire to make new friends.

A few years later, I met a man for dinner at a restaurant. Little did I know that introduction would drastically change my life forever.

While I never intended to have a romantic relationship with someone, as I grew to know him, it was clear he was able to look beyond my disabilities and just see me.

From the very beginning, I was open and honest, not only about my illness but about my inability to marry. If that was important to him, I always said, then he was with the wrong person.

For most who are unable to work due to disability, financial and medical assistance is immediately terminated upon marriage. Most government-based assistance programs are based on income, so if your spouse is employed, their income counts toward your limit and you become ineligible. Because I was disabled as a child, I am able to stay on my father’s private health insurance — as long as I don’t get married.

Through our discussions, we both agreed the real point of marriage is the commitment, not the legal aspect.

We always agreed that if we got to that point, we’d want to have a non-legal commitment ceremony where we publicly pledged our love to one another.

We aren’t having a ceremony because it seems like the next logical step. Our ceremony won't mean shopping for a beautiful dress, picking the perfect “first dance song,” or selecting a place-setting pattern. We aren’t having a ceremony so I can call him my husband. We are simply stripping down the ceremony to what we feel is the most important part of a marriage: the commitment between two people.

We won’t pretend we are married when we are not. We won’t have the same name, bank accounts, or any legal ties to one another. But we will continue to live as a committed couple for the rest of our lives. We simply choose to have our ceremony because our love and commitment is something we want to publicly share. To us, this makes the event that much more meaningful, personal, and special.

More
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared