23/03/2011 08:35 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: Not Putting A Ring On It

I sometimes wonder if my relationship would have lasted the distance if we had got married.

I come from a family that doesn't do break ups. Or children outside of wedlock. I was brought up in a happy, traditional home, where my dad went out to work six days a week and my mum was a housewife. So my own frenetic, work obsessed, unmarried lifestyle has been something of a shock – perhaps even a disappointment - to my parents.

They do not approve of 'living together', and I know when I first left at 18 to move in with boyfriend number one they would have preferred it if I'd married or stayed at home. Preferably the latter.

That relationship, predictably, did not last. My boyfriend was seeing other people, I was left devastated and humiliated and, despite initially trying to live together as friends whilst we sold the flat, I ended up back home with my parents, severely out of pocket and broken hearted.

And now, many years later, at almost 37, I find myself in a similar position: heartbroken, devastated and living with someone I am no longer in a relationship with. Only this time the co-habiting is for the foreseeable future for the sake of our child.

My mum maintains we'd have worked through our issues had we been married. We'd have had something to fight for. But does a gold ring and a certificate really wield that much power? I don't think so. Do you?