Choose one of the above: Married/Friend/Other

My SO and I are in the process of applying for a joint credit card. She’s the primary on the account, as she is in med school and as a result banks are falling over themselves for her business.
I went in today to meet the bank agent who is overseeing the account. She needed information about me for a credit check and whatnot. After she finished grilling me (no, I do not have any debt, and no, I do not have any legal cases pending against me) she had to input our relationship into the computer. She asked, would we like her to put us in as married? Now, the bank agent knows we’re not married, but that we are in a committed relationship.

SO and I are cohabiting, and are planning to get married when she finishes med school, but in the meantime we’re a little fuzzy on common-law marriage laws in Alberta. We don’t want to give the government any reason out of the ordinary to think that we’re married and that as a result she’s no longer eligible for her health care package. (Yes, we will do a little bit of research into it before it becomes an issue–we’ve only been cohabiting for six months.)

So, we’re not happy with the “married” option. Bank agent proceeds to rattle off all the choices her computer program gives her–quite a long list, including every familial relation you can conceive of (step-grandparent? second cousin?). We hear “friend” around the middle of the list, and then finally “other” at the end.

SO turns her nose in disgust at “other”, so we settle on “friend”.

It is so inconceivable to whoever programmed this thing that a non-married couple might apply for a joint credit card? Apparently it’s less common than second cousins sharing a card.

Are you sure the term used was “married” and not “spouse”? Because both married and common law partners are considered “spouses”.

We’re not spouses, traditional or common-law or otherwise. And the option was “married”, not anything else.

I fought my ignorance on common-law marriage in Alberta. Since 2003 it’s been called an “adult interdependent relationship” and it looks like it doesn’t come into effect until the members have cohabited for three years. So it looks like we won’t have to worry about that.

“Non-married couple” and “friends” aren’t any different from a legal standpoint. I think you made the right selection.

Weird. I might have to dig up our mortgage application to see how they ended up listing my relationship to The Boy, because I can’t remember what they picked at the time. We didn’t qualify as common-law spouses at the time either.

Banks just have no sense of romance. Hmph.

Yup. They’re not trying to describe your relationship. They’re just trying to determine your legal relationship in case there’s a dispute or in case someone dies. It’s not a matter of their lack of imagination. Their choices are determined by what legal relationships exist.

Why would you want to do this? Personally I don’t think money should be mixed IN marriage but why would you deal with potentially being responsible for someone who is not your spouse’s debt down the road?