He proposed to me the first time. I was gentle. ‘I’m really touched you’ve asked,’ I replied, ‘and I love you, but I just can’t do the marriage thing again.’

When he proposed for the tenth, or was it 15th? I became a little less brusque when he asked me for the tenth (or fifteenth?) time. ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ became my stock reply, brushing his question away with a wave of my hand and a rapid change of subject.

Since our 13-year anniversary of meeting, Ron and I were in our mid-50s. We have been happy unmarried ever since. And while I’m hopeful the ‘happily’ part of our relationship will continue, I am certain our ‘unmarried’ state will remain the same until death (or something else) do us part.

Which is why, when fashion entrepreneur Karen Millen, 60, announced last week that despite being with her partner Ben Charnaud for a decade, she won’t be getting married, I found myself thinking, now there’s a woman after my own heart. ‘He did want to marry me, but he’s resigned himself to the fact that I’m not the marrying type,’ said Millen in an interview.

Linda Kelsey, who has been happily unmarried to her partner Ron (pictured) since they met 13 years ago, explained why she believes that she fits into the 'non-marrying type'

Linda Kelsey (pictured), who is happily single to Ron (pictured), explained why she feels she belongs in the “non-married type”

Although I’ve been married twice previously, I feel that I also fit the category of non-married. When my sister, who has been contentedly wed for 50 years, first heard Ron had proposed to me, she declared: ‘You’re just not doing it. You’re good at being a girlfriend, you’re useless as a wife.’

Well it’s a bit more complicated than that, but she’s right that I’ve never felt at ease with the concept of marriage. The statistics are clear: 45 per cent end in divorce in the first marriage, while almost three quarters of the second marital relationships hit the buffers.

Women were traditionally married because of the financial support they received from their husbands. In today’s climate, when women are increasingly economically independent, I’d say money is a very good reason for not marrying, especially in later life.

We split assets 50/50 after my second marriage fell apart. Although it was fair, having paid one mortgage over the course of our marriage, I needed to obtain another one to help me finance my new home. If I were to separate from Ron, I would want it to be a clean financial break — what’s his to stay with him, what’s mine to remain with me — so that when I die, whatever is left after death duties goes straight to my son. As of now, we live in the same house, but it’s one I own. Ron is an osteopath and has his own flat that he rents. Only expenses are shared. All that is complicated by marriage.

As a former editor of Cosmopolitan, female emancipation — including financial emancipation — has always been important to me. I was only 19 when I first married — to a man nine years my senior. In 1971, I was unable to respectably leave my home in suburban suburbia. Naivety believed the marriage label would allow me to be independent. I was actually having my wings cut off by a man who had completely wronged me. In my 20s it was an easy relief to have my wedding band removed and I could start over.

Linda said she can't see why marriage makes a difference, unless you feel a religious imperative. Pictured: Linda and second husband Christian, with son Thomas

Linda claimed that marriage doesn’t make a difference unless it is religiously motivated. Pictured: Linda and second husband Christian, with son Thomas

When I met the man who would become the father of our son in his early 30s, we had no intention of marrying. Although we had discussed getting married around Thomas’s birth, there was so much going on that it never became a priority. As a feminist, Gloria Steinem’s famous pronouncement, ‘I can’t mate in captivity’, played over and over in my mind. It was my first marriage that felt like an oppressive experience. The status quo of cohabitation worked out well for us.

After 15 years, our marriage was over, and we decided to do a 180-degree turn in 1999. After a debilitating illness, and several business failures, it was time for a more positive outlook. A wedding was a great idea to commemorate our success in the darkest times. In retrospect, it wasn’t, because the cracks that had begun to open up during those difficult years were already starting to show.

Our marriage ended eight years later. While I have no doubt that a stable, loving relationship provides the best environment in which to raise children, unless you feel a religious imperative, I really can’t see why marriage makes a difference.

Marital bliss does not necessarily guarantee loyalty, long-term success, fidelity, and staying with your spouse in good health as well.

Linda (pictured) said Ron doesn't feel insecure and they are romantically in sync, making them wedded in most intents and purposes

Linda (pictured), said Ron isn’t insecure, and that they feel romantically connected. They are therefore happily married in all intents and purposes. 

Ron is my beloved partner and I cherish him. He has many ways that I can show my affection for me. I am also grown-up enough to be a pragmatist rather than a romantic and don’t feel there’s something intrinsically distasteful about discussing money matters in an open and honest way.

When I asked Ron why he wanted to marry me, he didn’t even mention the word love, though I know, without doubt, that he does love me. What he did say was that for quite a few years after we met, things felt slightly tentative — he felt a tad insecure. He believed that we would be united by marriage.

Ron no longer feels insecure and now we’re romantically in sync. We are married to each other for all intents and purposes. I am ‘step-granny’ to Ron’s grandson and would be prepared to take in either of his 30-something daughters should the need arise. He’s close to me and my entire family loves him.

‘I commit to someone and that’s it — I don’t have to prove it,’ said Karen Millen of her decade-long relationship. These are my feelings.