What Non-Married Same Sex and Heterosexual Couples Need to Know When Immigrating to Canada

Posted on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

When applying for immigration to Canada via Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) you must always have a principal applicant. This is the person who can fulfill the criteria of the particular immigration route you are choosing. It does not have to be the head of the household, nor does it have to be the male in a mixed sex relationship. You should look at the criteria and determine which family member will gain the most points or have the correct work history in order to qualify.

The principal applicant can then name spouses and dependent children as family members to be included in their application. Many people wrongly assume that a couple has to be heterosexual and married in order for their relationship to be recognized by CIC as valid, but this is not the case. CIC recognizes common-law relationships as well as same-sex relationships, but you do have to be aware of certain criteria that have to be met in order for your relationship to be accepted.

CIC Definitions:

Spouse: Two people of opposite or same-sex in a legally recognized marriage.
Common-law: Two people of opposite or same-sex who are living in a conjugal relationship and have been doing so continuously for at least one year.
Conjugal: Two people who live together and have significant commitment to one another i.e. financial, emotional, children etc.

Some issues may arise when applying for immigration to Canada that may never have been a factor before and could actually prevent the CIC from recognizing your relationship as common-law. If you know before hand what these issues might be you can prepare in advance and get your affairs in order so that when the time comes you have no problems proving your relationship. Muchmor Canada Magazine outlines the main problems and how you can prevent them.

When CIC accepts common-law relationships both heterosexual and gay or lesbian it has to receive proof from the couple that their relationship is real and not being used for the benefit of immigration. This means that you will need to prove that your relationship is conjugal. Evidence that you share a home, support each other financially, are in an emotional relationship and perhaps have children will all be taken into account.

This might not sound as if it could be a problem, but lets take a look at a couple of scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Jack and Ben are a gay couple who have been in a relationship for six years and have been living as a common-law couple for four years. Jack owned the property they live in before he met Ben and all the bills, mortgage etc are in his name only. Ben contributes toward the food and general living expenses as well as holidays the couple take. They each have separate bank accounts. This arrangement has worked well for them both and they have seen no reason to change.

Problem: Because on paper Ben has no connection to the property they live in there is no proof that they are living as a couple, other than their “word.” Although Ben pays as much financially into the relationship he has no bills, mortgage or household costs that can be shown to the CIC. Neither do they share a bank account and do they have no obvious financial commitment to each other. Therefore this may give rise to CIC rejecting their common-law relationship and refusing their application.

Scenario 2:

Mark and Sue have lived together for two years. Mark works full-time and is the only earner in the home as Sue is a stay-at-home mum to a daughter she has by another relationship. Mark has always looked after the bills and rent and Sue’s name is not on any of the official documentation i.e. rent, utility bills etc. They do have a joint bank account, but this is used for savings and holidays and not for the payment of household bills which come out of a bank account in Mark’s name only.

Problem: As with Scenario 1 CIC could refuse to accept their common-law relationship as on paper Sue has no connection to the joint home and cannot prove commitment to the relationship. Although they share a bank account, this does not prove a relationship as any two individuals can open a join bank account without being in a relationship. Remember all the bills come out of an account in Mark’s name.

Scenario 3:

Sally lives with her same-sex partner Amy in a rented apartment. The rental agreement is in Sally’s name as she lived there before she met Amy about 18 months ago. The rent includes all utilities, so no living expenses other than groceries and everyday living costs are payable. If they add Amy to the rental agreement it will prompt a new contract being put in place, increasing their monthly rent, so they have left things as they are. They both have separate bank accounts.

Problem: Once again one partner in the relationship cannot prove that they are in any way committed to the relationship or the property they live in. Again CIC could refuse to accept this relationship and refuse their application.

Solutions

Fortunately most of these issues can be easily rectified well in advance of you needing to supply the information to CIC. By following Muchmor Canada Magazine suggestions you can prevent problems.

The key to this is preparation and timing. As soon as you know you will want to apply for immigration to Canada you should look at mortgage or rental agreements, utility bills such as electricity, gas, water, internet, television etc. bank accounts and investments. Make a list and note who’s name is included on each.

The next thing is to try to get as many of these items in both names as possible. Some will be easier than others, but perhaps the easiest is a joint bank account which you then use to pay your bills. If you can show that both your incomes go into one account and all your expenses are paid from that account it helps prove financial commitment to one another and a shared liability for the “marital” home.

Next try to add the additional name onto utility bills. Some companies will do this readily, others may take some patience and paperwork. If you cannot get all changed over, don’t worry. As long as you can show that many of your bills are in joint names this is okay. After all even legally married couples don’t always have all their bills in both names.

The biggest obstacle will be mortgage or rental agreements as these will require a legal change and may it may be to your financial disadvantage to change them. This is something you will have to discuss with your mortgage lender or landlord. Again if you cannot easily get this changed, do not despair. As long as you can get a joint bank account in place and can prove you share all or most of the household expenses you should be good to go.

The CIC understands that not every couple married or common-law will share absolutely everything. Many married couples still have separate bank accounts or pay separate bills or only have one wage earner who pays everything. But it is taken for granted that a married couple living in the same house are financially and emotionally committed to each other. The same consideration is not extended to common-law couples who rightly, or wrongly have to prove this fact.

Because CIC require you to be in a common-law relationship for at least one year before applying, you should get all these things in order as soon as possible. The information you give on your application needs to be relevant at the time you complete it, not at the time you expect it to be processed by CIC.

Always read, re-read and read again the application criteria to make sure you are complying correctly. It is easier to start things off right than to have to correct things later which may delay your processing time, or mean it gets rejected altogether.

As with most things, preparation and planning are key.

Meat Pies, Sex and Relationships

Posted on September 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

“Men don’t know how to be men. Many men fear that they are unsafe.”
~Aaron Bradfield

“To be a spiritually healthy person you have to be an emotionally healthy person.”
~Rob Furlong

What happens when you get 45 men in a room with a pastor and a counsellor to discuss sex and relationships over a meat pie and a can of coke?

Answer: a lot of education, connecting fellowship, and encouragement.

What follows are some of my thoughts from the notes taken from a Sex and Relationships “Real Men Pie Night.”

PORNOGRAPHY

Sex is sacred and pornography devalues what is sacrosanct.

The commonest problem men are dealing with is pornography, and, to a lesser extent, burnout – both physical and spiritual. Because pornography is so accessible these days – one mouse click away – more and more men (and more women for that matter) are becoming entrapped by pornography.

Among the many dangers involved in pornography is the pressure it places on men’s partners; women who feel under pressure to look like and perform like the porn stars.

It’s amazing how many Christian men struggle with pornography, but almost every one of them believes they are alone. It is the oldest lie of the devil to isolate us in such ways.

Interestingly, pornography is not so much about sex, as it’s much more to do with our own story – what we, as persons, have not recovered from. Dealing with our pasts – being honest about them with trusted others – helps to heal us.

Dealing with the problem of pornography probably best begins with therapy, and possibly group therapy. The best thing we can do, in our struggle with pornography, is to be open and honest with a trusted friend, and ask that friend to pray with us.

Openness and honesty are the keys.

The only real exception to complete openness and honesty is timing and wisdom with our wives in declaring our problems. Our wives are not to be burdened with being our accountability partners. A bit like Step 9 of AA’s 12-Step Program, where, amends is to be made, it defeats the purpose if our amends injures the person we want God to heal. We must pray for wisdom and discernment about the details. But we should tell them, somehow, we have a problem that we’re dealing with.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S IDENTITIES

Just as the quote at top says, men have learned to lose confidence in their male identity. We may struggle with viewing ourselves as on the one hand, dangerous, but, on the other hand, soft. Our lack of male identity is often caused at a societal level, but it was learned and is reinforced all the more from our families of origin.

Men’s overriding psychology about their masculinity is about, “do I have what it takes?” Women’s overriding psychology about their femininity is about, “do you (my man) delight in me.”

If the man’s identity is to treasure his woman, that he makes her the object of his affection, he bridges the gap between him and her.

THE SEX RELATIONSHIP

It’s critically important for men to understand that their women need to be treated with the utmost respect. If a woman isn’t respected she may be characteristically reviled by the thought of sex. Men tend to not understand this and wonder why they have unfulfilling sexual relationships. The sexual relationship between a married couple is a good representation of the overall relationship. If the sex is good it probably means that the woman feels safe, cherished, and respected in the marriage.

A man cannot grow in intimacy with his wife unless he is prepared to devote his whole sexual life to her alone. He must be not just physically faithful, but mentally and spiritually faithful as well. Intimacy ignites passion as a slow but reliable flame.

Where there is a disparity between the libidos of a husband and his wife, where characteristically the husband’s sexual drive is higher, he may be able to engage sexually with her present in ways that she doesn’t need to be actively involved.

But wherever a wife is involved sexually the husband needs to pay caring attention to what leads up to the sexual event. Sex, at least for the woman, begins in the brain. Women are not interested in sex when the relationship is poor. It is up to men, and the onus is on us, to build intimacy with our wives.

Furthermore, it may be a stretch for a man to understand what it might be like to have a body that is sexually penetrated. A man finds it difficult to imagine how vulnerable a woman must be to allow a man to enter into her body. The sex act needs to be creative, not rushed, and not mechanical.

As men we need to treat our women as they should be treated: with the utmost respect.

Lastly, it is of real value for a woman to understand that a man feels rejected deeper down when he isn’t getting sex. But the first onus is on the man to ensure his wife is happy; that she is being loved and respected unconditionally.

© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: a special vote of thanks and gratitude for Pastors Rob Furlong and Aaron Bradfield, who were a beautifully complementary team as part of an expert panel providing the above wisdom, and to Pastor Anthony Palmieri for his “Pie Night” vision.

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Just Sex Vs. True Love

Posted on September 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Opinions vary greatly on the topic of the difference between true love versus just sex relationships. How do you know when the physical sensations and desires you are feeling are the result of being in love with someone and not just the result of being attracted to them sexually? Which is better – just sex relationships for the sake of sex or true love that leads to a sexual encounter?

Is It Just Lust or Is It Just Pleasure?

The difference between lust and pleasure is so thin that it is nearly non-existent. Lust refers to the existence of a strong sexual desire, craving, or longing. Its presence in the sexual relationship can lead to passionate love making. Lust encompasses every aspect of the sexual experience starting with the desire to have sex with a specific person, even if this individual is someone you have just met, and ending with the denouement or final climax.

When you have sex for pleasure, it is usually just a means to an end – having sex to achieve an orgasm. It is more likely to occur as a random encounter with no particular partner in mind.

Pros and Cons of Just Sex Relationships

The basic premise of just having sex rather than being in a committed relationship based on love is the ability to avoid all emotional entanglement. Casual sex, particularly as experienced in a series of one night stands, avoids the need to form an emotional attachment, pretend to lust your partner, feel guilty over not satisfying the sexual needs of your temporary lover, or practice a monogamous relationship. Plus, anyone who is having casual sex rather than participating in a relationship based on true love can avoid having to answer to someone else, call home when running late, or buy gifts for birthdays or anniversaries. This is a “winning” situation for anyone who simply isn’t ready to settle down with one individual.

Casual sex, as experienced in the friends-with-benefits scenario is a bit trickier since some type of emotional bond clearly exists. Keeping the relationship strictly on a friendship level is only possible when neither participant begins to fall in love with the other half of the equation. This kind of it’s-just-sex relationship can blow up on a person unexpectedly, especially if a pregnancy occurs. It can lead to the dissolution of the friendship, leaving you feeling lonelier than ever.

When an individual dabbles in casual sex only, avoiding true love at every turn, it really is a costly experience when it goes on for too long. If you never form an emotional commitment, then you can wind up living the rest of your days out alone. You never have anyone to invite as a guest to important functions, and you might find your desirability as a lover begins to fade as your hair thins, skin wrinkles, and tummy sags. This scenario might have you searching for sex in all the wrong places, simply because the “right” places are no longer suitable for a person of your age or stature.

Pros and Cons of a Relationship Based on True Love

True love is often defined as the feelings held between two people who put the partner’s well being first and foremost. It refers to the ability to love someone no matter what they say or do. True love is everything good and nothing bad. A relationship based on true love includes a healthy dose of patience, kindness, loyalty, caring, and compromise, distinguishing it from lust, a feeling which disappears until the next time that you become sexually aroused by your partner. True love involves a lasting bond that continues to grow, whereas lust dissipates the moment that sexual climax is fully reached.

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