“Did you get engaged on the cruise?!”
“Oh, you’re dressed fancy! I bet your boyfriend’s proposing at dinner tonight! You just wait; I called it if he does!”
“When is your turn?”
“Have you guys thought about when you’ll get married?”
I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve been with the same person for nearly 4 years; we’ve lived together for nearly 3 years; and we’ve had a fur-baby scurrying around for nearly 2 years. The above comments are getting more and more commonplace in my daily life and from more and more angles: family, friends, co-workers, other attendees of friends’ weddings, literally people I’ve just met…
Bottom line: if/when we get engaged/married is our choice. We don’t need to justify or explain ourselves to anyone. BUT, I’m taking the time to type out a blog about it because it’s gettin’ my goat.
The beau and I have had the conversations about getting engaged, getting married, weddings, and our plans for the future many times over the past four years. And, frankly, it hasn’t been a question of “if” we will get married, but a question of “when” we’ll get married for a good portion of our relationship. So, the questions and comments from people aren’t super surprising. BUT, it’s as if we’ve hit and passed some imaginary benchmark and the expectations shot through the roof! I don’t think either of us felt like we needed to provide an answer or explanation to anyone about our choices…until recently, that is.
Naturally, all the questions and comments have me (over)thinking lots about engagement and marriage…and I come away from each thinkin’ session with mixed feelings about it all. On the one hand, I’m totally cool as a cucumber about it:
- I’m all like, “What’s the rush?” The decision to get married is one I plan to make only once, so, consideration for the rest of my life deserves a little time to simmer.
- The 4 years we’ve been together is just a drop in the hat compared to the rest of our lives; though 4 years has gone by so fast and seems like a good chunk of time to have just flown by…it also feels so damn insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
- We haven’t had nor do we have the money to get married. That shit is expensive – even if you’re as frugal as I can be. At this point in our lives, the beau is back in school (and paying back student loans from the first go-around) and I started a small business last year. We don’t have piles of money squirreled away for flowers and ribbon and shit.
- We’re for keepsies already. We may not have a piece of paper or rings to announce that to everyone, but we’ve been through a lot, done a lot of growing together, and our lives are so intertwined at this point…I couldn’t imagine what it would take to extricate ourselves from each other at this point – so we might as well just stay stuck. Plus, how else would I get all my jars open? (I’m a strong, independent, feminist woman and I may be a powerlifter, but, damnit, jars are extremely resistant).
- On the extreme end, I asked the beau the other day why the hell we even needed to get married: “What’s the POINT?” I said. He brought be back from the ledge, though, making some really good points about hospital visits and medical decisions and other important adult things.
All of that said….the outside forces are strong and I’ve definitely been feeling the pressure (and judgement?) recently.
For instance, sometimes people mistake the beau for my husband and I have to correct them: “Oh, we’re not married,” (i.e. “Oh, we’re just living in sin.”)…And, when I mention the length of time the beau and I have been together, acquaintances usually feel the need to ask (in a roundabout manner) why we’re not yet married or *gasp* why we aren’t even engaged. Why someone I’ve just met thinks that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask personal, in-depth questions about the state of my relationship is beyond me, but I usually just shrug and give the “it’s a question of if, not when” line. In response, people have felt the need to supply the reason THEY waited to marry:
“It was his second marriage, so he wasn’t rushing into anything.”
“I, basically, had to have my family smack him upside the head because he was dragging his feet.”
“He had commitment issues.”
The moral of the stories I hear? There should be some kind of reason for the “delay” – and there’s a strong undercurrent of blame. Obviously, something is wrong with someone in the relationship and that’s why we haven’t gotten married yet.
The overthinker in me has a field day with internalizing all the judgment. Lots-o-fun.
But, when the overthinking gets bad, I like to park my toosh in front of the TV, watch some shitty Netflix under my heated blanket, knit furiously for an evening, and indulge in something with an obscene amount of carbs.
Pfft – just kidding. I’m on a cut – I don’t have carbs left by the evening.