Monday, 27 August 2012

Rant: "Why are you guys not engaged yet?"

So something keeps happening to me ... OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I keep finding myself in these uncomfortable conversations where someone asks me when the bf and I are getting married, which is usually followed by "how come you guys aren't engaged yet?" Sometimes this even turns into a suggestion by the individual that I rethink his commitment to me and whether or not he even believes in marriage (a if I would not know this!?) - that I may have to leave the relationship if I ever want to get married and have children. IT KEEPS HAPPENING and I can't wrap my head around this. 

I get it that we have been together for almost six years and live together. I am 27, he is 29 so why aren't we married yet? Many of our friends are married and are getting married so why aren't we at least engaged? 

I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with people asking us if we see ourselves eventually getting married or if I think a proposal is in the works soon. That's cool ... there is no judgement there, just simply a display of human curiosity. I get it. Social norms would indicate that we should be married or at least engaged by this point so it's completely understandable that someone would ask about this HOWEVER what I can't understand is why some people think it's their place to make assumptions about our beliefs about marriage and when we should be married let alone judge the bf, his commitment to me and our relationship as a whole. It makes me uncomfortable and sometimes leads me to feel insecure about my relationship, in the sense that I start to think that we should be engaged at this point and that maybe something is seriously wrong with our relationship .. THEN I remember how wonderful the bf is and how nothing in his actions or words has or should ever lead me to question his commitment to me. I don't need a diamond on my finger to know that (although it seems like other people do). I also come back to reality and remember why we have decided to not get married yet (in my case getting engaged will be a mutual decision not something that just happens to be sprung up on me).

Also, why am I the only one out of the two of us that seems to get these questions? Is it because I am female? Why is no one asking him why we aren't engaged yet? Weird!? .. well not really. Also worth mentioning is that these questions always come from other women. Why is that?

I just think people should think a little bit more about this topic prior to asking such questions .. and whether or not they are being judgemental. I would also consider the financial commitment that is often associated with getting married and factor that into the equation. Perhaps the couple cannot afford to get married in the way they want to get married at this moment? Also maybe planning a wedding could be stressful for some people and they simply cannot see themselves doing this anytime soon? Maybe they have other competing priorities at the moment, such as school, career etc.?

FOR ME (and I know I can say for US) we both believe in marriage but that doesn't mean we wanted to get married at 25 or even prior to feeling settled and stable in other parts of our lives. For me, I have dedicated a lot of time and effort (7 years of university and 3 degrees to be exact) to making sure I have a career, a job that I love and am financially stable on my own. Finally, I can say I have accomplished this. There is no way I could see myself getting married let alone having children prior to accomplishing this BUT THAT'S JUST ME! Also, I think I can say for the both of us that finances and time have been an issue. We do not want to have to turn to others to financially support our wedding and frankly have not wanted to spend our money or time on planning a wedding. For me, working four full days a week and completing a masters degree while planning a wedding would not have been fun or even worth the stress it would have caused!

When I finally get married, I want to be able to afford it (be financially stable) and be able to take the time to enjoy the planning process. I want to do it my way and when I want to do it BUT THAT'S JUST ME!

What about people who have children out of wedlock or couples who choose to never get married?
Is it our place to judge their parenting abilities or quality of their relationship?

That's my rant. 

Any opinions on this issue? Did you or are you experiencing this too? We all know that I have many thoughts and opinions about this but I'd like to hear from you :) Maybe I'm just being too sensitive but all this is really starting to annoy me haha! 


Freya Lily said...

I think you are so spot on!! I just turned 24 and all of my friends are getting engaged or having babies. My boyfriend and I have been together almost 2 years and have been "together" (as in off and on and friends) for almost 6. I know in my heart that there really isn't anyone else I could imagine myself being with but that doesn't mean I'm dragging him to the alter.

I have no desire to be married OR pregnant before 30. I could fathom married but NOT pregnant. I think our society has railed it into young women that we need to be married and pregnant or we are not successful. Ever notice that there are two types of women in the movies, career women and homemakers? There's never a medium.

I think our questions should be pointed at those women/girls who marry at 20 or have babies before they are ready. Why did you not wait? Do you think you're ready? Did you think of the options? But those questions are TOO taboo.

I like all the thoughts you've provoked this evening.

Bola said...

Hey Freya, thanks for this comment.

I agree that many women in our age group think that they need to be in a relationship or married in order to be successful in life and fit in. I think there's a difference between wanting to be in a relationship and feeling that you have to be in a relationship to be feel complete (and successful). It's just too bad that society has imposed these beliefs on young women and girls.

It's great that you and Jacob know what you want right now in your relationship and are having fun. I always say you have your whole life to be married so what's the rush!? We don't have our whole life to get our careers going now do we (I know some would disagree)?

I agree that people's energy should be directed towards understanding and questioning young girls who are deciding to get pregnant as teens. What is going on or missing in their life to make them feel they need to get married or get pregnant to be happy?

The interesting thing about the whole "whey aren't you engaged?" thing is that the question always seems to come from other women. Why don't we just love and support one another??

Kristin said...

I think people need to stop commenting on other people's relationship. I'm really tired of people being shocked that I'm married and then making comments about the divorce rates of people who get married in their twenties. How is that helpful information for me?

Bola said...

OMG! I can't believe people make comments like that to you! So rude. Yes, how is that helpful? It's like thanks for that info.!?! That makes me feel better ?!