January 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm #10145
One more topic that’s weighing on me… I know several DW readers are in this “pre-engaged” state, just like me. Where you’re with the person you want to marry, it seems like it’s about to happen, but you’re still waiting. This article really resonated with me (I didn’t actually go to David’s Bridal like the author, but I did sign up for the Knot with a fake wedding date just so I could read the articles, and I started getting ridiculous junk mail that made my parents and boyfriend start asking questions):
So what are your stories? And what are you feeling? I know at least Anna and GatorGirl and a few others are here, too. It’s a strange phase of life to be in because you’re already preparing for the next step, but you’re trying simultaneously to not get your hopes up for every birthday and every holiday (I’m looking at you, Christmas and Valentine’s Day!).
So, yeah. Just wanted to start a conversation about what it’s like to be in that limbo stage. What are your thoughts?January 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm #10146
I haven’t read your article yet, but I’m about to.
UGH. I am simultaneously frustrated and excited in this pre-engaged state. Of course everything is all rainbows and puppies with us, and it’s beautiful, and I can’t stop thinking about when he’s going to propose and how amazing it will be to officially combine lives. But DAMN is it frustrating. My boyfriend is really into wanting his proposal to be a surprise, so he refuses to discuss things with me. Right now I’m about to graduate college, and since we’re long distance, I’m thinking of it as an opportunity to look for a job close to him. But if I’m going to uproot my life, I want more concrete ideas about when he wants to get engaged and married. He just refuses to think that discussion is necessary because it gives things away. And I just want to tell him that it’s really not going to give it away to tell me what season or what YEAR even. We’ve had discussions about wanting to get married, and we agree on a vague length of time that it’s acceptable to date before an engagement (ie: I’m not waiting around forever, so you should know that ahead of time). Basically, we both know it’s within the next year or two, BUT I WANT TO KNOW WHEN DAMNIT!
Has anyone else ever had issues with guys just not wanting to discuss the whens concretely, even if they’ll discuss the whats? It’s driving me nuts when the issue is relatively immediate.January 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm #10147
Let me clarify that my issue with wanting to know when is also related to the possibility of moving. For example, do I sign a six month lease or a one year lease? Do I go ahead and buy my own couch, or can I expect to move in with you soon and combine furniture? (I don’t want to move in until we’re engaged). And since grad school is also something I want to do (though I’ll probably be waiting another year), I want to know what the deal with our relationship is so that I can make decisions about school.January 30, 2012 at 8:46 pm #10150
Okay. I’m a little on the outside of this. I wasn’t really looking to get married a 3rd time. We just sort of started discussing it. And decided to do it. Saturday night, as we were discussing some of the costs/plans, my SO asked me if we were engaged, or what we were, since we haven’t told many people (he’s told his brother and two friends, I’ve told my mom and stepdad) in an effort to firm things up and to keep his mother out of the loop. I had to explain to him that once we decided to get married, we were engaged, rings didn’t make it official (there aren’t any and he’s fretting over that issue).
I’m not sure what to tell anyone in limbo.January 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm #10151
i guess i would be considered “pre-engaged”. me and my boyfriend were just talking about when hes going to ask me yesterday, actually. and he said the same kind of things that your boyfriend, theattack, i think is thinking. at one point he was like, why are we even talking about this? your not supposed to know any of this! i just explained to him that an engagement shouldnt be a surprise. the actual day and time may be a surprise, ok, but it shouldnt come as a surprise that you are getting engaged in a healthy relationship.
i have also totally made up a fake wedding date to look at the knot articles. they are trying to get me to rate my vendors right now… its so funny. i also go to offbeatbride everyday. i dont think its weird to be going to davids bridal or signing up for the knot or whatever though, if you do know that you will be getting married. it would be weird if there hadnt been any talks about a future together, but like for me and myboyfriend, we have talked about it many times. we have actually talked about what the actual wedding will look like. we are almost already planning it- i think i may have found a place that would work for us, and i found the dress i want online (i have realized though, that by the time i want the dress they may not make it anymore…). i dont think that is weird, because i do know that one day i will be getting married and making those decisions with my boyfriend, so what does it hurt to do it now or later? in my mind it doesnt matter… the ring is just a formality. we have already made our decision.
as for the waiting part, i am totally fine waiting. i am in NO rush to be married.January 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm #10153
“…and we agree on a vague length of time that it’s acceptable to date before an engagement (ie: I’m not waiting around forever, so you should know that ahead of time).”
I need to know how to get to here. My boyfriend and I have been dating 2+ years (3 yrs in May) and I just don’t know how to bring this up without sounding like I am just itching to get hitched. The only thing we’ve really discussed is yes, we are both open to marriage (it would be the 2nd for me, 1st for him) and we have talked about moving in together, probably this summer. I would really feel better about moving in together if we were engaged (bad experience with a past live-in BF) but i don’t want to sound pushy about it. Any suggestions (other than, just talk to him!)? For the record, I am HORRIBLE at talking about how I feel and my opinions. That gaslighting article someone posted on here was like an instruction manual for my ex-husband.January 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm #10155
@Something More, There really isn’t a way to do any of this without talking about it, unfortunately. As has been noted by more than one woman in the past, men are not great at picking up on hints or even understanding passive aggression. I find it difficult to talk to my boyfriend directly about _our_ situation all the time, so sometimes I use other people to illustrate my points to him, which is probably pretty annoying. Since everyone we know is getting married right now, I use it as an opportunity to make comments about what they are or are not doing right, and then use that as a lead in to what I would do. For example, “Omg, she just moved across the country for him without being engaged first?! I would never move that far without a commitment first.” (Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that scenario. Just a way for me to sneak in stuff that I think he should know about me). Maybe you could try that to soften the difficulties of bringing it up?January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm #10157
This is me being all hipster/bitter/whatever: I’m pre-engaged by your definition. We discussed marriage. I don’t want a proposal. I don’t want a wedding. I don’t like Valentine’s. I’ve been with my boyfriend/fiance for about three years, but I don’t know exactly how much time we’ve been dating because we don’t have an official date for anything.
So yeah I’m not feeling much. I’m trying to finish college. I want to move in together with the boyfriend, but now it’s kind of impossible, so I guess I’m frustrated. I want a dog.
Not too interesting, but there you go!January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm #10160
theattack: Thanks for the suggestions. I really don’t mind talking to him abou it, I just don’t know how to start. Like, what exactly to say to bring it up. Plus, it doesn’t help that whenever I talk about something important to me, I get super nervous and emotional and tear up. I don’t even have to be upset about it, it just happens. Then THAT makes me even more self-conscience.. it’s horrible – LOLJanuary 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm #10162
something more- ive reacted to talking about certain things like that too. you just have to set up the conversation right…
honey, i want to talk to you about something. but, it gets me emotional so i will cry. please dont think im mad at you or anything, i just get all nervous and i cry when im nervous. ok, i think that i want to marry you. there, i said it. what do you think? i want you to know that im NOT “itching to get hitched”, but i think that i see myself with you for the long haul.
and let it flow!January 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm #10165
Katie – you beautiful, beautiful person. Thank you.January 31, 2012 at 5:31 am #10179
Hmm, I guess by that definition I am “pre-engaged.” We talk about one day getting married, where we would want the wedding to be, how we’ll discipline/raise our kids, etc. My boyfriend’s big thing is age, he wants to be over 30. That’s really no problem with me. (We’re 28). I’ve joked with my boyfriend that if we’re not engaged by my 30th birthday I’m breaking up with him (on my birthday lol) If I insisted we got married today he would do it.
But I honestly don’t know if I would say “yes” to a proposal right now. We live together in Vienna right now (he’s Austrian) but I am from North Carolina, where my family lives. I don’t know if I really want to live in Europe forever and I don’t know how I would feel about having kids over here and not near my family. So I’m enjoying our relationship and I love him a lot, but I’m not ready to make a forever decision right now. We’ll see how my career here goes, how my BF’s career goes, whether we’d have opportunities to live in the US, my best friend is probably moving to London which would make me want to stay in Europe, etc. etc. etc.
I don’t mind waiting. I don’t want to have kids until I’m 34-36, and I fully believe that being married or not doesn’t make much of a difference. It certainly doesn’t keep people together. And it doesn’t make you happier.
Yea soo… personally I don’t care about being married until I have kids. Then it’s a family thing.January 31, 2012 at 5:52 am #10181
Hmm I just read that article and I don’t think I relate to that at all! For one thing, I think weddings are a big waste of money so I definitely wouldn’t be concerned about the planning/wedding part.
But omg the david’s bridal calling is hilarious!!!
I’m the kind of person who just says what they think, and so is my boyfriend, so we never had an awkward moment of telling the other person how serious we wanted to be.
But, @ somethingmore, we did have a conversation similar to what you want to have with your boyfriend about moving in together. I finished my grad school in August, (which is why I came to Austria) and I basically told my boyfriend a year ago “If I stay in Vienna it’s because I’m staying for you. How do you see our future together? Do you want to be together for the rest of our lives?” etc. etc. I was very direct/blunt. Why not? You know? I was making major plans, this is my boyfriend, if he’s potentially going to be my life partner I better be able to be direct with him about important shit.
So I think you should be the same, just say, “I’m decided whether or not moving in together is the right choice for us. Do you see us spending the rest of our lives together? Is this like a trial run to see how we are and if it goes well we’ll get engaged? I’d actually prefer to wait until after we’re engaged to move in together.” and see what he says. Listen to what he wants! And then decide.
Personally its really hard for me to relate to not being able to say whatever I feel/think to someone, but I think no matter what, at this point in your relationship, it’s appropriate to be extremely direct about what you want when it comes to your relationship and future.January 31, 2012 at 6:07 am #10183
I shouldn’t have read that article at the office…almost made me cry. I’ve been pre-engaged for so many years now that thinking about it brings a huge knot into my throat and gives me chest pains. What you said about “preparing for the next step, but you’re trying simultaneously to not get your hopes up for every birthday and every holiday” is so me…after being let down every single holiday for the last 5 years or so I can’t even bring myself to hope anymore. My birthday is February 24th…and I can’t even think about the “What if” because it hurts so much.
I think what makes my situation (and yours, Kristen) unique is that we’ve been together so long that he should have figured out by now what he wants. 1 year, two years, even 3 years is fair game as far as making sure they are really the one. Once you get into 4 years and up, it gets too frustrating emotionally for someone who has dreamed about being a bride, a wife, and a mother her entire life. I don’t buy wedding magazines or try on wedding dresses, but I sure do spend hours of my life dreaming about the proposal, the wedding, and what our kids would look like. And I have to hide these thoughts from him in the effort to not appear obsessed or crazy, same as the author hiding the magazines from her boyfriend. It really makes me feel isolated, alone, and as if he doesn’t love me enough to care how I feel.
Am I the only one who feels inadequate as a partner due to this? I feel like all these women who get the privelage of marrying their men must be somehow better than I am or maybe they’re willing to do anal or can simultaneously grill a steak and give a blowjob…like they must be more special than I am because they get a fiance, a husband while I (at the embarassing age of almost 28) still have a “boyfriend.” Boyfriend sounds like you’re in high school putting body glitter on your cleavage and smoking in the bathroom. Grown, responsible women such as myself deserve more than a boyfriend.
And the thing that frustrates me the most is that his perpetual foot-dragging leaves my entire future in question, as to whether I am moving to Raleigh this summer or moving to my friend’s place in Cleveland (where someone I know just got shot to death a month ago; not anxious to move there). I’ve spent almost the past year (since his parents decided to move) in limbo, unsure whether to prepare for a messy breakup or an engagement party. The only thing I know is that if it’s a messy breakup, it will be a long long time before I ever trust a man with my heart again. It could mean the end of my dreams of motherhood.
God, I need a drink now. Too bad I’m stuck at work until 10 am.January 31, 2012 at 6:23 am #10186
@Anna, i’ve read your story before, and it is very sad. I’m sure people have told you this before, but life is what you make of it. Do you really want to even marry this guy at this point? He’s left you waiting for so long and it seems like he doesn’t care that he’s hurting you. It’s one thing if you are both okay with waiting, but I don’t think you should be hiding what you feel. You should be able to be totally open and your full self with your partner.
Personally I think you should break up with him and find a man who KNOWS he wants to be with you. I don’t want to make you feel bad. But if you know you want to be a wife and mother why the HELL are you accepting a life where that is not happening. There are lots of great guys out there. You gotta make yourself happy. I want to marry the guy who is SO excited to ask me and SO happy I said yes, not the guy who was finally guilted into after 6+ years, you know?
This is YOUR life and you need to live it for you, free of fear!
Okay, end overly invasive advice. Sorry if that was totally inappropriate! I just remember seeing your update from your letter and being like, WTF??
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
by Kristen on · in