Post # 1
Hi bees 🙂
SO and I are buying my ring next week and I’m so excited! At the same time I’m feeling a little nervous, because although I’ll be wearing it as soon as we’ve bought it and we already agree we’re getting married within the next year or two – we have had several conversations about this – we won’t be referring to ourselves as engaged, nor do I expect a proposal (both are very rare ‘phenomenas’ where we currently live).
We have an awesome relationship, but being a binational couple with a lot of international and north american friends around us to boot I feel very torn between different cultural expectations and traditions I’m constantly faced with. I always DREAMED of an engagement style ring (which is not common where SO’s from and where we currently live in Europe) and recently SO finally said go for it as he just wants to make me happy and thinks we might as well just get me this ring I’m so in love with 😀
We’re both well aware of the signal and symbolism in this ring, which is why I love the idea of wearing it, but at the same time we don’t identify with being engaged which is what this ring for MANY people signifies. We’re just gonna get married some day, no need for an engagement in our minds!!! So now I’m in this weird spot where I know people are gonna see the ring and perhaps congratulate us, maybe even think we’re already married as one ring is quite normal here, or ask if we set a date. We plan to just say that the ring was just a very special gift from SO to me, and that we’re no more engaged than usual and plan to marry when the time is right.
This is so totally us, and I love how we’re doing it in our own way. Yet it’s hard to explain. Are any other bees in a similar situation? Does this sound like a totally lame response that we plan on giving? Maybe I’m over thinking it…
Always counting on some beehive wisdom…
Post # 3
You are over thinking it. And I’m not really sure why you would want to pass up the opportunity to be engaged just because you want to be different. If you are planning on getting married than I’m pretty sure you’re engaged. It’s not about the proposal, it’s about the promise. Enjoy it.
Post # 4
Engagement is just the period of time between when you decide to get married and when you actually do get married!
So when people ask, I’d just say you haven’t set a date yet!
Post # 5
@misstwinkle: Just say we know we are meant to be, we just dont know when! Its the truth. After a while people wills top asking for a date.
Post # 6
@lcutter711: we don’t want to be different, that’s part of it. None of our friends here get engaged. People usually just get married. I don’t see the difference between being engaged and being just as we are now either… Maybe I just don’t get the concept completely….
@BrandNewBride: thanks for giving me this great line and ‘explanation’ in case I have to ‘fend off’ any questions 😀
Post # 7
I am technically ‘engaged’ too but don’t consider it to be a traditional engagement. For one, my SO and I aren’t completely sure we want to be legally wed. His parents were never married but have always worn rings to signify their commitment, which is something I am considering. If we do decide to get married, there are two major events I have prioritized before a wedding that won’t be happening any time soon. So I know how you feel! I started out trying to explain that our engagement is non-traditional, but that always led to the full blown speel, and people don’t always know how to reply. I switched to responding with we’re “not sure yet”, which is kind of the perfect answer since we’re “not sure” if we want to get married let alone when it would be 🙂
Post # 8
I read your story and it was downright eerie how similar it is to mine… is your SO German?! Maybe in other European countries it’s similar, but in Germany they think of “engagement” the way Americans think of being “betrothed” or “arranged to be married”…it’s considered really oldschool and a bit odd. In fact, marriage itself there is beginning to be seen as something you do when you’re maybe 40, after being together 10 years and a couple of kids. It’s just very culturally different there. Believe me, this has caused friction in our relationship.
Case in point: A while back he got a job across the country and just assumed I would move with him. I told him that I wouldn’t go unless we were engaged. He said, “Just tell people you’re engaged, we’ll probably get married eventually.” I told him that’s not the way it works, he needs to ask me, there needs to be a ring, etc. Then he went and got one of my rings from my jewelry box and told me, “Here, then wear this.” I think that’s when it really hit me that I wasn’t going to get a “traditional” engagement.
The problem is that American women are given since a young age a message that the more special the engagement and the bigger the ring, then the more he loves you. This is not true everywhere in the world, where getting married and being an amazing partner is the “proof” he loves you. It really helped me to talk to other Germans about this. In fact, I was talking to his mom and I was telling her that I was disappointed I didn’t get an engagement ring, and she was like, “You want to wear a wedding band AND an engagement ring? How many rings do you need to wear?” It really made me laugh how different our thinking is!
I hope this helps, and remember, having a different culture is what makes our SOs so interesting to be with!
Post # 9
@AppleRat: well sounds like we got ourselves some similar guys here! My SO is Swiss German so close enough. I totally laughed out loud when I read your comparison of engagements to super dated phenomenas, that’s exactly what it’s like over here. Germans don’t joke about marriage so I’d be very surprised if your SO wasn’t dead serious haha! it’s so good to know that there are others out there who knows what it feels like to navigate these differences too 🙂 I think ultimately we get our romance exactly through these differences in stead of proposals and shared rituals. lets not forget that 🙂
Post # 10
I’m 33, American, but have lived in various countries in Europe for over 11 years (including Demark for 1 and Germany for 4), the last three with my European husband.
Before I left the States at age 21, there was apparently a whole stack of memos I forgot to pick up. I too don’t really ‘get’ engagement. To be clear, this is not the same as taking issue with anyone who does ‘get’ it. Cultural differences are always fascinating and I love it when people enjoy their own cultural expressions. It’s a beautiful thing.
However, when it came to myself and sir, we discussed it, decided on it, and did it. In our case, we just took the Yoda approach. ‘Do, or do not. There is no ‘engaged’.’ – to paraphrase…