Post # 1
Hi Bees! I really need *someone* to talk to about this, and I don’t feel like I can have an honest conversation with my friends about this topic without getting judged, so I am coming to you guys as my “safe place”! The situation: SO and I have been together for 2.5 years, we are both working but broke (he’s starting his own business and it’s not profitable yet, I am a grad student and not working a “real” salaried job),and would like to be married within 2 years, but don’t want to get engaged until we are in a better place financially. We’ve started researching wedding venues together, and he’s happy to talk about pre-planning, but we are holding off on moving forward with our life together until our finances are in better shape. I agree with this choice (I’m the one who brought it up originally…) but it doesn’t make it any easier.
I can’t help but feel bad about the fact that we aren’t engaged. When I get down to it, I know it’s because I worry that other people won’t percieve him as being serious about me until we are officially engaged, which I know is a terrible reason. My mom passed away three years ago and my dad moved out of the state when that happened. I was living at home and he asked me to move out rather abrubtly so he could make this change. He’s also chosen to date a woman who refuses to spend holidays with me and is jealous of the time we spend together, so between his move and her attitude, we hardly see each other. The broke up recently and I was so relieved, but now they are getting back together and I have just been crushed. I know that a big reason I want to be engaged and married sooner rather than later is to feel some stability in my family life again. I’d want to marry my SO no matter my situation, but I know I’d be more patient about the timing if my insecurities weren’t getting to me.
His first “opportunity” to propose since we had our timeline conversation came up a week ago on a trip we took to Disneyland with his parents (clearly it did not happen then; by the time we left for the trip, I was confident it wouldn’t). Before we left I told him that I didn’t want him to feel pressured to propose (in general) and that I was ok waiting as long as he communicated with me. I was concerned that by us looking into wedding and reception sites he was feeling rushed. He was really honest and told me that he wanted to marry me, but that the timing had been off. He said when he was first thinking about proposing, my best friend got engaged and he didn’t want to step on any toes. Now her engagement is falling apart, and it goes without saying that I would feel awkward getting engaged so soon after she and her fiance split up. He added that he still didn’t feel like he was in a good financial position to get married.
I just need some support and understanding right now. I absolutely do not want to get married before we are in a better financial position to do so, and I understand where he is coming from. That being said, it’s been hard on me emotionally to have to let go of the hope that this might happen sometime in the next couple of months. I was fine with waiting when I could imagine that it was always just around the corner. But now that it looks like it will be closer to the end of my year-long window. I feel bitter that he is ok waiting and doesn’t seem to understand how important this is to me. I feel upset that his business isn’t doing better and he’s not making enough for us to get engaged, although I’d never want him to give up on that dream. I’m upset that school has become something standing between us getting married (between the time commitment and student debt). And most of all I hate that this is getting tied up with my feeling of abandonment with what’s going on with my dad. I know I need to be patient, but sometimes I feel like it’s breaking my heart that I can’t make the decisions I want to make. I really dislike the person I am becoming; a year ago I would never have thought to criticize how much he makes, and I would never have felt like getting engaged would help numb the pain I feel regarding my family situation. I know my SO doesn’t even want a wedding; he’d be happy to elope. For better or for worse, having some public celebration is important to me. I feel like such a selfish person. How do I get myself back on track emotionally?
Sorry this was so long, thank you for reading!
Post # 3
@MadameX: I just want to say I understand. I was going nuts before my FI finally proposed. And even though he said it was coming, and I knew it, the fact that it hadn’t happened yet was making me emotional and, at times, irrational. And I hated it.
After we got engaged, we had to save up money to have the wedding we wanted. Which means we’re having a longer engagement than I would have liked (14 months, when I would have loved for it to be under a year). At times, I have found this frustrating too, even though, of course it’s nobody’s fault.
The only thing that’s helped is that I talk to my fiance about all these feelings (making sure he knows it’s a general rant, not directed at him at all). And I feel that’s helped.
Do you think you might be able to find a more reasonably priced ring so that you can get engaged sooner and then plan for a long engagement? Maybe this is something you two can talk about?
Hang in there! You’re not alone in your frustration.
ETA: My fiance is an artist and Sargent is his absolute favorite artist. So your avatar and name made me smile. 🙂
Post # 4
I’m so sorry you’re feeling so much pain right now and all you’ve been through with your mom and your dad. I can completely understand why you’re feeling all the ways that you are, but take a step back with me for a minute…
I understand WHY you feel you want to get engaged – but getting engaged is not going to solve the issues with your dad. We all want to go into the next phase of our lives as prepared as we can and as the best us we can be. Maybe use this waiting time to try and repair your relationship with your father, or at least sort out those issues within yourself.
You guys could always elope now and have a bigger vow renewal when the time is right? I know this isn’t something everyone can do and that’s okay. But, try and be patient and focus your energy towards something positive. Your time will come!
Post # 5
@MadameX: two things: 1) yes it sucks to feel like money is the only reason you’re not engaged- and it totally makes sense that you’d have some complicated feelings about money due to that!
2) It might be for the best that nothing is happening to dull your feelings of abandonment because looking those feelings in the face might just be the best thing you can do right now. IMO unless you deal with these feelings head on they’ll just keep popping up when you least expect it!
Post # 6
I think a proposal and a ring would be a temporary fix to some deeper issues you’ve got going on. I do that, too, I like to distract myself from my troubles by thinking about something happy.
I will say, though, that if you are already living together, why can’t you afford to get married? Is it because you want a big wedding/expensive ring?
Post # 7
@dlbaqua: It’s not just the wedding or ring. In fact, we both have family rings that we will have to choose between when the time comes, so the only expensive will be in having one or the other resized. It’s the fact that I have student debt and am still getting money from my dad to help out with monthly expenses, and I don’t feel like I can be married and still having my dad help me pay bills. My SO is in the same boat and feels the same way.
@fingerscrossed: I know that getting engaged won’t fix things. I wanted to get married before any of these things were becoming issues; it’s just in the last week that these things have begun to get mixed up in my mind. I recognize that this isn’t healthy, which is why I am venting here and asking for some direction! I am usually good at working through my feelings regarding my dad, but since finding out that he is reconciling with his girlfriend, I haven’t been able to get things under control.
@MrsWBS: I don’t want to elope and then do a vow renewal; I would rather just wait for the wedding, no matter how hard that is. And we’re not looking to do anything big and fancy, but it’s important to me that we are surrounded by family and friends when we are married. We are as committed now as we would be after saying “I do”, and I think eloping would just be giving in to my insecurities and trying to fix things with a wedding band. I’m more concerned with getting to a place where I am ok with the way things are right now… But easier said than done!
@RexManningDay: I love Sargent’s portraits! They’re all so striking. Thank you for your compassion; it’s good to feel that I am not alone. As I said above, the ring isn’t an issue; he already has a family ring that he was planning on proposing with, and I could ask for my mom’s wedding ring if I wanted to use that. The money issue is more to do with the fact that I want us to be able to support ourselves as a unit without help from our families when we are married. I can’t justify being a married woman and asking my dad to help me pay bills. I know my SO does not want a long engagement, but maybe I should try talking to him to see if he would be open to being engaged for a little longer than he originally wanted. I have been trying to put on a brave face so he won’t feel pressured to move forward before he is ready, so I am sure he doesn’t know how much this is weighing on me.
Post # 8
@MadameX: that’s great that you have family rings to choose to from. i guess it helps me to focus on the silver lining when i feel dark. but i know that can be really hard/slightly impossible? it sure does sound like you have your head on straight! ((hugs))
Post # 9
I’m sorry there’s so much negative stuff going on in your life right now. I think you and your SO are being wonderfully mature and wise to wait until you’re in a better financial situation. Maybe you can try to work out your dad-related issues through counseling and learn how to separate that from any engagement anxieties. Distract yourself by doing well in school and/or job hunting so you can have something lined up when you graduate to help pay expenses and get rid of the student debt. Good luck!
Post # 10
@Jewelieee: Thank you for the well-wishes! I am trying to do all of those things, I just hate feeling like so much of my life right now isn’t in my control. I am waiting on my thesis advisor to get back in touch with me so I can finish my thesis, before I can move forward on graduating (I’ve finished courses, and now she is incommunicado…I am literally just waiting on her), I have a job that would love to take me on full time as soon as I finish school, and as for my dad… counseling may not be a realistic possibility right now, but I am trying my best to work through all of these feelings. I have tried for the last 2.5 years to work on things with him, but I am at the point where I am realizing I can only control how I react to his choices, and I am trying to recalibrate my thinking. He doesn’t think there’s a problem, so he won’t work on it with me. I am on my own and am trying to learn how to react to this all differently and put it into perspective! Once again… easier said than done, but it needs to be done.
I am usually not so pessimistic about everything, but it has been a rough few days!
Post # 11
How old are you? You will get married soon enough. It will give you something to look forward to. Imagine how much easier and more peaceful it will be to plan a wedding with a decent income coming in? Things will fall into place when the time is right, and right now unfortunately that is not the case for either of you. Your life IS in your control because you are making the mature decision to wait until you are more financially stable. If anything it would be out of control if you jumped into getting married when you couldn’t really afford it. As for the situation with your father, you can only do the best that you can on your end. If he doesn’t recognize that, then he will be the one to live with that and it will be his loss. You seem like an intelligent and strong person and I’m sure you can manage emotionally without him if need be. Things will work out for you, don’t worry so much and enjoy life as it is in the present! You will be engaged and married before you know it, time flies by in the blink of an eye! Don’t rush things.
Post # 12
It is really never easy to wait for something, especially when one of your reasons for wanting it has to do with your family. I have a similar reason for wanting to get engaged within my timelie.
I really understand where you’re coming from and I know that dark place you speak of. Have you really, really sat him down and spoke to him about it? I mean recently. Men are (I say this lovingly) sometimes boneheads and they don’t understand why we freak out. You’re going to marry him one day – what’s the hurt in expressing yourself to him when you’re stressed?
Post # 13
@sealevels: I have told him that part of what I am looking forward to when we are married is officially starting a family with him. We are not planning on having children, but I still look forward to being a family unit with him, which will be symbolized by our marriage. I am afraid to talk to him about wanting this soon since I know he has already told me that he wants this to happen within the next year. I want to give him the space he needs to do this on his own time. He was engaged once before because his first girlfriend really wanted to be engaged; she pressured him to propose, and he did, and they were engaged for many years before parting ways. I don’t want this to be a result of him feeling pressured since I know he had such a horrible experience with that before. That is also why he does not want a long engagement; to his mind, he was engaged for a long time before because he didn’t actually want to be married, so this time around he wants to become engaged only when he knows that we can feasibly begin to plan our wedding. He’s the sort of person who would make himself unhappy to make me happy, so I see it as my responsibility not to ask him to do that. Not telling him how I feel right now this minute has more to do with restraint than with any sort of embarassment or fear of how he’ll react. That being said, I’ve put my cards on the table and he knows where I stand with regards to wanting to be engaged and married. It’s up to him to fix his financial situation while I work on mine, and to make a proposal happen within the timeline he gave me (before next October). And I’ve been talking to him PLENTY about the stress my dad has been causing me! He is very supportive. I just don’t want him to feel like he has to propose before he is ready to make me happy if he doesn’t agree that the timing is right, especially when I am only so impatient because of my own insecurities that I will (hopefully) be able to work through in the next month or two.
@Stranger516: I know you are right and that it will happen eventually. 90% of the time I don’t mind waiting, and actually enjoy the excitement of knowing that in a year or two this will be a closed chapter in my life. But right now I am having a rough week and it is unexpectedly putting pressure on waiting! I am 25. I never expected to be married before 30, so it’s not that I feel like I am running out of time or anything like that. I am just at a point in my current relationship where I feel like not becoming engaged and moving forward with marriage will be stunting it unnecessarily. We bought a house together, have been living together for 1.5 years, and know we want to spend our lives with one another. I am impatient for other people to know this through a public committment to one another, too! The relationship is rapidly outgrowing bf/gf status. My SO agrees and wants us to be married within two years (he is 34), I am just feeling low about the fact that we can’t make this decision when we want to emotionally, and that we have to hold off for practical reasons, and that I’m getting so many weird outside pressures on me, too. My problem is not that I am afraid this will never happen, or that my SO doesn’ want the same things I do; my problem is being ready to move forward in my life in so many ways and not being able to for various reasons.
Post # 14
@MadameX: I feel your pain. My boyfriend and I have been together over five years and I have at least one more month to wait before we get engaged. I won’t lie, it’s been really tough to wait the past two years. . . however, I never doubted that he wanted to eventually marry me and I knew that his reasons for waiting were good (I had just graduated from college and he was studying to become a CPA).
Take a deep breath, think of something cute and relaxing (like puppies or kittens), and just be still for a moment. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for: a loving guy, a home together, almost being done with your education. . . waiting a bit longer for a proposal is tough, but when you think about all the positives in your life it may make it a little easier. Besides, if you wait a bit longer you won’t have to wait so long for the actual wedding to arrive. 🙂
As for your dad, do your best to work through your issues with him even if he won’t cooperate. Counseling can be really helpful for that and you can always switch counselors if the one you start seeing doesn’t help. Having a better grip on your issues with your dad will make your wedding day even better!
Post # 15
@MadameX: I hear you. I am 23 and my SO is 25. I want to get married already, but we are waiting until we have a house first. That could take a while…. but in the long run, a house is more important than paying thousands of dollars on a wedding. Sure it sucks waiting, but that is what happens in life, sometimes you just have to wait. I look around and see people who are getting married while living in an apartment together, and some while still living separately! IMO, that is not something I would like to do. Some people rush into things without thinking of the financial things that need to be addressed before marriage. A lot of divorces are money related anyway! Financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce! I know the waiting game sucks, in a dream world I’d have a ring on my finger right now and planning a wedding but hey, there are more important things at this point in my life that I need to get together before all that can happen if I want to live comfortably.
Post # 16
@MadameX: i ditto your feeling of wanting to get married partially because of stability. my SO are in a ldr after 3 years practically living together. i still have one more of quarter of school left, but won’t be able to get married right after because he’s teaching. before he moved we had been planning on a spring wedding. after a summer/fall full of multiple rockbottoms and depression i’m left terrified and confused. i want to get married so bad bc i know my happy place has always been with him, and bc i feel that if i could move away from here i could finally break away from all that’s been holding me down. but then i keep questioning myself bc we don’t have the money and bc i’ve been feeling extremely depressed and self conscious. if you asked me last year i would’ve told you i that i didn’t even want to think about getting engaged until i’m fully in love with myself and am financially stable. now i’m neither of those, but i feel so desperate to get married. it seems like all all these people are getting engaged left and right. SO and i can’t get engaged until 3 months before we can get married and he keeps promising me, but i feel so antsy.
just want to let you know we’re here for you. in the meantime try to distract yourself. come up with a list of positive things in your life (you got into grad school, you appreciate madame x :]) and then whenever a negative thought starts to creep into your head, choose one of those positive things and reflect on that. just try to keep your head up. fate and karma have a funny way of waltzing back into our lives when we need it.