- 10 years ago
So I didn’t really think about it until now, but my SO and I were in the opposite situation as most of the bees on the waiting board. He was ready and eager for engagement/marriage before I was. I thought I’d share a bit about the experience in the hope that it helps someone else understand, gain some insight, or feel less frustrated with their slow SO.
There are several reasons that I think he was ready first. Most simply, he’s 6 years older than I am, with 6 extra years of maturity and wisdom. His life had already been quite stable for several years when we met, and he knew that if/when he met the right person he wanted to start a family. I was in a flux with school, trying to start my career, moving across the country for him, and I hadn’t really thought a lot about whether marriage/kids/etc. was for me. None of my previous relationships had ever led me towards those thoughts, so although he was already comfortable with the idea, it was a new thing on my radar.
I think that the different ways that we process information also played a role in his being ready sooner. He is very intuitive, and tends to “just know” things. So right from the beginning he “just knew” intuitively that we were right for one another. (In fact, less than a week after we met he jokingly told me that he would marry me!) I on the other hand am very logical and analytical. I liked the idea of marrying him, but couldn’t fully commit to it until I had collected enough data, and analyzed it, and figured out what the best answer was. Obviously, my way takes a lot longer, but that process is required for me to feel sure of something. Marriage is obviously something I wanted to feel very sure about. This type of interplay actually happens a lot with us. For instance, he “could tell” right after my interview that I was going to get hired at my first choice job. I considered the data: female in a male dominated field, bilingual, phenomenal screening test scores, etc., and I decided that he was probably right. A week later I was hired! We have different methods, and he is quicker, but we almost always end up with the same answer.
Around a year ago when he first seriously asked me about getting engaged (not a proposal, just a conversation), I said “not yet, but maybe next year?” I knew we were both moving together in the right direction for marriage, but I wanted to take a few more steps first. (Finishing the next part of my schooling and settling into my new job were my main concerns.) I had no doubts about “us,” and I felt 100% committed to our relationship. I just wanted to finish our half-marathon (even though we were breezing through it) before we signed up for the Ironman.
I wonder now if he felt some of the same anxiety and frustration that gets vented quite often by waiting bees. He brought up rings every so often, i think mostly trying to figure out why on earth I don’t want a diamond. I thought it was cute that he loved me so much he wanted to buy me impractically expensive jewelry to show off the love to the world. He’d also occasionally mention various “perks” of marriage such as sharing a name, tax breaks, how i could get on his nice federal health insurance, etc. I actually liked these conversations. They reminded me that he really does love me THAT much. And that marriage is a great thing with a lot of tangible and intangible benefits. He didn’t hound me day after day, but he kept the topic fresh in my mind and I started to feel more and more comfortable having it there.
During this period, I think that if he would have had a meltdown about how my lack of formal committment made him feel unloved or like I didn’t care about what was important to him, I would have been stunned and felt horrible, and like he wasn’t understanding ME. Because I felt all along that I was extremely committed to him, and valued him, and loved him, and wanted to be with him, and our relationship was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and not wanting the ring quite yet seemed to me like kind of a minor detail.
So anyway, I’ve felt 100% ready for several months now, my job situation is great, we bought a house together, we’re looking at churches and officiants… and now I’m technically a waiting bee while he is having the (non-diamond) ring made! I would totally wear our 30-year mortgage around on my finger in the mean time, but it’s not as shiny. 😛