(Closed) College engagements and parental pressures…

posted 12 years ago in Emotional
Post # 17
Member
16 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think the bottom line of your situation is when do you and your fiance want to get married? If you wanted to get married tomorrow, that’s what you should do. If you both want to wait 2 years, then do that.

Being a people-pleaser myself, I know it’s hard to ignore the opinions of your parents but that’s what you need to do (within reason, of course). If they’re not going to be supportive of you getting married whenever the two of you want to get married, then you should talk to them about that and explain your side of the situation.

Forget about the “statistics on what med/dental/vet/law/etc programs do to marriages and relationships” and what the pressures of school have done to other people. Only you and him know your relationship and worrying about the failed relationships of others won’t help your situation. Yes, school is stressful and yes, in my experience, it has been really difficult to plan a wedding while I’ve been in school and my fiance has been supporting the two of us. But if you can make it work while you’re in school then go for it.

Personally, I think putting off a marriage because of finance/school/work/parents etc. (whatever reason there is) is silly. I understand that there’s a thousand considerations that go into making a wedding, but by the sounds of it, you don’t want a $30,000 wedding so that alone makes it easier for you to do while you’re in school if you wanted. And compromising on your date just to make your parents happy won’t make you two happy in the long run. Yes, you’re young, but you’re still adults that are capable of making an informed decision based on the opinions of two people… you and him and no one else.

Post # 18
Member
1652 posts
Bumble bee

Well as someone who has been there, has had one of those “you need a msters” majors, and being a parent, I ahve to say I basically side with your parents. I think it would be really beneficial to wait until you have school completed to get married.  And honestly, people in their early twenties are still growing and forming.  I think I heard somewhere your brain doesn’t actually complete it’s maturing process  until 25.  (Something like that  anyway.)

When I met my husband I was 23, just graduated.  I wanted to take some time to work before getting my masters.  We got engaged.  I threw myself into planning a wedding, a mive, and starting my life.  I never went back to school.  He didn’t say I shouldn’t.  Life just happens sometimes.  Once you get married, your life is not just about you anymore.  It is about the two of you, and your finances and jointly making decisions.  I’ve even seen some bees on here, get married, and suddenly start feel baby fever.  (Some of them have even admitted they really shouldn’t be having kids right now.)  What if your Fiance gets into grad school or gets a job in Texas, and you get into school in Mass.?  Or will one of you end up saying, “Well he/she has the better job here, so I’ll have to limit my search for a school and job to somewehre around here.”?  (I guess if you feel like you’re willing to have an LDR after you’re married….  But why not wait until everything is settled?)

I just think that your parents are concerned you’ll lose some direction careerwise, if you get married first.  It is definitely easier to get school done before getting married.  And you’re right, your parents are looking out for you.  But good luck either way.

Post # 19
Member
767 posts
Busy bee

Just to provide some context to my comment above, I recently graduated law school.  There are a lot of jokes about how during law school your SO never sees you… etc.  I didn’t find law school to be particularly stressful.  It just wasn’t that hard.  I enjoyed the year of law school during which I had my Fiance a lot more then the previous years.  It wasn’t harder for me. 

But I’m also someone who didn’t find undergrad to be particularly difficult and all consuming.  So it really depends on your personality and how you handle school. 

And even programs that are absolutely consuming like medical school etc. can actually be a lot easier when you have something good outside school to focus on during hard times.  My best friend is in medical school and living with her SO.  Men have always had girlfriends and wives in medical school and found that support to be so helpful.  Maybe the key is finding a guy that will make it easier  instead of harder.

Things don’t magically “happen”, causesing women to drop out of school or not prioritize their careers.  It is a decision.  Only you know how likely you are to make that decision.  I think if you give up your career for anything less than a true emergency in the family you were never truly dedicated to it.  Which doesn’t make you a bad person or anything!  There’s nothing particularly virtious about a career.  However, if you know what you want and are going to do it getting married isn’t going to change things.  In My Humble Opinion.

 

Post # 20
Member
2767 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I just want to add something in response to what some people have been saying: 

I think a few of you are making a huge assumption that overlooks people who are living like they are married already. For example, R and I live together, make decisions together, share finances (although we don’t yet have a joint account, we do consider our money joint) etc. We have done this through really stressful times: starting college I had no idea how I was going to make ends meet, because two months out my parents decided not to help me out financially besides a portion of tuition. Which meant that in addition to adjusting to college and being a full-time student, I worked 40 hours or more most weeks at two different jobs. R had his part-time job and was getting used to the demands of being a pre-vet Biology major. 

We’ve had to make adjustments and compromise. And we’ve had to sit through the scary vet school advisors. I have to admit I resent them telling me “oh, you’ll have to be so supportive of him, you won’t understand the demands” seeing as how I’ll be getting my master’s and working to support R at the same time but I understand that we will both have stressful and time-consuming career and school paths. 

I just don’t see how not getting married until after school would make this better or easier on us. To the contrary, since we have committed to each other and moved into each other our lives have become much more wonderful – I won’t say easier – and our relationship has grown stronger. I think that to a point it’s fruitless to say that my brain will change so I don’t know if this is who I’ll be soon – middle age is a major change for adults, and one that often causes people to re-evaluate their lives and change direction. Yet society doesn’t suggest that we wait until after mid-life to commit, because then we’ll finally be who we REALLY are. Who we really are is constantly in flux. R and I are making a commitment to each other and our relationship. We know that we will grow and change. I would be disappointed if we were the exact same people in 10 years. 

I’m sorry if this was long-winded, but this is a subject that is so important to me. I think people look back on their own experiences and know that a situation wouldn’t have been right for them, and they assume that for those same reasons the situation won’t work for another person. But we are all such different people, and every relationship is different. The bottom line here is that every relationship requires work and understanding. Some survive high stress lifestyles, and some don’t. 

Post # 21
Member
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I think your parents are concerned that you will not finish college on time or become pre-occupied with the wedding planning and let your grades slip.  I think if you are really in love and meant to be together waiting until after graduation would not matter.

My Fiance and are both in our early 30’s and have established careers and homes. We met in grad school, and got engaged a year before finishing our degrees.  I set our wedding for after graduation, yes we will have a 16 month engagement- but your first commitment has to be school.  There will be plenty of time for marriage and planning a wedding later.  There shouldn’t be a rush.  Your education should be your priority and if it’s not I dare say you may not be mature enough to be getting married.  I know this may not be what you want to hear, but please consider that I am in a similar situation as you but probably 10 years older. I can wait at my “old age”, because I am wise enough to know that we will still be together whether or not we are married, and that right now school has to be what we focus on.

Post # 22
Member
369 posts
Helper bee

I agree with not having to rush. It isn’t a race and it depends on the person that you are. We can give all the advice you want, but only you know what is right for you. We all have lived different lives and have experienced dfferent things. What works for me might not work for you. You are old enough to make your own decisions and if your parents don’t agree then that’s their opinion. Make yourself happy, but always try to weigh the pros and cons. Goodluck!

Post # 23
Member
2767 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@MsMarch – you say “there shouldn’t be a rush” but what about those of us who have been with our SOs for years already? I think I mentioned this, but in my case I will have been dating R for about 7 1/2 years by the time we get married, and we will have been engaged for a little over 2 1/2 years. I don’t see how that’s rushing! 

And most people juggle wedding planning with careers and/or school. Life doesn’t slow down for it!

Post # 24
Member
565 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I agree there’s never not a busy time.  I think a lot of parents are against it if their kid isn’t financially independent from them yet, which I can understand.  My parents  told me flat out they wouldn’t support a marriage until I’d been completely independent for a bit – you want to have the confidance you can stand on your own two feet and college doesn’t count, that’s how it went in my family.  Another thing is that there’s big upheavals in life around that age with graduating, finding new jobs, people going every which way.  22 was an age where a lot of my friends broke up, even if they’d been together forever.  Or…… they settled that it was really a forever relationship and got married.  So I can see why parents would be a little hesitant, it’s just a time of a lot of big changes in life.  They just need to be convinced this is serious and you’ve thought about how you can support each other. 

Post # 25
Member
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I will say planning a wedding while working full time and going to school at night is very tough.  There is no way I could have done it all and maintained good grades without a 16 month engagement.  I am not saying ignore the wedding or getting married, but space out your time so you can manage everything.  If you set a later date, it will be easier to have enough energy to give everything your best effort.

Post # 26
Member
2767 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I thought the OP was just expressing that she wanted to begin planning, how does that mean she won’t have a moderate or long engagement? I think it’s often assumed that because someone is getting married at 21 or 22 they haven’t had a long engagement, but often that’s not the case. I think most of the people who have responded to this have actually said their engagement will be or was over a year. 

Post # 27
Member
1652 posts
Bumble bee

The way I see it, there are two things going one.  One is that she admits she should be getting a masters and that they have no money now.  If they plan for a wedding without currently having the means to support themselves, maybe it’s too soon.  You should probably be on your feet first.  (Yes, people can be married and lose their jobs.  But while you can’t gaze into the crystal ball for everything, the OP can stand back and say at this point, they really don’t have themselves established.   And with regards to the masters, it does make it more difficult to want to go back to school when you have other things in life going on.  And it sounded like the OP might not be looking to go back right away.  (Just the way she worded something.)  And when you take time off after school before getting your masters, it’s harder to go back, and adding getting married on top of that….)

Post # 28
Member
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

@ lilyfaith, I think you are right about the age thing.  I just turned 21 and am getting married in April.  I will have been engaged for just under two years when that day comes.

When I got engaged, I moved across the country a couple weeks later with my fiance.  Before we left my parents had me promise that I would not drop out of school once I got here.  (My fiance has already graduated) Maybe you could reassure them that your education is still one of your priorities (Im assuming it is), and then slowly start bringing wedding planning information up to them until they are comfortable with the idea. 

Post # 29
Member
767 posts
Busy bee

Another way of looking at it that is different from ‘why rush?’ is why artificially delay the development of the relationship?

I think each relationship has its own natural progression and insisting on holding off because you want to focus on school can mean you sacrifice the relationship.

I think school is incredibly important and a career is one of my very top priorities in life but I would still say that finding the right person to share your life with is more important. So, imo, if it’s the right timing for your relationship to get married don’t force yourself not to marry, let it go in a natural way.  Don’t lose the right guy because other people think you’re too young.  The same way that I’d advice women pushing marriage not to push.

Money is an important issue.  I don’t really understand parents that will support you single but won’t suppport you married but I know that happens and if you happen to have parents like that this might be an issue.  However it doesn’t sound from the OP that she’s going to starve if she decides to get married.  Geez, you do not need money to get married. 

Post # 30
Member
767 posts
Busy bee

Oh and sapphirelady15, I’d advice you that the way to convince your parents thata this is really going to happen is to start planning.  It will probably also convince you and make you feel better.  So just go ahead and start researching and talking about it to people.  Like when your parents say “she has to get a master’s first” you can say “well, we’ll see about that, we’re thinking about x venue and i’ve been…”.  🙂

Post # 31
Member
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Arachana:

Could you explain what you mean by “I don’t really understand parents that will support you single but won’t suppport you married but I know that happens and if you happen to have parents like that this might be an issue.”

To me it seems natural and normal that my  or my FI’s parents will no longer give either of us financial support once we are married. Why would they continue to support me?

 

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