Post # 1
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
SO and I were having a conversation about how/whether being officially engaged can lead to feeling more secure in a relationship.
My perspective is that, yes, it does lead to feeling more secure in the relationship, because it is an official public statement that two people intend to marry. To me, the level of commitment is higher with an actual engagement than it is with dating or even living together, and higher than simply talking about wanting to get engaged someday. I honestly thought this was a fairly universal perspective. Hah.
Meanwhile, SO believes that an official engagement should change nothing in regard to feeling secure in a relationship if the two people have already made that commitment to each other privately (but not officially, as in, actually engaged), and “the people who matter” know the level of commitment and how serious the two people are about the relationship. An engagement is nothing more than a formality that essentially changes nothing.
What are your thoughts on this? Would you feel more secure in your relationship after an official engagement, or does the engagement itself change nothing about your feelings of security within the relationship? Why?
(Sidenote: This wasn’t a discussion about whether or not we’ll get engaged, just a random thing we discussed in general, and I found it interesting that we had such different perspectives on the topic. Thought it might be interesting to get other’s opinions on it, as well!)
Post # 2
Both, I guess?
I was pretty secure in our relationship anyway, but there’s definitely something about the ring on my finger that does feel a little more secure.
Post # 3
I agree more with your boyfriend. An engagement doesn’t actually make two people more committed to each other. Neither engagement or marriage changed anything about my relationship how we feel about each other.
Post # 4
To me, either you feel secure in your relationship or not. Doesn’t matter if there’s a ring if you still don’t trust your partner not to leave you.
Post # 5
I felt secure before we were engaged, but being engaged is absolutely a different level of security to me. I discussed marriage with all of my long-term exes, but Fiance is the only person I’ve actually been engaged to, so to me there is absolutely a difference between talking about marriage/thinking you’ll marry someone and actually being engaged to them. Clearly with my exes we never reached that level of commitment even though we may have considered it. Talk is cheap; to me engagement represents actually being willing to act on it.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
“Talk is cheap; to me engagement represents actually being willing to act on it.”
Thank you! You just put into words perfectly what I was trying to explain to my SO but couldn’t quite find the words for. That’s exactly it for me, too. It’s one thing to talk about it and quite another to act on it.
Post # 7
I didn’t need the engagement to make me feel more secure, but it was something that was important to me and my SO respected that.
Post # 8
The exit hurdles are higher once you’re officially engaged.
If you break up, big whoop, no one cares.
If you break off an engagement there’s a little bit of embarassent there. You presented your love and commitment and intentions to the world and all your family and friends and then… had to go back on that.
There’s judgement from loved ones, questions, usually the need to announce the broken engagement, depending on how close to the wedding it is, lost deposits, etc.
So a guy (and girl) committing to enduring that embarrassment and judgement in order to break up (thereby making breaking up a HARDER decision to make) inherently signals a greater degree of trust and security within the relationship.
While yes, two guys could feel exactly the same level of trust and security in their respective relationships, the guy willing to get engaged and thus move the relationship into a realm where a breakup would be exponentially harder than before, is signaling both to his gf and to his friends and family that this relationship is here for the long haul more than the guy who isn’t engaged, which in turn can make the girlfriend feel more secure.
This is all about actions speaking louder than words.
Since people are INFAMOUS for just saying whatever words get them what they want, no matter if they are true or not, ACTIONS are what most people look for and can truly trust.
Saying you love someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them is all words.
Buying a ring (or other symbol), proposing, and announcing to the world – those are actions.
Post # 9
I agree with your BF and actually I think the couple should feel SECURE enough before even committing to getting engaged/married.
As in, feeling secure in the relationship should be the prerequisite for engagement. Therefore, getting engaged then shouldn’t feel like much of a change before/after.
If you you need an engagement to feel secure abt the relationship, maybe its time to ask why?
- duchessgummybunns: inducing a hurdle to keep your partner isn’t really ideal. you naturally want a secure partner prior to getting engaged.
- making it “harder” argument is like the marriage argument, lets get married so its harder for you to break up with me.
- a healthy relationship shouldn’t require built in embarassment-shackles.
Post # 10
somedaymrsj : My pleasure!
It’s interesting to see other people’s interpretations of this question. I certainly agree that you can be committed to each other without being engaged or wanting marriage, and engagement/marriage doesn’t automatically make a couple more committed, but I don’t feel like that’s what you’re asking…
My relationship has not changed much since we got engaged, but I do think there’s a subtle shift when you decide to make that commitment to each other for life (whether that means marriage to you or not). In some relationships that may have happened long before engagement, in which case engagement is just a symbolic token. For others, the engagement is the fruition of that commitment.
Engagement is a formal promise to get married, and for me that does unequivocally make us more committed than we were when we were just dating (with the intent of marriage). There’s an emotional shift but it’s also a practical one — for example, I would not move across the country for someone I was just dating but I would for a fiance/husband. Or now that we’re engaged we don’t really worry about paying each other back for stuff, cause now it’s OUR money and will be combined soon enough. On another level, now that we’re engaged and heading toward marriage, Fiance and I make all big decisions together and he is my #1. While I loved him a ton before we got engaged, I would not have prioritized him in that same way without a formal commitment. We had talked about marriage and were already living together before engagment, so I was pretty certain we were headed that way, but it still wasn’t the same as being officially engaged. Just my $.02.
duchessgummybunns : All of this!
Post # 11
Being engaged tends to make others take your relationship more seriously and this affects how they treat/view you as a couple. This may also be a factor… if your family, friends, coworkers, etc are treating your relationship more seriously because you’re now engaged, it would no doubt make you feel a bit more secure.
Post # 12
It’s not about tricking someone into being shackled to you, it’s about them choosing to be bound to you.
No one is saying they weren’t secure before engagement, only that being engaged is a different level of security from being in the dating stage. If that were NOT the case, why would so many waiting bees want to get engaged/married? Surely it’s not all for tax breaks…
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
I’m loving all the various responses!
Just to be clear, I’m definitely not talking about going from feeling completely insecure in a relationship to magically secure once there’s a ring on that finger. That would be expecting an engagement to fix some pretty serious issues, and that’s all bad.
What I meant was, does it change or shift the level of security you already hopefully have at all, or not? 🙂
Post # 14
Hey, don’t argue with me. This is basic societal psychology. These customs evolved for a reason.
I personally didn’t feel a need to “introduce a hurdle” to my partner leaving me.
We both wanted to introduce those hurdles for ourselves and, in doing so, signal to our partner with ACTIONS that we want a future together – and this convenient societal tradition called “engagement” just so happened to exist for us to do so.
Post # 15
sure but the couple should feel secure enough to make that decision BEFORE getting engaged. Otherwise it does feel like a trick. Especially justifying it as being “more embarassing” or “difficult” to break up an engagement. I wouldn’t (want to) describe my relationship in those terms.