Hi all! Today’s blog post is one that I feel A WAY about. Basically, my number one most asked question IRL is “When are you and Darren getting engaged?” Anyway, even though I feel a way about people asking me this one, I thought I’d answer, but in the words of Stephanie Tanner “HOW RUDE.”
Basically, Darren and I have been together for 6+ years and we’ve known each other for about a year longer. We started dating when we were 21 and 22 and have been together ever since. We moved in last December (2019) and just re-signed our lease, which means we’re stuck together for at least the next 14 months anyway.
I’ve been thinking about ways to frame this blog post for a really long time, in my mind, this one was always going to be called “The Checklist,” because that’s what my inner monologue calls it. You know, go to college (check), start your dream job (check), get engaged, buy a house, get married, start a family. The Checklist is something I think about a lot lately, mostly the concept of it. I suddenly feel like everyone I know is getting engaged, buying a house, getting married, and/or starting a family, but oddly I feel no pressure to do any of the above.
I think part of it is the fact that in my head, I still feel 16. Like sometimes I look at a situation and wonder where’s the grown-up and then I think oh shit, that’s actually supposed to be me? The other thing about The Checklist is that people seem to think that it promises happiness. I’ll be happy when I get engaged, buy a house, get married, and/or start a family. I just wonder what happens when you check everything off and you’re still not happy, you know?
I think another reason why me and Darren aren’t engaged and don’t have any immediate, or even short term plans to be is because we just don’t ever want to have a wedding. Weddings are so expensive and honestly just not our aesthetic. Neither of us have big families, we don’t have big friend groups, and we’ve worked so hard to save what we’ve saved that we just can’t imagine spending it on a wedding. We’d so much rather put it toward a house, or take a trip to Europe. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have had a wedding, I can definitely understand why it’s so important to some people, but it just couldn’t be less important for us. I know you’re thinking you’ll change your mind, or you’re missing out. But, I promise you, I won’t.
I think some people get so caught up in a wedding that they forget about the marriage part. I also think that wedding days are full of moments for fathers and daughters and I can’t imagine living through those moments, let alone paying tens of thousands of dollars for them.
I also want to acknowledge the fact that a lot of people seemed to think that the perfect time for Darren to propose was before my dad’s passing. I honestly can’t imagine anything worse. While Darren and I have been together for 6+ years, in some way it feels like half that. Darren and I had been together for just over 3 years when my dad was diagnosed with ALS, and in some ways I feel like my life froze there. My dad was ill for two years and passed away just under a year ago. In the last three years, I’ve totally lost pieces of myself that I’m still trying to put back together. I don’t think saying yes to a proposal when my world was crashing down around me would result in The Checklist’s promised happiness.
My dad’s passing has definitely affected the way I feel about marriage. My parents were the lucky ones. They met when they were teenagers. They got married in December 1977 and they were together until my dad passed away in November 2019, just shy of 42 years. My parents actually believed in the forever bit and they didn’t even get it. Even marriages that were never meant to end do.
I’m not saying we’ll never get engaged. I’d love to quietly get married in a courthouse someday and wear a vintage Art Deco ring on my left hand, but I just don’t think we place as much importance on The Checklist as everyone else. I also think that me and Darren have been through a lot and that in past relationships I clung onto the idea of forever because I knew it was out of reach, but with Darren I just feel at peace.
Darren and I are the happiest we’ve ever been. I feel like living together really suits us, we take such great care of one another. And I know we kind of live in a world that asks “What’s next?!” But, we’re happy to just enjoy right now. You may be wondering what our checklist looks like, and right now it’s something like buy a house, get a puppy, but we’re not placing our happiness in the future, we’re soaking it up right now!
I feel apprehensive posting this one, if you’re married, or planning to be – I’m so happy for you! I promise that this is not to say that you shouldn’t have said “I do,” but I just don’t think it’s important when, or if I ever do.