Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Do Engagements Expire?

Nothing chaps my ass more than people who get engaged. Then never get married.

I just don't understand the point. Either live together and be married, or live together. Plain and simple.

Hubbie's sister is "engaged" to be married (and yes, whenever I refer to her engagement I do indeed make quotation marks with my fingers). She has been (with this guy, anyway) for nearly two years. I know they will never get married. Ever.

When she announced this engagement, we congratulated them. I asked the standard questions: Have you settled on a date? Where are you going to get married? Blah blah blah.

She answered that no date had been discussed or was planned. That she did not know if he even wanted to get married in a church or not. She did not know what denomination he was, if any.

Sigh.

And the media speculates on the rate of divorce for our generation.

I think what irks me most is that in Sweden, couples living together are afforded the same rights as married couples. There is no shame or stigma involved. There is even a legal term "sambo". It means you live and share a household together. There is no benefit to being married over shacking up. Everyone is treated equally.

I do not understand her desire to be "engaged". I feel that engagement is the period under which one plans and has the wedding.

Otherwise, it is like saying you are a student at a university but you never go to class. Hell, you never even register.

When Hubbie spoke of his sister and her fiance the other day, I asked him if he thought the engagement were still valid. I mean really, shouldn't there be an expiration date on something like this? What do you think? Should there be a moratorium on an engagement? I mean, how stupid to say We've been engaged for fifteen years. How long is long enough?

14 comments:

Nicole said...

If they've shacked up in the US for a certain amount of time they become Common Law, right? So, I guess it's the same thing...but it does seem quite stupid that they've been engaged this long. I guess it's their way of "getting around" whatever guilt or shame they MIGHT have over it.

Kellie said...

Common law is no longer recognized in NY. Which blows. Jimmy and I have been together for 4 years. I see no reason to get married--I don't need a piece of paper to say I love him and want to be with him. However, without getting hitched, I have no health insurance. Nice, right?

A friend of my Mom's has been engaged for 18 years. EIGHTEEN years. Neither of them saw the point to actually getting married given they'd been together for 4 years before getting "engaged".

K-Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K-Mom said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post!

I believe in common law marriage and I believe in gay marriage. I don't believe in getting engaged for the sake of getting engaged.

I say in or out! You're either an amateur or a professional but you can't be both!

Momma said...

I had a falling out many years ago with a dear friend because she kept staying with a guy she was "engaged" to. Seven years into the "engagement," he would still get bug-eyed whenever she mentioned the M word or (God forbid) wanting children. I told her finally that I was tired of hearing about him and that if she really wanted kids, it was time to move on. At that time, she was in her early 30s, and we are the same age. This was the same woman who criticized my decision to get married and have kids young. At least my situation worked out the way I wanted it to.

Men who get engaged and then leave it at that are just throwing the woman a bone. I guess these days that is considered "making an honest woman" out of her. Hubby and I lived together for 2 years. After a time, we discovered that we both thought it was going to work. He asked me to marry him and we were married a few months later.

Yes. I think there should be an expiration date. Otherwise, it is just one big charade.

Peace - D

Chris in Happy Valley said...

In most Western countries long term cohabitation is given the same rights as marriage. That's how I'm in Oz on a spousal visa ;)

buddha_girl said...

1. One of my uncles was engaged for 10 FUCKING years before he finally took the dive. What a shithead. Had I been my aunt, I would have left his ass LONG before the big date. Long engagements are for the oh-so-not-self-assured idiots of the world.

2. I caught up on your MIL in the prior post. She's a fucktard to the ninth degree. Who DOESN'T do the Chicken Dance fer cripe's sake?

highlander1463 said...

I don't want to make anyone angry, but I think that long engagements are something that women push onto men and then live with to make themselves feel better. If the man really wanted to get married the date would be set very soon after the engagement was announced.

The man is just being selfish by not getting married, and is placating the woman by letting her tell everyone they are engaged. Even if it is for a number of years.

Have your cake and eat it too comes to mind. I have a woman who thinks I'm in it for the long haul. I get my house cleaned, share the money, and get sex. No more dating, I'm to lazy. And if I play my cards right I never have to get married...SWEET!!! If I'm not married, i can leave any time I want.

And the woman thinks she has found the love of her life and he isn't going anywhere. Very delusional if you ask me.

Just my opinion.

-P

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Nicole: That's just it. There is ZERO shame or guilt involved. Zilch.

@Kellie: Interesting. Have you ever asked her the point of being engaged. I would be interested to hear her mindset.

@K-Mom: And I think this is exactly what she has done--gotten engaged for the sake of being engaged. That is somehow sounds more cool to say "fiance" than boyfriend.

@Momma: I hear ya. I think they are both happy with just living together, so that is what irks me. Just live together, then.

@CiO: True. And as my SIL lives in Sweden, as you well know, they are really into the whole equality thing.

@Highlander: I agree with you 100% if you are talking about American women. I have seen it happen so many times--girls pushing for "promise" rings or "engagement" rings and wearing the guy down. If you have to wear him down, is it really worth it?

Gypsy said...

Do I chap your ass, too?

Lancelot and I have been together for 11 years this July. For the bulk of our relationship, we were mostly anti-marriage. We figured we'd just live together forever.

Then, after 8 years of living together, we decided we'd like to get married, and why not? So, we got engaged a year and a half ago. Since then there have been NO PLANS MADE. Of course, about a month after our engagement we decided to open a restaurant which pretty much sucked up all our energy and funds for the last year and a half, which leaves us engaged, broke, without a restaurant, and me clinging to the idea of a wedding when he'd much rather just elope NOW.

Sigh.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Gypsy: No, you don't chap my ass. There are several differences here. The opening of the restaurant put a hold on your wedding plans/ability to to plan and finances. A completely understandable event.

Secondly, you wrote that you cling to the idea of your wedding. And that your special dude wants to elope. It sounds like you and Lancelot have discussed your wishes with each other. In the case of my SIL, I believe she is engaged because is sounds cool, not because there is any intention of getting married. My last conversation with SIL left me with the impression that they said, "Hey! Let's be engaged!" in the same way one says "Hey! Let's go and get a coffee!"

I feel terribly that you and Lancelot have had so many job and financial ups and downs the past few years. It sounds like the two of you got engaged in the spirit of getting married, then life dumped a gigantic pile of shit on you and now the two of you are busy shoveling yourself out from underneath. For me, that excludes you from the "chaps my ass" category. :)

Gypsy said...

You're right, there are significant differences. No worries! ;)

P.S. That pile of shit is getting awfully stinky.

Vulgar Wizard said...

Common Law in my home state is 5 years . . . engagement or not.

Rachel said...

Maybe she just wants to be able to refer to him as her finace rather than her boyfriend, which is a stupid reason, but I've seen it happen.