The stage right before you become someone’s fiancée is … not properly articulated in mainstream forms of entertainment. Generally, the girl is impatient because her boyfriend is dragging his feet while her family (mostly older folks) keep asking her when is she going to get married. And yes, some of that may be true, it’s just a snippet of what’s really happening.
Dating someone after a certain window (say, over a year-and-half) opens the door to a countdown you didn’t know existed by people you forgot existed. Photos posted are scrutinized by date as lurkers from high school and college past are attempting to confirm that either a) you still are in said relationship with last person pictured or b) you’re pregnant. The access to a private account allows for passive input in the form of a comment or observation via direct message. How do I know? I’ve done it before. But now that I’m on the receiving in, I see how annoying it is.
In addition to the silent pressure from the peanut gallery, there’s the even closer dismissal of how you navigate your relationship among those who actually know you. By that, I mean friends who are very aware of your relationship and how it is continuing to progress questioning the way in which it progresses. Because for so long, everyone has their own opinions of “the next steps” and how that should play out. By hopping past several steps or going out of the order they mentally assume brings on shade-covered inquiries. You’re “not” supposed to pick a wedding date or book a venue before a proposal. Thems the rules.
Or, the long time significant other is ignored or not included. I remember discussing the many weddings we were going to attend this summer last year with Ed. I told him there’d be a chance that he would get an invite sans plus one because we aren’t engaged. He said he wouldn’t go if I wasn’t invited. And while that is a cute thought — ya know, the whole package deal sitch — it’s still a very real reality that we will continuously have to face until we are either engaged or actually married. The lack of any visual tie or public claim for forever commitment means that some still view us individually. The unglorified plus one.
Whatever. Being the “almost fiancée but not quite” girlfriend doesn’t get the respect it deserves. That’s fine. The North remembers. And the same energy will be kept in months and years to come. 🙂