When you’ve been in a relationship as long as the mister and I have been (7 years and counting. Our relationship is a second grader now) people naturally become curious as to what your future plans are. When are you going to see each other next? When will you two move together? When will you get married? You know you’re not getting any younger, right? And neither are your eggs.
Someone once asked me what the hardest part of our relationship has been and I told them it’s been managing other people’s expectations. I’d spent the week before each trip priming people to not expect an engagement ring when I returned.
I was still met with disappointment every time.
It’s kind of like what Kate Middleton went through before her and Prince William became engaged. They were together for 8 years before he finally proposed and during that time, the media speculated on if and when they were going to get married, criticized her not getting a “real job” (outside of working part time as an accessories buyer and for her parents’ party planning business) and then unceremoniously (and rudely) dubbed her “Waity Katie.”
Yet no one wondered if they had discussed marriage before they reconciled (remember, they broke up for a few months) and set a timeline that they both agreed to. I don’t believe you break up with someone and then get back together without some serious “where is this relationship going?” discussions. Perhaps Wills wanted to get through his military training first and maybe she wanted to make sure she could handle the rigors of royal life before accepting. But no, all the discussion was about how pathetic she was for just waited around for him.
OMG, Kate. I totally know how that feels.
For the mister and I, we had to deal with the perception of us not being fully committed, regardless of the fact that we’ve stuck it out for 7 years and have been completely faithful to one another. We get criticized for not moving sooner even though there were several (several) layers to navigate and it wasn’t just as simple as packing up and leaving. People wondered if we were serious about getting married and would ever make it down the aisle.
But what they didn’t see was how the mister and I discussed every single aspect of our relationship. How we never shied away from discussing marriage and our future since very early on in our relationship. How we had several uncomfortable, and sometimes heated, conversations about moving and who would be moving where.How we cried, became angry at one another, and didn’t talk to each other for a couple of days. But we always made up and move forward together. We remembered that we were in this for the long haul and that we were what we wanted.
Not to say that I’m completely immune to the outside commentators. I feel bad for the mister because he doesn’t deserve that characterization. I know why it’s taken so long but whenever I try to explain the reason, people just nod as if I were naive. It bothers me but I have to remember that their concern comes from a sincere place that it simply based upon incomplete information.
And even though it may sometimes feel like it, at least I don’t have an entire nation (and world) awaiting our engagement news.