This May, I will have been dating my boyfriend for seven years.
On May 10, 2012, I was sitting at a lunch I had to report on for work. I was high on life, having just started dating a really sweet guy. I was daydreaming during the event when I got a text message saying “Guess what?” from the guy. I replied with a simple “What?” and moments later got a response: “I have the best girlfriend ever.” After that, I don’t remember much else from that work lunch.
Now, almost seven years later we are preparing to celebrate another anniversary together. I am certain come May 10th, I’ll get multiple questions as to why we aren’t married yet.
Being a Traditional Person in a Long-Term Relationship
Growing up, I was always a very traditional person. A self-described hopeless romantic, I couldn’t help but adore a good love story. I loved (and still love!) movies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.
I always thought I’d grow up and get married and have a couple kids by now. Granted, I still definitely want to marry and have children—just maybe not the five or six I wanted when I was 13!
From Year Two On, Everyone Bugged Us About Marriage
Since I’ve been dating my boyfriend, within about two years we started getting the question: “when are you two going to get married?”. We’ve brushed it off since then every year. People always preach individuality and doing things on your own time, but I can’t tell you how many people have wondered why we aren’t married yet.
I usually post a collage of photos of the two of us on social media every anniversary, mostly for the memories I can look back on when they pop up each year. Now that I’m about to celebrate seven years with my partner, part of me does not want to post a said collage as I know I will get the inevitable ring emoji with a question mark or another questionable comment about marriage.
The funny thing is, those questions often come from acquaintances or friends I’m not particularly close with. My best friends and family, they have every right in the world to talk to me about it (mostly because I occasionally chat with them about my relationship anyway).
People who I haven’t seen in person since high school? Slow your roll. Trust me, my boyfriend and I– We’ve got this.
Being True to Who I Am AKA Not Giving in to Marriage Pressure
To those who are going through something similar, it’s important to remember to be true to your own relationship. Things take time and what’s great for another couple may not be the right thing for you.
I’ll admit from about years four through six, I was that person who bombards me with questions. The self reflection I constantly had made me wonder why I was the “odd one out” and not getting married just yet. My anxiety about the issue climbed as friends and siblings started getting engaged, married and then pregnant.
Within the past year though, I started to realize that if or when my boyfriend and I do get engaged, it needs to be the perfect timing. The spark has to be perfect, the place we are in our relationship, and within ourselves, needs to be right. Without it, the engagement is bound to fail. Call it my romanticism mixed with a bit of maturing realism, I know that things have to feel right for a relationship to work. I used to be all about trusting with your heart—now I have a little bit of my head thrown in too.
Why I’m Waiting to Get Married
I am waiting to get married for a few reasons. First of all, I am still traditional—I am waiting for that magical proposal from my boyfriend. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I have literally told him that I wouldn’t mind if our dog came in with the ring around his harness.
Some have questioned why I’m still waiting. It’s simple: I love my boyfriend. I think there will be a point where I’ll need to make a decision about our future, but for now things are wonderful. We have our own little “family” together with our dog, we share a spacious apartment, I love my job. Why shake things up when I love life so much right now, at this very moment? Not to mention, I shouldn’t (and you shouldn’t!) have to answer to anyone when they ask you why—why are you not married, why don’t you have kids yet?
Learning that It’s Okay to Wait
These days, we have so many pieces of technology easily at our fingertips. Do you want to order falafel from your favorite Mediterranean spot? Click on Uber Eats on your phone—boom, ordered. Our decision making is often split-second in today’s times.
Basically, what I’m saying is, getting engaged is a huge decision. It’s not something to be taken lightly, so if you are dating for enough years you can count on a whole hand (or more) that’s perfectly okay! It’s important to really get to know the person and to make sure you want to spend the rest of your life with them.
If your best friend is married and expecting her first child, just take a deep breath. Remember, that’s great it works for her but it might not work for you at this particular time. I’m glad my boyfriend and I are taking our time with things. It’s part of what makes our relationship unique and special. That is why I’ve decided I may just have to put those hesitant feelings aside and embrace my annual collage again this year.
Who cares what other people think, right? Just be you, enjoy life and have fun doing it—I know I plan to.
Feeling single and frustrated? Take a deep breath and read this.