What do these labels mean?!

I originally thought that engagements usually led to marriage.

Of course, you can still break off the engagement (especially if you find out your fiancée has been cheating behind your back with your best friend), but more or less, once you’re engaged, you’re at least 80% sure that this is the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with — hopefully.

Let’s not even pop the dream bubble by even talking about divorce.

Hence, here’s more or less the normal cycle of a (wo)man’s love life:

Single –> Dating –> Dating exclusively (a.k.a. boyfriend/girlfriend) –> wedding –> marriage –> kids –> grandkids –> retirement –> death

Looks pretty clear cut, right?

However, the mix-up comes when debating on what these labels mean.

For example, for some, engagement still entails more getting to know. There’s still a sense of uncertainty on whether this is the right person or not. And heck, if you find out you’re not compatible, you can always just break off the engagement.

This admittedly surprises me.

I thought, the boyfriend/girlfriend stage is where you basically get to know the person.

And once everything goes well, and you realize you mesh well together and want to spend the rest of your life with that person, then, you decide to get engaged.

The time between the engagement and the wedding is merely the period where you and your significant other start planning for the ceremony.

You more or less know you want to marry the person.

You’re just taking the steps on formalizing your decision.

Hence, it makes good sense to take the time to get to know each other’s quirks and flaws during the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. And once you basically decide this is the person you’ll spend your life with, then you get engaged and quickly prepare for a life of togetherness.

But it doesn’t really happen that way.

This sparked a discussion between my boyfriend and I, where he made this surprising comment, after I asked him what was the difference between boyfriend/girlfriend, and being engaged:

Boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t really lead to marriage. You’re just going out,” he explains. “It may or may not lead to marriage.”

But with engagement,” he continues. “There’s that the clear intention of marriage. It’s about that time when you let other people know you’re intending to marry the other person.”

I must admit, I was irked.


Because he made it sound that boyfriend/girlfriend is just “going out.”

For me, the words, going out, sounds so casual. As if there’s not even the intention of marriage!

Look, I’m not saying I’m getting married anytime soon. I mean, we’ve only been together for a month so it’s too early to tell. And besides, we still have a lot of things to go through, such as his starting up a new business, the sad possibility of a long-distance relationship, etc.

But for me, I take the boyfriend/girlfriend stage quite seriously.

Personally, it’s the stage where you’re getting to know each other and seeing how compatible you are. Meaning, although you’re still not definitely heading towards marriage, it is the first step. It’s when you take the time to find out if this is the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with…

Now, once you more or less believe that this is indeed the person you’re sharing the rest of your life with, then, you get engaged. And start preparing for the wedding.

My boyfriend agrees in a way that boyfriend/girlfriend is the first step. But he seems more casual on the definition of boyfriend/girlfriend.

And I admit, it worries me sometimes if we’re on the same page. I think I should have a talk with him about this…

Not because I’m thinking of marrying him already, don’t get me wrong.

But it would be interesting to see on how he views boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

How about you? How would you definite these labels? Your thoughts please! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “What do these labels mean?!

  1. i agree with your labels

    your bf ‘s blood might be Chinese but his psyche’s american
    and, well, you know the americans

    time to make some really deep thinking

  2. Yes, sometimes, he can be so Chinese, while other times, moments like these remind me that he’s American.

    Oh well, let’s see how this plays out. We are still in our baby stages of our relationship. But it’s high time for a talk when he gets back from his vacation. 🙂

  3. Hi there! Have been reading your blog for some time now but will comment only now because frankly…

    I so relate!

    My bf was exactly like yours, and it also bothered me to the point that I almost broke off with him because I felt he wasn’t as committed as I was.

    But you know what, after lots of long talks, I came to realize we were on the same page after all, the wordings were just different.

    Gets? It’s not as if he doesn’t love you any less, men are just not as “into” the “looking into the future” or “getting committed” as women are. But it doesn’t mean your bf loves you any less than you love him. It’s really a “men are from mars, women are from venus” kind of thing 🙂

    It’s kinda hard to explain, but bottomline, I wouldn’t worry if I were you 🙂 As long as you know he loves you, then don’t lose sleep over it 🙂


  4. Oh, and we’re engaged to be married now, by the way. Getting married this October, to be more exact 🙂

  5. Wow! Congrats to you Jaclyn!!! Just curious, how long were you going out with him before you guys got engaged?

  6. Boyfriend/Girlfriend to me means going out a lot – almost exclusively with each other. I say “almost” because it depends on the stage of the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. It’s also a getting to know you MORE stage. Now, if I suddenly find something I really hate about you and find that we can’t be compatible, then we split! – yup, it’s that simple. It’ll hurt a little, yes, but shouldn’t be a BIG deal.

    Engagement is exclusive going out and yes, leading to marriage. Splitting at this stage IS A BIG DEAL. But hey, it happens!

  7. No, he filipino-chinese as well, although educated abroad so has a pretty modern mindset. Still, I believe that deep down, all men are the same, no matter what race! Hahaha 🙂

    He proposed to me exactly on our 4th anniversary. The weird thing about that is a couple of months before that day, he was still telling me that he wasn’t ready to get married. So you can just imagine how surprised I was 😉

  8. Well Jaclyn, congrats to your upcoming nuptials! Yeah, it’s funny how guys think. I remember the day when my guy told me that he had concerns about my age, that he was leaving soon and hence more careful, blah blah blah… and a few weeks later, became my boyfriend. 😀

    Or how about him wanting to keep our relationship quiet for awhile, only to find him announcing publicly in a party that we’re officially an item.

    Gosh, talk about being confused. Oh well, so far, so good. I don’t know if he loves me — yet. But I do know he likes to be with me. And for now, maybe that’s enough. I am happy, and am well-cared for that’s for sure. And that’s enough for me to stay.

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