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! 🙂