Here’s a common refrain:
Me: “Sarah and I got engaged.”
Friend: “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
I guess when you date for three years and purchase a condo together, people jump to certain conclusions. When your girlfriend pokes at you in public with regards to her distinct lack of finger jewelry, however jokingly, people tend to get ideas about where you’re headed. Next stop: marriage. It’s as clear as the day is long.
I think this presumptiveness put me off betrothal for a while. The idle comments that I’d hear from time to time—“So, gone ring shopping yet?”—slowly, subtley enforced the idea I wasn’t really the master of my own destiny. I’m aware that they were perpetrating nothing more than harmless noodling, but it always left a bad taste in my mouth. For almost three years I’d heard it, and I never really felt I got the chance to decide on my own if marriage was right for me.
Sometime this year I just forced myself to get over it. My feelings for Sarah can exist independent of everyone else’s expectations, I realized, and I just needed to figure out on my own what they were. That may seem silly to anyone who’s commented on how perfect we seem together—and if we’ve met you, that probably means you—but it’s true. Fortunately for both of us, when I finally sat down and had that conference with myself, it turned out that all my friends were dead on: we were perfect for each other. I can’t tell you how much I was relieved.
I have a habit—it’s mostly good, I think, though Sarah might be convinced otherwise—to balk at anything that may fall under the banner of conventional wisdom. I’m a skeptic, which I’ve been told is a virtue, but when gone unchecked can lead to bouts of indecisiveness, not a healthy diagnosis for a long-term relationship. It’s not that I ever doubted that Sarah was the right gal for me—in fact, it was clear from the outset that we were meant for each other—I just needed to decide it for myself. Sometime this summer it clicked, and, well, you know the rest. Heck, you probably knew it before I did.