Love is funny. And I’m not engaged.

In case you aren’t friends with me on Facebook, you probably missed the Great Valentine’s Day Hoax of 2012. Which, as it turns out, is probably a good thing.

Let me explain.

Around dinner time on Valentine’s Day, after a couple glasses of wine, I got the bright idea to change my relationship status from blank (the boy and I aren’t Facebook official) to engaged. Within seconds, I’m not kidding, SECONDS, there were 14 likes and a handful of comments. This was going to be awesome or horrible.

I don’t comment. I just stare in disbelief at my phone as it explodes and the battery starts to drain because of all the Facebook notifications.

We go out to dinner, and my friend Brandi is in town from Florida. We’re celebrating her first skydive, and it turns out that she has a ring on from her mom. A cool little “quarter carat for a quarter life” gift, and I ask her if I can borrow it. Barry and I take a cheesy ass picture with our hands all intertwined in newly-fake-engaged bliss and post it. If you had been at the table with us, you’d know that we are peeing our pants and the boy is convulsing because he’s laughing so hard as he’s kissing my cheek.

Hysterical laughter happening here. I can't even stand it.

We go through the rest of the meal enjoying each other’s company, and see a car with a Nevada license plate parked next to us. So we take another picture by the license plate. More comments. More likes. People asking if we’re going to Vegas.

LET'S DO THIS!

At this point I just want to call the whole thing off. I have cold feet about our fake engagement. I feel bad that so many people are happy and celebrating something that we just don’t plan on doing.

Here’s the thing. My parents are happily married. They have been for 30+ years. All I’ve ever wanted is to have the kind of love that they have. They’re best friends, lovers, and amazing parents. My one goal in life, despite what I’ve wanted for myself professionally, is to find a love like they have.

And I have found that kind of love.

The boy is everything I could want in a boyfriend/husband/partner/best friend (or whatever label you want to put on it). He is my best friend, my rock, my knight in shining armor, all of that. And we’ve talked about it. If he wanted to ask me to marry him, I’d say yes. And that he could throw a life saver or an onion ring on my finger and I’d be just fine with that. I’ve known that since we first started dating. But we also talked about how we don’t need the whole procedure to make this work. He can sign my logbook and that’s as official as I need it to be.

Now that is my kind of ring!

I’m not opposed to it in the sense that I think marriage is a joke, necessarily, I’ll give the marriage thing the benefit of the doubt on this one (that really is a different conversation for another day). I appreciate couples that have amazing relationships, and I know a lot of people who are, or appear to be, happy in their marriages. I’ve also seen the act of getting married ruin a perfectly good non-married relationship. Like a switch goes on and everything changes. That’s how it was with the boy’s first marriage. He’s experienced it first hand. And to be honest with you, I think the reason we work, the reason we’re so good together and so happy and so sparkly and unicorn-ey and amazing together is because we don’t label it. For the sake of talking, yes, he’s my boyfriend. But seriously, guys, we’ve already talked about being married. We’re kind of already married in our heads, in that we’re totally and completely batshit crazy in love with each other and committed to making that work.

I’m not interested in taking the chance of something going horribly wrong if we made it legally legit. I’m usually not afraid of change, in fact, I’m a huge advocate for change, but in this case, if it ain’t broke (and it isn’t), I don’t want to “fix” it. We have an incredible relationship, and if you have met us and seen us together, you probably want to puke in your mouth because we’re ridiculously adorable together.

And that’s just it. To us, the marriage thing is just a label. A piece of paper. I don’t want to piss anyone off because they think I’m mocking people who get all excited about marriage and the ceremony and everything that comes with it. But, I also feel like I’m being judged because we are perfectly happy together without rings and certificates and ceremonies.

I realize I’m an odd duck. I’ve never visualized my perfect dream wedding. I’ve always said if I get married, it will be on a beach or outside somewhere and people better not be dressing up because I sure as shit won’t be wearing a dress. I don’t want to have kids and I don’t hear my biological clock ticking loudly in the background of this happy relationship I’m in. I’m strange. So be it.

I also know that things change. Sometimes, out of nowhere, people who have been together for awhile with no intention of marrying get married. I’m not saying it won’t happen someday. I also know that I’ve cried wolf on getting engaged so if it ever DOES happen, there will be five people that give a shit and the rest of you will think I’m joking again. And while I’d love to think that everyone would be happy and excited and show that enthusiasm for us if that’s the route we ended up taking, I know that the Great Valentine’s Day Hoax of 2012 has ruined that reaction for a lot of people. I get it.

So, or those of you who ARE friends with one or both of us on Facebook and were part of the whole thing, I apologize if us posting that we were engaged and then saying we weren’t offended you in some way. My friend Becky is pretty wise, and when I asked her why it would piss people off, she laid it out pretty clearly for me:

People who love and care about you guys see you two always talking about/showing how happy you are together. People want to believe that love stories like yours end in marriage. And when you post that you’re engaged and don’t make it obvious that it’s a joke right away and people get all excited for you and then you’re all like “jk weirdos, obviously you dont’ know us at all” it makes people 1. feel stupid 2. feel angry that you take the issue of engagement/marriage as such a joke when many of them believe in it strongly and 3. feel annoyed that you guys think it’s funny that people “don’t know you very well”

I did the same thing on April Fool’s Day and nobody was pissed when it wasn’t true. So I’m all “why the hell is everyone mad because it’s on Valentine’s Day – you know he wouldn’t propose on Valentine’s Day.” Becky pointed out that April Fools was obvious (okay, but honestly, him proposing at all is more likely on April Fool’s than Valentine’s Day but I digress) and that this was after we moved to Elsinore.

…and you were still happy and sparkly back then, but it wasn’t like the gold medal glitter shower celebration parade from the unicorn and teddy bear happiness olympics you seem to be living now. For those playing along at home, it seems like maybe you guys finally feel “settled” somewhere. So i can see how many feel it is a reasonable next step.

Touche, Becky, touche.

At the end of the day, I know this: I love him very, very, very much. More than I’ve ever thought I was capable of loving. I love our friends that know us and know that it was fake and laughed about it because they know us very, very well. I apologize to our friends that didn’t know it was a joke, got excited, and then probably felt like we were complete assholes for claiming “you should have known better.” I love my parents for understanding our relationship and not pressuring us to get married and squeeze out some grandchildren. They know that’s not how we roll.

Love is a funny thing. And it’s most certainly different for everyone who experiences it. And while our fairytale may not end the way little girls all over the world dream of, I certainly couldn’t have dreamed up a better life for myself, or for us.

For the married peeps out there, are we total assholes? What is the secret to making your marriage work? For the non-wed folks out there, or people in happy relationships with no desire to marry, same question – what do you do to keep things working and amazing?

And how many of you have de-friended me on Facebook because of this? Be honest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31404261 Collin Schaefer

    I just had to look it up — and I’m sad to report that Common Law Marriage doesn’t exist in CA….damn! I’ll still write a pre-nup for you though. 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    No need for a pre-nup, the only thing we have worth “wanting” would be our rigs, and there’s no way he’d want a 170 and I certainly can’t fly a 75 Velocity. But, we wouldn’t mind if you came to visit us in our unwedded bliss. ;) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504154518 Lisa Owen

    You are not any kind of “insert bad word here”s.  You are silly, umm… Silly CC, you have been all your life and we get it.  Love you both, stay happy, healthy and safe!

  • http://twitter.com/ashleymead ashleymead

    So I completely agree that a happy relationship can exist with or without a marriage certificate, and that all that matters – relationship wise – is that you’re happy and who gives a damn what the label is.

    However, I do have to disagree that marriage just a “piece of paper,” it’s much more. Getting married is much more than ending the dating game and professing in front of friends and family that you will be with someone forever. It’s a mutual benefits of marriage. Consider why so many people are advocating for gay marriage – so that every couple has the same rights to experience the same legal benefits of marriage. Think insurance, taxes, buying a house together….all these things are made easier, and often less expensive, when a legal union is involved.

    Personally, I married my husband because he was my best friend, my partner in crime, the love of my life, and all the same reasons that you are with Barry. But we also took a look at what marriage could do for us and our lives as we moved forward. That little piece of paper is much more than a label, much more than a ball and chain, it’s freedom to build a live together while experiencing the benefits of what a marriage has to offer in this country.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Glad you haven’t disowned me as a daughter. Also, glad you guys aren’t ready for “married children” – makes my life a lot easier. ;) 

  • Anonymous

    I remember being among one of the early commenters congratulating you. I was so happy for you. Now I am probably laughing as hard as you were when you posted this on V-Day! You never cease to amaze us Sydney. That’s why we love you! 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Thanks for being here, Ashley! Totally cool if you disagree that marriage is a piece of paper. Personally, I haven’t looked into the benefits of marriage in this country. A lot of personal factors into that for us, Barry’s pre-existing stuff makes insurance through-the-roof expensive, we aren’t planning on buying a house, and so for us, the benefits that the government offers married couples isn’t really a factor right now. But, perhaps someday they will be. That’s the thing, I’m not shitting on the wedding parade, I’m just saying it’s not on our list of things to do right now. Maybe someday it will be. Maybe it won’t. 

    Regardless, thank you for being here, and cheers to a lifetime of wedded bliss with your husband! So glad you’re happy and everything is well. Even if you’ll be in Atlanta. ;) 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    And if by “amaze us” you mean “piss us off” then yes, you’re right. Thank you for your congratulations and thank you for laughing with us as well. It’s a sensitive topic, as I’m finding out, but I’m glad some people still think we’re okay people. :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marta-Williams/688319625 Marta Williams

    @ashleymead—-you took the exact words out of my mouth.  Exact.  My husband and I don’t have children (and won’t) and it sounds like maybe you and your husband don’t have kids either. People always ask why couples who don’t want or can’t have children would feel the need to get married.  In addition to the financial and legal benefits afforded us as a married couple, there’s the intangible of becoming a little “family unit”.  It’s what those who oppose gay marriage just don’t get.  Anyway Syd, it took Dave and me 9 years together to tie the knot so if you ever do change your tune, it could be a long way down the road.

  • http://twitter.com/ashleymead ashleymead

    I’m always here…even if I’m just lurking :). And who knows, one day when 3Ring is craptacular successful insurance will work in your favor and you two can live happily ever after in marriage bliss. Just don’t EVER let anyone talk you into a silly wedding you don’t want…do it your way and you’ll be so thrilled!

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Having been on the sidelines when you guys were planning stuff and doing it your way, I remember you battling with the planning of the wedding as much as the concept of marriage itself. And now look at you, all pretty with pictures and a dress and you did things the way you wanted to. I can tell you this much, if we ever go down that road, I’m sure as shit not letting someone else dictate how the ceremony goes. It’s funny – if you aren’t married, people ask you why. If you’re getting married, everyone has an opinion about what your wedding is like. If you’re married without kids, people ask when you’re squeezing out little Ashleys. I guess it’s always something. :) 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Marta, I wouldn’t be surprised if our relationship goes similarly to how you and Dave evolved. At some point we’ll stop jumping. At some point, we’ll stop bouncing around from DZ to DZ, find a place to call home, and “settle down” there. And maybe that will be Austin. We really like Austin. I’m not ruling it out. I just know that there is nobody else in the world that I’d rather share this journey with, wed or unwed. :) LOVE YOU MISS YOU MEAN IT! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marta-Williams/688319625 Marta Williams

    Well rarely have two people belonged together more than you and Barry—under whatever relationship category. LOVEYOUMISSYOUMEANIT TOO.  I’m going to ping you on a FB message about coming to Cali. kbye.

  • Missy Keough

    First off, I want to thank Ashley for her post. I’m married 3 years, but we’ve been together for 15 years (HOLY SHIT). It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about marriage (without complaining about it) and Ashley really opened up my heart on her post. So thank you Ashley for that.
    Secondly…I like that you two mess with us every now and again. And after every hoax, I’ll be even more excited than the last! You both have been posting nothing but happy HAppy HAPPY since arriving in Cali so I figured “this could be it!”. We’re happy for you either way. Marriage is a happy, exciting thing (for the most part. Don’t listen to me talk about marriage though. Listen to Ashley ;)) and a next chapter in life, so it seemed like the timing was right because of the Cali life force stuff happenin’.
    PS – you guys are assholes.
    ;p

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    You are awesome. We love you. That is all. :) 

  • http://jessostroff.com Jess Ostroff

    It’s an interesting testament to the way people report and respond to news like this. Did you get any frantic phone calls or texts? I wouldn’t expect anyone to think that an announcement like that would be a hoax, especially since everyone clearly knows you’re in love and believes that you’re good together and it sounds like none of it was really a surprise anyway! If we were friends, I might have been upset if you weren’t as light-hearted and clearly silly about it. Like, if you had been like GOD YOU GUYS ARE SO STUPID! Instead oh hey! Got ya! And I like that you posted about it too, because marriage can be such a ridiculous thing in my opinion when you see couples who hate each other go through with it, and couples who are madly in love don’t. I think it’s nice when people get married, but at the end of the day that’s not the most important thing and shouldn’t really matter at all, which is what you illustrated in this whole experiment, whether it was intentional or not! I love it. I’m only worried about what will happen when you actually DO get engaged, but this will be a story for the books in your relationship forever, indeed :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/chicagoandy Andrew Metcalfe

    There’s two kinds of people – those who think Marriage is a ceremony, and those who think it’s a lifetime.   For Piriya and me, it’s entirely the latter.  (The extent of our ceremony was 15 minutes with a judge).  Enough about me, though.  To get back on point, those two kinds of people – those really are the only two kinds.   There’s no third kind.  There’s no kind that thinks marriage isn’t about anything.  It’s always about something.   It always is something.

    There’s nobody out there who thinks marriage doesn’t have some kind of meaning.   And that’s why people take this stuff seriously, because even if some of us knew you were joking, we knew you were joking about something important.

    That said, I am curious a bit why marriage is a punch-line.   Why is it so ridiculous that some of us knew right off the bat?  Why is it so ridiculous that you thought it’d be fun in the first place?

    What is it about you, about The Boy™  that makes the thought so ridiculous?  Does joking about it make it less of a poignant question?

    And no, I don’t expect answers to my barrage of awkward questions.  But it is interesting.  You’ve got plenty of people around showing that marriages can be quite happy, even got some great role models to follow.  So follow?  Or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Williams/100001692563757 David Williams

    What is all this yap yap about happiness?? :) BTW We have set up
    meetings to plan how to punk you two back.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    LOL Jess you kill me. I only got one phone call and that was from my boss. He was all “REALLY?” and his wife was wailing in the background about how excited she was but sad that they found out on Facebook. Then I said it was a joke. And more wailing. I said “IF we ever get engaged, I’ll call you. And in all honesty, you’ll probably be the first to find out via phone because everyone I’d call before you, like my family, is on the east coast and would probably already be sleeping.” 

    And a story for the books, indeed. Thanks for stopping by! :) 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    First of all, I love that you put TM after The Boy. :) 

    Secondly, if we ever get to the point where marriage is a legit discussion, we definitely do have some role models to follow. And we have some that we want to avoid like the plague. 

    Your questions are interesting. And I think that’s the most intriguing part of this whole thing. One of my close friends from college said congrats on the post, then congrats in an email today, then when I said “it was a joke” she was all OH THAT MAKES SO MUCH MORE SENSE because since she’s known me, I’ve always treated the whole marriage thing like it’s no big deal, so to see the engagement thing on Facebook totally confused her. 

    I guess joking about it is our way of dealing with the occasional odd stare we get when people accidentally call me his wife (because they assume that we’re married already) and the uncomfortable silence that follows. Or maybe it is our way of avoiding the topic that we’ve already talked in depth about… not sure. 

    But, after we joke, I always say the same thing: “If you ever asked me to marry you, I’d say yes.” Because I don’t want him to think that because it’s not a huge priority for me, that I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with him,  as if him asking me to marry him was the only indicator of that feeling for him. The last thing I want is for there to be a miscommunication about how much I love him. And he knows how much I love him. :) 

    I’m skeptical about your chocolates. I might need you to send us more to confirm my love for those as well. ;) 

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I can’t wait to see you guys in April. That is all. 

  • http://twitter.com/rachelesterline Rachel M. Esterline

    I always say that it’s just a piece of paper too (other than getting the tax benefits, which would be nice). I never imagined myself getting married. My fiance and I (so, yes, I apparently will end up married) have been together since 2005, made it through a few long distance relationship periods because I moved away for college and then for internships. We bought a house together, have a car in both our names, etc. So, we’re finally going to tie the knot even though I’ve felt like we were married for awhile. 

    And, we’re doing it on a beach in a super casual ceremony. A friend of ours got ordained. I bought a white dress that I can probably pull off wearing after the wedding because it’s so simple. And I told my fiance that he can wear American Eagle shorts (what he wears every day in the summer) and a light shirt. And, basically, I’m insisting on it being one big party with our family without most of the traditional crap that I never cared for. 

    I think it’s great that you’re honest about it. And, I think the hoax is hysterical. 

  • http://www.alwaysjacked.com Alan Kercinik

    I don’t know that I have much new to contribute to the conversation, but I will offer a couple of things:

    — You know how you are with the right person and your marriage will work? When you never once think about the legal benefits of marriage as you are about to go through it. Granted, we have needed my insurance for the wife and kids since we’ve been together, but thinking about that never entered my head. Ever.
    — You know how you will often post about things you are going to do or steps you want to take in your life as a way to hold you to them and have some kind of accountability? That’s what marriage is. I am not saying that marriages are ‘more serious’ than long-term relationships of other kinds (see: Kardasian wedding), but I do know that when I was with Lara, I wanted my friends and family to see me, in public, tell everyone that this is the woman I was choosing to go through life with. Silly, cliche and sentimental? Maybe.
    — The people in your life, the ones who really care about you, want you to be happy. It would only stand to reason that they would react so strongly and immediately when it would appear that you were so settled and happy that it was causing you to want to do something that you never really thought it was for you. I said this to you in another place: when you are with the right person, marriage is for you, even if you have said that it isn’t.

    You’re not an asshole. But if you have a fake pregnancy, we’re going to have some serious words.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Do you know me well or what? 

    I love your first point. I think the fact that people marry for the benefits and benefits alone is gross. I love that you didn’t do that. I love that I’ve never thought about that. 

    I love your second point. I can’t really argue with it. I scream from the roof tops about how much I love the boy. It’s no secret. I can totally relate to the wanting to hold myself accountable thing, and I kind of do that on my own right now. I’ve never thought so deliberately about being a better person and making the best choices as I do with things that occur between me and the boy. I’ve always been told to think before I speak, and I didn’t understand how to do that until I met him. Now I’m pretty damn good at it. 

    I love your third point. It makes total sense as to why people reacted like they did.

    No fake pregnancies. Pinky swear. Kinda. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julie-Jones/100000661500967 Julie Jones

    Marriage is much more than a piece of paper or a ring any day.  As long as you feel it in your heart, it is as real as if a judge or minister signed the license.

  • http://www.savvyscot.com/ Savvy Scot

    Haha this is brilliant :D