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.
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.
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.
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/marr
iage 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.