So what does "engaged" mean?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
So what does "engaged" mean?
27
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 9:56pm
I just read something interesting in msfit777's profile, which prompted an old curiousity in my mind...

"Have a 17yo son and a wonderful fiance (4 yrs engaged - can't seem to convince him to take the walk down that aisle)"

Now...I don't mean to pick on Msfit...I swear. Before I read this I have often wondered this question when women have posted on this board.

What exactly consitutes an engagement?

To me...unless you have a date set for a wedding that is being planned, you aren't engaged. Now, yes...if it is now Spring 2003, you do get to call yourself "engaged" in my book and get away with "Spring 2004" for awhile. But by time December 2003 gets around, if you are still saying "Spring 2004", you ain't engaged...all IMHO.

So...I am just wondering...if a person doesn't have plans to marry (plans = date...plan = planning taking place at minimum), then how do you get to be engaged?

Does it simply mean you have a ring...thus you are engaged? I think that is indeed how most people view it...they don't think of it as "engaged to be married"...they simply think of it as another level of relationship. You know...there is "seeing someone"...which upgrades to "dating someone"...followed by "exclusinely dating", which graduates to "a serious relationship"...then "a serious LONG TERM relationship", which I guess is followed by either "engaged" if you believe in marriage (whether you're getting married or not), or "partner" if you don't (or know you ain't gonna be getting married, whether you believe in it or not).

Again, Msfit, I swear ain't hatin' on you. But I just had to put it out there...how can you be "engaged" to someone for four years? Or are you and "DH" actually married now, and you never changed your profile?


Edited 4/12/2003 10:04:12 PM ET by gogobear

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 11:32pm
No offense taken. No, we are not yet married in the legal sense of the word, nor under the laws of our home state, where common law marriage is not recognized. And no, I do not even own an engagement ring. We do, however, plan to be married someday, and yes, we do consider ourselves 'engaged.'

Now that you've caused me to really think about it, I think we use the word 'engaged' to describe our relationship simply because there isn't a better word for it. We live together as man and wife, our finances are completely co-mingled, our possessions are jointly owned... the only thing lacking is that little piece of paper. So really, we are far beyond 'engaged.' What would you call it, other than "living in sin?" Anyone?

The reasons for putting off the wedding are financial only. With our current incomes, the marriage tax penalty would hit us for about $300 a month in additional income tax (gradually decreasing until 2009, when it is phased out altogether. Unless, of course, Congress chooses to recind the tax bill in 2010, which they will have the option to do so). Also, we are preparing to purchase real estate. He is debt-heavy, and I have almost no debt at all - so I could qualify for a much nicer financing package on my own than either of us could if we were married. Hence, we have decided to put off wedding plans until our real estate dreams and financial future are secured.

(Nice thing Congress has done, huh? In the moral and religious sense, we are supposed to be encouraging people to marry - not 'live together.' Yet the tax laws and, in our case, financial opportunities, are much more beneficial if we remain single.)

As for a 4-year engagement: that could well turn into 5, 6, 10, years or until one of us is dead. Who knows? If you know of a better word to call it, please tell me - I feel kinda silly at 43 years old introducing him, 45 yrs, to people as my 'boyfriend.' Seems a little classier and more mature to at least call him my 'fiance,' since I can't legally call him my 'husband.' Calling him my 'partner' is completely out of the question, so don't even go there. However, we sometimes introduce ourselves as husband and wife to avoid the confusion and explanations, like this one.

Msfit

                  &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 1:15am
I think if you are over 22, engaged means a ring and a wedding date - and no it doesn't have to be a specific date right away - it takes time - but I would say for me within a month or less of being engaged I would want to start looking at places for the wedding and would not want more than a one year engagement - and likely less. My parents were engaged for 4 years but it was 1952, she was 17 and he 20 and my parents did not finish college/grad school till 1956, when they got married - that is a whole different story. If the man or woman are reluctant to walk down the aisle then to me there is no point to being engaged or calling yourself engaged. And, tangentially, it annoys me when people over 23 or so treat the engagement period as an excuse for multiple parties, etc and seem to forget the whole purpose of just a time when you plan the wedding and the marriage (hopefully the marriage more than the wedding). I also think it is a big mistake, if the couple is dating less than a year and get engaged to make the whole relationship going forward about the wedding day - there has to be a balance so the couple can continue to get to know each other outside of all the details for the 5 hour party.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 1:19am
I think you refer to each other any way you want - except those cutesie names so people don't toss their cookies - JUST KIDDING - but with all respect I don't buy that whole financial reasoning - my parents had no money when they married in 1956, my sister, same thing, in 1985 - if you both really wanted to marry you would and you could - if all it is to you is a piece of paper, then that is probably why you didn't marry. What I hope is that both of you are on the same page so that neither of you is building up resentment at frustrated expectations
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 8:08am
Title: Thank you for taking the time to explain...

I here you regarding all the different titles out there. Me, I tend to not care about these things at all, nor do I care what people think. I believe GG and I were "BF" and "GF" until we got engaged, then "fiancee", then followed by "husband and wife", but I honestly wouldn't have cared one way or the other until after the wedding.

As I do recall however, GG tended to refer to herself as my "wife" when we were in New York whenever she had to deal with someone on a business level in regards to something we shared somehow (like when the guy came by to clean the rug and furniture...she reported to me that she told him "my husband" wouldn't be happy with your behavior...long story). I suppose this was just a matter of making it easier to deal with people because being "the wife" gave her crediability.

I understand about the "confusion and explanations" as well. We get it...or at least I do...all the time. Since we don't have the same last name, it seems every time we have to do something, we also have to explain that we are MARRIED, and thus, yes, I can decide to make changes to our cable TV package (the most recent occurance of this issue). Of course, if The Glamorous One would simply change her name to Mrs. GoGoBear, this hassle could avoid all together. As though pigs can fly...

...and NO...I ain't changng my name, so don't bother...lol

GoGo, who did check to make sure that his child would be named "Baby GoGo"...I mean a man has to draw the line somewhere dayum it.....lol

Avatar for mamma2my3sons
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 11:33am
If you have to try to convince a guy to walk down the aisle he's probably not the right guy for ya in the first place! I agree with Deena, don't buy the lack of finances aspect. The important thing should be the actual marriage, not the wedding "party". Justice of the Peace fees are low from what I hear. . .

Now to Gogos question: to me, engaged (for an adult) means you're actually getting married sometime in the near future; in the next few years at least. There is a firm commitment usually evidenced by a ring and a date.

Since this has turned into a bit of a rant thread. My two cents, I might have to give change LOL:

Lots of (usually seems to be women) SAY they are "engaged" but are really just trying to give their relationship "status" that it doesn't have. As the poster said, "fiance" sounds better than boyFRIEND. Some even believe they are engaged but just can't convince him to actually get married! A diamond ring with no real intent does NOT a true engagment make.

The ones I find silly are the couples who've made children together already, then announce their engagment & expect all the hoopla (& GIFTS) of a traditional betrothed couple, or actually have no real intention of getting married at all!

In a similar vein I also think its a bit silly to call yourself "engaged" once a baby is already "on board"

While its great that couples in these circumstances have finally decided to make a go & get married, think Nike said it best: "just do it" already. . .

Barbara




iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 1:47pm
I've got a word for you: sambo. It's a Swedish word, so nobody will know what you are talking about, but I agree - the word is missing from the language. Maybe if we start to spread the word....

Sambo: shortening of words for 'together' and 'living', and is the Swedish equivalent of pretty much exactly what you described. It is completely as socially-accepted and nearly as legally-binding as marriage. The word is gender-neutral and is either a noun or a adjective ('my sambo and I are ....' or 'he is sambo with Anna'). It's combined with 'marriage' in all official documents where you 'check one' (ex., 'single', 'married/sambo', 'divorced' etc). My sambo (and fiancé) and I have practically no married friends, but lots of sambos with children, etc.

To answer you, Gogo, I tend to agree that 'engaged' means at least a good idea of a planned wedding date. I'm a little more liberal about how long you can be engaged though - it could easily take 2 years if you start to plan extended vacations, etc. Lots of people already have 'this year's' vacation planned, so a wedding could be at the earliest, next year. But I do understand Msfit's rant about the lack of a better word. 'Significant other' is too wordy, and 'partner' sounds, well, same-sex and sorta unromantic.

So Msfit, help me spread the word. sambo sambo sambo

Sally

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 3:36pm
Not to cross you, Sally, but that word doesn't hold the same definition here in America, especially the U.S. It is rife with racial connotations.

http://www.pancakeparlour.com/Wonderland/Highlights/Thefuture/Short_Stories/Bannerman/bannerman.html

I would introduce a long-term love as "my partner" or "my friend". Or simply by their name.

Glamour Girl

glammie . . . .

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 3:54pm
I had no idea. (n/t)
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 7:15pm
OK, I was ready to buy 'sambo' until you reminded me of the racial connotations. Darn - you are so right, but it is SUCH a good word to describe this situation. Does anyone know of a similar word in a different language?

I disagree with 'partner,' 'friend,' and simply using our names in introductions, though. Partner carries the strong connotation of same-sex, and does not communicate our desire to be married. Also, I go into business with my 'partner,' not an intimate relationship. Friend is far too general and does not do justice to our relationship. He IS my friend, of course, but much more than that. Calling him by his name only avoids the issue altogether - he could be my brother, an ex, one-night stand, anybody.

Imagine me walking into the Home Depot to buy lumber, and telling the clerk, "It's OK - I am authorized to use his credit card. He's my friend." HA. When I say 'wife', they become suspicious of the difference of names and call the credit department to verify. When I say fiance, however, the clerks are satisfied with no explanations needed.

Any other ideas?

                  &nbs

Avatar for mamma2my3sons
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 8:20pm
Misfit . . . .

You are looking for names to describe your relationship that convey "OUR desire to be married" yet you previously said that although you've been together for (is it?)6 years & call him your "fiance" you have been "unable to convince him to walk down the aisle"

Financial excuses aside, clearly YOU want to be his wife, but are you sure you're being honest with yourself about what HE really wants? (don't feel like you have to answer here, just something to think about)

I agree, the most accepted name (& the simplest) that conveys to the world (Home depot if you will LOL!)that your relationship is what you have said it is, is the title "husband" Barring willingness in that area, "my beau", "my sweetie", "my love", or even "my guy" are my suggestions.

Best wishes,

Barbara

Pages