It just hit me on New Years Eve that it was the 10th one that I have spent with my boyfriend. We hit our 9 year dating anniversary back in October. We spent that first new years eve together after dating for just 2 months, and we’ve been together for each one since.
This whole year (until our anniversary) we will be celebrating things for the 10th time. 10 seems like a significant number. So the fact that we’re still dating and not married is admittedly a little unusual. However, it’s frustrating to get asked about it all the time. I always try to be upfront and honest when someone asks the first time. There are a few family members who ask almost every time they see us, so I’ve resorted to humor and deflection. They know my real answer, so I have to imagine that the repeated asks are attempting to pressure us, not to really ask. I don’t really care enough for it to bother me, but I do find their decision to repeatedly ask a little weird.
With new acquaintances who ask, I sometimes feel like they don’t really get it or believe me when I tell them our reasons. It’s got me wondering how many others may not understand. So I thought I’d try my best to explain in a blog post.
1. Money. Our biggest reason is money. It’s not that we couldn’t afford a wedding. We could have afforded a lower end wedding several years ago. We could have had a court house wedding a month in. It’s not that we want a huge, elaborate wedding. We don’t. In fact, I think there is a good chance that when we do get married we’ll just go on vacation and get married by ourselves instead of having a real wedding at all! However, even a destination wedding would run us a few thousand dollars. We are both small business owners and when we have an extra grand or two we can always benefit from re-investing it in our business. We always see growth when we re-invest in our business so it’s always hard to spend “extra” money any other way. Our jobs are our #1 passion and interest right now so that’s where we prioritize our extra income.
2. We are committed. We just don’t feel like being married or not being married changes how committed we are. We are extremely committed to each other and have been for years. We know that spending the money to get married won’t change our feelings for or our commitment to each other. We both value being in a monogamous and highly committed relationship but we think that is a feeling, not a legal document.
3. We are introverts. Neither of us envy the idea of standing in front of everyone we know and expressing our feelings for each other. We would both feel more comfortable and connected if we were to share our vows privately where others weren’t there to hear us cry or get sappy.
4. Lack of financial benefit. We are both self-employed, so common benefits of being married (such as getting to use your spouses health insurance) don’t apply to us.
5. Age. Most people tend to get married after about 2 years of dating. We started dating when I was 16, so getting married after 2 years would have meant a really young marriage. Of course, this isn’t why we aren’t still married because I am 25 now. However, it’s part of the reason why it’s taken us 9+ years to get married.
Those are the reasons in a nut shell. I do want to get married just to make things official and so that I can take his last name. I don’t think it will change our feelings or our situation much though. I also feel as if saying boyfriend and girlfriend sounds a little immature or young for my age. I’d prefer to be able to say husband when talking with clients or even just when meeting new people, so they know we aren’t a brand new couple. We’ll get married someday, we just don’t feel any need to rush. For now our businesses come first.