I usually remember my dreams, especially the ones I have in the early morning. Wedding dreams are not uncommon for me, but they're usually totally wackadoodle in some way. I'm either marrying the wrong person, like an old boyfriend, wearing something horrible, or planning it at the last second. But this morning's dream was lovely because this time almost all of the pieces were there: white dress, SCL, beloved friends and family...but I wasn't wearing an engagement ring.
Engagement has been a touchy subject for SCL and me. When he decided he wanted to go into a PhD program, I told him that I wanted a formal commitment from him. I knew it was going to be a long, tiring journey, and that his choice to go into the program would affect many things in our relationship--the amount of time and money he had to contribute being two of the main ones. I wanted to know we were in it together, and that he'd be there at the end of it. He agreed that another year of dating before an engagement was a good timeline, and so we moved in with each other with the expectation of an engagement in the spring of 2010.
My, my how things change.
In the fall we looked at rings. I knew I wanted something conflict-free, but that I did want a diamond. I guess there's part of me that's still a little traditional. And thus commenced our first fight about an engagement. He told me he thought diamonds were stupid, that they were artificially overpriced, and even the conflict-free ones couldn't be ensured to be mined without any human rights violations. Yikes. How does a person even respond to something like this? I think I responding by crying. He told me he wanted to get moissanite instead. I think that just made me cry harder.
I realized later that it was never about the diamond itself. It was about him not being ready and looking for excuses to delay or forego altogether a formal commitment to me. The closer it came to becoming a reality, the more freaked out he got about it. When we were discussing getting back together, he actually apologized for how he had treated the whole subject, that he saw how mean it had been to disregard my feelings about it. And he admitted that I was right--that he had just been looking for an excuse not to.
Now that we are taking things slowly and have made plans to separate our lives to a certain degree, I do feel less fixated on a long-term future with him. Thoughts of a wedding dress or engagement ring still cross my mind from time to time--and I still can't stop torturing myself by watching episodes of Say Yes to the Dress--but I'm trying not to think about it too much. This takes a lot of work, I'm finding. This weekend I'm going to a bachelorette party and have three weddings to attend this summer. It's difficult to be surrounded by friends who are at that stage of their relationships, and wondering why we didn't make it there--and if we ever will.
I know right now we need to work on rebuilding a foundation, enjoying one another, and establishing the loving friendship that will last in the midst of difficulty. Before I made the mistake of thinking too much about the future and letting the daily life we had together slip past me without intentionality. Ultimately, though, I do want to know that we are in this together, that we are moving closer together and sharing our lives, and this involves more than just the day to day life. It's also about long-term plans and expectations. And I don't know if we're in alignment about that yet.