Not Engaged Yet

Ex Getting Married Today - Thoughts?

Not sure if any of you remember me. Even when I frequented this site I was always more of a lurker than a contributor.. Sorry for the long post, you don't have to read if you don't want to!

So, I guess I'll start off by saying that I am not at all jealous of the woman marrying my ex today. We dated so many years ago, when we were 14, and I'm in a relationship with another amazing guy that I hope to marry one day. So trust me when I say, I'm not sad that my ex is no longer available... That's not it.

I think what is getting to me is that I see many people around me lately that chose different career paths (my ex, for example, is in the military) that have set them up for marriage and that happiness earlier. Meanwhile, I just graduated with my Bachelor's, am in grad school, and have another couple years until I can even work.. At which point I will have student loans to start paying, and I won't make a ton of money in my chosen field, so who knows when I'll be able to say I'm financially stable and ready for marriage in that aspect.

I think my ex getting married is making me feel almost childish, like I haven't completed as much as I could have in that time, because I chose to go to college. And it seems like an eternity until I will reach that step. For any of you who might remember me, I've grown up a bit since I posted about being sad because I wasn't engaged. I totally understand that I'm not really ready for marriage due to my financial situation. Now I just get upset because I feel like that time may never come. Sometimes I wish I'd just started working retail full time after high school. It wouldn't be the best living, but at least I'd have money coming in regularly and could plan for a future. *perfect time to switch to my facebook tab to see that a woman I graduated high school with, who did just as I was saying, is now engaged, and pregnant*

So, yeah, I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has had experience dealing with feelings of professional/career inadequacy and relating that to fearing you'll never be able to get married? Any good ways to cope? (And obviously I'm throwing myself into graduate school 100%, but I always find time to freak about stupid things..)
Thanks for reading, or even just providing a space for me to voice my feelings.
"Love is hard and love is messy and it can hurt worse than fire, and sometimes it makes you wanna tear down a building with your bare hands, but it also happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm obviously not a big fan of hyperbole."


Re: Ex Getting Married Today - Thoughts?

  • No, I can't really say I would ever feel jealous of someone who worked retail and got married early.  As much as we want to think marriage is going to work out, it's not terribly sustainable on one income should it not.

    I will be at least 33 when I get married, I would say that my friends are just starting to get married as well.... Except for my cousin who did get married right after her bachelors and is going through a divorce with no job and three kids.

     

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  • cu97tigercu97tiger member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    Not sure if any of you remember me. Even when I frequented this site I was always more of a lurker than a contributor.. Sorry for the long post, you don't have to read if you don't want to!

    So, I guess I'll start off by saying that I am not at all jealous of the woman marrying my ex today. We dated so many years ago, when we were 14, and I'm in a relationship with another amazing guy that I hope to marry one day. So trust me when I say, I'm not sad that my ex is no longer available... That's not it.

    I think what is getting to me is that I see many people around me lately that chose different career paths (my ex, for example, is in the military) that have set them up for marriage and that happiness earlier. Meanwhile, I just graduated with my Bachelor's, am in grad school, and have another couple years until I can even work.. At which point I will have student loans to start paying, and I won't make a ton of money in my chosen field, so who knows when I'll be able to say I'm financially stable and ready for marriage in that aspect.

    I think my ex getting married is making me feel almost childish, like I haven't completed as much as I could have in that time, because I chose to go to college. And it seems like an eternity until I will reach that step. For any of you who might remember me, I've grown up a bit since I posted about being sad because I wasn't engaged. I totally understand that I'm not really ready for marriage due to my financial situation. Now I just get upset because I feel like that time may never come. Sometimes I wish I'd just started working retail full time after high school. It wouldn't be the best living, but at least I'd have money coming in regularly and could plan for a future. *perfect time to switch to my facebook tab to see that a woman I graduated high school with, who did just as I was saying, is now engaged, and pregnant*

    So, yeah, I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has had experience dealing with feelings of professional/career inadequacy and relating that to fearing you'll never be able to get married? Any good ways to cope? (And obviously I'm throwing myself into graduate school 100%, but I always find time to freak about stupid things..)
    Thanks for reading, or even just providing a space for me to voice my feelings.
    Being ready to be married does NOT have anything to do with being financially stable. I'm not advocating that you put yourself into debt for a wedding, but I don't think you need to have every single duck in a row in order to get married. Those two things don't have anything to do with each other. You get married because you find someone you want by your side during all the trials and tribulations. Sometimes, you meet and marry that person before college is over, or grad school, or before you find your first job. 

    On the other hand, so what if it takes you until after you graduate from grad school and work at a job for a couple years? It's not a bad thing to be a little older when you meet the right person. I met my DH when I was 32 and I'm glad I didn't meet him a day earlier. I needed every one of those years to be comfortable with who I am and what I bring to the table, as well as figure out what I wanted in a partner. From what you're saying, it sounds like you are still feeling like you want to be OMG MARRIED RIGHT NOW. Being married is not the end all be all of life, so try enjoying where you are right now, and stop being so envious of what some of the people around you have.
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  • I can relate somewhat.  I don't think that I personally could have been happy in a less ambitious career path but it is difficult to see people advancing through life stages more rapidly.  Just try to remember that it's the quality of the marriage that will count, not how quickly it happens.  The difference between 50 and 60 years of marriage is small.  It sounds like you are frustrated because you are emotionally ready for commitment but don't feel that you are financially ready. There is nothing about marriage that is intrinsically more expensive than being single; when you are ready just get married and have a wedding later. I think that the advantages of going into the military or working in retail are very short-sighted and you will have a better life if you can accept more delayed gratification.  
    luckya23
  • @cu97tiger I try not to think of it that way as well. I don't think I need all my ducks in a row (because if you wait for life to be perfect, it'll never happen.) I just know that money issues can be a large factor in a marriage. Then again, it already is in the current state of the relationship as well. I just also know that it is the main thing holding me back. And although we haven't discussed it in depth, I imagine it's the main thing holding my BF back as well. That being said, it does help to be reminded that although it feels like this is happening for everyone else, it really isn't, just some people. So, thank you for that. : )

    Same for @samboenda It helps to point out hat I really wouldn't be happy in the long run with a less ambitious career.. I hope you didn't get me wrong, I would never leave school for a job just so I could get married quicker. I guess I just needed to vent that sometimes, in a moment of weakness, I think it would've been simpler. Retail etc. is fine for some people, all work is respectable in my opinion. But I don't think it would really satisfy me. And I know that having a career I enjoy will make me much happier than being married 5-10 year earlier ever would.

    Thanks, always nice to be reminded where my head should be.
    "Love is hard and love is messy and it can hurt worse than fire, and sometimes it makes you wanna tear down a building with your bare hands, but it also happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm obviously not a big fan of hyperbole."


  • lilacck28lilacck28 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited June 2014
    Just want to reiterate cu97tiger's point that complete financial stability is not necessary for marriage. It might be necessary for you or your partner, but it is not actually a requirement for a successful, long lasting, and contractually binding relationship. 

    It is very easy to think about graduate school as "I am just in school. This isn't my real life yet." I did that sometimes. But it IS real life. It is a job. And it is damaging to tell yourself otherwise. 

    Despite informing him otherwise, my father was convinced that my fiance would not propose for a while, because he was not "financially stable yet." That's what my dad did. He waited to finish school and start practicing before proposing to my mom. But he, and that mentality, that the man needs to be completely settled and able to provide, is kind of "old school". Based on your post, it sounds like that is your/ your boyfriend's mentality. But it also sounds like you are disappointed with waiting. So do you actually feel that money is why you are not engaged yet? Because there are a lot of poor people and people in the middle of school that get married.  It could very well be something else holding the both of you back, and if it is, you should be able to talk about that with your boyfriend. 

    And if it IS really about money, maybe you should think about why you feel you need to complete certain goals before getting engaged, and maybe you should have a conversation with your boyfriend about why he feels he needs certain things before getting engaged. And why you think getting engaged before then will stop either of you from completing those goals. If nothing else, perhaps it will help you feel a little more settled in your perspective and relationship. 

    I got engaged while finishing graduate school. My fiance will be starting graduate school now that I am done. Waiting another two years to get married, or even engaged, made no sense for us. We are emotionally secure with each other, and understand our goals for the future. We put our relationship first, and for us, part of that means making sure the other person is intellectually satisfied-- being engaged or married will not be a hindrance to our professional lives because we will not allow it to be one. There is always another path or a different job that will lead to success. 

    So, it sounds like I'm lecturing you/ I probably sound very very patronizing. I'm sorry. That is not my intent. I DO understand feeling like you just want to get to that next big thing already. And, this doesn't exactly apply... but  your comments about "I should have just worked retail!" remind me of when I was jealous of my friends and peers who were going to big named universities, or state schools that many people could recognize, while I was going to a largely unknown but highly ranked small college. 99% of the time I was very happy with my decision, but 1% of the time I was a little irrational. It happens. Deep breaths. You know you're happy with what you're doing, and proud of yourself! Remind yourself often! 

    You also mentioned that you are worried student loans will hold you back. I don't know where you're from but... In my program, there was a girl I knew who was worried about that. Where she grew up barely anyone went to college let alone graduate school. Taking out loans for school was generally perceived to be foolish in her area, which made her feel very nervous about her decision. It helped her a little for me to explain the mentality of my hometown. Where I was from, it was very rare for someone not to go to college, and commonplace for someone to go to graduate school. Student loans were considered a normal responsibility along with a mortgage or a car payment. A nuisance, but never a true hindrance by themselves. Try not to get caught up in fearing them. Graduate school is an achievement that can only benefit you. It does not stop you from getting engaged right now. It will be on your resume forever and will help you stand out as a job candidate, not to mention the intellectual growth that you accomplish. 
  • You should not feel childish for attending college and achieving a degree. You made a mature and responsible decision that works for you.

    Financial stability doesn't guarantee you a happy ever after, but it helps. Finances is a huge reason for divorce. That doesn't mean that couples who have a ton of money are less likely to get divorced, of course. But I think YOU should feel secure that if something happens, you'll be able to not worry so much about serious debt.

    I'm in the same boat as you. Friends are getting married, having babies, buying homes, earning six figure salaries... I wish I had some of that. But I have a bf who loves me, friends who care about me and a family that is there for me. There's a roof over my head, food in the fridge (most of it hasn't expired) and some really cute outfits in my closet. It could be so much worse. Same goes for you. Sure, you're not living your ideal life right now, but you're living a life you chose and it sounds impressive so far. You're going for a graduates degree? That's awesome!

    Honestly? I clearly cope by focusing on what I do have, and wish all my friends had. No divorces, a decent job that pays most of my bills, a fairly reliable car, a fantastic sushi place nearby....The good can sometimes make the bad feel not so bad.
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  • Life is not a series of steps that everyone takes at the same time (graduate high school, go to college, get married, buy a house, have kids, whatever). There is no checklist. And marriage is not some golden ring, a trophy that symbolizes Real Adult. 

    I know it's hard to stop comparing yourself to others, especially when you're in your early/mid-20s. But you need to walk your own path and make the choices that are right for you. 

    Marriage isn't "the next step." It's what happens when you meet an awesome partner who makes you feel like the best version of yourself and you decide you want to spend the rest of your lives together. That could happen while you're in grad school, or it could happen 15 years from now. 

    Also, you don't have to be in a certain financial place to get married (though I think it's a good idea to be able to afford rent and a car, if you need one in your area). 
  • Thanks again guys. I think money is only a factor of why I'm not engaged. I think if I were to define it appropriately, it would probably be: We're not engaged because we aren't financially stable AND there's no reason to rush it because we're also still very young (by most people's standards, although by our families' and hometown's standards, not too young). Basically, we just have other things to focus on right now. I need to focus on graduate school, and he needs to find a job or begin attending college (he's currently unemployed and struggling to find a job where we live, so he's considering college now).

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that my problem isn't really about getting married. I think I have some weird complex about wanting to be older/better/more mature than other people. I think I just feel a need to one-up people and get upset when they one-up me. Because this problem really doesn't end with this example. I could get a 95% on a test and get annoyed because someone else got a 98%. Ironically, the more I obsess over this, the less mature I'm being.

    It sounds really arrogant, and maybe stupid, but I really think that was a breakthrough realization for me.. Up until this very moment I've viewed this problem as people "doing better than me" and being sad that I was losing.. Rather than what it really is, which is my inability to accept that no matter what, there will be people who do better than me, and that a need to do better than everyone in every way is pretty messed up.

    I really think that realizing this pattern in me is going to make me feel a lot better, and I can start working on leaving that attitude behind. So, thank you guys so much for your thoughts. It really helped me put things into perspective and come to this realization.
    "Love is hard and love is messy and it can hurt worse than fire, and sometimes it makes you wanna tear down a building with your bare hands, but it also happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm obviously not a big fan of hyperbole."


  • I'm pretty sure you are the first person in the history of ever to regret not working retail after HS and going to college.

    Yes, higher education is expensive. But the long-term earning capacity for the average college graduate is significantly higher than the earning capacity for a high school graduate. Of course there are exceptions, but as a general rule, education is an investment that is absolutely worth making.

    To be perfectly honest, when I see someone with a high school diploma and no trade (ie. electrician, plumber, etc.) post on Facebook about how they're pregnant, I never envy them. I feel very sad for them.

    In this market, you're lucky to make more than minimum wage with a HS diploma. Good luck supporting a baby on those kinds of salaries.

    I know that might sound elitist of me, but you have to really put these things in perspective. Just because someone is KU doesn't mean they are in a place to financially have a baby. And just because someone might be doing ok financially despite never going to college doesn't mean it would've been a good plan for you.
    luckya23
  • @loves2shop4shoes Yeah, I don't think I phrased that part as well as I could have. In the long run, I don't regret it. I know that this is the right choice for me, and that's why I made it. There are just moments where I've gotten frustrated and felt like I'm behind others in life because I chose the longer route. I realize consciously that this is a stupid way to feel, because like I said, I wouldn't be happy or satisfied taking that route. It's just a moment of weakness thing. I think I understand where that attitude is coming from now though, so I can work on changing it.

    By the way, just to be very clear.. I'm not really jealous of people because they're pregnant. Quite honetly, I'm terrified of getting pregnant. It's not that I want to be in their shoes exactly, I guess it just feels like others are out-performing me at life because they're going through all this first. I used to tell myself that it wasn't a race (and it isn't) but that never helped me, personally. But, realizing that I have this weird thing about making life a competition with other people is definitely helping me, because that's not healthy. I just need to stop trying to beat everybody at life. It's pointless and it's just making me feel bad.
    "Love is hard and love is messy and it can hurt worse than fire, and sometimes it makes you wanna tear down a building with your bare hands, but it also happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm obviously not a big fan of hyperbole."


  • I'm glad you've recognized this habit and are taking steps to correct it. I can't imagine a better way of ruining your happiness long-term than comparing yourself to people so much. Good luck!
  • Don't compare yourself to others and you will be much happier. I've been guilty of this too. A good daily task you should try is make a list of 3 things that you are happy for in your life.
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