I’m ready to get married… but my life situation isn’t

Guest post by Vermilion
MEMENTO1221

My partner and I are crazy about each other, and have known since about six weeks after becoming an item that we should be life-partners (we've been close friends for a long time, so this is less dramatically ill-judged and imprudent than it sounds). We're both in our late twenties/early thirties, with more than a decade of relationship experience — both short and long-term — behind each of us. And neither of us was ever really looking for what we have found in each other, but then… there it was, to our mutual astonishment and delight.

He's been proposing to me, almost as a game, on the semi-regular since we both realised that we were “it” for each other. I want to say yes with every fiber of my being. The problem is, I'm sick — the sort where you don't get completely better. And it's unclear when I'll be able to re-enter the workforce.

I had this whole timeline of me finding work, then us living together, and then getting engaged after a publicly “respectable” period of time has elapsed… but as time goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that there is no way to know when I will be able to work again.

He is patient, but recently he's started gently questioning where the sense of legitimacy that timeline would give me stems from. And I have to confess, it's other people's opinions.

After the loss of physical and financial independence, and subsequent self-esteem, that came with my deteriorating physical condition, some part of me now desperately wants to be legitimized as an “adequate adult,” doing things in the appropriate order. But, insofar as “the appropriate order” mandates my return to full employment before I can do anything else, it's uncertain whether it's a practical standard for me to set my plans by.

So he keeps proposing (playfully, and joyously, and without any pressure), and I desperately want to say, “Yes,” so much that it aches. I feel like my attachment to, what I am increasingly suspecting to actually be some arbitrary and impractical ideal, is the only thing standing in the way. There is no doubt in my soul that he is the person for me; if I were whole and employed, I'd already have married him months ago in some tiny courthouse ceremony — not even waiting to save up for anything bigger — with my head held high and a gigantic smile on my face.

But I worry that, as I am, my peer group would not respect me for getting engaged and starting to plan a wedding, before getting the rest of my life in order.

I have a dream partner who deeply and immediately wants to marry me, and it's very much what I want, too… How do I make it okay in my own mind to let myself move forward when my life circumstances are “wrong”? And how do I steel myself against the possible judgements of my peer group?

Anyone is the same “I'm ready, but my lifestyle isn't” boat? How are you dealing?

Comments on I’m ready to get married… but my life situation isn’t

  1. I had a similar experience with my now husband, but a little bit in reverse. He has severe social anxiety that we are working on, but has prevented him from working. For now, we both live with our parents, although they are literally down the road from each other. That allows me to be more helpfull to my mother and job, as well, as my job is to take care of my severely disabled father. When we got engaged in 2012, we had this whole big plan. We were going to save up, get our own little appartment, and then get married after that. We even set a date, so we could stick to the timeline. But life happned, and prevented us from doing that. The plans for the wedding became smaller, and more DIY’d, but that worked for us. There were talks for a little while of just postponing it indefinitely. Just until we could have our own palce and have the wedding we dreamed of. Ok, I’ll admit the wedding *I* dreamed of. Plus, I had the added thought in my head that planning a wedding, at this point in our lives, was dumb, and a waste of money. I thought people were going to think I was being irresponsible and immature. But one night, my husband and I were talking, and we decided that we didnt care what other people thought, or that the the wedding was going to be small and simple. So we said screw it, and on October 17th last year, in front of about 40 close friends and family members at my in-law’s tattoo studio, we got married. And it was the best decision we have ever made. Is life perfect? Not at all. we would love to have our own place, and be a bit more financially stable. But we make it work. We talk all day, see each other every day, and I spend Weekends, Wednesday nights, and the ocassional other night with him. And that works for us. And it turns out, I was wrong for worrying about what other people were going to think. The only person who has said anything at all about the whole thing is one Aunt of mine, who’s not that great with getting her mind around anything out of the box. You just need to ask yourself, Do I love them? Is marrying them right now, even though it may not seem like the best time in life, going to make me happy? Because that is all that matters. Your happiness. You’ll figure everything else out.

  2. As another person with a chronic illness (and who got married when her life was very much not “in order”), I empathize with this fully. But, I also know that, at least in my case, getting married allowed us to take our minds off of the effects of my illness and more on how we, as a team, we’re going to handle it. Strictly speaking, commitment’s not a problem – it sounds like your partner is sticking with you no matter what the relationship label. But putting up a unified front is made easier when society expects a certain kind of relationship, and it sounds like that is what you want and need right now.

  3. I haven’t read all the comments and I’m not sure that I can add to what has already been said. But let me just say thank you for writing such an open and honest post. I may or may not be developing a rare hereditary neuromuscular disease. I have the symptoms, but not exactly. There are some genetic tests, but those only cover some of the variations of the disease (as in, not even half). So, for now, it’s a waiting game. I’ve had some other health issues along the way that I’ve been able to manage enough (hypothyroidism and anemia), though they’ve taken their toll. Such is the story of the past 13 years of my life. I’ve dated along the way, but just wonder if someone could ever deal with a life with me, with all the unknown, yet knowing I have a 50% risk of developing the disease. I also don’t feel like I have a “real” job yet. While I still don’t know if I’ll ever find love, I’m starting to realize that no one really has it all figured out career wise. It sounds like you have someone amazing by your side, and that should count for a lot. I do understand how that might be hard to accept, though. I think that speaking with a neutral third party, maybe by yourself at first and then maybe later with him could help. Counseling has helped me through some things. Hope the suggestions here help! Thanks again for writing this.

  4. I am almost 25, and I’m in the same situation with illness preventing me from working. Being as alternative, feminist, and not-quite-cisgendered as I am, I felt entirely legitimate in asking my amazing SO to marry me. I was equally thrilled when I received an affirmative answer.
    I have spent the last year mourning the loss of my life as I knew it. My SO has been one of the few positives in it all.
    My in laws, however, seem to be of the perspective that Tradition Must Be Observed – things must be done in a particular order. Particularly relevant to them is me proving I’m economically suitable as a spouse for their child. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in that position.

    The point of my blabber?
    Take that happiness. Life will screw with everything you see, eventually. Enjoy, nay, relish the good things while you have them. Please, if you can, take your SO & relish the time you have. Society be damned. Your health be damned. If you have to make concessions, to change things, so you and your SO can make things work – for your wedding and your life – make those changes.
    Your happiness is worth that.

  5. I can relate to this post in many facets. I have chronic health conditions, including cancer. But my partner truly isn’t intimidated or scared of facing these issues with me as my husband. He has already helped me as both boyfriend and fiancé, after I finally agreed to marry him. And we’re financially not in a great position to get married either, but we’re making that work out as well. We ultimately realized that being together as a unit and in a capacity that matched our faith (as a married couple) was really what matters to us most. He is there for me, no matter what. And I realized that, even though I have chronic illnesses, I am there for him no matter what.
    Our families have been very supportive, and so have some of our friends. For those individuals that are part of our family and friends circle who are judging our choice, we looked into our hearts and asked ourselves whether we were concerned about their opinions. After thinking it through individually and as a couple, our conclusion was that those friends perhaps should be downgraded to acquaintances and those family members kept to a minimum in our lives.
    We aren’t the type of individuals who concern ourselves with people outside of the family and friend group, so we weren’t really considering them. But I can understand why you might have concerns over what others think. Yet, I’m left thinking why any peer group matters if they aren’t there to support you. My thought is that almost no one really ever gets their life together. There’s always something going on the background in everyone’s life that keeps the puzzle pieces from fitting. And everyone is one accident or doctor’s visit away from a potentially serious life changing event that will conceivably cause their “together” life to crumble in a million pieces. Heck, one layoff from their job can crumble someone’s life in an instant nowadays.
    I guess I learned from a lot of personal upheaval, observation, and lots of good advice that life marches on…sometimes right over you. You can march on your path with some great people who add to the journey or you can let others opinions march over you and stop you from going after the things you want most.
    I personally want to march with life, to the beat of my drum and now combine that beat with my fiancé’s. But I wish you well and hope you can find the answer that works for you.

  6. Dont let other peoples views of what adultness and independence is get in the way of what you want. If your already in a relationship where you acknowledge that your life partners then your already married in mind/spirit. The legal part just gives you an excuse to celebrate it and the legal acknowledgment of your right to be their for one another. You have health issues that prevent you from getting a job? Well think about how you would feel if your sick enough to not be conscious to say “i want my love by my side.”… It was after i had an accident and i was crying and calling for my future husband that i realized just how scary the concept of not having the legal tie of marriage was. I’m estranged from my father and living in a diffrent state from my family, only have a handfull of friends in this state… Who would they call if i wasnt awake or if my phone was broken. Litterally who would they contact? A father i have nightmares about? A mother who is still with him? A brother that would rather be comfortable with the way things are than give his sister some comfort? It was then i realized my chosen famliy wouldnt be the fist looked for and just how important legal aknowlegment is. You should consider what you want in the long run in your relationship. Talk to your partner. If your limited in job but your self value hinges on it… Consider it this way, their are no guarantees in life. Would you abandon your lover if they ended up not physically able to keep a job but you are? Why are you doubting their support. Dont let pride hurt your relationship as partners… Mabey they see you as bringing more to the marriage than a paycheck. Im capable of holding a job but lost it because i had to many call ins from random accidents on both my end and me taking off to support him when he had an emergancy… Im depressed i dont have money or a job but if it was the other way around id fully expect to support him. So while being jobless sucks its no reason to aviod legal acknowledgment of our relationship. Hell we use each others bank accounts and the accident money that most people would see as mine went to our ring sets. Being the non working parner dosnt make you less. It just meens you use other ways to support your lover.

  7. My husband and I married at a very inconvenient time. I was still in school and dealing with some chronic health issues, he was living and working in a town 3 hours away from me. We lived apart the first 6 months of our marriage (and I got pregnant in that time, too). It was hard. We didn’t know where we would live after I graduated, or that we would be having a baby so soon, or really how anything would work out. But we wanted to be married. And so we were. And it’s been beautiful.

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