WHY WE’RE CALLING OFF OUR ENGAGEMENT

by Jess

Weddings, weddings, weddings. For the last few months we’ve had wedding after wedding and if we’re not attending weddings then every time I go on Facebook I can see lots of other people have been. It’s wedding season, and we are in our 30’s, an age when most people seem to get married.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to weddings and I have loved being there to celebrate some of my closest friends getting married this year. I get emotional witnessing the love between two people and I totally understand why they want to share that with the people that are closest to them, I do ‘get’ weddings, it’s just that the more I go to, the more I am convinced that I don’t actually want one myself.

It’s funny because I thought it was something I did want, anyone who knows me in real life or has followed me over on my older blog (www.alongcamecherry.co.uk) will know that I was desperate for Matt to propose, but looking back it was never because I wanted a wedding, just because it made me feel insecure to know that he was so against the idea of marrying me. Once he had finally proposed it was like something had changed, it took him 13 years to do it and I knew he wouldn’t have done it unless he was actually willing to marry me. It made me feel sure that he was fully committed to our relationship.

I wish I could have been confident enough in our relationship to have not needed it but Matt and I had actually split up (because he didn’t want to have kids!!) just before I’d fallen pregnant with Cherry so I always felt like he was only back with me because he was stuck and not because he really wanted to be. We had reached rock bottom in our relationship when Tiger was a baby and to be honest we almost gave up completely but instead we both decided to work really hard at it and as a result turned it around and made it better than it had ever been. The proposal was just confirmation of that, to me it was a sign that he was actually happy with me. He probably wishes he had done it sooner given that it stopped me constantly bringing it up and getting in a mood about it, he’s actually heard less about getting married since we got engaged than beforehand!

When it came to planning an actual wedding though we just never did, obviously it’s the first thing people ask you so we briefly talked about doing it somewhere abroad on impulse but that was about as far as it got. We both knew that we never wanted a traditional wedding, first dances and speeches just aren’t our thing and to be honest when it comes to saving money, a wedding just isn’t something that I would feel like saving towards. Tattoos, yes. A trip to America, yes. A wedding, no chance.

So yesterday after seeing some more wedding photos on FB it suddenly hit me, do I really want to go down the same route as so many other people? I usually hate following the crowd, I love to rebel and go against the norm so why was I so desperate for this? Then it suddenly hit me, I DON’T ACTUALLY WANT TO GET MARRIED ANYMORE! I’m so happy with Matt and our relationship and I know that he is happy with me, well apart from when I’m pre-menstrual but luckily that always seems to end just before he runs for the hills. I don’t need it as confirmation that we have a good relationship anymore, I’m not saying that’s why other people do it but that was the main reason I wanted to do it.

Before this realisation another big reason for wanting to get married was for the children, both of our parents are divorced and I wanted to prove to them that marriages can last but instead what I’ve realised is that I would rather teach them that not being married can be totally awesome too.

I always used to think there was something sad about unmarried couples, that they just didn’t want to commit, or that one of them wasn’t that happy in the relationship. I guess it was how I viewed my own unmarried status at the time so I just assumed it was the same for everyone. Now I can see how wrong I was, I totally get why people would agree never to get married.

Maybe they don’t ever want to have a serious conversation with someone about flower arrangements (no offence to anyone who has ever spoken to me about flower arrangements πŸ˜‰ ), maybe they don’t want to pay out hundreds of pounds for those flowers, maybe they don’t want to walk in the footsteps of hundreds of other people, maybe they just don’t see the point in it…

I went running into the kitchen to share all these thoughts with Matt who replied with ‘that’s what I’ve always said’. So just like that our engagement was off.

We are just going to make up our own rules from now on so I’m going to refer to him as my husband because who the hell can tell me I can’t?! That was up there with my other ridiculous reasons for wanting to get married!! I am also going to start using the title ‘Mrs’ which is totally allowed despite not being married, it says so here. You are also allowed to change your surname to match your partner’s via deed poll which I’m going to do so I think. I am planning to get a tattoo on my wedding finger too.

So basically I will be getting everything I wanted from a wedding just without actually having one. Win, win!

I can’t be too anti-marriage because at the end of the day I don’t know if I would have reached this place had Matt not proposed, I like to think I would have but every time he would tell me it was ‘just a piece of paper’ all I heard was ‘I don’t want to marry YOU’. I also know that when I wrote a blog post about it I had emails from women for years telling me they felt exactly the same way. I think the only way this can work is if you both feel exactly the same about it, maybe sometimes the proposal is needed… at the end of the day if it is just a case of not believing there is a point then what’s so wrong in just doing it?

Maybe sometimes marriage needs to be on the table before you can decide that you want it thrown off the table altogether.

I’ve opened up the comments section on here and would love to hear your thoughts. Would you be happy with the idea of never getting married? Are you happily unmarried? Do you wish you hadn’t got married?

I still love the fact Matt made me this ring, I will keep it forever of a reminder of the time we thought we wanted to get married. It will make a great story to tell the kids one day!

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18 comments

Dani September 11, 2017 - 6:10 pm

I love this post! We have been happily unmarried for ever…..but I so want the same name…..and sometimes a pretty dress and flowers….x

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Jessica Amey September 12, 2017 - 5:30 am

Thanks Dani! How about wearing a pretty dress when going to change your name by deed poll?! πŸ˜‰ x

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MrsNige September 11, 2017 - 6:16 pm

I see no reason why you shouldn’t continue to wear your ring. Matt made it for you, it is a symbol of his commitment to you and that is exactly why you should continue to wear it. Even if you choose to wear it on a different finger or on a chain around your neck or on a bracelet. It is special to the two of you. I think I commented on your original blog post at the time. Cant remember what I said, but it would have been along the lines of “a wedding is between the two of you” and it can take many forms. I am delighted you are happy, I am delighted that Matt is happy, I hope you continue to be happy for many more years.

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Jessica Amey September 12, 2017 - 5:32 am

Thank you πŸ™‚ I totally would wear it, it’s a bit big though but if Matt ever gets around to remaking it then I would happily wear the ring and he will do the same. I might get a tattoo instead though and wear the ring as a necklace just because I’ve never worn rings and think I would struggle! x

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Emily September 11, 2017 - 6:55 pm

I love this post so much. I love that you’ve thought about it and had the courage to change your and not get swept along by the wedding thing. I’ve been with my OH for 21 years and we didn’t have kids until 8 years ago. We’ve just never wanted to get married. It’s funny that you say you wanted to because of divorce. We were the opposite. His Mum is on her third husband and mine was divorced twice, so we’ve always been of the mind that marriage doesn’t really mean much and that it’s not for us. I refer to him as my partner and the kids have his name and I’m totally fine with it. Was a bit freaked when my 6yo announced at dinner that he wasn’t their real Dad, because we’re not married, but we just have to keep explaining stuff as it comes up!

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Jessica Amey September 12, 2017 - 5:30 am

Thanks Emily. I can totally see now how marriage literally means nothing but back when Matt would tell me this I just couldn’t see it! It’s crazy the things that kids end up thinking about it isn’t it? The kids on our street are obsessed with weddings at the moment, the girls are always dressing up in vales and pretending to get married. I feel excited about the fact I can pass down a new message, that marriage isn’t something you need to have a happy relationship x

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Saz September 11, 2017 - 8:30 pm

Love that you’ve come to this conclusion! Great to hear you don’t ‘need’ it for confirmation of Matts commitment to you anymore…because now you just know, he is committed to you and your beautiful children πŸ™‚

When I married G, it was more about the children and us all having the same name. We handfasted first, then three years later at eight months pregnant with number two we made it legal at a low key town hall with immediate family. Would have just popped to the registry office but my Mum had a head fit and interfered! Doh! Xx

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Jessica Amey September 12, 2017 - 5:26 am

Thanks Saz! It took me a long time to reach this point (14 yeasr!!) and at one point I thought a marriage would be the answer to everything but I feel really good about the fact that actually I don’t need it at all. Haha yeah when we were thinking about doing it I said I would be happy to just pop into a registry office and do it on our own! xx

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Circus mum September 12, 2017 - 12:39 am

Yes! I’ve been happily unmarried to my ‘husband’ for 16 years and although I intend to spend forever with him I’ve never felt the urge to get married. Like you, we’d much rather spend the money on other experiences. Glad you’ve both come to an understanding and that it’s a happy one!

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Jessica Amey September 12, 2017 - 5:24 am

Yep that’s exactly what Matt has always said, he would rather use the money to travel or do anything other than throw it away on one day!! Thank you πŸ™‚ x

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Rosalie September 12, 2017 - 7:06 am

Hi Jess,

I enjoyed reading this and resonate with the feeling of need a proposal more than the marriage itself! My now husband, wanting to put me off the scent of proposing, told me he never wanted to get married time and time again, which I believed as we decided when we first started talking about kids this became our commitment not marriage, I’m also of the mind you don’t need to be married to be committed. However heavily pregnant (overdue) with my first child I had similar feelings and fears to that you talk about and I flipped out at 3am one morning not understanding why he didn’t want to marry me, even if we weren’t married now i was scared to be having a bay with someone who never wanted to be married πŸ™‚ so this turned out to be when he proposed as he decided he needed to let us know he actually did want to marry me but was wanting to wait for the right time to propose after our first child was born πŸ™‚ So the reality was not how he had planned it!

For us living abroad and not having family close whilst starting a family it felt right to celebrate our life together with close friends and family – a small wedding here in Norway and then a party back in the UK which cost very little when compared to normal weddings! It also now makes travelling much easier as i’m no longer questioned/asked for proof when alone with the kids (a big motivation for choosing his surname) and I like his(now mine) surname πŸ™‚

In hindsight being married has helped me when we are in that rock bottom place (having two young kids definitely tests the relationship!) as the vows we made symbolised something we hadn’t fully put into words publicly before. But the most powerful part for us was my friends and family also being part of that commitment – this I never realised would be the best and most important part of the wedding – I know the witnesses we had will forever be there to support us, I didnt realise beforehand that we do have a lot of support, its just a mateer of reaching out. So for what its worth I recommend to say out loud your commitment to each other – maybe this post, your blog is it – your way of sharing and stating your commitment πŸ™‚ or maybe you will think of another way that just involves you and Matt and the kids…however you want to do it, celebrating your love and commitment to each other is powerful, marriage is only one way of doing this, there are many other ways, the important thing is to keep the love alive πŸ™‚
Thanks for sharing! R x

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Jessica Amey September 15, 2017 - 5:22 am

Ah thank you for sharing your story too! That was such a risky game, I would have done exactly the same as you! What a lovely story though and your wedding looked gorgeous. I can totally understand your reasons for doing it, and yep having two kids really does test the relationship! For months it’s like you are just employees working together instead of in any kind of personal relationship, pretty sure the only times we spoke for ages was so ask each other to do a job!! I think if you can get through that then you are all good! Definitely important to keep the love alive, I know we both feel strongly about never staying in a relationship ‘just because’, I think you have to be completely happy and willing to work hard to get back to that if it slips. There is nothing worse than hearing men moaning about their wives all the time, I think some people are too scared to make a change or leave someone so they just stay together, nothing more depressing than that scenario!! xx

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Kara September 12, 2017 - 5:11 pm

Yes yes yes.
I wish I had been this strong. I never wanted to get married. I love Ashley and did not need that paper and to spend all that money to tell me so.
But for Ashley it was very important.
Years later, he agrees. Marriage actually made some things worse for us. But 15 years in we have come through that and we know that it really wasn’t that important.
Being together is what is xx

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Jessica Amey September 15, 2017 - 5:16 am

You’re so right Kara, I was so preoccupied with getting Matt to change his mind on marriage that I fully overlooked the fact that the most important thing was how he had not given up on us, even when times were really hard. And like he always says, we have kids together, that’s the biggest commitment of all! xx

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Bex @ the mummy adventure September 13, 2017 - 6:54 am

We are happily unmarried too. I changed my name by deed poll to be a Mrs and to have the same surname as Ed and the kids and j wear a ring he bought me on my finger but we have never and will never have an expensive ceremony. I love other people’s weddings but I don’t want my own.

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Jessica Amey September 15, 2017 - 5:14 am

Ah I love that Bex! It’s exactly how I feel now too, I am going to order the deed poll forms and change my name too. I wasn’t going to initially but I think I will now just so I can have the same surname as everyone else πŸ™‚ x

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BySarahMostly September 17, 2017 - 7:07 am

We’ve been happily unmarried for 23 years! We got engaged just months after meeting and always thought that we would get married but actually, building a life together became more important than planning a wedding. Moving in together, holidays, cars, houses, pets, four babies… The longer we left it, the less important it became I guess. We definitely see it as ‘just a piece of paper’ and we’re much older than you and now at the point now where all of our friends are getting divorced or on their second (or third!) marriages and yet we were the only couple from our original lot of friends never to marry and are still together and ridiculously happy?! We don’t feel the need to be married at all. That said, there are 101 boring legal reasons why we really should. It seems so outdated that our children are legally illegitimate and that we are not each other’s legal next of kin but there’s no getting away from it. Should anything happen to either of us, legally it would be a very complicated situation. It’s all a bit dull to think about things like that I know but for practical reasons, I sometimes think we should get married because of the boring legal stuff. I wish we could get married without the actually wedding though I’d be happy just to tick a few boxes on a form or something! I’m such a romantic! ?

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ChloΓ« (Sorry About The Mess) September 17, 2017 - 8:27 am

Sam and I are currently planning a wedding. There have been approximately 3 times when I’ve thought “Why are we doing this again??” I think when you have children already, those thoughts can be more intrusive, because a marriage seems more like a choice, a nice little extra, than a first step.

We had a HUGE argument about the wedding a few months ago. I don’t think
we’ve ever argued like that before. It was
horrible. The crux of it was to do with the proposal. The bloody proposa which still hasn’t happened and that I still feel I’m waiting for. Because despite entering a very happy mutual agreement to get married, I still expected him to get me a ring and present it in some sort of romantic way.

I think I needed that blow up to resolve my feelings on the matter of a proposal. And after voicing my feelings, I was instantly less bothered about it any more. What drives us forward with the marriage plan is knowing that we are both on the same page with it. We both want the wedding and the marriage. It’s a very different thing talking about weddings after children, because we already feel that we have the marriage, we just want to celebrate it.

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