Reflections on a Year of Being Engaged

It’s nicer than I thought

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Aaron proposing to me at the Whitney show at Thalia Hall on December 5, 2019 | Photo by Benjamin Lurie
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me, a bride

1. Getting to hear new stories about love and relationships from my family.

This little learning was totally unexpected and perhaps the one I have most enjoyed. I feel like this new status of “engaged person” has caused my family to tap into old stories about marriage or family that I had never heard before. I learned that my mom and dad dated for six years before they got married (how did I not know that before??). I learned about my aunt’s brief and intense courtship with my uncle that quickly led to babies and later bloomed into a decades-long very happy marriage.

2. Feeling even more calm and stable in my relationship.

My relationship has most often been remarkably calm and stable. Our biggest inflection points, really, were worrying about reasons why we might break up.

3. Planning a big expensive thing with my partner.

The average wedding in Illinois costs $39,700 (what an oddly specific number — do you think the $700 is the photo booth?). No one needs to spend this amount of money on their wedding, and yet, somehow, people do all the time. And now we are some of those people, with our wedding coming in somewhere between $30 — $40K. Once you actually talk to vendors and start looking at contracts, it’s kind of uncanny how reasonable that $40,000 seems. Feeding and entertaining 150 people for the better part of a day is no small task, and all of the people who help you make it happen deserve to be paid a decent wage for services rendered.

4. Having an excuse to connect with all of our friends and family.

I mostly felt this pre-pandemic while we were sending Christmas cards last year. It was so nice to be able to excitedly say to all of the people we love, “I can’t wait to see you next year!” While we don’t actually get to see all those folks this year, it was nice to have had an opportunity to reach out to all of them again when we sent our updates about deciding to postpone things. In a world that has felt particularly isolating, our wedding has been a nice reminder of the people we’re connected to. And it will be really great to see them all in one room at some point in the distant, vaccinated future.

5. Having an easier time thinking about the future.

Thinking about the future used to fill me with a lot of anxiety. I would imagine my future with or without Aaron, examining what I would gain or lose in either scenario. Weighing partnership against independence, worrying about the compromises that would undoubtedly come either way.

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I write things on the internet for business and pleasure. I live in Chicago with my partner and my pets.

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