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trillionaire

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Do any of you feel like people disrespect your relationship, especially long ones, because you are not engaged or married?

My dad especially gets really bent out of shape when I talk about our anniversaries. He gets all flustered and starts rambling about how ridiculous it is, celebrating anniversaries when you aren''t married. When SO and I got each other rings for our 5th anniversary, my dad just about blew a gasket! He yelled, "You all need to stop playing around!" and got all pissy.
My parents met, got engaged and married in about 18 months, so they probably got engaged around their 1st anni. It really annoys me that they can''t just be happy that I am in a stable and loving relationship, and that we are happy to celebrate these milestones together.


Anyone else have stories about how their relationship is somehow less than adequate because they aren''t engaged or married?
 

Octavia

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When we were dating, I definitely felt this way when I was at events related to my FI''s profession. Nobody cared a bit about his girlfriend, and I always felt like a third wheel. I feel slightly more respected now that we''re engaged, but I think it will make a big difference when I''m able to say "Hello, I''m Mr.O''s wife, Octavia." I see it in how other spouses are treated (as opposed to girlfriends/boyfriends or fiancees).

My family never purposely did anything like this, but it really got to me when they referred to Mr.O as my husband before we were even engaged. They started doing this a couple months before we got engaged, and I think it''s because they were expecting it to happen (they definitely knew it was coming before I did), but it REALLY irked me.
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 1:55:30 AM
Author: Octavia
When we were dating, I definitely felt this way when I was at events related to my FI's profession. Nobody cared a bit about his girlfriend, and I always felt like a third wheel. I feel slightly more respected now that we're engaged, but I think it will make a big difference when I'm able to say 'Hello, I'm Mr.O's wife, Octavia.' I see it in how other spouses are treated (as opposed to girlfriends/boyfriends or fiancees).


My family never purposely did anything like this, but it really got to me when they referred to Mr.O as my husband before we were even engaged. They started doing this a couple months before we got engaged, and I think it's because they were expecting it to happen (they definitely knew it was coming before I did), but it REALLY irked me.
At SO's brother's wedding, the mother of the bride was intentionally calling me SO's fiancee, as if that were going to 'speed things up'. She was laughing and thought it was really funny, but I was quite embarrassed. I am not at all ashamed of being SO's 'just girlfriend', but I don't need the fact that we are not engaged to be flaunted in front of people.

Also, the people who ask how long we have been dating, (5.5 yrs) give us an uncomfortable look, then proceed to tell me how they got engaged soooooo friggin' fast because then they met each other, they just KNEW!
What are they insinuating? We've 'known' for a very long time that we will be together forever, but I don't believe in marrying young (personally for me) and so we are taking our time to get to the finish line. I wish other people wouldn't act like I was some pity case, I'm fine and happy.

But it is getting to be about that time
 

bobbin

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SO had a similar experience with people looking down on us celebrating our anniversary.

We went away for a few days to celebrate our 3rd anniversary last December. He had to tell people at work because he was invited on a work trip which he had to turn down (went to the same conference in a different city at a different time to the rest of his work mates). When he did two people at work made a comment about how they thought it was silly that we celebrated our anniversary when we weren''t married.

This thinking really annoys me. It is like saying our relationship before we get married doesn''t count. In this day and age when people choose to remain in defacto relationships and not get married, I think that is a ridiculous way of thinking. We are still in a committed, loving relationship and we want to celebrate that! What is wrong with that?
 

jcarlylew

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Trill - I am sorry your dad says those things. my mom, while maybe not that bad, will say things like that effect becuase "we''re not engaged yet, so you never know". what an ass
 

Cleopatra

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Trillionaire - I have to completely agree with everything you''ve said. Now that DH and I are actually married, I can totally see a change in the respect level from people. DH and I dated for 7 years before getting engaged and then were married after being together 8 years - no one ever respected our relationship when i said "boyfriend" - even "fiance," I felt a tinge of disrespect - as in our relationship "wasn''t quite there yet"...

Now that we''re married, it''s a whole different level of respect from co-workers and extended family - as if, now, we''ve vindicated our existence with each other
- it bothers me to no end and I totally feel your aggravation
 

Italiahaircolor

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I don''t know how old your parents are, but it''s important to keep in mind that the whole LTR concept is a relatively modern idea. Just as recent as a few generations ago it was totally normal for a couple to meet and marry within one year, esspecially if they were young...so, the idea of being happily unmarried, at least in the minds eye of "older" people is totally insane and feels off kilter to them.

I believe it is completely a generational thing and not so much a matter of blatent disrespect. I''m sure your Dad is very happy that you''re loved and content. But, in his mind, that means you should be married. As you said, your parents were married within the matter of 18 months...so he probably doesn''t completely understand how you could be in a positive relationship without following their footsteps.

I think the cure-all, at least with family, is disclosure. Letting them know that you are happily in love and working towards a future together can sometimes help eliminate their confusion. If you''re close with your family and feel comfortable letting them in, it can work wonders to be totally honest with where you''re coming from. Bridge the generation gap for them.
 

tlh

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Yeah, I moved in with my BF within a few months of dating, though I didn''t want to like him.
My parents considered it playing house - my dad especially. But the deal was... I didn''t care! Ha! People''s oppinions only hold as much power over you as you let it. I didn''t care. Just didn''t.... and it didn''t affect me at all.
Once I really understood that YOU make YOURSELF feel things, others dont make you feel those things... sure it is hurtful, if you care. I chose not to, and because I didn''t care, I NEVER heard about it.
That said, I was a lot more sensitive when I WANTED A RING. Had comments been made when I had LIW BAD, I''d have been a lot more sensitive about it, mainly because I was already feeling the ring need. Other''s comments, just heightened what I was going through.
His frustration, may be some of yours too... and that is why it bothers you.
I could be WAY wrong though.
 

misskitty

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B''s aunt and uncle are a wee bit judgmental because we live together and aren''t engaged, but we only see them at holidays, and after a few stinging comments, they usually drop it.

My grandpa doesn''t exactly disrespect the relationship, but he "gently" nudges us to move things faster. He says things like, if we get married this summer instead of waiting a year or two, he''ll pay for the whole thing (sweet, but he''s putting the cart in a whole different ZIP code from the horse!).
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 11:57:36 AM
Author: tlh
Yeah, I moved in with my BF within a few months of dating, though I didn't want to like him.

My parents considered it playing house - my dad especially. But the deal was... I didn't care! Ha! People's oppinions only hold as much power over you as you let it. I didn't care. Just didn't.... and it didn't affect me at all.

Once I really understood that YOU make YOURSELF feel things, others dont make you feel those things... sure it is hurtful, if you care. I chose not to, and because I didn't care, I NEVER heard about it.

That said, I was a lot more sensitive when I WANTED A RING. Had comments been made when I had LIW BAD, I'd have been a lot more sensitive about it, mainly because I was already feeling the ring need. Other's comments, just heightened what I was going through.

His frustration, may be some of yours too... and that is why it bothers you.

I could be WAY wrong though.
lol, I do agree with what you are saying in a general sense. However, disrespect to me is disrespect, not something personal, per se. If someone walked into my house and didn't speak to me, it would upset me because it's rude. I was telling my dad about our lovely anniversary weekend and how excited I was about my new peridot ring and the ring I gave SO, and rather than congratulating us or being happy, he flipped. We went away together using HIS timeshare for the weekend, so it's not like he didn't know we were celebrating. It was really odd and out of place for him to respond that way, and he LOVES SO. Maybe HE was feeling LIWitis, lol! I'm ready to be engaged, but I'm okay with waiting for now, we are still LDR and the economy isn't great for making moves. I'm really HAPPY, and I just wish others would see that, rather than view my relationship as somehow deficient and unsubstantiated. And to me, marriage is very personal. We could elope tomorrow and keep it a secret until death and I would be fine with it. It's about the commitment between us, damn everyone else.


usually, I just roll my eyes and keep it movin',but every once in a while,
it gets old.

And MissKitty your grandpa sounds SUPER sweet!
 

fieryred33143

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I used to get a lot of "just wait until you are married" comments.

For example, we were talking about men being sick and how they can sometimes turn into babies. I shared a story about my FI and one of the women says "oh honey, this is nothing. Just wait until you are married."

She''s been with her husband for 3 years (2 years dating, 1 year married). I don''t need to wait until I''m married. We live together and have been together for 7 years. What I see is what I''m going to get LOL (And yes, she is very aware that we are living together).
 

tlh

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Date: 2/24/2009 12:18:04 PM
Author: trillionaire


lol, I do agree with what you are saying in a general sense. However, disrespect to me is disrespect, not something personal, per se. If someone walked into my house and didn''t speak to me, it would upset me because it''s rude. I was telling my dad about our lovely anniversary weekend and how excited I was about my new peridot ring and the ring I gave SO, and rather than congratulating us or being happy, he flipped. We went away together using HIS timeshare for the weekend, so it''s not like he didn''t know we were celebrating. It was really odd and out of place for him to respond that way, and he LOVES SO. Maybe HE was feeling LIWitis, lol! I''m ready to be engaged, but I''m okay with waiting for now, we are still LDR and the economy isn''t great for making moves. I''m really HAPPY, and I just wish others would see that, rather than view my relationship as somehow deficient and unsubstantiated. And to me, marriage is very personal. We could elope tomorrow and keep it a secret until death and I would be fine with it. It''s about the commitment between us, damn everyone else.


usually, I just roll my eyes and keep it movin'',but every once in a while,
it gets old.

And MissKitty your grandpa sounds SUPER sweet!
No, trill I get ya. DISRESPECT IS very hurtful ESPECIALLY when people you love make hurtful comments. I was being a little more... general with my response.
Your dad''s reaction to "stop playing around" was so surprising I didn''t know how to respond to taht. I dont think I''d ever really had anyone disrespect me like that. Not off the top of my head. I totally understand your flames.
HUGS!
 

swingirl

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Since you know that your casual relationship with your boyfriend is uncomfortable for your parents (their generation didn't go for the shackin'up thing) why do you find a need to tell them about anniversaries, rings, etc? It is a sensitive issue for them as parents and it sounds a little disrespectful on your part to throw it in their faces.
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 1:53:08 PM
Author: swingirl
Since you know that your casual relationship with your boyfriend is uncomfortable for your parents (their generation didn't go for the shackin'up thing) why do you find a need to tell them about anniversaries, rings, etc? It is a sensitive issue for them as parents and it sounds a little disrespectful on your part to throw it in their faces.
LOL, my family is very close and "in each other's business." As I said, my dad let us use his timeshare to go away together, and he asked me how our weekend was. I had no way to know he would have such a visceral reaction. It's also totally sporadic, sometimes he's cool, other times not. I can't be expected to share sometimes and not others, that's a bit unfair, especially when the information is solicited. And we don't live together and will not until we are engaged or married. I could see why that would bother them, but that is not an issue. I stayed with SO for a summer once, and they were fine with it, even invited him to the family reunion, lol, which I thought was very presumptuous and inappropriate. They (parents) also have pics of us up in their house in the common areas, which I asked them not to do since we are not married. I really *don't* get it. I don't try to play married or flaunt anything, really! We started dating when I was 20, and my parents would have flipped out if I got married young. They were 27/28 and that's kind of what they would like for their kids (I'm not there yet!), but I supposed they never assumed we would be dating for so long before hand?

ETA: and I don't think it's fair to equate a relationship of 5.5 yrs with casual because you are not married or engaged. Some people never get married, and some are not legally allowed to. This has nothing to do with seriousness IMO. I think there are a lot of us gals here on PS who take our relationships very seriously for many many years, with or without a ring! A ring only displays to other people the seriousness that was already there.
 

princesss

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Date: 2/24/2009 2:13:11 PM
Author: trillionaire

ETA: and I don''t think it''s fair to equate a relationship of 5.5 yrs with casual because you are not married or engaged. Some people never get married, and some are not legally allowed to. This has nothing to do with seriousness IMO. I think there are a lot of us gals here on PS who take our relationships very seriously for many many years, with or without a ring! A ring only displays to other people the seriousness that was already there.
Ditto. I feel like calling it "casual" just because there is no ring is kind of what this thread is about. A 5.5 year relationship (LONG DISTANCE, no less) is one of the last things in the world I''d assume is casual.
 

Smurfysmiles

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Wanna talk about awkward momemts? lol
When fi asked my dad for his blessing he mentioned that my dad said something along the lines of being so relieved and that he didn''t think i was EVER going to get married after the last relationship. Hahah talk about a mood killer! Of course I wasn''t there so I don''t know exactly what was said but my dad is quite a circus act in itself so that seems like something he would probably say.
Most of us in my family have learned to just ignore it or have ways of dealing with it haha. He''s very old fashioned and my niece confided to me that she wants to get her lip pierced next year when she''s of age, wooo! At least that will take the heat off of me to have some babies and put it on her lol :)
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 2:36:44 PM
Author: Smurfysmiles
Wanna talk about awkward momemts? lol

When fi asked my dad for his blessing he mentioned that my dad said something along the lines of being so relieved and that he didn't think i was EVER going to get married after the last relationship. Hahah talk about a mood killer! Of course I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what was said but my dad is quite a circus act in itself so that seems like something he would probably say.
Most of us in my family have learned to just ignore it or have ways of dealing with it haha. He's very old fashioned and my niece confided to me that she wants to get her lip pierced next year when she's of age, wooo! At least that will take the heat off of me to have some babies and put it on her lol :)
LOL! Gotta love parents. My mom pulled one of these over X-mas. She was teasing me about my dog, and how the dog needed a house and stable parents, so I joked back that I was going to get married just so that the dog could have parents. Her response? "Well, you might as well get rid of SO because he is NEVER going to marry you!"
And she said this in front of several other people. We all just kind of got quiet and left it alone, but I was mortified and embarrassed.

Imagine her surprise when I told her a week or two later that SO had a ring already (my sister confirmed this).
Then it was her turn to look like
.

I need my parents not to project their anxiety about my relationship on to me. We are doing great, I promise!
 

gwendolyn

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Hmm, I don''t know if it''s because all my family and friends know that it''s me who has been wanting to wait or if it''s because we''re an international relationship and therefore they get why we are taking our time (or maybe a combo of both), but I don''t really get disrespect about our status. I *do* sometimes get the, "When are you going to finally give in and marry that nice boy?" stuff, but it''s usually followed right up by, "But really, I get why you aren''t rushing..." so, whatev.

Sorry to hear that some people are disrespectful about your relationships, though. That''s so crappy. No one truly knows what a relationship is like except for the people in it, so they all need to mind their own beezness.
 

Bia

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Date: 2/24/2009 2:13:11 PM
Author: trillionaire




Date: 2/24/2009 1:53:08 PM
Author: swingirl
Since you know that your casual relationship with your boyfriend is uncomfortable for your parents (their generation didn't go for the shackin'up thing) why do you find a need to tell them about anniversaries, rings, etc? It is a sensitive issue for them as parents and it sounds a little disrespectful on your part to throw it in their faces.
LOL, my family is very close and 'in each other's business.' As I said, my dad let us use his timeshare to go away together, and he asked me how our weekend was. I had no way to know he would have such a visceral reaction. It's also totally sporadic, sometimes he's cool, other times not. I can't be expected to share sometimes and not others, that's a bit unfair, especially when the information is solicited. And we don't live together and will not until we are engaged or married. I could see why that would bother them, but that is not an issue. I stayed with SO for a summer once, and they were fine with it, even invited him to the family reunion, lol, which I thought was very presumptuous and inappropriate. They (parents) also have pics of us up in their house in the common areas, which I asked them not to do since we are not married. I really *don't* get it. I don't try to play married or flaunt anything, really! We started dating when I was 20, and my parents would have flipped out if I got married young. They were 27/28 and that's kind of what they would like for their kids (I'm not there yet!), but I supposed they never assumed we would be dating for so long before hand?

ETA: and I don't think it's fair to equate a relationship of 5.5 yrs with casual because you are not married or engaged. Some people never get married, and some are not legally allowed to. This has nothing to do with seriousness IMO. I think there are a lot of us gals here on PS who take our relationships very seriously for many many years, with or without a ring! A ring only displays to other people the seriousness that was already there.
I agree 100% Tril. Your relationship is not casual (mine, even after 6+ years as a 'girlfriend' was not casual either).

ETA: I think even though your Dad is wrong to make you upset, it is smart to see things from his point of view. HOWEVER, just remember that 30 years ago things were different...people/couples regularly got married out of HS and had kids at 21. Today, women are staying in relationships (some choosing to cohabitate) longer and getting married later because we're busy doing things for ourselves...securing our own futures...marrying because it makes us happy and not because we need it to define us, or to justify our 'casual' relationships.
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 3:09:04 PM
Author: gwendolyn
Hmm, I don''t know if it''s because all my family and friends know that it''s me who has been wanting to wait or if it''s because we''re an international relationship and therefore they get why we are taking our time (or maybe a combo of both), but I don''t really get disrespect about our status. I *do* sometimes get the, ''When are you going to finally give in and marry that nice boy?'' stuff, but it''s usually followed right up by, ''But really, I get why you aren''t rushing...'' so, whatev.


Sorry to hear that some people are disrespectful about your relationships, though. That''s so crappy. No one truly knows what a relationship is like except for the people in it, so they all need to mind their own beezness.
Agreed! I came out here working on a graduate degree, and I too was the hold up. It wasn''t until last year that I even let SO know that I was ''ready'' to take that step, and he excitedly ran out and got a ring. But now my life is a little all over the map, so he''s waiting for me to be in a stable situation, which makes perfect sense. But I only really talk about relationship stuff on here. Doing it IRL makes me feel girly and vulnerable, which I save for SO.
 

daydreamer

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I''m sorry your dad''s behaving this way. I think he''s being unfair. He''s apparently not getting the idea that a relationship can be committed before marriage when really, in today''s world, couples need to be fully committed before the engagement (as opposed to at the engagement) In order to deal with life''s complexities.

While I''m not quite at that point in my current relationship, I''ve experienced this in a previous relationship. At around 8 years, my ex''s mother introduced me as "This is is my son''s, well I don''t what she is". Within my family, I did get subtle comments insinuating something was wrong with the relationship, and I know that our lack of marriage was discussed as a bad thing. These people, making me feel insecure, definitely contributed to the resentment I felt over lack of marriage that ultimately led to the failure of this relationship. Despite my happiness now, I regret that I let this happen.

I suspect that when parents express such concerns, they are coming from a place of their own personal insecurity and protective fears for your well-being. They just don''t truly get that you could be happy in your relationship. My mom has had a hard time dealing with/understanding my brother''s relationship (7 years, living together for 6 and entering their mid-30s.). Given that marriage has been the cultural norm, she doesn''t know how to treat the gf (as a member of the family, like a daughter-in-law, as a family friend?) She wavers back and forth, but definitely doesn''t have as close a relationship with the gf at this point as she would have if the two were married. The uncertainty actually stresses her out because she wants to the right thing, but doesn''t know what that is.

Anyway, good for you for being true to yourself and your relationship!
 

JulieN

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Sorry that others see your relationship that way.

I think the way that two people act in a relationship really affect how other people respect it. It's a complicated equation. Like, usually, moving in together brings respect down. But if you've been together a really long time and present a united front, blah blah blah, respect goes up.

Other things that affect it are like...people's experiences, and they can project tendencies. After all, women and men are the same all the world over, and there is nothing new under the sun. Sometimes people make the wrong assumptions.

Totally sounds like your dad has an attack of LIWitis.
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 3:56:39 PM
Author: daydreamer

I suspect that when parents express such concerns, they are coming from a place of their own personal insecurity and protective fears for your well-being. They just don''t truly get that you could be happy in your relationship.
Daydreamer, thank you for sharing your story! It IS hard to resist all of the pressure to get married and disentangle other people''s wants and anxieties from our own some times. Especially as women! He actually gets a lot of pressure from his friends and co-workers, but because people really respect and admire our stability and relationship. (their words)


I do agree that parents have a hard time with this. I noticed this X-mas when we were saying a prayer over dinner, that my dad expressed being thankful for friends and family present, but SO was the only non-family there. When I was at SO''s house with his family, they just said family. They claim me as family and tell me so, and his mom loves talking about how excited she will be to have me as a daughter in law. She calls me FDIL, which leads people to think that we are engaged, lol. So yeah, I think different parents respond in different ways. I guess limbo is harder for them to deal with than I sometimes assume.
 

Winks_Elf

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(((BIG HUGS))) to ALL of you who have been put in this situation!

That said, I will let you in on a little secret. Couples who live together for years prior to getting married rock the very foundation of those who are married. Especially the parents! Years ago, no respectable woman would co-habitate with a man prior to marriage unless she was of very loose morals. That mentality still exists sub-consciously in our parents deep psyche. As for the couples that are of a more modern era, some of them think if a couple is "playing house," they don''t deserve to claim an anniversary. It''s like they took the sacrament of marriage, they''ve earned anniversaries and the right to gush about a romantic weekend.

It''s not nice, but its the truth...when you are married and you have children the age you are now, you will understand.
 

gwendolyn

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Date: 2/24/2009 4:14:07 PM
Author: JulieN
Totally sounds like your dad has an attack of LIWitis.
Haha, it does!




ETA: Oh wait, Trill, I just thought of someone who did disrespect out relationship--one of J's sisters. She saw that he had our anniversary marked on his calendar, and she laughed at it and said, "Oh, what are you two like!" as if it was a big joke that we were celebrating how many years we'd been together.
She used to compare everyone's relationship to her own perfect marriage...until she recently found out her husband's been cheating on her for about two years.
 

Bliss

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This is nuts! People in NY consider any relationship over 6 months to be VERY SERIOUS. Heck, I consider any relationship over a year to be just like the married folks. You ladies who have been in relationships for 3+ years, you''re going to be together forever! That''s what I always tell my friends who are in relationships that long. FI and I were together for a very long time and we didn''t get married sooner because we were kicking a** in our careers and living it up for ourselves. So all the independent ladies should be proud of waiting! At least you do things on your own terms, not when society tells you when it''s right.
Conversely, if you know after a week, you just know and go for it. To each his or her own.
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 4:27:10 PM
Author: gwendolyn
Date: 2/24/2009 4:14:07 PM

Author: JulieN

Totally sounds like your dad has an attack of LIWitis.
Haha, it does!





ETA: Oh wait, Trill, I just thought of someone who did disrespect out relationship--one of J''s sisters. She saw that he had our anniversary marked on his calendar, and she laughed at it and said, ''Oh, what are you two like!'' as if it was a big joke that we were celebrating how many years we''d been together.
She used to compare everyone''s relationship to her own perfect marriage...until she recently found out her husband''s been cheating on her for about two years.
lol, obvi these Anni''s are really bringing the snark out of people!
Sorry to hear about FSIL''s cheating spouse.
That is so tragic for anyone to have to deal with.
 

MoonWater

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Is it possible that when your dad let you use his timeshare and you guys went away to celebrate the big five that he thought you would return engaged? Maybe he was disappointed?
 

msprincess

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We usually get it from real estate agents. I didnt add this to my intro but we are currently house hunting and the agents either automatically think we are engaged or married. One time we tried to put a bid in and the owner of the house had the agent ask if DBF was planning on marrying me, otherwise she wouldnt consider it.Of course he is, but it wasnt her business. We walked away and her house is still on the market. LOL
 

trillionaire

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Date: 2/24/2009 5:12:43 PM
Author: MoonWater
Is it possible that when your dad let you use his timeshare and you guys went away to celebrate the big five that he thought you would return engaged? Maybe he was disappointed?
Moon
Not a chance in this case. my dad was very clear that he wants SO to ask his blessing, and SO knows too. I think they did this over X-mas this year, but our anni was before then. I tend to agree with the previous posters, my dad is just an anxious DIW!
tehehe. We should start a Family-in-Waiting list for our crazy family members who are struggling with the wait!


MsPrincess
LOL @ your house story! Good for you! You should go back and offer a low ball bid. Get the house AND stick it to them!
 
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