Last night on The Middle, Sue Heck (the daughter for those who don’t watch the show. If you don’t watch, WHY NOT? It’s an awesome show.) found herself engaged.
Her boyfriend bought a tiny house, presented it to her on Valentine’s Day and then proposed. She said, “Sure.”
The rest of the episode revolved around her trying to tell him that she didn’t actually want to get married. She’s a senior in high school, is only seventeen and wants to go to college.
It was a funny episode.
But oh, how it brought back memories of nineteen year old me.
Way back when I was nineteen, my long-distance boyfriend (a soldier in the Army) was home on leave over the Christmas/New Year’s break. I loved being a long-distance girlfriend. I wrote excellent letters, enjoyed the occasional phone call and really, really liked being on my own the rest of the time, able to hang with friends, watch what I wanted on television, study when necessary and sleep when I wanted.
That New Year’s Eve I found myself on a deck overlooking a lake with a full moon shining down on us as we stood on freshly fallen snow. So romantic, right? Yeah…well…then he dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and slipped it onto the ring finger of my left hand.
And…I was engaged. I was a freshman in college, home for the break and suddenly I was engaged.
See, the problem was that I kind of knew even then that I probably won’t marry this guy. He was very nice and fun to date but I wanted to do more than finish school (honestly, I’m not sure he even wanted me to finish school) and get married. I wanted to live a little. I wanted to move to a big city, live in an apartment, enjoy life before I got married and had kids.
But I couldn’t tell him that in that moment because I knew it would mean we would break up and I kind of liked him. I liked being his girlfriend and having him as my boyfriend. I was happy with our life the way it was and didn’t want to mess things up by refusing his proposal.
I guess I figured he could call me his fiancé for the rest of our time together even if I knew even then I’d never be his wife.
Was this wrong of me? Probably but I was young and kind of stupid and more than a little selfish. I’d like to think I’ve grown up a little since then.
I’ll give Sue credit. She told her boyfriend she didn’t want to get married right away even though she knew it would end the relationship. It was sad for both of them.
And for the record, when the dude to whom I was kind of engaged to came home for good, I ended our relationship pretty quickly. It turned out that when he was in actual visiting distance, he wanted to see me every single weekend even though it meant a four hour drive one way for one of us each and every weekend. Yeah, that didn’t work for me. Not at all. It was kind of sad for both of us.