“What do you think?”
She holds her hand out to me, each of her long fingers extended, and the fourth lifted upward, slightly. She is in her late twenties, possibly thirty. Her gray eyes sparkle and she possesses a quality that is refreshing and understated in comparison to her co-workers. She is certainly a pleasant change from the overdone “everything” that I usually encounter in the Cosmetics Department of my local Macy’s.
The ring is a princess cut diamond (she tells me), set simply, and it is well-proportioned for her hand.
“It’s lovely” I say. “How long have you have you been engaged?”
“A year,” she answers. “And no, we haven’t set a date yet.”
I’m intrigued. This isn’t the usual.
Meet and Marry?
“How long have you known each other?” I ask.
“About a year and half. We knew right away that we would be together, but I’m divorced and I have a five-year old. So we got engaged after knowing each other six months, but we’re in no hurry to marry.”
She pulls her hand back and closes the small compact she was showing me a minute earlier.
“He has a child, too,” she continues. “Our kids adore each other. We’re happy with the way things are.”
And she beams.
Attitude of Gratitude, Dating After Divorce
I had stopped as I was making my way out into the main mall. We quickly swapped single mother dating stories, as I was peering at Dior duos, and then she shared her happy news.
The young woman herself is lovely. But lovelier still is her attitude as she explains that the long engagement suits her fine – and him. Especially after divorce.
“I made one mistake,” she says. “That ended in divorce. So I don’t want to make another, especially because we both have kids.”
Apparently, their families are happy with the situation as it is, at least for now. Their commitment is clear, they are living together and adjusting nicely, they both have children so the biological clock isn’t ticking, and neither feels pressure to set a wedding date.
She smiles again. “So far it’s been wonderful. And we’ll get married eventually. For right now, I love my ring, our children are happy, and we’re happy.”
Time to Heal Between Relationships
Following divorce, we’re wise to be wary of rebound relationships, realizing we’re especially vulnerable after a breakup. We know we have healing to do, yet we don’t always take the time we should. Instead, we remind ourselves what it takes to “date,” we distract ourselves with romance and sex, and generally, these transitional relationships don’t last.
As for this single mother, I’m not certain how long she was on the market after her marriage ended, or if her fiancé is the only man she has dated since that time. Nor do I know if she experienced a starter marriage, though technically, the presence of a child means it was more than a theoretical marital misstep of short duration (the definition of a starter marriage). Whatever the details of her story, she was taking her time – at least with the engagement – all the more critical (she pointed out) when there are children in the picture.
Second Time Around
Some rush to remarry, claiming practical considerations as well as individual preferences. The comfort of spouse and home is essential, or perhaps finances play a role whether we care to admit it or not. For others, we find that we, ourselves, are “enough,” or perhaps the opportunity for a good relationship never presents itself.
Then there are those of us who enjoy life as a couple, but we feel no particular requirement to scramble to the courthouse for that second time around, or third.
But I do like the concept of a long engagement – or even an indefinite one – as if the fact of the commitment is sufficient to satisfy those who seek signs of stability, without forcing an artificial timetable.
Is the long (or indefinite) engagement the same as committed cohabitation? Does it show that a man (or woman) is or isn’t entirely marriage-minded? Can an extended engagement increase the likelihood of a healthy marriage?
- Do you believe every woman wants to be married?
- Do you believe that men are happier and healthier if they’re married?
- If you enjoy a long courtship, are you inclined toward a short engagement?
- Is there merit to a long engagement, no matter what the circumstances?
- If you’re planning a wedding, are you sufficiently focused on the marriage itself?
- How does the picture change when there are children of previous unions involved?
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