Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Even Bring it Up?

There is something that I have been having trouble understanding about the whole wedding process since I have been engaged.

In the circles in which I travel, I come across three different types of daters – those who strictly get set up, those who strictly try to find someone on their own, and those who do both. (I don’t really know any arranged marriage people.)

The funny thing is that nobody cares how another person goes about dating. No “find-her-on-my-own” guy will tell me that a shidduch dater is insane for choosing that direction, and no shidduch dater will tell me that the searcher is obviously wrong. Fine.

Then why is it the exact opposite when it comes to length? In this case, there are two sets of two categories. Length of dating (short and long) and length of engagement (short and long).

If a couple decides to date for a three-week period and get married a month and a half later, the response from the longer daters and engagement period people is “how could they do that?!” “How do they even know each other!?”

Meanwhile, if a couple has a year-long dating period and then an 8 month engagement period, you are left with the faster daters complaining “what’s taking so long?” This eventually leads to “it’s about time!”

Why is that? Why is it that for all other parts of dating (what to wear, where to go, etc.) people don’t have tremendous opinion, but when it comes to length, all-of-a-sudden, everyone is an expert?

Additionally, why do people feel the need to remind those involved of how difficult it is?

“Oh, you have a long engagement? That’s too bad. I had a three month engagement and it was two and a half months too long.”

Or…

“Oh, you have a short engagement? That’s rough. You’re probably going crazy trying to put everything together in time.”

The engaged couple knows. They are experiencing it. The people involved don’t need you to remind them how stressful being engaged is. Just like the people who are dating don’t need you to remind them how stressful dating can be. You wouldn’t walk over to a guy who has been dating for several years and is really having a tough time finding a spouse, and then tell him how short your experience was, and how you dated one girl for three months and it was two and a half months too long. Why do that now?

I have been lucky enough to have a relatively stress-free engagement period. Sure there are moments, but it wouldn't be nearly as bad if people wouldn't constantly be telling me how difficult it's supposed to be.

I don't understand why people feel the need to be the reminder of stress. If someone can explain the infatuation with it, please let me know.

6 comments:

  1. It probably makes them feel better about their own stress.

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  2. I think that your whole premise is false:

    No “find-her-on-my-own” guy will tell me that a shidduch dater is insane for choosing that direction, and no shidduch dater will tell me that the searcher is obviously wrong.

    I've seen people do this all the time, particularly back when most of my friends were dating. Perhaps after a few years of it everyone got sick of it, but certainly this was the case then.

    I don't understand why people feel the need to be the reminder of stress. If someone can explain the infatuation with it, please let me know.

    I'm guessing most people do it for the same reasons that everyone warns of the pitfalls of marriage as the wedding gets closer/during sheva brachos/etc.: So you can avoid them. Whether out of "Ha, we're not going to let that happen to us!" and "We're not going to be like THEM!", or whether simply from actually being mature and recognizing that the warnings people have often have merit, most couples who hear these warnings typically are able to avoid them for the most part.

    They then look back and realize (or often, find out afterward) that there were quite a few times that were or could have been much more stressful had they not been prepared. So they then go on to warn the next group...

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  3. I think that most of this comes from filler talk when people don't know what to say and find that silence is awkward with those they don't know well. I don't think that people are really attempting to advise, commiserate, or enter your stress as much as just trying to say something that seems neutral yet caring.

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  4. I liked the example you gave when we were talking about this. that no one would give unsolicited advice about how others should raise their children, have a happy marriage, or other private things. people should do the same thing for people when they date or how long they are engaged. Unsolicited advice is not necessary. If you are asked you can give an opinion, if not like Locke (or demosthenes) said, its unsolicited.

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  5. I can tell you that I think I was guilty of this that night when i saw you but I can assure you that it's like RaggedyMom said. "Filler talk". I like that expression - someone ought to put it up on Urban Dictionary.
    But the truth is Filler Talk shouldn't really be an excuse for not thinking before talking that someone might be sensitive about a certain issue.

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  6. Ezzie- I don't find that to be true; People generally live an let live by choice of dating (at least in my experiences)

    RaggedyMom- I hear that, but like a said, it's not an excuse.

    Harry-er- You're right; I should have included that.

    a- I wouldn't worry about it. People said much worse.

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