Ok so here’s the thing. I’m thinking of proposing to him. Not proposing in the traditional sense, because we both already know we’re going to get married some day. He asked me years ago, and with the joy of being young and in love, what else would I say but yes? The more interesting thing is though, that we’ve stayed together for 7 years since, through lots of various drama – moving countries, moving in together, moving cities, taking jobs in different cities from each other to do work we both really wanted to do. And we know this is it. He’s my best friend in the whole world – he’s my family – I can always trust him, and that’s been hard for me to learn.
And I know not to expect a traditional proposal from him, since we’ve agreed to spend the rest of our lives together already (even though a tiny bit of my girly heart sort of wants a romantic re-proposal, and the rest of my independent, egalitarian, feminist self hates that!) So last night I thought, well, what about it? I could make the romantic proposal thing happen – I could do it! Instead of the usual ‘will you marry me’ though (because I know he will, sometime) it would be a proposal to start actively planning a wedding (and maybe calling ourselves engaged, because we haven’t done that).
But there are a few things to consider. In my head, I was sort of waiting until we both got jobs in the same city before getting married (we’re both academics in the same-ish field and live in a small country which doesn’t have a lot of universities). And then I thought, well, that might never happen. Or maybe it might happen sooner if we did get married – either way, no point in waiting for it. So then, it became about waiting until we both got more permanent jobs before getting married – because we’d feel more secure, and we’d have the funds to throw a good party, and also in a permanent contract there’s more room to negotiate working from home etc, which we’d do so we could live together. And a few weeks ago, I landed a high-profile job in my university, which will probably be made permanent.
He, however, is finishing up a one-year contract in a different university, and has an interview this week for a permanent job in a university in another country. He’s not sure if he wants to take it if he gets offered it, because a 3 year contract is coming up (which he’d have to fight for, and might not get) in the university he works in now, and he’d prefer to stay here (he’s a bit of a homebird and also feels his work is taken more seriously here). So if I propose starting to plan a wedding, and he doesn’t want to, because of the uncertainty about his job, will I have ruined my chance of making this ‘proposal’? He might feel like he’s disappointed me by asking to wait, so should I just wait now until things are more certain for him?
The thing that’s kind of lit a fire under me about this is that we’re going to Paris next weekend – a sort of slightly belated 7 year anniversary present to ourselves (we were a bit too frazzled with work stuff when the actual anniversary did arrive, and it’s a bit of a fiction anyway since there was a very blurred line between friendship and relationship which we danced for a while). Though the location might sound corny, we both love France in general and Paris in particular (the holy trinity of wine, cheese and raspberry tarts) and this trip is going to be a much-needed holiday for both of us, so it might be a good time to broach the subject, when we’re relaxed and can consider things calmly. I was even thinking about asking him in Les Deux Magots where Joyce, Hemingway, Sartre and de Beauvoir used to hang out (maybe a bit cheesy, but I’m not sure I care). Today, I bought a very lovely but simple watch which I’m thinking of giving him when I ask as a symbol of the gesture, but might just give it to him either way, as an anniversary present.
So do you think I should do it? In Paris, kitsch, and all? Or should I wait until things are more certain (career-wise) for us? Part of me thinks that if he gets offered the new job while/before we’re in Paris, then I’d definitely ask, because a) I’d like to remind him that I’m in this for the long haul, even if we’re living in different countries (again) for a while, and b) if he takes the job, that might be the security he needs to say yes to starting to plan a life together, even if it’s not his first choice of job location. But then, if he does get offered it while/before we’re in Paris, and hasn’t made up his mind, am I just throwing another decision at him, which might complicate his decision about the job? I might be over-thinking it. Your sane, snappy advice is always appreciated (sorry for the super-long email).
Nervously Excited in Europe
(WE ARE EXPERIENCED by Danielle Levitt via Charles Hall via Fucking Young!)