I Don't Need To Be Engaged Right Now To Know I'll Be With My Partner Forever, So Can Everyone Stop Pressuring Us?

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Is it normal to talk about marriage before you even start thinking about buying a ring? I’m not sure how common it is, but I certainly discuss the big M with my boyfriend on the reg. My partner and I have known each other for five years and have been together for about two and half. We talk about getting married, our future babies (yes, they have names), and growing old together every single day. My boyfriend sent me a Snapchat the other day of kids playing that said, “Just like our babies!”

I don’t have an engagement ring. I’m not sure when all of that proposal stuff will go down, but it doesn’t bother me that it hasn’t happened yet. Well, until people are sh*tty about it.

Whenever I bring up getting married to my mother, she retorts, “Don’t talk to me about your wedding until I see a ring on your finger.” This makes me feel self-conscious. It is my mom, after all. It hurts my feelings when she tells me my boyfriend is marriage-phobic. She has used that exact term.

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My sister and her fiancé have been together for as long as we have, and they don’t understand why we’re not engaged, either. It’s only been two and half years, not seven. I don’t even feel like I should have to say that, but I guess I do.

"When measure our lives against others' expectations of us, then we'll never find happiness because it's not an authentic life,"  Melanie Notkin, author of Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness, founder of Savvy Auntie, tells Bustle. "You can't judge your life by how other people judge your life. You have to be your authentic self."

I find I’m constantly justifying myself to my family and friends. I think they are missing the whole point here. My partner and I talk about getting married without being engaged because we know that is where we’re headed. I don’t see a problem with it and here's why.

If You’re Going To Be Together Forever, What's The Rush?

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My dad’s answer to this question is always, “Because I want a baby to play with.” To that I say, fair enough. Babies are the best. I get it.

Other than that, what is the rush? We’re madly in love. I know we are going to be in love until we’re 110 years old. Why can’t we just enjoy our lives instead of succumbing to pressure?

"So many people get married because they think that they’re 'supposed to,'" Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, writes for Bustle. "I hear things like, 'well, we’ve been together for two years, so I guess it’s time' or 'I’m a 35 year old man, I can’t keep wasting my time' or 'all my friends are married.

I think there is something to be said for loving every minute of being together and letting life unfold naturally.

But you shouldn’t get married because you’re “supposed to;” you should get married because you want to. You might have purely logistical, entirely unemotional reasons for wanting to get married, but it should be an active decision that you choose.

Far too many people let social norms and a need to be included dictate their actions. It’s so much more fun to just live in the moment and enjoy each other. Once my boyfriend is my husband, he’ll never be my boyfriend again. I think there is something to be said for loving every minute of being together and letting life unfold naturally. I know we’ll be married one day. That day just isn’t today.

We’re Excited About The Future And Aren’t Afraid To Talk About It

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I’ve had a few close friends ask me why I talk about getting married if I’m not planning to be married anytime soon. I always tell them the same thing: That it isn’t about getting married soon. It’s about being excited for the future.

You can have hopes and dreams for the person you’re dating without an engagement ring. You can be ready for something to happen and not still not expect it to happen right away. We’ve got to stop being so worried about jinxing our relationships. If you’re meant to get married, you will get married. Talking about it makes me ecstatic and it brings me joy. So, in short: Leave me alone. I’m happy.

You Don’t Have To Be Engaged To Know That’s Where You’re Headed

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I think we enjoy talking about marriage because we have a mutual understanding of where our relationship is headed. We’re best friends and don’t feel weird talking about stuff that might make other couples testy.

I don’t have any doubts. I think that is how you’re supposed to feel when you’re with the person you’re supposed to marry. You just know that it’s where you’re going to end up. We love each other. We love our life.

If You Can’t Talk About Getting Married, How Can You Expect To Ever Be Married?

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If you can’t even discuss the intention to get married, how do you expect to make a marriage work? If you want to be someone’s husband or wife, you have to be able to talk about anything and not worry about having consequences. Marriage comes with complications, awkward stuff, and hard times.

I know my partner and I are ready for anything. We’re not married, but we’re closer than most couples I know.

My boyfriend and I talk about marriage all the time because we know that when we get there, we’re going to be married AF. Literally so f*cking married.