Q Dear Miss Abigail:
My boyfriend just bought me a “love” ring ~ what I would call an engagement ring ~ we are committed to each other, love each other, want to spend forever together, but we’re not for sure if we want to get married. Can’t we still be engaged without the prospect of marriage?
A Dear PEB:
A bit confused, are we? To be engaged is to “pledged to be married” according to my dictionary, so I think that means yes, you have to be at least planning to get married. If you drag it out too long you could be in for some torture, as this anonymous author warns inMother’s Guide and Daughter’s Friend.
Long engagements are to be avoided, especially if the parties are frequently in each other’s society. There are good physiological reasons why the close relations sustained by the lady and gentleman engaged should not be continued for a very long time.
A certain degree of excitement of the sexual system is a necessary consequence of the caresses and admiring glances which lovers bestow upon each other. This is an excitement which meets with no gratification. All such excitements are injurious to the nervous system if they occur frequently and are long continued . . . [especially] those who are very sensitive and easily excited.
Again, as a consequence of sexual desires being ungratified, in the course of time in indifference may spring up and the physical factor in love may die for want of consummation.
Source: “An Old Practitioner.” The Mother’s Guide and Daughter’s Friend. Indianapolis, Ind.: Normal Publishing House, 1890.
~ pp. 106-7 ~