A Sick Man, A Spiteful Man, An Unattractive Man
Fiance vs Fiancee vs my Sanity
The term fiancee has always seemed off-putting to me, a sense of limbo, of uncertainty. It is more than simply being in a relationship but it's not marriage; it's unsettling. Hearing the word is nails on a chalkboard. I used to not be bothered by it, in fact I would use the word liberally in a past life.
I began to notice the pet peeve during my time working at the state hospital. Part of my job was conducting an intake assessment for every patient assigned to me that was admitted to the psych unit. The assessment measured psychosocial functioning and primarily focused on one's home life including relationship status, who lives in the home, and other related stuff. A sizable portion of the people I assessed told me they had a fiancee especially with people under 25. Been dating since 17? Fiancees. Got pregnant by your neighbor 5 years ago? Fiancees. Live with a girl for half a decade? Boyfriend, nope, husband, nope, partner, nope, fiancees. After a few months, I began to say, Oh wow, congrats! When's the wedding day?" The answer would usually be, "Well, I don't know, at some point." Maybe it is the misuse of the word that bothers me so much. I thought that meant someone that is about to get married within a short amount of time and not some sort of ambiguous uncertainty.
Once it started to bother me, I began to hear it more. Once a week for over six years, I have to go to my doctor's office and get three and sometimes four injections. The person who does the shots is typically super young either just finishing high school or in their prerequisites in a nursing program. With the exception of the one older medical assistant in her 40s who talks about her children to me, every single one of them talk about their fiancees. It feels so cringe but of course I am not going to say anything. They even had someone a few years ago who was 16 and in a high school work program telling me about their fiance.
This thought popped up when I had a literal needle in my ass on Monday. I suppose people start telling me about their personal life because I appear to be some sort of safe ear since I'm a therapist. The girl sticking me was telling me about her mom's mental illness and then dropped the "f bomb" a few times. The word at least took my mind off of the pain radiating from the injection site. Words get used incorrectly every single day, "I literally can't think of anything more annoying" ...joke... but this seems different.
The answer is a bit more personal. I cringe when I hear it because I cringe when I think of my own past. I did the same exact thing. In fact, in 2011-2012, I would tell any person within earshot about my relationship, about my fiancee. The thing is, I was 19, and in the midst of my first relationship, asked her to marry me after only a few months. However, I never had the stability for marriage at that time. She only worked sporadically throughout our relationship living off of Pell Grants and Sallie Mae while I was making 8 dollars an hour cleaning houses. Marriage wasn't going to happen anytime soon, but regardless we identified as fiancees. Obsession and codependency overtook my life during those years. My profile pictures always had us together, I always wore her tshirts and even stooped down to the level of wearing her high school letter jacket while in college, gross. By the time I was hospitalized in October 2012, my identity was gone, and I could only view myself through the lens of that relationship. Without it I was nothing. I told everyone in the hospital about my fiancee and how she was perfect and whatever. Two weeks later, the relationship was over and I was aimless, goalless, and had no identity.
I think that is why it bothers me. On those days I still worked at the hospital, I was looking in the mirror during those assessments when I heard those words. My subconscious would remember.