My boyfriend have been dating 8 years

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Instead the term , for couples of all races, seemed to be a kind of placeholder, “a way to keep the relationship going without actually making the move to marry,” says Manning.

Smock says she noticed that couples use the term David Lapp, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a pro-marriage think-tank, is doing research on working-class couples in Ohio.

Engagement is not a promise to marry, but rather an indication that they are thinking about it.

Perhaps an indication of the high bar for marriage across classes, plus a way of gaining some ‘official’ status without the confines and expectations of marriage.” In her new book, , co-written with Timothy Nelson, Edin tells a story about Lavelle and Big Toya (the mother of Lavelle’s child).

But now being a girlfriend or boyfriend can mean anything or nothing.

So if you’re , sociologist Andrew Cherlin describes our dysfunctional relationship with marriage.

It could mean that someone has actually proposed, or bought a ring, but usually not.

Since then I have come across this phenomenon dozens of times, almost always in working-class couples, and usually younger ones. But what they mean is more like my “steady lady” or my “steady man.” It could mean the person they are living with, or the father or mother of their child.

I just had this instinct from that very first conversation that this person was going to be important in my life; that he was, well, the one.” — Laura We became a team.

“I didn’t have one of those singular moments where a lightbulb went off.

Fixed the porch, got a new engine.” Smith and many others get lost in a free-floating longing for marriage that never gets fulfilled but finds temporary home in the liberal use of the term In the meantime, while fiancés are waiting for marriage, life goes on. They have kids: Among Americans without a college degree, 58 percent of first time births happen outside marriage.

People share huge life events with each other even though they’re not married, and yet the culture hasn’t adjusted by producing any new terms to describe these novel attachments or arrangements.

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