Not A Pink Girl

Promise ring? | August 5, 2008

I’ve noticed a theme running through all the advice columns I’ve read over the past few months (probably longer). So many women write in asking what they should do because their significant-others (SOs) won’t ask them to marry them.

Sometimes the couple lives together; sometimes they’ve been dating for years (two? seven?). But almost always, the woman is losing sleep because her boyfriend hedges when she mentions marriage. Or the latest one: the boyfriend gave the girlfriend a “promise ring” & made darn sure she didn’t mistake it for an engagement ring, because he emphatically said he was not ready to get married. Notice he didn’t say, “I’m not ready to marry you.” He just refers to marriage like it’s the blade of Madame la Guillotine, just hanging there in the mist above his exposed neck.

Is it?

Maybe that’s what marriage is, a threat to one’s life. Ironically though, I don’t think it’s a threat to the man’s life; it can toll the death knell of the woman’s though, that’s for sure.

Here’s my advice for women who are waiting for their boyfriends to ask them to marry them: STOP. If you want to be married & your boyfriend doesn’t, you must face reality. He doesn’t want to get married, or he doesn’t want to marry you.

Don’t think you can make him want to marry you because you can’t. You might think you can cajole him, or sweet talk him, into agreeing to marry you. If you do, you’ve manipulated him into doing something he doesn’t want to do. He won’t be interested in planning the wedding or the honeymoon. You’ll find yourselves arguing more over everything. Manipulating someone into doing something they don’t want to do – especially when it means such a huge commitment – is a terrible way to start your lives together.

And please: Don’t give him The Old Tomato. That’s what I call the big ultimatum, you know, when you decide you’ll tell him you have something very important to discuss with him. He’ll sit down with that “here we go again” look on his face (because he knows it will be about marriage & him pooping or getting off the pot). Then you’ll say (you have it all planned out), “We have been together for five years. I’m not getting any younger. Either we get married or we break up.”

When you give him The Old Tomato, you are threatening him, pure & simple. Is that any way to get a husband? Really. Think about it.

Here’s what will probably happen. If you’ve been living together for awhile, he probably likes things the way they are (even if he is getting pretty tired of you getting bitchy every so often & whining about you two getting married). He has a nice warm squeeze in the bed at night, someone to hang out with, someone to go to the bars & to Starbucks with, somebody to pay (at least) half of the rent & utilities with. If you’re like most women, you probably do the majority of the housework (laundry, grocery shopping, straightening the house) & you also probably pay the bills.

So this guy has nice clean socks in his underwear drawer when he reaches in. & there’s half and half for his coffee (you even make the coffee every morning). It’s nice to have someone else handle all the “administrivia.” So, he may think, what the heck. I’ll marry her. I’ll still be able to do what I want.

And you know what? He will do what he wants.

You’ll get married (going through all the agony & phony-ness of a stupid big white wedding, getting yourself about $25,000 in debt with the wedding & honeymoon, haggling over the guest list [of course you don’t want to invite any of his stupid family], worrying about what he’s really doing at his bachelor party [yes, he’s really doing the worst things you can imagine him doing, & so are his friends, & then he’s getting into a car & driving drunk]. 

Then you’ll wonder why he’s never home, & he’s always drinking, & he wants to hang out with his friends, & he’s sleeping over at his “friend’s” house more & more often because he didn’t want to drive because he had been drinking, & you wouldn’t want him to get into an accident or get pulled over, would you?

And sooner or later, he’ll sleep with another woman. You might not ever know about it. But for all intents & purposes, he feels like you forced him to marry him, & that he did it for you. So he’ll feel like it’s alright if he does something for himself.

So please. Forget the flippin promise ring silliness. If you want a different life path than he does, break up with him now. This means he is not The One. Get the pain out of the way now or you’ll suffer chronic heartache throughout your marriage.

Why do you have to be married anyway?

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