Monday, November 14, 2011

Lessons on life and love from Beyonce

I recently met my good friend's sister. The way the visit worked out, the sister and I had some time to hang out the following day, after my friend left to fly back to Oregon.

Over a glass of wine, the three of us sat talking, and my friend's sister told me that whenever I woke up in the morning, we could go out and get breakfast together, and she'd be happy to show me around her town a little bit, as I hadn't spent much time there.

"And of course, if you'd like, we can go ring shopping! I know some great jewelry shops!"

Whoa. Wha?

Back up a little bit. I'm in a relationship. Have been for about 2.5 years. I'm 30. In the last year, I moved across the country to be with him. So, would I like to go ahead and get - if not hitched - engaged? Sure. And I don't see the point in pretending that's not the case. I don't try to advertise or bitch about it, but I'm not going to lie about it - definitely not to my closest friends. But, now I have to wonder.

I mean, I figured my friend would give her sister some backstory on me. She knew where my friend and I had met, she knew the basics of why I live in the south ... but is "she's waiting on her slacker boyfriend to propose" on the short list of details about me that I expect people to hear before they meet me? Yikes.

It brought me back to a conversation my boyfriend and I had before we moved out here. Two friends of mine had been together for 10 years, and I knew she was ready to get things moving. Get married, think about starting a family. So when I saw him, and she wasn't around, I'd nudge. And I wasn't subtle.

"Dude. What are you waiting for? When are you going to put a ring on it?"

It made me feel annoying, but I checked with my girlfriend, and she was totally OK with this type of encouragement. [I mean, I could write another blog post about why and how it is that there are certain decisions in hetero relationships for which women are basically removed from the decision-making process. You can't nag. You can't push. You're not supposed to complain, lest you be one of those gross old-fashioned girls who actually - gasp - wants to get married. Yuck. We're not supposed to care. And it's not like you could do something crazy like ask him.]

When my b.f. heard me talk about this couple, and about how the fellow needed to get his shit together, he wondered if I was trying to give him a hint.

"No, dear. They've been together for a decade. It's a different situation."

But that conversation was a year and a half ago. Are things different? Is living in the south affecting my views on marriage? Out here, people give me a sidelong look when I mention that I moved across the country to live with my boyfriend. People check my hand when I talk about him. I've literally been told that Jesus wants me to get married. His stepmother told him it bothers her that he hasn't at least bought me a ring.

I don't know. But I do know this: I told my boyfriend the ring shopping story when I got home. I'll let him decide what it all means.


Write up your alley said...

Oh, I have so much to say about this.

For me, it was all about proving to myself and others that I was not "that girl" who gets all upset when he hasn't popped the question.

But the second time I was in this situation, I realized that I'm an active participant in this relationship, too. I am a woman who has a plan and goals and dreams and I'd like to work with my partner to realize those hopes/dreams together. No longer can I not ask the questions for which I'm afraid of what the answer might/might not be.

And - speaking from experience - just because you talk frankly and openly about when you hope to get engaged/married, it doesn't mean the proposal will be any less special or surprising.

A ring is a tangible symbol that a promise has been made and that you are in it, together. Thick and thin.

Elizabeth in Chicago said...

"And - speaking from experience - just because you talk frankly and openly about when you hope to get engaged/married, it doesn't mean the proposal will be any less special or surprising."

WOOORD. Knowing where each of you are matters (Is he 5 years away from wanting to be married? Or 2 weeks?). And then you get to decide if you're okay with it. Also, David tried proposing twice before he actually did (and I had figured it out both times), and I still cried when we got engaged. So, there's that.

brookeandmckenzie said...

Absolutely agree. You both need to be on the same page.
I don't want to know the week it will happen or the day but I do want to know whether he is envisioning a marriage in the cards in a 5 year yerm or a 1-2 year term. This way we can both at least be on the same page. The way the proposal happens and maybe the day it does can be a surprise but it's really no surprise when it comes down to it that you want to marry each other and spend the rest of your lives together.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Most importantly, why would you go ring shopping with a friend of a sister? You either go ring shopping with your husband-to-be, or you let him surprise you.

Jami Danielle said...

OOHH WOW! what a story. Remember to be strong and not let it make you upset. Dating and relationships are hard. I am having no luck right now. A friend told me about yacht dates which is easy, free and seems like a lot of fun. I'm starting to think I should give it a try.

dating said...

it doesn't matter how long you've been together..the important thing is you love each other so much and you want to live with him or her for the rest of your life.. so if that's what you feel, you better put a ring on it..^^

Serial Monogamist said...

@UM: I know! She was trying to be funny, which is cute. But he should know who to call if he needs help picking it out. Not my friend's sister, my b.f.f. She's already gotten the deets in case the call comes.

Amy @ Flex Belt said...

I'm sure eventually he'll come around and buy the ring or ask you to go with him like my husband did. Any other way lacks total romance if you ask me.

הכרויות said...

Please, don't let this kind of stories doubt on your relationship. If you love you boy friend let it be. You are happy and that is the most important

"Slightly Disheveled" said...

I'm engaged. How weird is THAT?

tenzinandrio said...

You know, being on the "other side" of the marriage/children divide, I find myself concerned with the focus people put on getting married. I mean, it doesn't mean that you'll be together forever, at least more than half the time. So, really, why? It's a set-up, in my opinion.

I think you'd have as much luck with the rest of your life if you just ask him if he's committed and when does he want to have kids? Rather than will he marry you? I personally think that our cultural romanticism with the convention of marriage is negative. Better to focus on being in the best, most-communicative and honest relationship that you can NOW rather than waiting to achieve some sort of imaginary goal.

I figure you already know this about me, SM.

Kristina Knight said...

The older I get, the less I want to get married. Not sure how long I'd last in the south.

Anonymous said...

How weird is that? And besides your man should be the one giving you ring or much better surprising you with that.

Online dating advice said...

What a great story that you shared to us. But for me,like in this story that you shared to us,a boyfriend and a girlfriend must not really have to live in one house without an engagement and or an engagement.Because when this happens,the girl will naturally or normally wait for the guy to ask her to marry him.And for the girls, that may really be hard for waiting and may say:["God...When will this guy ask me to marry him?"]
But it was a matter of choice and also a matter of waiting.And it will be up to them to work things out.

Thanks for sharing!!!

Steve said...

From a guys perspective, I'd say be cool about it. It's not a very good idea to pressure anyone into any type of relationship. Let things develop naturally, and if you're carefree about it, I can bet he'll be quicker to propose and the marriage will be much better quality as well.