Thursday, November 20, 2008

Will you marry me? VS You will marry me!

It’s become that time in a person’s life where to start to notice that everyone else is getting married. Everyone but you, that is.

And you would be fine with that because in reality, you are still quite young and should probably get your life in order before you take such a step. But because everyone around you seems to be doing it, you feel this immense pressure to do it too.

My boyfriend and I were talking about this the other morning. Yet another one of our friends got engaged. This wasn’t a huge surprise, after all the girl did move all the way over here from Sweden for him. But it was still a lot considering the amount of people we know who are getting engaged or have gotten married this year alone.

As we were talking, it suddenly struck me that with only one or two exceptions, every single couple I know whom is my age and who recently got married or engaged all had one very important thing in common.

The woman wears the pants in the relationship. This is not to say that the man is a doormat but the woman certainly controls things and the man goes along with it. He’s “whipped” as one might say.

Now I know that sounds derogatory, but before you jump down my throat, hear me out. “Whipped” just means very much in love, in my books. Do anything for your woman kinda thing. And while my bf would do more or less anything for me, I don’t wear the pants in our relationship and I’m OK with that. I’m easy going, he’s easy going and things are pretty much even – maybe he’s got a bit more sway than I. What can I say, I myself am whipped. I guess it’s just who I am in relationships.

Anyway all the women in these relationships are opinionated, unafraid and domineering (not usually in a negative sense). They know what they want and go for it and it’s quite admirable.

Such as marriage. Every single woman that I am talking about (of course there are a few exceptions, especially if I don’t know the couple all that well) has mentioned marriage a lot. Some put forth ultimatums. Some picked out rings. Some just nagged and nagged.

So when the proposal came, it wasn’t a surprise. Not one bit. Of course there was the uncertainty of “is he actually going to propose or did I completely scare him” but it’s not like it came out of left field. The idea was placed there to begin with by the woman and constantly reminded by that woman.

What’s interesting though is in some cases, it HAD to be placed there from a women. I know one couple who had been together six years before she started bringing it up – a lot – and finally he proposed. It makes you wonder, if the woman doesn’t say anything, does that mean the proposal would never happen? It’s hard to say, maybe it would have happened anyway if the woman had just waited and it would have been more romantic. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened ever if the man didn’t get a huge kick in the pants and a relationship wake-up call. I guess it depends on the relationship.

Gone are the old days where this was the man’s decision, now are the days where women are picking out the rings with the guy and having mutual discussions like “OK I guess we’ll get married.”

Where is the romance? Is it dead? Did the romantic, surprise proposal ever exist?

The thing is, I’m old-fashioned (so shoot me) and like the idea of romance and being surprised. And so does my boyfriend. We both agree that while equality is great, somethings should still be left to the man. At this rate in these feminist times, it almost seems like the next step will be women proposing to men. And while I admire those women who do so, because let’s face it, it takes a lot of balls, if this trait catches on, you know divorce will grow even more. I’m probably going to piss off a lot of feminists here and I’m fine with that but if it were up to the woman to propose marriage, we would ALL be married and probably to the first boyfriends we ever had and probably within three months of dating. I know the guys will tell me I’m right. I know I’m right because I know how I think. Maybe I’m a strange woman but I know I’m not alone here…

So for me, I let my boyfriend know earlier this year that I would like to be married within three years. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. He knows, I know he knows and it’s in his hands now. I would rather wait a little bit and be totally surprised, than get married now and go into it thinking the whole thing was my idea and start wondering if this is something he REALLY wants or is only doing it because he feels pressure from me. I don’t mind taking the time because even though you do think you know someone after 17 months, there is still plenty more things to learn and know before you make that step.

And hey, in three years if nothing has changed, I may just have to put on a pair of pants and go pick out a ring myself!

BTW – I know that this will generate comments, half from women who think the ideal and romance is dead and think its necessary to give men a shove and half who think its best to wait and let him make up his own mind, I would love to hear from what some MEN have to say about this….


Kass said...

I'm so feeling you on this one. Everybody is getting married, and so I feel a bit of the pinch. And about the "unless the it was suggested, would it ever happen" I would hope so, but it doesn't always seem the case, as if some men would just quite happily not be married (which boggles my mind because it's a huge part of my life plan!)

I hear of girls that have been with someone for 6 years and not even engaged and I feel sad. I would be raging if I had been with someone for that long and not even had an inkling that a proposal was coming (that is assuming that these women want to get married of course)

Ugh! Men.

Odette said...

I agree with you. I wouldn't say that I wear the pants in my relationship, it is a lot more like yours and M's, but I did bring up the marriage question when I was thinking about moving to Montreal. In fact our decision to get married came out of a conversation and was not at all romantic, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

My bro did surprise the Swede, although marriage was in the cards and we had been seeing it for a long time she wasn't expecting a propsal this soon.

I have another friend in the same situation. She and her bf own a condo together and have been together for about 8 years, and like my bro they had discussed marriage but the concensus was that they would wait, but last week he surprised her by popping the question.

I think that ultimately it comes down to knowing intentions. I think that in most cases it does take a little hint at least to let your partner know that you are looking to go the distance. I would agree with you though, gone are the days (for many of us) when your bf out of the blue pops the question, but I for one am okay with that!

Knowing your bf (and I'd totally say he's whipped by your definition) I am pretty sure that WHEN he does it, it will be as special and romantic as you've always dreamed!

Wanderlusting said...

Kass - Yeah it's a tough call - I know sometimes you gotta do it but you also wish you wouldn't have to. I know that I wouldn't have to but I know with some people that ain't the case.

Odette - yeah with your bro I thought it would happen way down the line but he is definitely whipped! Ai!

Actually the bf told me he hopes his comes way out of left field because if I had an inkling about what was going to happen, I would think about it waaaaaaay too much.

He is SO right about that!

Wanderlusting said...

And by outta left field, that means I'll probably be waiting a few more years lol

Sarah said...

Sad to say, my best friends boyfriend is totally whipped and not in a good way. A year or so ago she got the idea in her head that she wanted to get married, so she started nagging him. Then when the proposal was not forthcoming, she used to spend dinner parties bringing it up. you know, "Who cares, its not likes hes asked me to marry him anyway". It was very awkward for all involved!

He has not yet proposed, although she has backed off a little. My theory is that he is so whipped that he feels like this is the one thing he can control, so hes resisting it!

Funny thing is, i know through a discussion with him that if she just left him alone it would happen! He said he wants to marry her but he wont do it under threat!

Ashleigh said...

I was just talking about this with one of my best friends....everyone around me is getting engaged...and what bugs me is the "when are YOU getting engaged Ash?" question...ive been dating my BF for 6 years and am still in no rush (I hope Kass dosnt pity me...I swear its what I want! haha) ...although I would not mind being proposed to in a couple years...its something we have talked about but I never "push" anything...I wouldnt want to make a life long commitment with someone because they felt pessured! also, I totally feel you with the nagging type because believe me ...I know manyyy people who fall into that "category" ..:s..

Susanne said...

Good post, and a perspective that doesn't get voiced that often.

I've just turned 26 and am not really feeling the marriage pressure yet, but I do have a bunch of school friends particularly that all seem to be getting engaged.

Two of my girl friends that got engaged recently definitely put pressure on their guys to pop the question, and they eventually 'came round'.

I'm a feminist, but I would like to think that if I was ever in a relationship where marriage was up for consideration, I would want him to want it as much as I do.

I don't know. Are there many guys these days that do want to get married as much as girls seem to?

I was dumped recently because my 26 year old boyfriend didn't want to commitment of a long term relationship or, heaven forbid, moving in together. *Sigh*

sunny day said...

When I got married we were both sort of ready. I proposed but i was not all that afraid of getting a"no", and I didn't, as she had expressed her wishes before.

Fortunately 10 years later it was both a mutual decision to separate. So it was done as painlessly as possible, no courts or anything like that.

If I recall correctly when we discussed marriage we never even thought about the possibility of an eventual separation.


Rachel said...

I'm happy to say that romance is definitely not dead!! My husband knew I wanted to get married, but he kept the fact that he wanted it too a secret and then sprung it on me on Valentines Day in Paris :) I was surprised, amazed, in love.. And I definitely don't wear the pants. It's pretty mutual, but I really do like playing the girl in the relationship.

Also.. what's the point in nagging? it will always be a million times better when he proposes out of his own momentum.

i'm such a romantic. i loved being proposed to, and i also loved getting married :) but you are right, there is no rush. take it as it comes!!

wee-h said...

A question for you. Arent you putting pressure on your man saying youd like to get engaged within the next 3 years? Surely thats you defining the proposal not him?

Wanderlusting said...

Wee-H - I don't think so at all and neither does he. A lot can happen and change in three years, it's a solid amount of time.

I had to bring it up early on because I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. If he said he didn't see it in the cards then I would have walked - I question I SHOULD have asked my weasel of an Ex-boyfriend. I didn't and then was devestated when I found out that's not what he wanted - after 15 months together too. I learned my lesson from that.

I think three years to be engaged is reasonable, within an acceptable reach (I'll be 30) and we'd been together four years by then - if he doesn't want to marry me by then, then he'll never want to.

And the last thing I would want would be with someone for a long, LONG time and then fall into the comfortable "Oh well we've been together so long, might as well get married" trap because that never works out very well in the end.

The point of my post was the observation that it seems women have to push their men towards this or at least put the idea in their heads - as I stated, I am not passing judgement, I PERSONALLY would rather not have that sort of engagement. But I also feel that you DO have to bring it up and let him know how you feel and this does not mean commandeering the whole decision or "nagging" him, as some people seem to do.

After all, how would he even know what you want and how you feel? A lot of women don't want marriage, period.

Wanderlusting said...

ALSO - when I had the conversation with him, I said "Ideally, within three years". Just like someone might say, "Ideally within 5 or 10."

In the end, it's up to him to with that what he wants.

This is not set in stone, things do happen, BUT you can bet if it does NOT happen in three years, I will bring the subject up again :)

Delicieux said...

I could not agree more with your post. Everyone around me is getting engaged, in fact, one of my friends just popped the question to his girl last night and called me this morning to tell me she said yes. He's jetting them both to Jamaica as I type...
She, too, was a nagger - and since her twin sister was married a few months ago, the pressure was on even stronger. Every time we talked to him about her, he was never sure he wanted to marry her... until recently - I'm sure because of all the nagging.

Anyway, I don't understand why girls do that - nor will I ever be that girl. I agree that talking about it to make sure you're on the same page is a good idea - and communication is key in any relationship.

Most girls have a "timeline" in their head about when they want to get married, have kids, etc. and communicating that to your bf is just that - making sure he's aware of what you're thinking. :)

Wanderlusting said...

Luckily my timeline doesn't have anything to do with a biological clock cuz I'm pretty sure I don't want kids. I just picked thirty because, well, he should know if he wants to marry me or not by then. And maybe I'll feel less like an old maid? lol.

Timelines are good, just as long as it's reasonable. I believe it's hard to feel pressured when given three years (though men will feel pressure from ANYTHING if they really want to!) VS 6 months.

Speaking of, my mom gave my dad a 6 month ultimatum, ie, "Marry me within six months or else" - luckily it worked out somehow, but I can only imagine how tense it must have been as those months ticked on by.

Not that this is what happened with my parents, but i would hate to be the guy and be forced to do something you didn't really care to do but is better than the alternative (losing the girl). Not a way to get engaged.

M said...

wait till they all start having babies. oh boy!

I know a hell of a lot of people who are married. In all cases the man asked the female (interestingly the only one where the girl asked the guy, it broke up) in lovely romantic and diverse ways - but in all cases there was some talking about marriage before the proposal came through, usually brought up by the woman. In most cases I'd say the male wears the pants in the relationship with the only exception being where it's seriously give and take on an equal playing field.

I've had friends that have said; like you - I'd love to be married before I'm 30 (or maybe it was 'have kids by..') etc. In my view that still counts as "talking about it", but I wouldn't say that would be a bad thing. Discussing being married is important, though I guess if you already live together then it's not quite AS important. But man does it irk me when people DEMAND things like marriage. Yes, if there's demanding to be done it's usually the lady that does it - HOWEVER god help me but I know so many men who demand unreasonable things of their girlfriends, that make demanding marriage look like kids play - so maybe it evens out???

I do not for one second believe that women talking about marriage with their fella in a 'I reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaally want to get married" kind of way hasn't been happening since marriage was invented! I do not think that at any point in history men made the decision all on their own, no way. Things have changed now in that women probably have more of a say in the ring buying (and usually if they are living together first it's half their own money anyway) and going completely PSYCHOTICALLY OBSESSED over wedding plans.

I think it's fine that you gave bf a time frame. Men do better when there's a game plan, or so they say. :)

Farrell said...

I think you're on the right track. Stick to your guns! Don't rush it!:)

almost famous kiwi said...

I think that the idea of that big surprising proposal can only exist in a world where we wear white dresses and live in our daddys home until we move into our husbands. Times have changed and so has the proposal. I think its important to make it romantic and original but if you're living with someone you're not going to get a surprise cos chances are you've been talking about it for years. A marriage is a HUGE commitment and shouldnt be entered into lightly. I think its best to talk about it so that when the proposal does happen it will mean something more than just "oh my gosh how unexpected.
The weddin industry is a billion dollar industry aimed at telling us what we have to be like in order to be a good bride groom etc. It's all ridiculous. The basic fact is that its very basic. You love someone and they love you, you can't live without them, you want to get married, you get married. Making it anything bigger is the reason there's so much damn divorce out there. People aren't looking for love, they're looking to put on a show.

C'est la vie!! said...

why would men want to get married?...they get everything for's like they say "why buy the cow when they can get the milk for free"