Should you tell your boyfriend you want to get married?
Hmm…I can see some feminists saying I am telling women to be manipulative. I can see people comparing my advice to “The Rules”. Still, I am not the kind of woman who thinks women have to bend over backwards to please men, and I certainly am for women speaking their mind.
However, from living for several decades and seeing women get into all sorts of trouble with the whole proposal/engagement/marriage thing, I have a tiny suspicion: the more you show a man you want to get married (to him, hopefully), the less he will want it. It is sooo biological. We cannot deny evolution, and we cannot deny that men are usually less eager to get married. All those fears about losing their freedom, being accountable, being responsible, not being able to sleep with other women (unless they become rich and famous like David Letterman:)), etc, come into play. So we often hear more stories about men postponing marriage or not wanting to talk about it than women (read my post about commitment phobia from 2008).
Here is the deal: men used to be hunters. They like challenges, and they quickly lose interest in a woman who is too easy a catch. That’s why some of them don’t call after they had sex with you on that one night stand. You can be the most beautiful woman with model looks, have the brain of an Einstein and the kindness of Mother Theresa, but if you pressure him to get married, or indicate that you badly want to get married (even after 2 years of dating), he will drag his feet.
Why? Because he wants it to be HIS IDEA. He wants to have to convince you!
What if many years go by, you never say anything, and he still doesn’t ask you to marry him? In that case dear, he really doesn’t want to get married, unless he came from a planet where there is no marriage. You then may want to cut your losses and move on to greener pastures, or accept having a relationship without marriage if you love him so much that you can’t live without him (and without making you bitter in the process).
Last Sunday I read an interesting article in the “Love Me” section of the Washington Post. This woman was 32 and divorced. She met this really nice guy, and she told him she did not want to get married again; that she thougt it was an opressive institution for women (??, are we back in the 70’s?). Bingo. That did it. Her BF of course did not take long to propose and asked her to marry him with this original line: “Do you want to grow extremely old with me”? I loved it.
So girls…if the subject of marriage comes up (YOU did not start it!) and your BF asks your opinion, how about saying you are not thinking of marriage? Do you feel that is acting? That it goes against your principles? That you just cannot lie to him? In that case, how about saying: “I will consider getting married when I find the right person”. That does not make you a manipulator or a liar, and might well make him want to become that right person.
And you shouldn’t say: “I am breaking up with you because you don’t want to get married”. He might try to get you back and even propose, but it will still not be his idea, not something he REALLY wants. Basically he is marrying you so he doesn’t lose the relationship entirely, and the consequences are known to many people: a not so committed husband.
So..don’t ooh and ahh when you see an engagement ring ad, when you walk by a wedding dress in a window display or try to have “the talk” with him. He needs to want it too. Badly.
So what do you guys and gals think of this approach? Can we really keep our mouths shut about something so important to us? Is this approach too fake and manipulative, or wise?PS: Now, another little story which disproves this theory (but it can backfire): a woman had just been through a painful break up with a commitment phobic guy. She was tired of dating guys who would not commit. She went to a bar one day not expecting to meet anyone special. A nice guy sat next to her and started a conversation. At a certain point, he asked her: “why are you here alone”? And she said: “because I want to find a guy who will marry me, have 2 kids, the SUV and the single family home”. Did the guy run away? No, he married her. Yes, those things can also happen, so you never know.
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