Thursday, February 28, 2019

Should She Stay or Should She Go?

Given that baseball season is coming up and given that we all love sports metaphors, today a letter writer throws Carolyn Hax a fastball, straight down the middle. Hax swings and misses. A big whiff.

The issue is clear, or about as clear as these issues get. Boyfriend tells girlfriend that they should start looking for engagement rings. She is thrilled and starts doing as he suggested. When she tries to share some of her research he replies that he is not ready to get engaged of married… that he wants to try her out by moving into her place for a month.

She is confused, rightly so. Here is her letter.

My boyfriend suggested weeks ago that we should start looking for engagement rings. I was overjoyed and started doing research, and we talked again this weekend about checking out rings.

Today, he tells me he isn't ready to propose or get married yet. He wants us to live together for at least a month (mostly at my place). I was floored.

Who would suggest looking for a ring if he was not yet ready to get married? His response was that I misunderstood him, that he wants to get married but doesn't think we are quite there yet.

Am I overreacting? I never dreamed anyone would suggest ring-buying if they weren't actually ready to get married. Any advice? I don't know whether I should continue this for another month and hope he's more clear with his feelings and ready to commit, or bail.

— Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I know what you are all thinking. She should dump the asshole already. What did he think it meant to say that they should look for engagement rings? If he was being completely legalistic and believed that looking for such a ring held no implications, he is a fool. If he could not understand that SISSIG would not understand it as a prelude to a proposal, then clearly she is best to be rid of him. An individual who engages in that level of emotional manipulation is a bad prospect for marriage. And an individual who wants instead to move in with her… is he homeless?... is not husband material.

Regrettably, Hax has been reading too many bad advice columns. So, she thinks that it’s all in the feelings. Eeks. She writes:

More important, though: What about the feelings? The life plans, and the emotional honesty behind them?

What do you actually think of each other, feel for each other, need from each other, see in your future with each other, believe of each other?

Why is it up to him to propose? He decides, you merely consent? What’s with letting someone else run your life like that? Seriously — it withstands roughly zero scrutiny, that tradition.

Rings, like any symbol, can be lovely. But it’ll come to be a symbol of how mindlessly you two walked into marriage (or walked away from it) if you don’t start talking honestly and intimately, stat.

This is sanctimonious cant. If he cannot keep his word and if he does not understand the implications of his verbal gestures she should cut her losses. As for the notion that she should propose, this is obviously a desperation move. Those who are gender bent out of shape think that this is just peachy… but if he cannot muster up the courage to propose, why does anything think that he will be an acceptable husband.

If SISSIG does not want to dump him on the spot—for all I know he has some redeeming qualities—though, to be fair, she does not mention any of them in her letter—she should politely decline to open her house to him. She should tell him that she cannot bring herself to share her home unless she is formally engaged.

Simple. Direct. It puts the ball back in his court. She does not even have to lean in.


Sam L. said...

Can you say "bait and switch, boys and girls? Yes, I KNEW you could.
Run, girl, RUN for your life! And at the VERY LEAST, don't let him move in with you.

whitney said...

You nailed it on the emotional manipulation. Run