- 7 years ago
- Wedding: March 2012
Hello Bees. If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you another guy’s perspective on Mr. Bee’s Three Step Plan (and Backup Plan!) for getting engaged. I’ve posted my thoughts in response to his post on that thread, but I was told that it might make more of an impression in it’s own post.
With all due respect to Mr. Bee and the ladies who this has worked for, I find this plan to be kind of awful.
Now I’ll begin by admitting that I’m a bit of a romantic and my FI is pretty much perfect for me and we do have an amazing connection and mutual desire to share a future together.
However, even if that weren’t the case, I still don’t like this plan.
“1) Never bring up marriage or engagement.”
Mr. Bee brings up the best point right at the beginning of this section. “Talk of engagement is bound to come up naturally and organically a few times. These conversations are prime opportunities to discuss the future together in an open and honest way.” This is the most important thing to me, and what ought to happen anyway. Clearly you don’t start discussing marriage or engagement on a first date, but once you decide that you want to be in a serious relationship with the person, you owe it to both of yourselves to have a discussion about where you see things going and why you’re together.
This can be awkward, however, just as it’s a little awkward to have a discussion about protection and diseases before you have sex the first time. But, just like that conversation, it’s the important, honest and open thing to do. If you can be open and trusting enough with that person to want to be in an serious and exclusive relationship with them, then you might as well find out why you both want to be in that relationship, and think about what you both want out of it.
If you’ve been in a relationship with someone long enough for you to want to be engaged or married to them and you haven’t had an open and honest conversation with them about these things, then why are you considering engagement and marriage? Conversation, again, is key.
I agree when he says, “you can literally drive yourself crazy focusing on something you can’t control,” but I wonder why you’re even trying to control it? And if you don’t at least have the discussion to have a good understanding of what your partner wants, then it’s certainly not fair to him for you to be upset.
There are plenty of women who want or need to be married or engaged by a certain time. If you’re one of those people and you’re with someone who doesn’t, tell them how you feel. If you’re at or near the point where you want to be engaged or married and they aren’t, then I’m sorry, but I don’t think that they’re the right person for you and you should tell them that and move on. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with this person (which is the real point of a marriage; not just a wedding) then you need to find someone who’s goals and dreams sync up with yours.
“2) Remove money from the equation”
Someone told me recently that the only people who need to be happy with an engagement ring are the person who receives it and the person who gives it to them. The trick here isn’t money, but the timing of the proposal and the time it takes to plan and save up for it. It’s a tricky thing in a strange window of time.
Say a guy’s got his eye on a ring for his girlfriend and he’s saving up for it. As he’s saving, he notices his girlfriend starts distancing herself from him. If I were that guy, I’d be concerned. Is she upset because I’m not proposing yet, or does she just want out of the relationship. This is the point at which I begin random conversations about a life together with her to see how she takes it. Either she gets excited because I’m referencing spending my life with her (as we’ve discussed previously) and she knows that I’m taking things with her seriously, or she responds poorly and I find that I’ve got plenty of money to put into a new Xbox.
Guys are not completely dumb. If he’s intent on proposing soon and she’s getting tired of waiting, he’ll notice something’s up and find ways to drop hints that he’s serious.
Of course, he could always go with the cheaper ring with the promise of a nicer one later. If she loves him, she’ll almost certainly understand. If she doesn’t, she might not have been worth giving a fancy ring to anyway.
The takeaway point from this for ladies is probably: if you’re tired of waiting and thinking of leaving, tell him how you’re feeling. If he drops some sort of hints, or mentions wanting to be with you, give him several months. It’s possible that he’s got something planned but just needs time to get it together. Don’t give him an ultimatum or anything, cause nothing kills a potential proposal more than a deadline. And for guys, that’s your hint that you’d better find a way to get it together fast.
If he still doesn’t have it together in 6 months (cause really, diamond rings are crazy expensive), then you can feel pretty good about moving on.
“3) Set a deadline to implement your backup plan”
In my opinion, Mr. Bee is closest to to correct when he says, “Set a deadline… and then put commitment out of your mind in that time period. Just relax and enjoy the relationship… without the expectations that build up from thinking about an engagement.” What I’d argue is the “deadline” you’ve set is more of a general timetable that you’ve discussed in your open and honest communication at various times during your relationship. And there’s nothing wrong with thinking about engagement, the problem is building expectations from it and it not working out as you had hoped or planned.
In my opinion, you should always be relaxed and enjoying the relationship. That’s the point of a relationship. If you’re with someone and you’re not enjoying it, then why are you with them. The point is to be happy. If you can’t just enjoy your time with that person when you’re only in a relationship with them, why do you think that you’d enjoy them more then you’re married to them for the rest of your life?
You can re-evaluate things with your partner as you grow nearer to the end of the timetable you’ve set up or agreed upon, no matter how vague it might have been. And I’d argue that over time the timetable should just naturally become more clear and less vague. Again, you’re talking about the rest of your lives together. You should probably both have a good idea of how you want to enter into that together. If you don’t or you’re not in agreement, stop and find someone who makes you happy and whose plans you do agree with.
The Backup Plan
You always have control over your life. It’s your life. It’s your relationship. It’s your SO’s relationship too, but part of the trick with that is that it takes two of you, so it’s as much yours as it is theirs and it’s just as much yours to control.
If your relationship is filling you with bitterness or resentment, then why are you in that relationship? Stop and evaluate things. What caused this? Talk it over with him! You’re bitter and resentful in a relationship with a guy and you want that relationship to last for the rest of your life? There are clearly some problems that need to be addressed before any sort of engagement takes place.
I’m not going to address the three points individually because my response to them all is the same. These are things you should be doing all the time anyways. You should be happy in your life and living it for yourself. It’s your life! Enjoy it!
If you’re so focused on being engaged or married that you’re not enjoying your life or doing things you want to do or being happy in your relationship, then being engaged/married isn’t going to fix that.
I understand that guys fall into a comfort zone. We totally do that. And yes, guys often don’t truly realize and appreciate what they have until they’re about to lose or have already lost it. Often a threat of a breakup or a break can shake a guy out of his funk. Sometimes just pointing out that the guy is in a funk and needs to get out of it is all that’s needed. Or sometimes, you just need to take him by the hand and take him out somewhere new and have a great time with him.
However, none of this should be tied to engagement/wedding/marriage. A marriage is a giant commitment. If things aren’t going well or you’re not both at a place where you’re both ready to take that step, then you shouldn’t take that step. If you have to ignore either your SO or your relationship to any degree in order to fix a problem, then your relationship probably isn’t solid enough to handle a marriage anytime soon.
There are some guys who get pissed off when a girl mentions marriage or engagements. If you do, then they’re not worth your time. Trying to “fix” them to make them into the person that you want them to be or the person you know they probably are deep down is not a good solid foundation for a relationship. Find someone worth your time who shares your ideas about relationships.
Similarly, there are women who want only to be married as soon as they can. Those people will probably find someone to marry them, regardless of who it is. But if your focus is on marriage and not the relationship, you’re missing the point. The point is to find someone you love who shares your beliefs and who you want to be together with forever.
Just remember that communication really is the key. Talk with each other. Relating is the basis of a relationship, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Don’t be scared to tell your partner what you want and how you feel. What your hopes and dreams are. If they can’t take or don’t agree with it, find someone who can and does.
I just want to restate that I mean no disrespect to Mr. Bee or any of the ladies who this might have worked for. I wish you all the best of luck and great happiness.