Why have the cow when the milk is free?

posted 3 years ago in Engagement
Post # 2
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My husband and I met when we were 19 and in our first year of uni. We were / are the Marshall and Lilly of our uni group.

We moved in together when I moved to London after uni aged about 23 (I think) I was like you wondering when we would get married. Having started going out so young, it did take us quite a while to get to the point where we were both ready for marriage.

In the end my husband proposed when we had been together 7 years and 4 months. We married a little under a year later when we had been together for about 8 years. I think had we met at 25 we would have married much quicker, but we didn’t. We met at 19 and had to grow up a bit first. We married at 27 in the end.

We also dragged our feet with children (partly us, partly fertility issues) and are only just expecting our first child at the age of 32.

We have lots of friends who met after uni who married before us / had children before us. It just took us a little longer.

Post # 3
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

My Fiance views investments the same way as your SO, and like you, i did not want to go into a mortgage without being at least engaged. And at that point I left the decision to him. The longer you rent, the more he will want a mortgage, and the more inclined he will be to pop the question if he knows that the ring/mortgage is a sticking point for you. If he knows your requirements for a mortgage. Then leave him to make that decision. 

I’m 28 and my Fiance is 31. Been together just over 7 years and Lived together for just over 2 years (renting) hen he proposed. Getting married in July, but happy to proceed on a mortgage if the right house came along in the meantime.

Post # 4
5161 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

Well, first off, you are not a cow. I personally also think it was important for me to live with someone before marriage but I would never be with someone who believed in that terrible adage. Not all men are that misogynist (and I hope your partner is not either). That phrase needs to die a fiery death.

You both chose to move in for mutual reasons and had mutual benefits. That is it. Where things went a bit wrong was not really discussing all your expectations before moving in, like if marriage was going to follow within a certain time, etc.

Sit down and have an honest talk wih your SO. Open a nice bottle of wine, and eat a lovely meal, be relaxed and just start talking. Tell him hiw you feel, tell him it is important to you to know what page he is on, tell him you want to marry HIM and why, and discuss together if and when you see that happening. Honestly, if he is not receptive to a honest conversation, and chooses to let stubborness take over, and would rather leave you anxious and upset than have an open, accepting talk with you as his partner, YOU need to decide if this is really the man you want to marry. That kind of emotional immaturity is not becoming and won’t magically go away with a wedding.

And remind him you don’t need a lot of money to get married. Rings, parties, a fancy dress are all options. All you need is you two, a license, and an officiant. If you want the bigger wedding, come up with a budget together, contribute together to a ring(s) and so on.

Post # 5
1542 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

He seems quite resistant and used finances as a reason (or excuse).

1. Explain your confusion and discuss a time line maturely. 

2. Is there any chance his aggression when you bring up engagement is due to him wanting to surprise you?

3. Maybe he thinks you’re expecting a rock! 

Post # 6
2942 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

hannah33 :  You are not a cow, and there is no milk.  I absolutely hate that sentiment.  You are both getting something out of the relationship, or you wouldn’t be together. And if you feel like you are getting nothing out of your relationship, you need to end it. 

That said, you can have a talk about getting married without being pushy.  Ask him when/if he think you will get married. A timeline talk done right is not pushy.

Post # 7
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

It really does seem like, for some guys, getting married just doesn’t matter to them at all. You have to convince him that your happiness is being impacted, because your happiness should definitely be that important to him.

You didn’t directly mention this, but because you didn’t it sounds like you haven’t had a serious conversation about your timeframes. Rather than dropping hints about getting engaged, I would have a dedicated sit down conversation where you say “I want to by married by X date and think I want to start having kids around X date. This is very important to me because I want to take the next step with you. I’m feeling stressed and sad because we haven’t taken the next step yet and it’s something I want in my life.” Darling Husband did this to me – we moved in together and had a serious conversation about “if this is still working in 6 months then we are getting married”. But it took waiting the full 6 months and then having another conversation to convince him to start shopping. And he proposed another 6 months after he got the ring… it felt like years!

Post # 8
3844 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Twizbe :  Same for us.  We met at 18, our first semester of college.  We’re also a lot like Marshall and Lily (DH is artsy, I’m an attorney)! 

OP, I have never seen couples who live together before marriage not get married just because they didn’t wait to move in.  Most of my friends (and Darling Husband and I) lived together before marriage and are all married or engaged now.  I definitely had similar feelings of jealousy since we took longer to get married than all of my friends (moved in together after 7 years, engaged at 7.5 years, married at 9 years), but it was the right timing for us. 

I would have a serious conversation to make sure you’re on the same page re: he definitely wants to get married and wants to marry you.  I agree with PP that it’s not pushy to discuss timelines with him.  In our case, and every other “met each other young” relationship I know of, things took much longer than friends who met after college.  I definitely sympathize, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t love you/doesn’t want to marry you!

Post # 10
1300 posts
Bumble bee

the cow/milk thing makes me so ragey. Women are not a commodity to be bought and sold anymore. If having an adult conversation about your future together makes him feel pressured then I think  “free milk” is not his only problem . 

Post # 11
6806 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

hannah33 :  I just have to say (and I’ve said it many times): I absolutely HATE the saying “why buy the cow when the milk is free?” It’s disgusting and and sexist and just horrible. Please stop using it. 

Now I’ll go back and read the rest of the post. I just couldn’t get passed those words without this word vomit happening and me going into an angry rage. 

Post # 12
2794 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

hannah33 :  I remember thinking that way. A bit like you what pushed me to start talking about it was housing. We were ‘lucky’ in that hubby inherited a house not long after we moved into together. It was a state and needed renovating. That was going to cost a bomb so I said I was happy to pay for movable items (Fridge, TV etc) but I would not put money into a house that I had no legal right to. Also both my driving licence and passport were due to expire in 2011 and I didn’t want to pay to renew them to then have to pay to change the name soon after.

I think hubby was always intending to get married, he just needed to get to a place where he felt like he could be a husband (secure job, home etc)

As for your fertility issues – don’t worry until you try. There was nothing to suggest we would have trouble and all tests came back fine, but for some reason it too 2.5 years.

Post # 13
9595 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

If you were 35 Id think this is more dire, but youre 25. Its just not on the mind of most men at that age. You just need to talk to him and say “I dont want to be a live in girlfriend forever, I want to be your wife and make our family official. Do you feel the same way? Then, tell me the truth- what is your timeline for an engagement?”

And then see what he says. If it works for you, tell him youre counting on him to follow through- and if he doesnt you will take that as a sign that hes not serious about committing to you. If it doesnt work for you, tell him why. You need to have a frank convo with him.

Although the phrase is crass, I do think it happens sometimes where a guy is like well I have it all. Things are great. Whats the point in adding just a silly piece of paper? I dont believe in marriage I dont need the government in my bla bla  bla bla bla. But it doesnt sound like your Boyfriend or Best Friend is that type. Hes just not antsy like you.

Post # 14
1145 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Why buy the cow? Maybe the cow is such a prize you want to secure it forever, that’s why. Because if you don’t “buy the cow”, the cow may walk away and provide the milk to someone else.

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