A Christmas novel for you. [from Anonymous]
Over 5 years ago I stumbled across this blog while I was pondering why the man I had been dating dumped me abruptly. I learned that the likely cause was that he was after sex not me (I wouldn’t put out) and I should be glad I found that out pre-conquest. I haven’t missed an article since. Thanks to your hard work on this blog, at the ripe age of 18, I came to realize that my decision whether or not to date a man should be based on his character not on how may butterflies I got thinking about him. As a result I decided to give one of my long-term guy friends a chance to audition for Mr. GoodEnough about 8 months after finding WWNH.
I remember asking your advice on why I didn’t really feel like I loved him. You told me it would come if I kept acting like it. You were right. We slept together after 1.5 years of dating and 7 years of friendship prior to that (one could call it platonic courtship, he kept asking me out and I kept refusing but we still spent time together as “friends”)*. I do believe by the time we slept together he was already devoted.
After 3 years of dating (1.5 after first sex) he suggested shack-up. I politely declined but said nothing about marriage. The first three years of dating he had always said he would marry me tomorrow if we weren’t still in school so I figured it was only a matter of time. Wrong, I forgot men aren’t women and will avoid marriage if possible. We continued dating while living separately and a year later he suggested shack-up again. This time I told him I did not feel comfortable living together without being engaged and that since I want to have a family I could not stay exclusive with someone who doesn’t know if they want to marry me after 4 years. I told him I loved him and didn’t mean to pressure but I was going to date other people until he could make up his mind because if he didn’t know by now then maybe we aren’t right for each other. He said he understood and agreed to date other people. I was hurt and shocked, I couldn’t believe after years of acting devoted that he didn’t want to be with me. But this was a time for hard-headedness not soft-heartedness: I was not about to try to convince someone they should want to marry me nor was I going to be his good-enough-for-now girl so back in the parade of Mr-NotGoodEnoughs he went.
4 hours after we broke up he called me and said he had already made up his mind: he wanted to marry me. The caveat was he wanted the official proposal to be a surprise so it wouldn’t happen right away. I told him to think about it for at least a week because I did not want to get back into the relationship unless he was 110% sure about his intentions. A week later he assured me he was certain he wanted to marry me. Or, rather, “I’m still scared to get married, but I don’t want to live without you. So if that’s what I have to do to keep you then I will do it.” He’s never lied to me and I didn’t want to take away his pleasure of planning a surprise proposal (bless his heart he gets so much joy from romancing me) so I agreed to go back to being exclusive and sign a lease with him with the understanding a proposal would be forthcoming*. Last week, 8 months after our break-up, he asked me to be his wife with a ring he is very proud of.
Sometimes it bothers me that it took me leaving for him to propose. Stinking thinking creeps up of “if he really loved me he would’ve planned a proposal before 4 years”. Wrong. If he really loved me AND I had made it a requirement then he would’ve proposed sooner. When I get stinking thinking I remind myself of what you kindly confirmed for me a few months ago: the only good marriage candidate is the man who does it in order to avoid losing her. He doesn’t want marriage, he wants me. It took him less than a day to figure it out once I required it.
4.5 years ago, before I agreed to date him, I had made it clear I did not want to be in a relationship with anyone who did not have career plans. He did not have a plan at the time but he promptly got one. Last month he graduated from grad school and landed an awesome job. When I congratulated him he hugged me and whispered “you know I did it all for you”. And whenever his sports team loses he insists on taking me to dinner because “the only thing that can cheer him is spoiling me and making me happy”. The amount of selflessness he exhibits with our relationship amazes me every day. I try to be selfless as well but I don’t do nearly as much as he does (probably a good thing, at least before marriage, right?).
Oh yeah, and remember when I wrote to you for advice over a year ago with anxiety about getting into grad school and financial woes? You told me I can’t lose if I don’t quit trying. You were right. Not only am I now halfway done first year of grad school, I received a very large scholarship.
Did anyone ever tell you that men are never more handsome than when they provide a lady with the tools necessary to brighten her future? I can almost guarantee you if I had not found your blog I would’ve followed the majority of college girls and wound up with a history to haunt my future husband. Instead I can honestly say I’ve never been with anyone except the person I’m going to marry. He told me the other day he’s glad it’s like this and he believes “he earned it”. IMO your work here is a gift from heaven and I will forever be grateful for the messenger.
*I tweak the advice here to my particular situation and use the lessons here as guides for my attitudes rather than concrete rules. IOW a blueprint rather than a recipe. It works best for me ☺
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God Bless
-A grateful and faithful reader