There are a couple of message boards that I skim read pretty regularly that are mainly populated by women in their 20s-40s. This means that there tends to be a fair amount of relationship talk. For anyone with traditional values, most of it is a little depressing since most of the women are feminists (or are brainwashed by feminist principles) who have not yet hit the Wall and are clearly operating under the assumption that they will always be able to attract men as easily as they do now — therefore their feelings take utmost precedence in their decision-making. I was skimming reading today and came across a couple of relationship threads that made me shake my head regarding both the men who are discussed and the OPs’ treatment of them.
Guys, don’t be these guys.
OP brags advertises in the subject line that her boyfriend asked her to marry him but she said no. In the post she says that she feels “horrible” about it but that it had nothing to do with her boyfriend, plus he knew beforehand that she never wanted to get married. Despite this apparent knowledge, he proposed anyway and then seemed “disappointed” when he got rejected. The rest of the posters divide into two groups, one in support of the OP, the other warning her that this could be the beginning of the end, but most of them congratulate the OP for her honesty and agree that not only does marriage have little significance in the area of commitment (this despite the documented increased volatility of non-marital unions), no one should stay in a marriage if she is “unhappy.” The posters generally agree that there will always be “someone else” if the boyfriend walks.
Later the OP returns to the thread to inform everyone that she and her boyfriend “talked” and that the boyfriend apologized to her for assuming she would say yes. Yes, he APOLOGIZED. OP reports that this “talk” lasted TWO HOURS.
I feel like the takeaway lessons from this story should be obvious, but anyhow: Men, if you want to get married, then don’t date a woman who says she NEVER wants to get married and believes her feelings love for you is equivalent or even better. Sure, you might be the superhero to change her mind…but you might not. Why waste your energy on a woman who’s a tough sell as opposed to a woman who really does want to be married? Second, NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR PROPOSING. My goodness. If you want to marry someone, then I very well hope that you are prepared to lead in all aspects of the relationship and won’t wither in the face of a woman’s disgruntled vanity. Third, never discuss a woman’s feelings with her for any amount of time over, say, thirty minutes, tops. What could the OP and her boyfriend possibly have discussed for that long without running around in circles with the woman continually gaining momentum against the man? The longer you let her run on, the less authority you have in the relationship. Probably what happened here is that the OP browbeat her boyfriend for well over an hour for disturbing her feelings. No wonder she doesn’t want to marry him. The real question is why he wanted to marry her.
OP is a med student who has been pining away for a guy in her program for the past two years. She deeply regrets not telling him that she’s in love with him. They are on the verge of graduation and will soon be going their separate ways, so OP asks for advice about how to tell this guy about her feelings. (Anyone who’s read my blog lately knows my feelings on the topic.) Of course, in a show of female wishful thinking solidarity, the other posters rally around her, telling her to invite him out for dinner, get some drinks in her, and spill her guts.
Later in the thread, OP reports back, saying that she did exactly as the posters suggested and…drum roll, please…their advice WORKED. (Hey, it happens every once in a blue moon.) After exams, she and her friend went out to a “nice steakhouse” where she worked up the courage and blurted out her feelings to him. The guy then admitted that he’s been feeling the exact same way. OP says that they concluded that they both used their coursework as a reason not to take a risk and that each other was the reason they hadn’t dated anyone else in the entire time of their program. OP then says that the evening went perfectly and hints that they slept together because she had just arrived home (and apparently sprinted to the computer) and the timestamp was in the morning. Plus, they found out that they would be doing residencies in the same city. Much cheering from the peanut gallery commences.
On its face, this is the kind of story that makes women swoon because it is very much like something out of a movie where you’ve been pining and pining and pining and the guy actually reciprocates your feelings. But what is ennobling about this story from the man’s point of view? What kind of man hides behind coursework as an excuse not to date anyone for two years? Especially when the woman is a close friend and others have pointed out that they should date? What kind of man lets the woman take all the emotional risk in the relationship? It seems to me like this dude would have been content to let the relationship simmer in sexual frustration indefinitely if the OP hadn’t taken the reins. At the beginning of the story, the OP didn’t even know if they would be assigned to the same area for their residency — it sounds like this guy was willing to let the OP drift out of his life without even once making a move. That’s not love. That’s ambivalence at best and cowardice at worst.
It’ll be interesting to see (if we ever get to find out) how this relationship progresses once the OP and this guy are out of the med school bubble and are working long hours at different hospitals. My guess is that once the initial relationship euphoria wears off, the guy’s natural reluctance to lead will start to kill off the OP’s attraction to him. Pining from a distance and actually being involved in a relationship are two different things.