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Like It? Put a ring on it.

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Like It? Put a ring on it. photo

After dating for five agonizingly frustrating years, I finally got the procrastinating bastard my beshert down the aisle.  The news of our engagement came as a great relief to my friends and family—my father’s actual response was: “Well, it’s about time.”

It goes without saying that couples should date as long as they want/need/could/should.  However, most people would agree that five years is a significant amount of time to waste on date “the one”.  That five years of hard core solid couplehood—you’ve vacationed with each other’s families, you’ve discussed names for your unborn children, your friends have come up with a catchy brand name for the two of you—is enough to drive even the most non-traditional and independent woman mad.  At least, that’s how it was for me.

By year three of our relationship, I had verbal diarrhea on the topic.  I wanted to stop bringing it up with him, with my friends, but I just couldn’t.  (My friends were really, really great during all of this.  They were rewarded with an open bar reception.)  Rationally, I knew that since he was in the midst of a major career and life change that he didn’t then consider himself “marriage material”.  (A funny thing about lots of men, they actually need to be ready too.  Huh.  Who would’ve known?)  But, despite his reassurances that he loved me, I could not but help wonder if I needed to move on.  I wasn’t getting any younger.

Messing with my head were all of the stereotypes and clichés in existence that warn women to beware of the men that “just aren’t into you”—the men who do love you, are happy to be with you for an indeterminate amount of time, but will never, ever marry you.  We eventually broke up, but wound up back together months later, in exactly the same spot.

And then two things changed.  One:  I made a major move (literally, I moved cities) to be with him.  Three weeks later, he popped the question.  Two: I stopped my constant nagging we both stopped focusing on marriage, and instead focused on simply enjoying being together.  All the negative energy had sucked the fun out of our relationship, and out of the act of getting engaged.  The more I pressed him about it, the more the stubborn asshole my husband dug in his heels.  And really, who could blame him?

Now, after three plus years with the ball and chain of married bliss, the length of time we dated seems completely irrelevant.  We’ve got a great relationship, a beautiful daughter and a wonderful life.  It goes to show that the so-called dating “rules” are often little more than complete bullshit grossly generalized fears that play on women’s insecurities.

So what should you do when the fucker “Mr. or Ms. Wonderful” is dragging his/her heels?  I have no idea.  But here’s some obvious advice on what NOT to do:

• Don’t deliver any ultimatums you aren’t prepared to carry through and can live with.  And don’t play games.

• Don’t forget to talk about marriage and your future life together to make sure this person is “the one.”   I have a good friend that never discussed religious differences or their consequences with her fiancé, only to have it all come to a head when she found out they couldn’t be married in her church or he in his synagogue.  They never made it down the aisle.

• Don’t confuse marriage and a wedding.  Duh.

• Don’t compare yourself to other couples.  Especially the ones who get engaged after six months.  This isn’t a race or competition.  Remind yourself of that while drinking heavily at their weddings.

• Decide if, and how long, you are willing to wait and accept that this is your choice to make.  And really, consider moving on if he/she tells you they do not want marriage.  Ever.  Repeat after me: “He/She is just NOT that into you.”

• Try not to talk about your relationship constantly with all of your friends and family.  Not only will it annoy the hell out of them, they might start to hate your man (or woman).

• Don’t listen to bitter women who freak you out about wasting your time.  Only you know what’s right for you.  My husband’s aunt and uncle dated for 11 years, and are very happily married.  My uncle never dates longer than a year, and he has been divorced 4 times.

So, to all you single ladies out there, I wish you much love and luck in your romantic endeavors.  And whatever happens, please remember one cliché is ALWAYS true: if she/he isn’t “the one”, that person is out there.  And probably with less back hair too.

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