My Boyfriend Wants to Marry Me But Doesn’t Want to Buy an Engagement Ring.

My Boyfriend Wants to Marry Me But Doesn't Want to Buy an Engagement Ring

I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years. We were both married and divorced in our 20’s and are now in our mid-30s. We’ve lived together for the last 6 months and it’s been great. We’ve been talking about our future and wanting to start a family before it’s too late. We’re both reasonably frugal and have no desire to spend a fortune on a second wedding. He mentioned getting ring tattoos (not something I would do) and seemed surprised that I would want an engagement ring since I’m not that into jewelry or flash. I feel like an engagement ring is an important symbol and I’m hurt that he seems like he doesn’t want to get me one. He agreed to go looking, but I felt his reluctance and I’m dreading going now or bringing it up again.

I know his ex-wife was demanding and required a big rock and then she cheated on him less than a year into the marriage…I get that making another investment like that must bring up bad memories, but I also want to feel excited and secure knowing that he wants to marry me. He makes close to 100K, so is my wanting a less than $5k ring unreasonable? Can a guy really want to marry a woman and not want to buy a ring? I’m worried that I may be confusing his not wanting to spend money on a ring with him not thinking I’m worth it. And I’m left wondering: should the man have to buy an engagement ring if his girlfriend wants it, or should he tell her his budget and if she wants something beyond his means she can pay half?

Kelly

The last blog question was about empathy. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Seeing how it feels. Gaining a sense of perspective outside yourself.

I’ll be the first to tell you that women, in general, are more empathetic than men. They are sensitive to subtlety and nuance. They don’t want to hurt each others’ feelings. They are supportive (often blindly supportive) of friends, loved ones and boyfriends. Except when it comes to money. When it comes to money, there’s this huge honking blind spot that I honestly can’t explain.

I’ve written extensively about money but I’m still left with this odd double-standard:

Women and men are equal. They should have equal opportunity and equal pay. They should do equal amounts of housework and child rearing. Except men should make more money, pay for all the dates, and want to spend a disproportionate amount of his money compared to what she spends.

Chivalry is a nice concept that descends from a time before women made their own money, but still. It’s nice to have a guy take care of you.

Emotionally, that may make sense to you. Chivalry is a nice concept that descends from a time before women made their own money, but still. It’s nice to have a guy take care of you. And hell, I tell men that it’s in their best interests to be chivalrous and to pick up the check during the early phases of dating.

But what we’re talking about is past that. We’re talking about a man spending a percentage of his yearly salary on a shiny trinket – a token that you are equating with how much he loves you. You’re both frugal divorcees in your mid-30’s – he, in particular, has a checkered history with golddiggers – and here you are, actually wondering out loud if his reticence to buy a ring is somehow emblematic of whether you’re “worth it”? Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

So let’s flip it around and turn this into the gender-blind exercise it should be:

Man tells you after two great years together that you have to buy him a $5000 flatscreen TV.

You balk. It seems a bit superfluous. He already has a TV. It works perfectly fine. Why does he need a new one? “Because of what it symbolizes,” he replies. “To whom,” you ask. After all, you’ve had a perfectly good relationship for all this time and you’re openly planning to get married and start a family. Why in God’s name would this guy need a TV from you? He explains:

“Because it shows me that you love me.”
“Because it shows the world how much you value me.”
“Because it lets me know that you’re excited about me.”
“Because it makes me feel secure knowing that you’re not leaving me.”

You’re taken aback. You slowly explain to him that you DO love him, you DO value him, you ARE excited about him, you’re NOT leaving him – that’s why you want to get married. You just don’t see why he needs a big fancy television. Your boyfriend just shrugs and tells you that it’s just how he feels.

Ultimately, it’s about having this conversation with your boyfriend, and instead of trying to negotiate for a ring, attempting to understand and validate HIS feelings about why he’s not feeling it.

Listen, Kelly, despite the role reversal, believe it or not, I’m sympathetic to your dilemma. It is commonplace for men to buy diamond rings. There is a whole wedding industrial complex around convincing men to spring for jewelry and women to spring for dresses they’ll only wear once.

So while it’s not “wrong” for you to want a diamond to wear that symbolizes your relationship, you have to look internally to figure out why you want it. It’s certainly not because you need proof that your boyfriend loves you; I’d guess it’s because you need external validation. You know he’s not going anywhere, but you want everyone else to know it, too. And just as it’s not wrong” for you to desire a ring in a society that places a premium on such commodities, it’s not “wrong” for a frugal divorcee to want to minimize his costs for this largely symbolic gesture when there are far better things one can invest $5000 in – like an index fund for your retirement or a 529 plan for your future baby.

Ultimately, it’s about having this conversation with your boyfriend, and instead of trying to negotiate for a ring, attempting to understand and validate HIS feelings about why he’s not feeling it. From there, you can come to a mutually agreeable compromise. But it doesn’t start until you’ve owned why you want a ring so bad and accepted he isn’t inherently wrong or selfish for not seeing eye to eye with you.

By the way if he were writing me this letter – he tells me he’s worried that he has another golddigging wife on his hands – I would offer similar advice in reverse. I’d tell him not to judge you for wanting a ring and attempt to understand the meaning behind your insecurity, before arriving at a fair point where you feel he’s invested in your marriage and he doesn’t have to break the bank to “prove” it to you.

153 Comments

  1. I’m scratching my head on this one.  Have you actually talked to him about why he doesn’t want to get you a ring?  Try using the communication methods that secure people use as described in the book Attached.  If it is about money, there are options:  get a smaller cheaper ring or get a cubic zirconia ring.  I suspect something else is going on here.
    I think that she should have a ring and he should want her to have it.  It’s a symbol of their union and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  The first thing we single guys do is look at the left hand to see if she’s fair game.
    I squeak when I walk but I won’t flinch about getting a ring for the future Mrs. ScottH

  2. I’m with you, ScottH. I get where Evan is coming from. But I have to admit that I had some reactions to this that surprised even ME, lol!
    I know that, when you’ve finally found the one that you want to spend your life with, something like the ring shouldn’t even be an issue. But to me, it IS an issue.
    Personally, I’ve never been married. If I ever did get married, I would insist that we get married at the courthouse to save money, and then have a budget reception in someone’s backyard afterward. I refuse on principal to spend more than $100 on a wedding dress because (a) I’m only going to wear it once; and (b) there are tons of beautiful dresses available that you can pick up for $100 +/-; and (c) I have grievances against the wedding-bridal industry and I don’t want to give them one cent more.
    But the ring? That’s a tough one for me. That’s the one area that I don’t think I would compromise on, for as right or as wrong as that makes me.
    Look, I was brought up by two hippy-dippy parents who got married in a cow pasture. They tied strands of hemp around each other’s fingers as “wedding rings” because they couldn’t afford the actual rings. 40 years later, they’re still married (although my Dad did eventually get my Mom a real ring, albeit a modest one). So I’m not someone that’s hung up at all on what some bridal magazine says you have to have in order to actually be a “bride” – up to and including the big dazzler on your third left finger.
    But some things really do matter, regardless of how much we wish they wouldn’t.
    Every single girl I know, myself included, was told growing up that if a man is too cheap to get you a ring – even a cheap ring – don’t marry him. He doesn’t value you.
    Yes, I know that’s society’s impositions on us. But society imposes on every decision we make. It doesn’t mean that it’s always invalid.
    I know that Evan brought up the example of a flat screen TV. Although I take his point well, may I respectfully disagree. What makes the case of the engagement different from a flat screen TV is that, well, it IS different. It’s marriage. It should be different.
    If a man asked me to be his wife but didn’t want to give me a ring, I’ll admit that I would be very hurt. I WOULD think that he doesn’t think I’m worth it. It WOULD make me re-think marrying him. This is because, like a lot of women, I view a ring as part of the overall commitment of marriage.
    Men put rings on the fingers of the women they want to be with forever. Women bear the children of the men they love. Should these things change? I don’t know. Will these things ever change? I doubt it.
    I don’t need or want a big fancy rock. Modest and understated is perfectly fine. I don’t expect diamonds or precious gems. A pretty little $99 band for an engagement ring would be just fine with me. Anything would be better than nothing.
    Yes, I know there is expense involved for the guy. But there are ways to minimize it so that it’s affordable. And, like everything else, if it’s important, we’ll find a way to make it happen.
    The message that would get sent that I’m not important enough to sacrifice and save for a ring would personally be too painful for me to bear.
    Like I said, I get where Evan is coming from. I just see it differently. As a woman, I want a modest ring from my man. And I want HIM to want to give ME one. Even if that means we have to wait a little bit longer to get it, and even if it’s a K-Mart special.
    Just my two cents. People are welcome to disagree with me!  ????

  3. Well said! One wonders if he will balk at a wedding ring also.

  4. Hi Lolita, why don’t you exchange $99 bands with your future husband when you get married?  That seems fair to me, and it neither party has a duty to the other that is based on gender alone.

  5. Skaramouche

    I agree, ScottH.  Kelly, I was on your side about wanting a ring.  We’re girls…we like engagement rings :).  That was until I read this:
    >> And I’m left wondering: should the man have to buy an engagement ring if his girlfriend wants it, or should he tell her his budget and if she wants something beyond his means she can pay half?
    Pay half?  Then why not just buy a ring yourself and wear it on the appropriate finger?  At least for me, my joy in my ring comes from the fact that my husband bought it for me.  I’m fairly certain he would have found it insulting if I had offered to pay for part of it.  It would have been an indication that what he could afford/was willing to buy was not good enough for me.  I simply told him what cut I preferred, he shopped for the diamond entirely on his own.  Even if it had been another stone I would have been happy.
    Is it that he actually doesn’t want to buy a ring at all or is it the price/size of the ring that’s the problem?  I wonder whether you’d be happy with a stone other than diamond, or no stone at all as long as you get a ring.  If so, I’m still on your side.  However, I have trouble imagining a man who would refuse to buy a woman a token that claims her as his, especially if it’s so important to her.  Of course, he might be against the concept of rings in general but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  6. yes, it’s a double standard that the only way it can be eliminated is by equality. Either no one gets anything ( aka no ring), either they both get engagement gifts for eachother. I’ve always felt a nice watch of an equal economic value as the ring (in your case 5000$) would be a nice engagement gift for a guy. You could also engrave it. Equality means reciprocity. Don’t do to other that you won’t want others do to you. Want a gift? Give a gift. It’s a two way street. You can’t choose to be equl only when it suits you.

  7. Well I understand that wife (or her family) pays for the wedding. So there is your “gift”. A big wedding easily will dwarf the cost of the engagement ring.

  8. That doesn’t always happen the second time around.

  9. Stacy2, the wife’s family typically doesn’t pay for the wedding anymore.  The higher earning spouse covers the majority of the expenses (we know who that is going to be).  Plus, most men don’t care about the weddings.  That’s mainly for the bride, too, these days.

  10. Not Stacy/Troll

    Actually you’d be suprised how many well established couples in the 30s are still having their weddings paid for by the bride’s parents. Particularly if they are well off and planning 50K or more wedding. They may see it as a chance to show off.
    I agree about the unfairness of the practice of the man giving an engagement ring, and when you think about where it came from — signaling a woman was off limits when her fiance had no such similar “markings” — I scratch my head as to why the practice continues (Actually I don’t, it’s because diamond manufcaters are exceptional at selling a false dream).
    But to each his/her own ????

  11. I think for the first wedding they still do, at least in the upper middle class. I paid for mine myself because my parents didnt have any money, but most of my girlfriends come from affluent backgrounds and had their “wedding funds” set aside by their parents. For the second wedding I think that doesn’t happen and this is why I think the engagement ring should probably not be that important either. All this fluff like dresses and rings and weddings are for kids in their 20ies. When you are divorced and in your 30ies its time to grow up and focus on important things.

  12. GoWithTheFlow

    Neither I or the in-laws paid for my son/their daughter’s wedding. I offered to pay the bar tab, but neither of them asked, and they were both mid 20s.  I will do the same for the younger two kids, offer an equitable amount of money as a wedding gift to do with as they wish, but I’m not footing a 30k-50k shindig.  I’ll put every dollar possible I can towards their college education, but parties are on them.

  13. That could be the case, but most couples I’ve met end up splitting the cost of the wedding because the wedding is for both him and her, while the engagement ring is more hers than his. Ultimately I think a couple should discuss it together and whatever works for them is the right solution, but I’ve heard a lot of men complaining about having to buy the ring and I find that to be pointless. Instead of trying to persuade someone to renounce an idea it would be much more easy to convince them to accept a new idea and start a new custom of engagement gift for men in the era of equality. That way everyone is giving something, everyone is getting something, the man doesn’t feel bad like losing something and the woman wouldn’t feel bad for wanting something – everyone is happy with no headaches as an engagement should be. But that again is just my personal humble opinion.

  14. This is such a bizarre issue. You have been married before, have you not gotten it out of your system yet and learned that a ring doesnt guarantee shit? My ex bought me a humongous ring (which i later sold and used for a downpayment lol) and turned out to be a horrible husband. Reuse your first marriage ring (you did keep it, right ?) or just buy your own if that’s so important. if you got a good guy it’s all that matters. Plus, $5,000 range rings are garbage anyway, they are not worth anything on resale, these are low quality diamonds. It would pain me to throw money away like that.

  15. Hi Stacy2,
    I am curious, if 5,000 is cheap, what is a the price for a high quality ring? How does one know the difference?
    …   …   …
    For what it is worth, it is sad that no one acknowledges what you stated in this post, but people will only focus on what they want.
     
    I love all your post, I love everyone’s post. You don’t have a secret agenda, you are just saying how you feel about the subjects.
     
    I try not to take sides, but I hope that you will continue to contribute to this blog, as you or maybe it was Stacy 1 that said, you know that sometimes your passion is mistaken for venom, but I don’t see it that way.
     
    Though no one cares what I what I think (^_^).

  16. Adrian, you basically have to know diamonds to know what a good ring is, and you need to understand their pricing. Diamonds are graded on a variety of factors (clarity, color, carat weight) and you could buy wholesale price sheets called Rapaport guide to get a sense of wholesale prices. Generally, stones that go into “mall jewelry” are very low quality however they’re ridiculously overpriced compared to their real worth. Take a $3,000 ring from the mall to a dealer and you are lucky to get quoted $300 for it (I am not joking). Also, regardless of quality, all small diamonds below 2ct (in one piece) are not worth much and will resell for a fraction of their appraisal, and at a steep discount to Rapaport. Personally, I view almost every significant purchase as an investment and would never blow several thousand dollars on a mall ring, but that’s just me.

  17. SparklingEmerald

    Hi Adrian – First of all, I appreciate your thoughts !
    Second of all, if I ever were to get an engagement ring, “going steady” ring, or buy a ring for myself just for fun, it would be ANYTHING but a diamond.  I can’t stand the whole diamond industry, their marketing and the whole blood diamond thing.
    DeBeers has polluted the emotional, affectionate, loving side of engagements and marriage, and has made it just one more “keeping up with Jones”.  And when I hear people say they can’t “afford” to get married, they really mean they can’t save up for a fancy wedding, heck if they are already living together, perhaps even have children, what is there to “afford” about getting marriage except an over priced gala event.
    As far I’m concerned, the marketers can lecture us all on the 4C’s and how to tell the “worth” of a diamond, and how it is an “investment”, but it is certainly not a financial investment, but is probably a sentimental one.
    I just don’t think ANY ring (engagement, cocktail, mother’s ring) is intrinsically worth more than 2 grand, and that’s on the HIGH side.  I would be happy with a 2 birthstone “promise” ring if it was given willingly and enthusiastically as a gift from someone who ENJOYED giving it to me, but the crown jewels of England wouldn’t mean a damn thing to me, if I had to ask for them, and they became a point of contention.
    So when I hear that a diamond is “worth” $10,000 because of it’s cut, color and clarity, etc., I’m just not buying it.  (literally or metaphorically).
    I can understand wanting a ring for SENTIMENTAL reasons (much like a mother would like to receive flowers from her children), but in my opinion gifts such as these derive their value from the sentiments between the giver and the person receiving the gift, NOT what the sellers of the gifts say they are worth, and not what people outside of the relationship say they are worth or what they mean.
    The whole 2.5 months salary thing makes me BARF as does the ad slogan I saw that said “Starting your marriage, shouldn’t she wear a symbol of your success ?”.  I thought that ad was so tacky.  The wedding band and/or engagement ring shouldn’t symbolize anything but the bond between the couple.
    I recently attended the wedding of one of my friend’s children.  It was held in their beautiful back  yard, tacos were served, the bride wore an embroidered cotton white dress, the bridesmaids wore sun dresses that they will be able to wear again.  It was one of the most beautiful weddings I went to because the bride and groom were so blatantly head over heels for each other.  If the couple isn’t in love, no lavish royalty-esque wedding will fix that.  If they truly love and are devoted to each other a back yard BBQ and dollar store decorations won’t diminish that.
    I can’t stand the whole wedding industry, because they have brainwashed to many people to focus on the first day of the marriage, instead of the marriage itself.
     
     

  18. cheryl perry

    Reusing a ring that another man gave you is a horrible idea…..better to have no ring than to have your future husband put the ring that your ex husband gave you on your finger..its like bringing your past relationship into your current relationship…smh

  19. I am currently in the same situation with my girlfriend (we’ve been together a little over a year now). She’s wonderful to me (as I am to her) and we always enjoy each others company. We’ve both hinted at marriage and have had a lot of ‘future plans’ discussions so we’re in alignment. Sure, we’ve had some disagreements (‘arguments’ she calls them) but we both always work to compromise with a willingness to understand each other as best we can. It’s really refreshing actually. Except .. this issue. She has clearly expressed the desire for a ring and I’m not adverse to it (we have yet to reach an agreeable “months of salary” number though .. [eye-roll]).
    However, times have changed .. a lot. We both have done very well in our careers though she makes a bit more than me (~20K) but her position requires a bit of travel (while mine doesn’t) and more stress so kinda makes sense. We split a lot of expenses (about 65/35) for our vacations but I’m ok with that too.  I understand her desire for a traditional “demonstration of value” trinket and attempted to get her to apply a logical comparison (just as Evan did) but her response was .. you guessed it .. “That’s different!”.  At times I am tempted to call out the hypocrisy of her cherry-picking what traditional elements she has let go (which represent obligations) and those she still clings to (which represent benefits) but I suspect that would not be constructive. So, negotiations continue ..

  20. Tell her to go buy a ring with the money she’s saved on the vacations you’ve had together despite her making more than you.  65/35??  I can’t relate to this kind of sense of entitlement.

  21. LOL .. that response wouldn’t go over well either. I cut her a lot of slack because, while she maintains a hint of “Princess” in her demeanor, her mind think is very much not entitled .. a very refreshing change from virtually every other women I’ve ever had a dalliance with, as well as many of the comments I see here. As a grown man, it’s fascinating to see such a near consistent inability (or unwillingness) to genuinely apply the reverse-scenario that Evan suggests. Just too logical I guess. And whenever the reactive “That’s not the same!” response is used, it just appears shallow and myopic (and maybe a little entitled). I’m so glad I finally found a woman so different from the rest. Now I just keep coming back here for the entertainment value, contribute useful nuggets of perspective when I can, and to remind myself how lucky I am.

  22. Evan Marc Katz

    For what it’s worth, I gave my wife my Mom’s engagement ring and paid for most of the wedding myself. To do both would have been cost-prohibitive.

  23. “it’s fascinating to see such a near consistent inability (or unwillingness) to genuinely apply the reverse-scenario that Evan suggests”
     
    It’s called solipsism, the inability to see things from any perspective save for one’s own.
    Most women I’ve encountered, and it sounds like this is the case for you as well, display it in spades.

  24. Solipsism is due to emotional immaturity, lack of introspection, and an inability to empathize. It’s not a gender issue. The best examples of solipsism can be seen on any MGTOW blog.

  25. McLovin’, have you noticed that, even for the women who would prefer not to have a man buy them a ring or pay for dates, their reasoning for such a stance is still commonly rooted in their own self-interests without regard for reciprocity?  It’s common to hear statements like:
     
    “I don’t want a man to buy me a ring because it signifies ‘ownership’” 
     
    “I would rather pay my own way because a man will feel like I owe him something – mainly sex – if he pays for me.”
     
    No, it’s not the Golden Rule that is driving their decisions, it’s still “what’s best for them”.  It really is stranger than fiction.

  26. Chance –
    1. First of all, why wouldn’t we base things off of our personal needs and what’s best for us? Do you not do that? If not, you really should, you should make sure to take care of yourself before anyone else. That doesn’t of course mean you can’t take care of others, but you’re no good to anyone if you aren’t caring for yourself. Also it makes you vulnerable to people taking advantage of you. You gotta know your boundaries, you gotta know what you need from a partner, and you gotta be strong and stand up for those things. I mean, yes, after all that is taken care of be generous and kind and loving to others. But you can’t be any of those things if you’re being walked all over.
    2. I do note you quote my statement about ownership, but my lengthy explanation about how I find De Beers manipulating men into spending 3 months of their salary totally disgusting you neglected to mention. Like dude I actually did think about how the tradition affects men in my post, but I guess that was inconvenient to you?
    3. Also you neglected to mention that the only reason I’m gonna be doing an engagement ring at all is because that’s what my boyfriend wants. HE wants it. So I’M compromising for HIM, so that he can have his romantic moment. I would much prefer not having one. But I understand how important it is for him. Look at me, putting his needs first. Also inconvenient to your point I do realise that.

  27. Ok Chance,
    “No, it’s not the Golden Rule that is driving their decisions, it’s still “what’s best for them”.  It really is stranger than fiction”.
    I find it interesting that you’re addressing this to McLovin, since he makes no secret about gaming women. Isn’t his “game” about what’s best for him and him alone? The fact that he has to lie, manipulative, and deceive to get what he wants, with absolutely no concern about how it affects those women for making the mistake of trusting him. Is the golden rule only in place where women’s behavior is concerned? How utterly hypocritical.

  28. @Callie – I didn’t read your original comment.  My comment was a general one, and not in response to anyone here.  However, I suppose you’ve provided one more example, and therefore, you kind of proved my point.
     
    @KK – I do not condone gaming or manipulating anyone.  Please, no more guilt by association.

  29. For what it’s worth, Chance, I wasn’t accusing you of being like him. Like I said, I just thought it was odd you would ask a hypocrite to weigh in on others’ hypocrisy. We can all predict his response.

  30. How exactly did I prove your point? Did you not actually read what I wrote just now to you?  I listed two different ways in which I was talking about men’s feelings first. Two out of the three, were about men. Is it that I need to ONLY care about what men want and ever caring about myself shows that women are selfish creatures?

  31. I just read all of comments. Mostly i have seen comments where everyone wants to save on weddings as much as possible. Some of you said- women has to buy engament ring herself. Some split price. Some thinking about ring as not important. What the hell. What the hell u guys have in your brain? Seriously…… women gives kids and care for house. She can work herself to build the house…. so basicaly she marry to give You, you man, kids. In my opinion, i will give kids to real man- who apprechiate me, respect me and know my needs and values. Obviously it will be man who will not care how much ring cost….. because he will know that it shows he cares for me and he wants everyone show im his. With such man i will feel secure, wanted and i will know he will take care for ours kids and well being. Obviously i would never marry with man who wiulf ask me split price, offer me no ring, it will show how much he ignores me and my values. I would call this guy a loser without capacity of thinking about women. Rich or poor…. everyone who wants finds way to buy ring- symbol of marriage, losers!

  32. Ha, AAORK, are you the same guy who sympathized with McLovin on another thread over reading the comments here as a way of assuaging your conscience after gaming entitled women?:) Because there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between that sentiment and what you’re willing to put up with here, even if your girlfriend is, overall, a good person. 65/35 isn’t cool dude, not when she makes more than you.

  33. Yep same guy. But you are recalling a modified version of that conversation. It wasn’t “gaming entitled women”, it was simply gaming women .. who happen to have entitlement mentalities. Knowing game as I do, I learned that these types of women have a special weakness that can be exploited (“Petting the Snowflake” as I called it). That’s all. At the time, I was simply incentivized by the opportunities presented when unrestrained hypergamy intersects with narcissistic entitlement. And from what I can see around me, it’s even more common today than existed back when I was running with the big dogs.  And many men younger than me are partaking today just as I did back then. Hell, today they have access to a lot more information than I did. Spoiled kids don’t know good they got it.
    So there’s no disconnect with “what I’m willing to put up with” now; simply a shift in priorities. The special attributes that I extend to my GF today (tolerance, acceptance, patience, consideration, and compromise) is what I promised myself to extend to the woman who sets herself apart from the rest. I’m not some hard-ass (but admittedly still a bit arrogant). And having seen so much, I know a good (special) woman when I see one. They are rare. BTW, she only makes 10% more than me so it’s not a big deal. Fact is, I could match or exceed but my priorities have shifted to a more balanced work/life focus. She’s a bit younger so I’ll let her do this while she still has the go-go energy for it. At some point, she’ll slow down like I did.
    And yes, this blog IS good therapy of sorts for guys like me (for Evan as well, I suspect) even though sometimes I wanna scream at the monitor at some of the supremely solipsistic responses I see here. But at the same time, why let little nuggets of wisdom and insight go to waste for those who just MIGHT be ready to be enlightened a little bit? ????

  34. Ha, I’ll say that guys must share the responsibility for the existence of these types of women, though.  This is partially due to the man’s inability/unwillingness to regulate his hormones and partially due to not understanding how to respond to the shaming tactics.  The end result is you have a lot of women who display a sense of entitlement that is nothing short of mind-detonating.
     
    That said, there are some positive comments from women on here that reinforce my faith in humanity.  We should be rewarding these types instead of blindly following our biological imperatives.
     
    ….unless you’re a millennial guy, then just stay away altogether.  In addition to the outrageous ring and (likely) having the foot the bill for a wedding you don’t really care about, you can look forward to one-way Valentine’s Day gifts, one-way anniversary gifts, push gifts, babymoons, and whatever else your wife and her friends can concoct.  WT flying F????

  35. Disagree, Chance. Men are no more responsible for women’s actions than women are for men’s actions. The entitlement complex is a distinctly Westernized cultural attribute. I can confidently say this because I’ve been involved with women from all parts (S American, Asian, E European and Middle East cultures as well as Western). The horny-dog attitude is universal among men. It’s a core biological driver, but is tempered to a greater or lessor extent by cultural influences. Men from S Americas and parts of Europe are unabashed in advertising their “intentions”, much more than most any American man (and witnessing this raw display for the first time can be a real shock-and-awe experience). And in these same cultures, you do not see a corresponding entitlement attitude from the women. While I would agree that men’s “hormone” factor can be an incentivizer to women’s entitlement attitude, it’s not a root cause. It’s cultural.
    I would agree that some women’s comments here display a more realistic viewpoint and these are the ones who will have better overall success with relationships. These are the women who can be helped. As for the others, this is where the entertainment value kicks in. I’m not the kind of guy to go around telling other guys to “stay away”; instead, I preach “proceed with caution” and “expand your horizons beyond the pond you were born in”.

  36. Given the information provided, I definitely don’t think him not wanting to get you a ring is any reflection on his desire (or lack thereof) to want to marry you, so you can scratch that off your list of concerns in my humble opinion. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an engagement ring if you want one.
    Have a discussion with him – and drill down. Why, exactly, do you want an engagement ring? Why, exactly, doesn’t he want to buy you an engagement ring? Perhaps you could choose it together and split the cost. Perhaps you can get something much more economical than $5000. (Doesn’t matter how much money he makes – $5000 is $5000 he might not want to spend on a ring.) Come up with a compromise you can both be happy with.
    For me, personally, this is an easy one – I don’t want an engagement ring. I don’t want a wedding band either. I want something unique, symbolic and special to go on ‘that’ finger that my fiancé and I either pick out together or have especially designed – and I get it on my wedding day. I don’t want to be limited to the engagement ring / wedding band combo, I don’t want to spend too much money, and I don’t care about diamonds. But that’s just me. I have to take my partner into consideration. He HE wants me to wear a traditional engagement ring / wedding band combo, well, that’s fine. But I’d say 9 times out of 10, men buy women engagement rings because that’s what SHE wants – and he wants to make her happy. He, on the other hand, is indifferent about it. But I do believe he genuinely wants to get married.

  37. I agree with Scott H. An engagement ring is one of those things women get excited about because of what it symbolizes. How terrible would she feel when she’s around her married or engaged friends and she’s the only one without a ring. It’s kinda like being the only kid that doesn’t get to have ice cream or go on the field trip.

  38. But women are not kids…and unlike school kids who compare ice cream cones, grown women should be able to appreciate the diversity of different people and different circumstances.  Her married or engaged friends should all have respect for the different circumstances of different people, including but not limited to different financial circumstances.  But, there are 40 dollar rings with cubic zirconia that will do the trick, if it’s just the symbol of the ring that’s wanted.

  39. I didn’t mean to imply that women are children. It was just the first analogy that popped in my head when trying to empathize with someone who really wants something and doesn’t want to feel left out. I agreed with what Scott said about a less expensive ring (if cost is the issue) and I agree with you as well. Hopefully she will talk it out with her boyfriend and end up with the ring she wants or a CZ that’s just as meaningful.

  40. bellamytree

    I’m feeling it. I’d want a ring too. Not necessarily a big one either, as long as it’s meaningful to us as a couple.  But as a divorcee, the one thing I cannot imagine ever doing is getting a ring tattoo for a new relationship.  However secure I felt.  Life happens.  It’s bad enough having to untangle the finances and household goods. Right now, I couldn’t face going through that again. But having to get a tat removed as well? I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t go there.  Imagine if one of you dies – and then wants to remarry and new partner has to deal with a tattoo’d ring.  Just no.
    However, is it possible that he feels that ring tattoos symbolise something more permanent than a mere finger trinket? Ask him – what’s important to you about a ring tattoo?  And ask him if you could tell him what’s important to you about a ring.

  41. Bravo Scott, for your answer.
    As a woman, who wants to find Mr Right, I agree.  Men look at the left hand to know if she’s available.  Women look at a man’s hand for a band too.
    Having done it before,  I can honestly say, I won’t marry the next one if he doesn’t think I’m worth a nice engagement ring.
    In the past, I did,  and it seems to be an indicator of future worth.
    And regardless of his past gold digging wife, this is a new wife and marriage.  She deserves the same chance.

  42. I totally believe a guy can be fully on board with the commitment without the ring. Even a “frugal” wedding is going to cost a fortune, unless it’s a jp and backyard barbecue – don’t judge. Personally, I agree that the tattoo ring isn’t my preference. But, I would accept almost anything sentimentally representative and I would LOVE for it to have been thoughtfully and creatively obtained by my partner. But, whatever. It’s not my priority. I’m guessing this guy has already made some significant sacrifices to pay for the wedding. Any wedding is expensive. If I was feeling that kind of anxiety about making him buy me something, I would rethink what my actual need was and work with that first. Children are incredibly expensive, too. Brace yourself.

  43. I completely agree with Evan on this one. And honestly, just because a woman doesn’t have a ring doesn’t mean she’s fair game. Men don’t wear rings and they aren’t always fair game. The fact that he doesn’t want to get a ring has nothing to do with what kind of partner he is to her and his investment in their future.

  44. Think of it this way, you are going to have to look at your ring every day for the rest of your life. Don’t you want it to be high quality, classy, and something you can be proud of? You might die with it on your figure. You might want to pass it down to your daughter. It’s significant. And sorry, Evan, it’s not the same as a television.
    There’s nothing unreasonable about wanting your prospective fiance to buy you a ring. If it’s a cost issue, tally up all your wedding related expenses. A $3500 ring will just be portion of the overall budget, and the woman can certainly pay her share of the rest of the budget so all things will be equal on the whole.
     

  45. What percentage of the overall budget do you think a $3500 ring is going to be? Would one expect a lavish wedding the second time?

  46. I really enjoyed Evan’s reversal of the situation.  It really does demonstrate a good point.  I’m not gonna say I don’t want a ring, because of course I do, however, I’ve realized that while I’d love a Tiffany engagement ring, I will take whatever he gives me because I feel that the love behind it means more than the ring itself.  I have had some very sentimental and valuable jewelry stolen from me so I have learned (the hard way) not to put so much emphasis on the item but rather to cherish the love and sentiments with which it is given.  I would much rather spend the money from an expensive ring on our home or doing something together than something that sits on my finger that really only means something to me.

  47. If you make a lot of money and you have money to waste. Sure, why not get a 5k ring. Otherwise what a waste of money. Go put a down payment on a house or take a nice memorable vacation or something. Better yet place it in a retirement fund.
    The technology to make diamonds are getting better and better. each year So much so that diamond rings are going to be worthless in a few decades. And the diamond industry is trying to introduce ‘natural’ diamonds as a marketing gimmick. I’m sure those who love those rings will soak it up.
    We all know the story of how diamond engagements came to be.(Total marketing gimmick.) But women STILL can’t resist it. It’s one of those things men just won’t understand.

  48. Karmic Equation

    My exhubby bought we an engagement right for about $2k. You can see the flaw in it if you look closely. From regular distance, you cannot see it. I didn’t care that it had a flaw. It was the thought that counts. I really hate wearing expensive things anyway. I bought a pair of “Easy Spirit” high heels when I was in my 20s for about $100. It was my most expensive purchase at the time. I wore it only once. lol.
    Had by fiance given me a $5k or $10k rock, I would probably have just left it off my finger and kept it “safe” in my jewelry box. I remember I was so paranoid with my $2k ring, that I used to turn the rock side into my palm when I was walking down the street. But I guess most women aren’t paranoid like that about wearing expensive jewelry ????
    Anyway, I think engagement rings are just another form of social comparison for women who won’t admit they’re competing with other women. She wants to show that she has someone who “values her enough” to want to marry her.
    I don’t really think I would care if my current bf were to buy me an engagement ring or not should he ever propose. That said, I remember that I valued being ENGAGED more than I valued being MARRIED. And the only reason I married was because my fiance wanted children and I didn’t want to have them out of wedlock. I would have been happy to have stayed “engaged” forever if it weren’t for that. I thought planning the wedding was a lot of work and didn’t really want to do it.
    Now that I’m past my childbearing years, and my bf is self-employed with a very successful, niche, but manual-labor intensive business (which keeps him in great shape, yay!) — if we were to get engaged, I’m not sure that I would need the engagement ring. We’d probably just have a short engagement and get married quickly so that he can get my employer-subsidized healthcare benefits. But I’d probably want a blingy wedding band. As would he, as he does like rings.
    If I’d never been married before, I’d probably want that “social comparison” engagement ring. But having been there/done that, I’d be happy with a bejeweled wedding band instead ????
    Maybe that can be the compromise for OP?
     

  49. I laughed at your “Easy Spirit” heels comment. I had a pair of those in my early 20’s also. Too funny.

  50. Karmic Equation

    LOL. They were very comfortable.
    I’m still like that with most shoes. I’d rather by “cheap” shoes than expensive ones. Except my Ugg boots. I wear those almost the entire winter. I probably need a new pair, but have been reluctant to another pair, since this pair is so comfortable.

  51. Karmic, you nailed it with the comment “engagement rings are just another form of social comparison for women who won’t admit they’re competing with other women“. This craving for external social validation, which originates from persistent internal self-esteem issues, is such a common attribute seen in far too many women today. And I firmly believe that the widespread social media addiction (FB and Instagram selfies – Yuk!) of these same women just aggravates the issue.

  52. Karmic Equation

    AAORK, I guess you proposed to the girl who broke up with you? Congrats! (Unless I’m confusing you with someone else; in which case, sorry for the confusion.)
    Well, just like marriage seems like a Holy Grail to women who’ve never been married, I can understand a never-been-married woman wanting an engagement ring. It certainly meant a lot to me when I got mine in my late 20s, so I can’t really knock never-been-married women wanting that symbol. I would only question if that woman “required” a ring that was worth “several months’” salary. That seems very entitled. To have a ring symbolize a woman’s value to her future husband seems, at the very least, seems as if the woman is objectifying herself, by setting a dollar value on herself.
    Since OP has been married before, I don’t really understand her need for an engagement ring if her fiance is against it. As many others have said, she needs to do some introspection and also to have a conversation with her fiance on why HE doesn’t want to buy her a ring.
    If he can’t articulate a reason she can buy into (e.g., he’d rather save the 5k to put a downpayment on a house or to help pay for a honeymoon vs “my ex cheated so now I don’t want to give anything of value to any woman, not even you”) — then I’d say the that OP has more important things to worry about in her relationship than the ring itself.

  53.  
     
    I am going to have to disagree with what was written by Evan.  But, I think Scott has it more accurately stated.  I am also going to go on a limb and say that he is not the right person for her.  Heres how I think that might be what she should be told.  Although, we’re all reading into the message that she provided.  1)  The guy is not 18.  He has been married before.  He knows that Most women expect some sort of ring on this occasion.  2)  A guy that was really into you would have moved past his ex experiences and not have that holding hi back from this sort of non-negotiable for most women.  (MOST not necessarily all, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman that didn’t expect some sort of ring.)  3)  She was willing to pay for a part of it herself or receive a less expensive one than what she had originally thought she would like.  4)  A tv is comparable?  How about a better example.  Even in the most religious relationships, usually the wedding night spells that intimacy can be taken to another level.  What if this customary occasion was suddenly changed and the woman disagreed to doing this after the couple had been together for a couple of years?  Should the man be completely understanding this?  Would he?  It’s not that men and women are equal.   Not that men or women can be bad relationship partners, there have been enough comments on all of Evan’s posts to demonstrate this.   5)  There are plenty of women (including one of the commenters on here)  that have been with people or a man who didn’t think of things like this, that needed a conversation regarding specifics that couldn’t also think of some original idea such as what Evan did for a less expensive option.  These are men to have nothing to do with!!  I would advise the poster to think about these things before she marries the guy.  As a woman who was in a relationship with someone who turned very horrible, and the first couple of years would not have indicted that as much as you could possibly think it would, and as someone who survived through his abuse, I’ll say that it was these little things (without trying to put one situation into hers) that were the things that could have said something that I did not see or listen to it would seem.

  54. Evan Marc Katz

    Lots of words – clearly coming from a personal place. What you have elegantly missed is that the OP sounds HAPPY in her relationship. The only problem is this one thing: dude doesn’t want to spring for a ring. That’s it. You’ve turned him into a caricature – an awful, selfish, avoidant man who would be cheap and selfish and abusive. The OP doesn’t think that. I don’t think that. This is really about a single difference of opinion. The question is whether you let such a difference of opinion define the relationship or not. Some people can’t get past single issues (kids, city vs suburbs, religion, etc). But for things like this? It would be somewhat stubborn and silly for each of them to make this a dealbreaker.
    The OP knows her own feelings. I was merely pointing out that a reasonable person – who doesn’t see the same intrinsic value to a ring – may have a different take on the situation. Full stop. That doesn’t deny her feelings. It allows that – as 50% of the couple – HE is entitled to have feelings, too, about what he does with his money and how he expresses his love.
    So, while you’re entitled to your feelings as to whether YOU would be with a man who questions the practice of buying a (second) expensive bauble to signal to the world that he is in love. But you’re not entitled to deny the validity of another point of view: as HE sees it, the fact that he has moved in with her, things are going great, and they’re talking about marriage is PROBABLY a better indicator of his feelings. You may make it a character issue, but it’s not. It’s a values issue. She values the jewelry and the symbol. He doesn’t. Hopefully, they can listen, understand each other, and agree on what’s really important in a relationship.

  55. Evan Marc Katz

    Here’s another way of looking at it – without the TV part.
    Imagine you “had” to buy HIM a $5K ring to symbolize your love, and if you didn’t do it, he made you feel guilty that you didn’t really love him.
    You do realize how that sounds, right?
    Gifts should be given out of desire, not obligation. Most of us buy into our societal roles about what we are “supposed” to do, but such societal roles should still be questioned when they are disagreeable or not applicable.
    At what point is buying a fancy ring a bad idea? When he makes $25K/year? When he’s been divorced twice before? When he has college payments, alimony payments, and is underwater on his house? When is it a fair time for a man to say, “You know what? Maybe spending this money on a exorbitant symbol of love doesn’t make much practical sense – especially when I’m already feeling and demonstrating love in other ways (like living with you, proposing to you, and devoting all my energies to you)?”
    When, Sarak?
    I await your answer.

  56. My value isn’t determined by the number of carats on my finger.  I’ve always found it insulting that engaged women are branded like cattle, and their desirability is determined by how much money people are willing to spend on a racket.
     
    I have a beautiful ring I bought myself for $100 that I wear on occasions I need one.  Otherwise, neither of us do as in our professions we could lose some digits.  And even if I didn’t work in a dangerous profession, I find rings generally annoying and unwieldy.  Always getting caught and never fitting right as I have very petite fingers (3.5 or 4).
     
    I fully admit I am quite abnormal in this way, but much more sensible in the long run to keep all our fingers.

  57. GoWithTheFlow

    KE,
    When reading through the post, I could see where it was important to Kelly to want an engagement ring for sentimental/tradition purposes, but she lost me when she popped out with the $5,ooo price tag.  That’s a big chunk of moola, regardless of whether or not her fiancé makes $100k a year.
    When I was a teen or in my early 20s, it was a fantasy of mine to have a big ring and a big wedding.  As I got older and began working and paying my own way through life, my desire for a big rock on my hand or a huge shindig of a wedding went away because of cost issues when I learned how hard I work for a dollar and realized that people were running up huge debt to fund the DeBeer’s ring/Vera Wang dress fantasy.  I would rather be able to send my kids to college and retire at a decent age than spend that kind of money on a ring or party.
    I am old enough to have seen first hand that the size of the ring has no bearing on how a husband views or treats his wife.  My friend who bought both her’s and her husband’s plain gold wedding bands is treated like queen by her hubby of 25 years.  While a friend who had a huge diamond engagement ring (that was upgraded several times) had a husband who cheated on her for several years before they divorced.  Another long married couple I know bought each other engagement and wedding rings of comparable value that were within a low budget range.
    Plus, I just don’t have fingers that work well with rings, they slide off easily.  So on the rare occasions where I bust one of my inherited rings out of the safe, I’m always paranoid I will lose it!  If I were to ever to get married, a plain gold band is all I would want.

  58. I know I’m in the minority but honestly I do not like engagement rings unless both people in the couple wear them.  I don’t want to participate in a custom that says that I’m off the market yet views him as still technically available.  If he doesn’t want to wear an engagement ring that’s totally ok with me and I’ll just wait to wear a ring until we exchange wedding bands.

  59. My experience:
    I have been married twice, both during my 30’s, and was given a beautiful diamond ring by each fiance. I would have been hurt, devastated if either man had not given me an engagement ring. I am not a precious or entitled woman.
    My first baby was born the year after my 2nd wedding, and was a big shock to my career-woman system. For me it was hard to be at home alone with a new baby all week. Every time I changed a dirty nappy/diaper, I saw the sparkly ring, and thought of my lovely husband, who was away at work, and had of his own accord given me this ring in his hallmark generous way.
    If the ring had been gifted only after tense negotiations over what I wanted him to spend, or under duress, it would not have felt the same. He researched and chose it, put a lot of effort into learning about diamonds. I don’t know what it cost. I’d have preferred a cheaper ring than to contribute to the cost of it, because I like that it was from him to me, and a symbol of our future together. And realistically because we pool our money and assets, what it cost him, matters less; it ended up coming out of “our” money anyway in the end.
    When I look at the sparkles I smile and feel good and feel special to him. Every time.
    With the stress of young children our marriage has had its ups and downs, and for me the ring has symbolised my husband’s  love for me. I just asked my hubby what it means for him and he said, “a symbol of commitment and long term love, and a ginormous sign that other men should stay away, and as traditionally it’s a percentage of my income, I’m declaring my worth”.
    I have a friend, she and her fiance went shopping together. When the salesman asked her fiance what he wanted to spend, her fiance stated an amount that was equivalent to about 2 days pay for him. I must say I found that odd, a bit clueless almost, like he didn’t know the baseline for spending on an engagement ring.  She and he had both been married before. He was a reasonably high income earner (as was she) and didn’t have debt, they were both established with assets. To this day she wears the ring and she is embarrassed by it (the diamond is almost too small to see with the naked eye). She is a lovely person and would never have discussed this with him, but she was really hurt and felt devalued.
    In Western countries, in these times, it’s a social norm to give your fiancee a diamond engagement ring. I think not doing so means something important. (It’s not a social norm to gift a TV. If it was, most women would give their intended a TV.) Thus this is an issue they should calmly discuss.
    Often, emotions and symbolism, aren’t logical.

  60. Kevin Scott

    Ahh…u forgot the part about u getting divorced and how that ring no longer meant anything lol

  61. Kevin @ 16.1,
    getting divorced doesn’t equal a ring not meaning anything.
    Things that happen in relationships that end, still have worth.
     
     

  62. So I take it you really value jewelry a lot.

  63. She needs to get over it.
    It’s an ENGAGEMENT RING not a WEDDING BAND.
    Those are two different things.
    The engagement is to show off he asked.
    The wedding band a symbol of the commitment.
    Which is more important you tell me.
    I propose she let it go. .. she’s been married before. If she doesn’t get by now that men want to marry her and if others can’t see that, shame on them.
    Find out another flashy (inexpensive)  way to announce the engagement and keep it moving.
    What she does need to do is ask him to go shopping together for wedding bands. Find one that is satisfies your need for flashy, but still affordable and go with that.
    If anyone asks about an engagement ring tell them since you were both married before you opted not to get one this time but you will both buy beautiful wedding bands to symbols your love for each other. Then end the conversation cuz it’s none of their business.
    Question, how often did any of you wear your engagement ring as opposed to your wedding band once you were actually married?
    I’d venture to guess rarely if not at all.

  64. Lola, “Question, how often did any of you wear your engagement ring as opposed to your wedding band once you were actually married? I’d venture to guess rarely if not at all”.
    Some engagement rings can be bought as a set with a matching wedding band. I chose to have the two sautered together after the wedding. It’s actually somewhat common.

  65. KK – “Some engagement rings can be bought as a set with a matching wedding band. I chose to have the two sautered together after the wedding. It’s actually somewhat common.”
    Somewhat common but not necessary…
    At that as common as it is many women forgo wearing their engagement rings especially after years of marriage.
    This was posted on The Knot:
    https://www.theknot.com/content/whats-the-wedding-ring-etiquette
    “Though there’s not necessarily a correct way to do it, most married folks wear their wedding rings at all times (with or without their engagement ring). After all, it’s a symbol of your love, devotion and, well, the fact that you’re no longer engaged—you’re married!”

  66. Once you’re married, tradition dictates that your engagement ring be moved back to the third finger on your left hand. When you do so, your wedding ring should remain closest to your heart (where your spouse placed it on your wedding day) and your engagement ring is placed next to the wedding ring.
    This is the tradition that I’m familiar with, but to each his own.???? I’ve honestly never heard of anyone putting away their engagement ring after marriage.

  67. For me, the size or cost of the engagement ring has never been important to me, it’s the sentimental value behind it. If it were me I would tell him that having and wearing a ring was important to me, tell him my preferences, and then leave it to him to buy what he wanted with that information.
     
    Of course if he never buys a ring, which would be odd I would admit, I’d have an honest conversation with him about it about what his objections to the symbol are. If I really, really wanted the relationship and to be married to him, and he did not buy a ring, I’d buy one for myself.

  68. Isobel Matheson

    When I saw the strapline, I assumed this was from an 18 year old, and  have to admit I was taken aback to read that is not the case.
    Before opening up the full text, I had already prepared my take on it, along the lines of “marriage is more than a symbol/compromise is key/when you’ve lived a bit you’ll find out/spend the money on real stuff” etc, etc. I’m not sure my thoughts about it have changed since reading the whole piece but, my advice might have. If you are both divorced, surely to goodness you can understand what makes a marriage? I mean, even if your start point is what doesn’t make a good marriage it can inform you (albeit from a negative place).
    He is free to spend his money how he likes, and we can only hope he ‘likes’ to spend some of it on her. She is free to spend hers, too, and I assume she ‘likes’ to spend on him. Making demands on either party is not a good start to a life together.
    Assuming your new partner is going to behave like an ex partner is not a good start to a life together. Whichever one of you is bringing the ex wife into this needs to drop it, and fast.
    Using objects as an indication of how much you are loved is not a good start to a life together. Much will happen in future that has nothing to do with material goods, and it is important that the security and worth of the marriage is found deep within, and between, the couple. When/if you have kids, you’ll see what I mean hahaha!
    Failing to explore your intentions (not the other person’s) before opening your mouth is not a good start to a life together. What is this really about? Why does it matter that you have a ring? How about exploring the wider context of marriage, its history/socio-politico-economic role? Rings have not evolved through a romantic notion but, out of ownership and property – women were a mans property and the ring made that clear (women still are men’s property in some parts of the world).  His ‘purchase’ of her was symbolised in the ring. Just sayin’….
    IMHO, you really need to take the focus off the ring and put some energy into thinking about your relationship over the long term, hopefully how you create a life together. It doesn’t feel as if this is a good start to a life together but, I think I’ve already said that a few times.
    Buy each other a ring. Or don’t buy a ring at all. Either way, this is not about the ring.

  69. To those who claim that the ring is a symbol of his love for her, what is the symbol of her love for him?  If his symbol is so important to her, has she asked herself the question of whether she should give him such a symbol?  Or would she be offended if he required such a symbol, since he is supposed to love her for who she IS, not for trinkets she gives him?
     
    Men don’t generally want gifts from women.  We don’t want fancy watches or rings in exchange for the fancy rings that we buy for women.  When we are lonely, we think of our WIVES/girlfriends and the thought of them makes us happy.  We don’t need symbols, we don’t demand gifts, and we don’t set our personal concept of “value” based on the price-tag of the gifts we receive.  That women do so is completely foreign to most of us.
     
    A question to those women who claim that they need a sparkly ring to remember their husband’s love – how will he remember yours?  If you never gave him a gift, do you worry that he won’t value you?  Or would you expect his love/value for you to stem from who you ARE, rather than what you gave him?  Why do you so devalue yourselves, that you perceive your husband’s love based on the cost of your ring (or the fact that you have one)?  And why do you so devalue your husbands as to need to look at a sparkly ring to remember that you love them?
     
    Introspection is in order here, OP.  Why do you REALLY want this ring?  Do you doubt his love if he doesn’t buy it for you?  Or do you need a sparkly ring to show your friends?  Do you actually care WHY he doesn’t want to buy you a ring?  Or are his reasons irrelevant to your “wanting what you want”?

  70. You personally may not care about gifts, but a lot of men do care and enjoy receiving gifts. In fact, I would think that most men would enjoy receiving a rolex (or a iwatch depending on the level of geekiness) or an equivalent for an anniversary or birthday for example. Do you never exchange gifts? Has your fiancé never given you anything? Why all the fuss about this particular occasion? Doesn’t seen very logical.
    All these arguments about why do I have to buy an engagement ring or pay for dates generally stink – because they’re generally not about the money or any practical issues, and not about challenging societal norms, they are about control 
    It’s hard to explain but it seems to me on an intuitive level, that men who bring up these arguments feel that not courting a woman, not giving a traditional gift, etc. is a way to regain control over their relationships, “putting her in her place”, show her she is not that special or deserving, etc. May be this is why I always find this attitude so unattractive.
     

  71. Evan Marc Katz

    Actually, Stacy 2, YOUR argument sort of stinks, because if anyone’s trying to control things here, it’s YOU for demanding that he should want to do something he doesn’t want to do. YOU are the one who sees something nefarious (“putting her in her place”) vs. the more obvious idea that it’s disproportionately expensive and impractical for a guy who is also helping to pay for his wedding, his future house, his future kids… Stop judging others for disagreeing with you.

  72. It works both ways then, Stacy. You demanding that men deliver such gifts can also be seen as a form of control, even more so, since you’re proactively insisting that men engage in certain actions/behaviors, and then trying to mask that control as you having “standards.”

  73. Different thread, but my reply to you is the same as the last one, Stacy2…
    “I want an egalitarian relationship, now buy me an expensive sparkly thing!!!”

  74. *applause*

  75. It seems that the word “entitlement” is being badly overused in these discussions, and has come to describe any wish, preference or desire a woman may have. Want to marry your equal? Entitled. Want an engagement ring? Entitled. Want a guy to pay for dates? Entitled. Kind of reminds me of the “cool girl” monologue by Gillian Flynn. A cool girl is hot, expects or want’s nothing, never complains and likes exactly the same things as the guy does. LOL. Ladies, it’s not bad to have standards and “wants” and work to achieve them. Every guy who tells you otherwise is playing a control game and should be avoided. IMO.

  76. Evan Marc Katz

    My wife is what I call in Love U “a cool girl with boundaries.” She is hot, she doesn’t expect anything, she doesn’t complain, and we get along famously. I make her happy 95% of the time and she openly appreciates the efforts I make for her. She never asks me for money, she doesn’t covet name brands, she doesn’t keep up with the Joneses. She’s down to earth. I can be myself around her. And because she’s so extraordinary, I am over-the-top gushy about her – complimentary, affectionate, generous, sensitive. In other words, the less demanding she is, the more I WANT to give to her. And in the 5% of times that I disappoint her, she says something, I apologize and she almost always gets her way. That’s the paradigm I’m teaching here. We ALL want cool partners…and we all have the right to walk if we feel our partners are more takers than givers. Good relationships have TWO givers – they just don’t give the exact same way. See The 5 Love Languages. The OP may value gifts more than her boyfriend does. Doesn’t mean her boyfriend is “wrong”. Just means they have to both communicate their needs – without making the other person wrong – and finding a compromise that leaves both of them somewhat satisfied.

  77. I think that you and your wife are very lucky to have found each other. In my experience though, this “cool girl” attitude attracts the wrong men who are users, not givers, and the whole “entitlement” shaming is nothing more than a blame game they play to whip their partners into submission.
    I am curious though: if tomorrow you suddenly decided to quit your job and smoke weed on a couch all day, do you think your wife would say nothing and be “cool” about it? Or is there, in your mind, a limit on “coolness”? Perhaps that is what I call standards and you call boundaries.

  78. Stacy2, are you being serious with your arguments, or are you intentionally saying the most ridiculous things imaginable in support of your arguments so you can see what kind of responses they will generate?  Not trolling, just want to know if I should even attempt to reason with you.

  79. Evan Marc Katz

    1. Yes, my wife and I are very lucky to have found each other. She is my north star and everything I teach is inspired by her. “What would my wife do?” is pretty much the central premise of how I teach women.
    2. You’re making a classic mistake that I’ve addressed in this space before: You don’t “attract” the wrong men, you “accept” the wrong men. In other words, who cares if 90% of men are users. DUMP THEM! Problem solved. Now you can’t complain that you’re with a selfish man. My point is that if you’re with a GOOD guy who values you, treats you well, and is committed, the way to his heart is to be a BETTER girlfriend. That means being “cool” – encouraging him to go out with his guy friends, not flipping out that he’s friends with exes, accepting the fact that he finds other women attractive and occasionally looks at online porn. And not making a big deal about how he spends his money. As AAORK has said, Jeremy has said, and I have said – we don’t want to be convinced or sold on why we should buy you something. We want to do it because we want to do it – because we’re good, generous men and we want to make our wives happy. The second you have to exert control – and pressure him – to see you, to call you, to commit to you, to buy you baubles – you’ve already lost. Find a guy who does the right things 95% of the time and appreciate him, rather than finding a guy who does the right things 95% of the time and focusing on the 5%. I get the sense that the OP has a really good relationship (living with a man who openly wants to get married) and her focus is disproportionately on something as simple as how he values a diamond vs. how she values a diamond. HE shows her he loves her through acts of kindness, quality time, words of affirmation…and somehow it doesn’t mean anything because he is questioning the value of a $5K ring. That, at the very least, is what the dissenting men here are telling you (and the OP) is misguided. It’s not that she’s wrong to want a ring. That’s fine. That’s normal. It’s that it’s somewhat ineffective to suggest that a loving boyfriend is somehow not a good guy anymore because he thinks that engagement rings are too much $ to spend – which is a perfectly reasonable counter to her feelings.
    Finally, to your last question: you’re making some slippery slope/straw man argument again. My wife is “cool” because she has an incredible husband. I’m not telling you (or any other woman) to put up with unacceptable behavior (slacker husband, cheating husband, abusive/selfish/angry husband). I’m telling you that when you have a good guy – sane, stable, kind, consistent, communicative, commitment oriented – your relationship will thrive when you are ACCEPTING of him rather than CRITICAL of him. I don’t see what there is to disagree about. Dump shitty guys. Don’t sweat the small stuff with good ones. The price of a ring is small stuff that can, should, and will be negotiated by this couple. I’m advising the OP to really dial down the “If you loved me, you’d WANT to buy me a big rock” rhetoric, because it’s just NOT TRUE.

  80. Stacy2, I find your accusations of “controlling males” to be quite confusing.  If women are trying to coerce men into buying them expensive rings, who is trying to control whom?  You advocate that women have wants and standards, and that women should “work to achieve them” – no problem there….but then you advocate that it should actually be MEN who work to support the standards and wants of women.  Again, who is trying to control whom?
     
    I have been married (happily) for 11 years.  If I want something, I go out and buy it.  I don’t drop hints for my wife to buy it for me, nor do I play head games with her, telling her that if she loved me she’d do it.  That would be manipulative, you see.
     
    Too many women fail to see this.  Too many women believe that “romance” is what men do for women – buy flowers, buy jewelry, plan expensive dates/trips…….If that is romance, what do women do for men??  Men are generally happy just to be with our women, shouldn’t women be happy just to be with us?  THAT would be romance!
     
    If I were the OP’s fiancee, her attitude toward this ring would be just about the most un-romantic thing in the world.  It would make me re-think the whole relationship.  That should be something for her to consider.
     

  81. I don’t think women are “coercing” men into doing anything, that is a rather stronghold word. Some women (myself included) would be perfectly fine without a ring (and without a wedding and without a legal marriage for that matter). Others would not be. It’s a free country and you can choose to date or be with whoever you want.
    However, there’s nothing wrong with a woman expecting to get a present for a commonly recognized occasion. It is the same for men. It is not wrong to have expectations, and men have expectations with respect to women as well. Even Evan’s wife who he said “expects nothing” probably does in fact expect for him to maintain gainful employment and help around the house, and he expects her to be a good mother to their kids and not gain 100 pounds, for example. I mean, it’s pretty basic. How is expecting a gift for a commonly/traditionally recognized occasion any different?
    And, I would add that if you have to ask yourself a question “I have to buy this gift and what did I ever got from the woman” – that should tell you that your relationship is not that great. I mean, if you feel that you didn’t get anything from the woman to make it worth buying her a diamond ring, than why be with her?

  82. “There is nothing wrong with a woman expecting to get a present for a commonly recognized occasion.  It is the same for men.” – what present do men get?  What present do men expect?  What present do men try to coerce/guilt from their fiancees?  What present, if not received from the woman, makes a man doubt a woman’s love for him?  And before you go there, sex is not a present.
     
    “How is expecting a gift for a commonly/traditionally recognized occasion any different?” – Because it is a one-sided, extremely expensive gift.  Because it traditionally arose as an expression of a man’s willingness to be the breadwinner for his woman – a notion that is very out-dated, especially to a man with a recent history of divorcing a gold-digging wife.  Because all the expectations that you gave as examples in the preceding paragraph were mutually reciprocated expectations….except for this one.
     
    “If you didn’t get anything from the woman to make it worth buying her a diamond ring, why be with her?” Well, Stacy2, given that most women don’t buy diamond rings for men, am I to presume they don’t find their men “worth it”?  If so, why do women stay with those men?
     
    It is one thing to admit that the desire for an expensive ring is an emotional decision with no rational basis, but that the woman still wants it.  In that case, most men will suck it up and buy one.  But to continue to maintain that the desire is logical and that buying a diamond ring is a man’s natural expression of love for a woman – is nonsense.

  83. Jeremy,
    Your last paragraph sums it all up perfectly.

  84. Karmic Equation

    Agreed, Jeremy.

  85. GoWithTheFlow

    Stacy,
    Have you ever seen a man that you care for get pressured by a girlfriend to buy her expensive gifts?  I have and it’s cringe worthy.
    One Thanksgiving, I visited my brother who lives across the country and got to watch for a week, his girlfriend of 2 months directly verbally pressure him to buy her diamond earrings for Christmas.  One night she brought along a girlfriend to help, and she tried to recruit me to her cause.  Talk about making someone feel unworthy, unloved, and not valued.  That was years ago and it still makes me angry to think about it.
    The OP wants an engagement ring?  Fine.  Saying it needs to cost $5,000 (which would be a down payment on a 1BR condo in my city) is not okay. If the OP wants a ring on her finger to show the world she has been chosen for marriage, why does the dollar amount of the ring matter?  A $500 ring will get the same societal message across as a $5,000 ring.  Mrs. Happy above posted that a friend is “embarrassed” by her modest engagement ring.  Why?  What is wrong with society, and yes, with women, that if an engagement ring doesn’t cost 2 months worth of a man’s earnings (a ridiculous standard set by the diamond monopoly that wants to squeeze money out of consumers) it’s “embarrassing” to have it on a woman’s hand?  Focus on what’s real here:  A man who belittles you, lies to you, and cheats on you is an embarrassment, and if you are unlucky enough to have a husband like that, the big rock on your finger doesn’t mean shit.
    BTW, the “tradition” of engagement rings (created by the diamond monopoly) is only about 100 years old vs. the thousands of years of time people have been getting married.  So I gotta wonder if this particular tradition will be a flash in the pan in a historical context.

  86. Let’s think outside the box here. There is an easy and creative way to resolve this. There are hundreds of talented jewelry designers out there who make incredibly beautiful and unique engagement rings at far more reasonable prices than your typical “diamond ring” jewelry store.  Just spend 5 minutes browsing through engagement rings on Etsy and you’ll be dizzy with all the possibilities. For a few hundred dollars, you can have a one-of-a-kind ring that makes a unique statement and won’t break anyone’s bank.

  87. I’m still scratching my head over this.  I don’t think this is really about the ring, but her insecurity about the relationship.  She says herself that she isn’t all that much into jewelry or flash.  So I don’t think it’s because she wants a shiny rock on her finger, when she isn’t even into shiny rocks.
    I’m also not sure if it’s about her trying to impress her friends or keep up with the Joneses.  I’m well aware of the usual social expectations surrounding engagements and weddings (and frankly I think the “wedding porn” has gotten out of hand in this society).  However, she doesn’t mention any concerns about how it will “look” to others.  So it’s hard to know whether that’s what this is about either.
    I think it’s really about what she says in her second paragraph, where she thinks that his unwillingness to get her a ring somehow reflects his feelings for her.  If she felt absolutely, 100% sure about his feelings for her, I don’t think she’d care as much about having the ring.
    She really does need to talk about this.  One valuable lesson I’ve learned is to stop trying to “mind read”, and guess what your partner is thinking.  Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions.  Rather than assume that not wanting to buy a ring = he doesn’t find me worthy, ask him and get some real answers.
     

  88. GoWithTheFlow

    Christine,
    What jumped out at me was the $5000 price she put out there.  I would guesstimate that 95% of my friends with engagement rings/wedding sets have less costly rings than what Kelly seems to think her’s should cost.  If I could ask her fiancé a question it would be, “Is it the concept of purchasing a ring that bothers you, or is it the amount of money Kelly expects you to spend on it the issue for you?”

  89. Well, if she demands that he spend more than he is actually comfortable with, I would certainly think that’s unreasonable.  However, from the context of the rest of this letter, I’m not sure that she’s demanding an exorbitantly priced ring, after she mentions how frugal they both are normally and how she doesn’t want a lavish wedding.  I would also want to ask him that same question to get to the heart of what his real issue is.

  90. I think that is an excellent idea!  Myself personally there are myriad reasons why I balk at buying and expensive diamond anything, much less a ring.  Diamonds are outrageously overpriced due to market manipulation by a single, monopolistic multi-national corporation that ruthlessly exploits it’s workers, destroys our environment and has a nefarious reputation for funding shady wars.  They’ve embarked on a brilliant, but extremely manipulative marketing campaign that preys on people’s emotions to “advise” them to pay two months of their salary to buy their overpriced rocks(!).  Seriously!?  Why would you even THINK to give these people your money?  Have more pride and self respect than allowing yourself to be swindled by these con artists.  By something unique, by something artistic with a personal preference, rather than something big, expensive and gaudy.  You’ll be doing yourself and the world a favor if you do.

  91. GoWithTheFlow

    Sara,
    I have also seen some beautiful vintage rings that cost a few hundred bucks at antique and jewelry resale stores.  The gemstones are small, but the craftsmanship is beautiful.  all for a few hundred dollars.

  92. We all have different love languages. We expect our partners to be excited about the same things that we are, but that’s not always the case. Men generally understand that the ring thing is very important to women, so we go along with it. Kelly expressed her feelings on the issue and her boyfriend acquiesced, but she appears to be having difficulty with his lack of enthusiasm.  Be careful not to equate items with how much someone truly cares for you. For the most part, the cost of the ring usually indicates how deep ones pockets are at that particular point in time.
    Kelly should focus on the fact, that her soon to be fiance didn’t hold a ridged position. He internalized what the ring meant to her and agreed to go shopping. I don’t think her request for a ring under $5k is unreasonable. Most men grow up without the pomp and circumstance surrounding weddings, so I’m going to guess that quite a number of us wouldn’t mind if the event and the associated traditions are cost effective. So yes, a guy can really want to marry a woman and not be excited about buying an engagement ring.

  93. Indeed, if there’s something I’ve learned men (and women) do what they want to do. The solution I found effective is clear communication. My 2 cents, a heart to heart with your boyfriend is in order. But first, ask yourself, what are your deal breakers? What are the things you are willing to compromise on? Set your boundaries and manage your expectations.
    Once I clearly expressed that I don’t play games, I say what I want weather it’s sex, more hugs & kisses on a bad day (I’m in the driver seat when it comes to sex and affections and he likes it), quality time, him listening to my occasional gabbing or whatever it may be.. my transitional relationship with a Marlboro Man (EMK described this) became easier.
    My Marlboro Man has emotional limitations and I have character flaws. As long as I clearly communicate my needs, open to compromise, and he is willing to listen and do what he can, it alleviated much ado about nothing. So far, all he has done is comply with all my requests giving him more bargaining chips if it is ever needed in the future ????

  94. Well put–communication is what is really needed here.  He obviously doesn’t know why she wants an engagement ring so much, since she isn’t even that into jewelry.  If he did know, he wouldn’t have been caught by surprise when he found out that she wanted one.
    I think he also needs to communicate more clearly about why he’s reluctant to get her the engagement ring.  At least from what she says here, I don’t really quite understand that either.  I don’t think it’s some type of commitmentphobia or reluctance to marry her.  If it was, I don’t think he would be living together with her and talking about a future (in my own experience, at least, truly commitment phobic men don’t tend to do that).
    Not to mention, he did talk about ring tattoos.  I get it that’s not her cup of tea (and it personally wouldn’t be mine either since I don’t care for tattoos)–but, that does show me that he is willing to give her some symbol of a deeper commitment.  If he’s willing to do some symbolic gesture, why can’t the symbol be a ring?
    If it’s a matter of the cost, as the other commenters above mentioned–there are more cost-effective ways of doing that, that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Or if it brings up bad memories of the ex, the ring doesn’t have to be like the one he gave her.  It could be smaller, less expensive, a different style/cut, etc.
    So a heart to heart really is the answer here.

  95. These are the blogs I love, because what I get from Evan’s pov, as well the other men responding is so different from what I get from just chatting to my girlfriends and how I feel. I can’t help how I feel but it really helps me understand my boyfriend better.
    Personally I do want a ring. But I’d love an antique, something from a market somewhere that looks exotic and unique. I don’t care if it’s expensive or not, I would just want to know that he put time and effort into finding something that suits my style. I would feel sad if my boyfriend didn’t want to bother with that. Especially when women get rings every day.
    But it’s good to hear the other side.

  96. I think it’s ridiculous to assume that because you’re getting married a second time around, that you shouldn’t expect an engagement ring. And actually, I don’t buy the equality bs…life is not fair…women bear the children…is that fair? Men tend to get paid more for equal work…is that fair? Look, there is certain shyt men do and certain shyt women do.  Men open doors. Women are expected to be feminine. In fact, Evan even suggests that a man should court a woman in the beginning of a relationship and I agree.  Women are different. Men are different. Nothing wrong with that. Now that we have gotten that out of the way…there is nothing wrong with the engagement ring tradition. Shucks, the ONLY way I tend to know if a man or woman is taken is if he/she has one. The problem starts to ‘happen’ when the expectations for the ring are ridiculous. It is ridiculous to think that you should walk around with a cost of a house on your finger (unless that is what your man wants to do). So no, a ring does not have to outdo a man’s budget. But to expect that she should forgo it because she’s been married before and her first marriage didn’t work out (and it’s only for women in their 20s) is beyond my comprehension.

  97. Aaand here it is, gentleman. Modern Western female entitlement writ large.
    Women such as yourself will just never, ever get it Stacy. Wanting it is not entitlement. Expecting it is. You said ‘expect’ 3 times in that screed.
    Evan advocates courting because it’s EFFECTIVE, not because it’s the right and moral thing to do. Although I disagree with him on that, at least he’s consistent on it.
    “Men tend to get paid more for equal work…is that fair?”
    This has been debunked many, many times now. There is absolutely zero merit to it. None. Anyone who still believes this holds it as a sort of religious view, irrespective of facts, which are available to anyone who cares to shed the victimhood narrative.

  98. Evan Marc Katz

    Not sure about that last point, bud.

  99. Your piece there just repeats the same fallacy. It compares all women’s wages to men’s wages, in aggregate. It doesn’t account for anything that happens in the real world: choices women make in employment, leaving the workforce for caregiver roles, poor negotiating skills in raises and compensation…the list goes on and on.
    From Time magazine’s “5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die”
    5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die
    “No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.”

  100. Have to agree mostly with McLovin here. It’s almost like every year the data shows the same thing and people with an agenda or don’t want to look closely throw around the same numbers. This was from this year.
    5% pay gap. Still a gap. Still needs to be worked on. But…
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/23/pf/gender-pay-gap/
    https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/gender-pay-gap/

  101. Let’s define expect according to webster:
    ‘regard (something) as likely to happen’
    So let me get this straight…. I am ENTITLED because I EXPECT an engagement ring when a man proposes? Are you serious? Please tell me you aren’t serious. I didn’t say the man is obligated to buy an expensive ring. In fact, it can be a plain old band for all I care. But what on earth is wrong with wanting to wear something that is a societal and current traditional symbol to show that we are taken?
    And yes, there is actually PLENTY merit that men tend to get paid more for equal work. Please read below. The fact that there is even a fuss about a mere engagement ring (by the way, the woman tends to purchase the band for the man) is  beyond my comprehension. And let’s not even discuss where most of the burden falls when women start to have children…and that burden more often than not includes their careers more often than not…so let’s not start with the talk about what’s ‘fair’ to men and women. For crying out loud, IT”S A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD.
    The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2016)

     
     

  102. The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2016)

     
    Sorry, thought I included the link earlier.

  103. Yes, Stacy. That’s exactly what I’m saying: You’re entitled. Staggeringly so, really.
     
    Sorry, your article commits the same fallacy that keeps the “gender pay gap” alive. Namely, it compares salaries in aggregate, not accounting for, you know, the things that happen in the real world.
    There is zero merit to it. I repeat: none. From a statistical analysis point of view, it’s really quite laughable.
    That you hold it as some sort of quasi-religious belief is really telling.

  104. CaliforniaGirl

    I work in the tech industry –  for the last 13 years I was constantly underpaid compared to my peers who did the same work as me and had the same amount of experience. I was asked once to pass on promotion because the other guy had a family to feed and I “had a husband who makes good money”. Exact words of my manager.  I went to HR and CEO of the company and made a big deal out of this. The manager was let go. So believe me, women do get paid less and are less likely to get a promotion.

  105. I’ve been in IT over 17 years and it is no doubt one of THE most meritorious professions I’ve ever seen. By and large, no one cares what you are; only what you are capable of delivering. As a guy, I’ve always been the first to say we need more women in the technical arena. It’s WAY too much a sausage-fest. And for the last decade or more, I’ve seen first hand the enormous amount of resources devoted to getting women (as well any other person who doesn’t identify as a Christian white male, Indian males notwithstanding) interested in STEM fields. There are dedicated “Women,Asians, etc in IT” sessions present at every conference I  attend. It’s in my face on a weekly basis via corp email blasts about some special event for this or that ‘disadvantaged’ group. Even corp-sponsored support groups covering everyone except .. you guessed it, white males. And still, the participation rates among women are abysmal. I’ll let everyone here speculate as to why.
    With that said, your experience is anecdotal so I’ll share mine for you. In all of my experiences in IT, I’ve never seen or heard (even second-hand or in any casual bro-centric conversations, many of them alcohol-fueled) of any situation where a woman was mis-treated or disadvantaged in any way. On the contrary, I would argue the opposite while providing numerous first-hand examples of defference toward women in IT that guys could only dream of. So to any woman who complains how women are treated in IT, I would say to them “spend one day being treated like a guy and you’ll never complain again”. Regarding your example of the manager, if true, this is a reflection of the manager not of the profession (or any other). In fact, the only occurence I’ve heard of the scenario you give .. was in a training video. It’s such an unheard of occurrence that I have to wonder if that’s where you got it.
    Finally, despite the overwhelming evidence disapproving a gender pay gap for equivalent skills and competencies, there’s one obvious question that advocates of this false belief never ask: if employers are able to pay so much less to a women for the same job, why are they instead hiring men and purposely paying them more??

  106. GoWithTheFlow

    AAORK,
    “. . .while providing numerous first-hand examples of defference toward women in IT that guys could only dream of.”
    I would love to hear your examples.  Not trying to troll.
    I’m in medicine and recently a female medical student looking to get into a surgical residency training program shared in a group that her faculty mentor, a surgeon himself, recently told her that he “wasn’t sure women belonged in surgery.”  Her friggin’ assigned mentor, who’s supposed to  you know, mentor her.
    I have also seen articles and studies written that says the wage gap within the same occupations between men and women is due to women not working as many hours or taking time off from work.  The reason most women do is because they have to.  Women are still expected to be the ones to care for children and elderly parents.  We did hospice care for my aunt at my house, and I took 3 weeks off of work since she was total care.  I make my money on the eat what you kill program, so my income the following two months dipped due to the time off.  My brother, who is salaried and hoards vacation days, spent one full day with her, and he lost no money in doing so.
    Dont’ get me wrong, I’m grateful I had those days with her and wouldn’t go back and do it any other way.  I’m not angry with my brother for not taking more time off or for not being more directly involved in our Aunt’s care.  But one of the reasons that I did what I did and my brother did what he did was because that’s what is expected of us.

  107. CaliforniaGirl

    Look, when a man says that discrimination against women doesn’t exist because he didn’t see any is the same as to say that discrimination against gays doesn’t exist because I haven’t seen any.  Yes, companies are in favor of women when they hire them but then start to be condescending  until you prove them you can do your job.  It happened every time I had  a new job. But I don’t care anymore, you just play by the rules and do whatever you can to improve the situation and I am happy there is a progress and younger guys have a different attitude.

  108. Karmic Equation

    Stacy wrote:
    “Shucks, the ONLY way I tend to know if a man or woman is taken is if he/she has one.”
    I’ve never seen the man who’s part of a hetero couple wear a ring. Are you saying you have?
    So assuming you’re really only talking about women and threw the he/she in there to show egalitarianism where it doesn’t actually exist, why do YOU care whether a woman is taken or not?
    And just because you say “it’s ridiculous to assume that because you’re getting married a second time around, that you shouldn’t expect an engagement ring” doesn’t actually mean it’s ridiculous. Please explain what’s ridiculous about it. Or explain what’s rational about it. Take your pick, but explain one.
    It’s ok to WANT a ring, Stacy, nothing wrong with wanting. However, it’s wrong to EXPECT one if the guy (generic) you’re with doesn’t want to spend money on one, whether $20 or $20,000. A gift is given because the giver wants to give it, not because the receiver EXPECTS it. Once a gift is EXPECTED it becomes an obligation.
    Your choice is that if not getting an engagement ring is a dealbreaker for you, then break the deal. Dump him. Find a guy who believes in proposing with an engagement ring. “Making” him or “guilting” him into giving you one should be a dealbreaker for him, or at least, he needs to consider it a red flag about you.

  109. Karmic Equation

    I meant “engagement ring” of course ????

  110. Oh okay–that explains a lot!  ???? In that case, no, I’ve never seen a man with an engagement ring.

  111. Karmic,
    I have NEVER on this website talked about money I have made – EVER…I think you are probably mistaking me for someone else. I know there is a ‘Stacy2’ on here so not sure if that is the confusion.
    Now that we have gotten that out of the way…
    I don’t NEED an engagement ring to remind me that I am taken. I expect one because the engagement period and process is a tradition that I enjoy…you seem to have an issue with the word ‘expect’ when it’s not that much different from ‘want’. I did not say I demand anything. Remember the definition of expect: ‘regard (something) as likely to happen’ . There is NOTHING wrong with having an expectation. 
    I like the idea of a proposal and a man presenting me with the ring. SO WHAT? Just like you mentioned before that you would like a ring of some kind on your finger if ever you get remarried. I happen to like the engagement period and the whole process. Just like I won’t buy MYSELF a birthday gift and present it to me, it’s the same for the ring. What part of that is hypocritical and what part of that don’t you understand? And like I said before, I have no problem buying him whatever band he likes and if he wanted an engagement present. I think there is something exhilarating about that time period as I have been through it before. Nothing wrong with this being important to me just as I am sure there are some traditions that are important to you.
    I already made it clear that I won’t guilt a man into this, that I have no issues returning the favor, made it clear that it can be cheap, and that I won’t date a man who has an issue with presenting me with this.  So how am I entitled if I would only date men who would have no problem with this? Hmmm…so it seems like you are making up the idea that I am MAKING an issue of it.  Where on earth did I make an issue?
    By the way, this is a reply to the last post you made to me since I could not reply directly to that one.

  112. Karmic Equation

    Stacy,
    Yes, I did confuse you with Stacy2. You both write in the same style and pretty much presented the same arguments about wants/expectations. I apologize for that confusion.
    Now, stop misinterpreting and misrepresenting what is written.
    You wrote: “IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD”.
    The implication of your statement is that the ring is not as important as your blood, so why is everybody against you wanting a ring.
    I pointed out you’re being a hyprocrite because if IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD, why are you arguing so vociferously about it? IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD.
    No one says WANTING an engagement ring is wrong. ALMOST ALL *are* saying EXPECTING ONE FROM THE GUY WHO DOESN’T WANT TO GIVE IT is wrong.
    So now you’ve clarified:
    1) You won’t date a guy who will not give you an engagement ring.
    2) You will dump the guy who refuses to give you one.
    I agree with your plan of action.
    No more arguments from me.

  113. Karmic, yes, I have seen heterosexual men with wedding rings before.  Now that I have someone, I don’t look for wedding rings on men anymore.  However, when I was looking, it was hit or miss in terms of whether married men wore wedding rings or not.  Sometimes they did wear wedding rings.  Sometimes they didn’t, and I only knew they were married when they happened to mention their wives.
    I think wearing (or not wearing) a wedding ring is just a matter of personal preference.  I remember reading how some people were scandalized by Prince William not wearing a wedding ring–but I didn’t see the big deal (especially when Kate didn’t mind).  He just doesn’t like jewelry all that much and doesn’t find it comfortable to wear, that’s all.  Um, the whole world saw his wedding.  I seriously doubt that he could pretend he’s not married just by not wearing a ring, LOL!
    I know, I know, he’s royalty and hardly an everyman…but, I’m sure there are also ordinary married men who don’t wear wedding rings just because they don’t like them.

  114.  
    I don’t care whether a woman is taken or not. I care whether or not I am seen as taken. 
     
    When I said it is ridiculous that a woman’s expectations should be different because she’s been married before…what I mean, is, who are you or anyone else to state what a woman’s expectations should be because she is getting married a second time?  I wasn’t aware that one’s excitement to get married was necessarily directly correlated to the number of times one was married.  Most people who marry a second (or 3rd time) are getting married to different people so it’s a woman (or man’s) prerogative to want feel as excited as the first time if that is what she feels.  There is nothing unreasonable about this and yes, it is ridiculous to demand that anyone else should feel otherwise. Because YOU feel this way means everyone else should and it is not unreasonable to feel one way or the other. 
    And of course it’s wrong to expect a guy to buy a ring if he doesn’t want to. I never argued with this. I said for ME, I expect it. 
    We ALL have expectations in a relationship. Most of us are just biased on what expectations are reasonable and what’s not.  One should EXPECT that your man or woman should remember your birthday and do something special…one should EXPECT that holidays would be spent together depending on the length of the relationship. One should expect to be celebrated when at least a major accomplishment happens for one or the other. Somehow, when it’s tied to money, all of a sudden, expectations become taboo.
    Of COURSE if a man doesn’t want to get me a ring, I know I can dump him.  I NEVER insinuated that I would guilt a man into anything. I simply state my case and decide if to deal with it or not.  That isn’t even a question.
    I personally (like I said before) see NOTHING wrong with tradition if it is REASONABLE to both people. Just like I would ask my partner to call more often if that is what I want (or some other declaration and especially since I know I treat any man that have been in my life VERY well) and expect him to oblige, I also EXPECT that if an engagement ring is important to me and if it is NOT EXPENSIVE AND WELL in his budget, that he should have no issues with giving me that and I will do the same with his wedding band.
     

  115. Uggh@ the multiple typos but I am sure you get my point. You’re a pretty smart woman after all.:)

  116. Karmic Equation

    So, if you need an engagement ring to remember that you’re taken? And if some guy hits on you, you’re unable to tell him you’re engaged unless you have an engagement ring? I can see the latter being an issue, but why can’t you just buy a CZ ring for yourself and wear it to forestall any guys hitting on you.
    Why does the man need to buy it with his money for you?
    You’ve painstakingly stated how much money you make, so buy your own engagement ring, and buy him one as well while you’re at it, and then you can both by each other’s wedding band. Problem solved. You have an engagement ring. So does he.
    Ooooohhhh. Wait, but HE must buy it? Just because you want/expect it.
    And you still don’t believe that is an entitlement mentality?
    And as you state, IT’S JUST A RING.
    So if it’s JUST a ring, why are you making such an issue of not getting JUST a ring? If it’s supposed to be unimportant to the guy to buy it if he can afford it, then why can’t you forego it because it’s unimportant to the guy?
    You can’t see the hypocrisy in your own statements?

  117. Without coming off as judgemental to the OP and all the ladies on this thread who obviously value the ring symbolism, I would like to know if what truly matters isn’t the big picture a.k.a the marriage.
    let’s face it, what would a person choose?
    big 5k ring and wrong partner and miserable marriage ? OR no ring but attentive and caring partner with prospects of a happy marriage in all other aspects.
    Of course one can argue that it would be better to have both ring and blissful marriage but it seems the OP has to choose one and if it were me I’d choose the latter.
    Ultimately the most important things in life are happiness and sense of fulfillment. That rarely comes from symbols and credentials.
    The most important things in life are not even things.
    Or in the words of the great Evan Marc Katz
    ” Good relationships are based on connection not credentials”.
    .. and certainly not symbols!..
    A friend of mine once joked that sometimes when men/ women cheat on their spouses, often the only thing they are wearing is the ring..
    I guess looking at the bigger picture is the key to finding true happiness and fulfillment.
    if these rings could guarantee or symbolize all that, then there would be no divorce.
    so big picture all the way for me. If I have found the right partner who cares about the ring?

  118. I think, and other posters can correct me if I’m wrong, but while the ring itself matters, what seems to be the larger issue especially with the LW is the attitude behind not wanting to buy a ring. I think that can actually say a lot about the nature of the relationship and compatibility issues. If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like an engagement ring and it needn’t be expensive, and the other person completely refuses then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.
    It also seems that some of the other ladies here value the kind of man who does value that tradition, and that that is a quality they are looking for in their partners in and of itself.
    Basically it seems to me it’s not just about a ring, nor about what it symbolizes about the future marriage, but about what the act of buying a ring for another person means to each person and if each person in the relationship is in synch or not.
    For example I have never liked engagement rings because they always felt like ownership to me. A woman wears one, a man doesn’t. I also don’t like diamond engagement rings because the reason they are so ubiquitous is that De Beers did a whole advertising campaign in the 40s to make people buy more diamonds. Then the whole “three months salary” thing was yet ANOTHER advertising ploy to get people to spend more money on rings. So yeah. Not a fan. But my boyfriend likes certain romantic traditions, and he likes the idea of proposing with a ring. I like jewelry, so I’m not adverse to wearing a ring. I just don’t like all the baggage with an engagement one. So we have chatted and made a compromise: I will only wear an engagement ring if he does as well, and I don’t want diamonds or anything expensive. And he’s totally cool with that. Because to him it’s truly about something sweet and romantic, not about the rest of the baggage I’ve associated with it.
    And this reflects our relationship and our values. But as you can see, even in our situation, a ring is not just a ring.
    So yeah, while I personally have my own tastes, I understand how hard it is in a society where traditions exist and systemic expectations are placed on both men and women to subvert those expectations.  Even within our own minds. And I can understand that there is a lot more tied into an engagement ring than just literally a ring. I don’t think people think it symbolizes a perfect marriage, that the bigger the ring the stronger the connection. I think more that it reflects values that others either share and do not, whatever those values may be. And yes, even if that value is: “I want a man with tons of cash to spend a lot of money on me.” (which I actually haven’t seen any posters here actually say. Most of them in fact seem like they want the symbol more than the bling) 
    And I think THAT’s what’s being discussed ultimately. 

  119. I’m with Callie on this one. I think the LW just wants to know that her boyfriend cares about what she wants.
    Now, personally I think 5K is a whopping amount to spend on a ring and I’d be afraid to leave the house with that on my finger, because I tend to lose stuff. And it’s foolish to me to spend tons of money on wedding things instead of marriage things.
    It sounds like the LW just wants her boyfriend to ‘turn towards her bid’ in terms of the Gottman method. I think she’s probably being a bit stubborn about the price tag due to her own insecurity, instead of recognizing the tattoo offer as (albeit a little lame) a legitimate effort to respond to her bid. I think this could be easily resolved, as Callie suggests, with a negotiation for what feels right to spend in the boyfriend’s eyes, and to give her a ring (thereby responding to her bid, acting in ways that make her happy without placing an undue burden on the boyfriend).
    I say this from the perspective of someone that personally paid for my first wedding myself, I couldn’t afford to be less than pragmatic. But, I ALSO bought my own engagement / wedding band, and my husband’s, since I cared about it and he didn’t. End result – I spent a lot of years with painful pangs every time I looked at that ring, because it reminded me that I had always given more. More effort, more time, more myself. Even when he came to earn more money and paid for more things, there was always that reminder that I had had to beg for what I got. And I truly wish that I had seen it as a red flag, because that was exactly the marriage I had.
    Now, I’m not bashing my ex. I’m saying that I failed to recognize a pattern of having a partner that consistently failed to turn toward my bids. To my credit, I finally got out. But if I met someone else? I’d be crushed if he didn’t want to give me a ring. But I would still have to weigh that against all his other behavior to come to a conclusion about what that meant.
     

  120. Karmic Equation

    Callie, You’re overthinking to justify something that really has no justification.
    You wrote from a woman’s perspective:
    If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like an engagement ring and it needn’t be expensive, and the other person completely refuses then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.
    Let’s change it to the guy’s perspective:
    If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like <to not buy> an engagement ring and the other person completely refuses <to try to understand that> then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.
    ————–
    We essentially agree that there is an issue.
    It’s just the way you stated it automatically assumes the guy is wrong for not giving her what she wants.
    You have no empathy for the guy’s perspective on the opposite feeling.
    Just because a woman wants <it> or doesn’t want <it> whatever <it> is, doesn’t mean the woman is right nor that HER wants trumps HIS wants whenever they conflict.
    Once a woman recognizes that “compromise” in a relationship shouldn’t only mean the man changing to do what she wants, but rather that it can also mean that she has to do the changing and give up what she wants, then “discussions” don’t need to had about most issues. Because when women want to “discuss” things, that’s usually code for “I want to you (bf/husband) to do something you don’t want to do. And I will “discuss” it with you until I get you to do it.”
    Unless the issue is immoral, unethical, illegal, or life-or-death, discussions aren’t often needed. You just have conversations.
    On the other hand, if you want to understand your man, and “understanding” is your true goal, then put skin in the game, “Honey, ok. I’ll accept that I won’t be getting an engagement ring. However, to not resent you, I need you to give me your reasons why you’re against this tradition. Ok. Go!”
    Honest, vulnerable, and clearly communicates your need and why. And he shouldn’t be afraid to tell you because you’re not going to try to spend the time “discussing” your side.  You’ve already ceded him the point. You’re just there to listen.
    If he gives you a reason that you can’t accept, then break the engagement … because you can’t accept his reason, as is bound to cause lasting resentment. But if he gives you a reason you can accept, then you can let your need go as tradeoff for a better understanding of your fiance. When you let a guy vent to you without judgment, you help build love and intimacy in your relationship.

  121. Karmic Equation

    Well put, Sparkxx.

  122. Jeremy,
    this is exactly the attitude I am talking about that I personally find extremely unappealing. I believe other commenters here have covered the matter of “fairness”, and everybody somehow conveniently forgets that the bride’s side pays for the wedding (which is attended by both families, it’s not just for the bride).
    But even setting all of it aside, if a man I was with came to me and said “I don’t want to give you a ring because how come i don’t get any engagement gift, this is not fair”, I would dump him, and not because I want the ring (I dont). It’s because I want a man who would WANT to do it for me, and I think it is true for most women. As Jennifer Anniston character put it in the Breakup “I want you to want to do the dishes!”.  Again, this is a free country and there may be enough women out there who like to be treated like “bros” and be “cool girls” so there you go

  123. Evan Marc Katz

    You’re working really hard, Stacy2. But the bride’s side doesn’t always pay for the wedding. Especially if the bride and groom are in their thirties. Especially if the bride and groom have been married before. Especially if the parents paid for the first wedding. Especially if the groom makes nearly six figures. So let’s assume that the bride’s family is NOT paying for the wedding, okay?
    You just brought up something so priceless and so telling. I write a lot of stuff. I rarely ask my wife to come in here to read. I brought her in to read our exchange from earlier today. She said that it sounded like Jennifer Aniston in the Break-Up. “You should WANT to do the dishes.” She was not on your side. You fail to understand that no one WANTS to do the dishes or WANTS to come to your cousin’s kid’s christening or WANTS to hold your purse while you try on clothes. We do so out of both obligation and love. That’s marriage. Both men and women make small sacrifices all the time – and sometimes want to opt out when it seems too onerous. The OPs boyfriend wants to opt out of the fancy diamond ring, but not the commitment or the wedding itself. Thus, whether you like it or not, this is about MONEY – specifically the OP equating his love to how much he spends on her. I think it’s very clear that men look askance at such behavior.
    Men are not asking for engagement gifts, nor are they asking for anything unusual. Men are asking you to understand and respect our valid point of view instead of belittling it. It’s 100% valid to not want to spend a shit-ton on a diamond ring for a frugal couple on their second marriage. This is not even up for debate. The real question is why you’re battling so hard to suggest otherwise.

  124. Stacy2, you are not understanding the point.  The point was not to say “I don’t want to give you a ring because how come I don’t get any engagement gift, this is not fair.”  Men don’t WANT engagement gifts from women!  We just want the woman herself – is this so difficult to understand?  A man wants his woman to just want him – nevermind the sparkly ring, the fancy dress, the big party – he wants her to want HIM.
     
    When a woman demands an expensive present from a man to “show the world he loves me”, what she is showing him is that she is not interested in him, but rather in what he provides for her – the accoutrements of the wedding rather than the groom.  A ring is NOT a symbol of a man’s love for a woman.  It is a symbol of a man’s willingness to spend his money on her whims. A woman who can’t believe a man loves her unless he spends money on her is a woman who does not value herself, and does not value the man she is with.
     
    Sure, buying a ring is a symbol of “tradition” – the tradition of men paying for women.  But for a guy who is still paying alimony to a gold-digging ex-wife, perhaps it is a symbol of exactly what he does NOT want in a new relationship – a one-sided provisioning contract where the woman feels entitled to receive expensive gifts at his expense.  Most men who have been burned once will hesitate before sticking their hand back in that fire.
     
    And your comment about wanting him to “want to do the dishes”?  She wants him to “want” to give her a ring.  He wants her to “want” to marry him without needing expensive gifts in exchange.  Why are her wants so much more important than his?  They can either agree to disagree and break up over this issue, or examine (in a rational way) which of their desires is most logical – his buying her a ring to prove his love, or her agreeing to love him as he loves her, without the need for a one-sided expensive gift to prove his love with his wallet.
     

  125. Bravo, sir. Bra-vo.

  126. So why does a ring have to be expensive? These are two different points.  There is a difference between wanting to wear a ring as a symbol that you are engaged or married and a woman demanding that the ring be at least 5k. The first one likes the tradition and the second woman likes the status. The OP never demanded that the ring be expensive
    We ALL want things that aren’t particularly necessary. ..whether it be a certain kind of home or living in a certain area or wanting a certain type of car…etc…so now having an engagement ring is off limits (and as I said before, the woman tends to buy the marriage band for the man)?

  127. Evan, I am not at all battling to suggest otherwise. In fact my very first comment was “against” the ring in a second marriage where both are paying for stuff. I didn’t get from the letter writer that they have any financial issues, but any couple that has would be nuts to blow money on bling.
    That said, I do disagree that “nobody wants to come to your cousin’s birthday or buy you a ring etc” comment. May be I am not understanding your point. Earlier you said that you WANT to do things for your wife, that men do what they WANT. Now you are saying that nobody wants to do those things, rather you do it out of obligation. So which one is it ? Personally, I wouldn’t want anybody to do stuff for me out of “obligation” or “coersion”, only on their own volition. But i do think men show their love through actions, so lack of actions would be interpreted accordingly

  128. Evan Marc Katz

    Hoo boy.
    There are MANY things I want to do for my wife voluntarily.
    Tonight, I’m paying for her to go to dinner and a play with her friend. Last week, I brought her flowers. This Saturday night, I’m inviting her mommy friends and their husbands to a karaoke party at our house. These are things that I volunteer to do for her because I love her and I have the means.
    Then there are other things that I do out of obligation, not joy.
    I wake up with the kids on weekend mornings so she can sleep in. I stay in twin beds in her childhood bedroom when I visit her mom, instead of insisting we get a hotel room. I wait patiently and read on my phone for 45 minutes when I want her to come to bed for sex, but she starts doing some other project that she’s had on her mind.
    Finally, there are some things that I WON’T do, even though I love her. I won’t go out four straight nights. I won’t fly to visit her father in Florida. I won’t spend $5K to go to an international wedding for an acquaintance just because she wants to take a trip. I won’t give up a Saturday to go to her cousin’s kids sixth birthday party three hours away in the desert.
    I hope you can see the difference between all of these things.
    1. I WANT to do it.
    2. I HAVE to and willingly do it, with grumbling reservations.
    3. I WON’T do it.
    The OP’s boyfriend is caught between #2 and #3 right now, and it will be fixed with a conversation. You’re arguing that everything should be #1 – “he should WANT to do whatever I want him to do.” Sorry, Stacy2, that’s not how relationships work – for either gender.

  129. Well, this is how your relationship has worked and really, good for you, well done. Not many people have it.
    But I hope you can imagine a possibility that being a “cool girl” may not bring out the same virtue in some other men. I was the cool girl in my marriage. And I married what you would consider a good guy- great character, values, morals, educated, employed, good family, eager to get married and start a family of his own. He proudly presented me with a huge rock in a fairytale engagement and what could go wrong? I was the cool you described. Want to for a guys only trip to Vegas? Sure. Porn? Couldn’t care less. Want to quit your job because it’s miserable? Sure I will support us. What, we can’t afford to live in this apartment on one income anymore? Let’s move to a cheaper place. Your business hasn’t made money in 2 years and you don’t want to open up your pre-marital savings ? Well let’s see may be I can suspend my 401k contributions. Dirty dishes in th sink after I come home from 12 hours at work? No problem I will clean it up. Does it get cooler than that?? And do you think ANY of that was appreciated for a second? Nope. I was deemed a selfish woman who only thinks about herself. I would work 90 hours weeks and zigzag the country on red-eye flights to come home not to a dinner and a bubble bath, but to a dirty apartment and a temper tantrum. Some examples of my “selfishness” included cutting a holiday with extended family short and taking a plane to a funeral when a close, long-term friend of mine died in an accident. Looking back, I am firmly convinced that it was my “shit on me I am the cool girl” attitude that actually enabled his behavior. The more tolerant I was, the less appreciating he was becoming. I simply encouraged and invited more of “bad behavior”.
    I guess we all see things through the lenses of personal experience, and mine was that being a cool girl doesn’t work. Obviously I quit that marriage but not before wasting a small fortune on the wedding, therapy and the divorce (the latter having the best value by far).
    So, when you advise your clients to be “cool”, how do you know their “good guy” is not like my ex? You don’t, and neither to they. And since I had that experience, I happen to think that men who tend to guilt you and call you selfish for having needs/wants, and are reluctant to please you – are bad news and signs of troubles ahead.
    If I could go back and rewrite the script, my attitude would be completely different: no, it’s not ok to quit your job and hope to live on one income; hell no I am not moving out of this apartment, and clean up after yourself, I am not your f-g maid. That. I am extremely uncool these days, but much, much happier. And if any guy thinks that my expectations of him make me entitled or, my personal favorite, selfish- my only hope is that the door doesn’t hit him on the way out.

  130. Evan Marc Katz

    Really glad you answered, Stacy. I hope you take what I’m about to say seriously, since I never offer coaching in this section.
    1. Your story explains your beliefs. You were a with a “nice guy” who got worse over time and made excuses for him throughout your marriage. You didn’t set boundaries. You called this being “the cool girl.” In fact, you were the doormat.
    2. Because of this experience being the doormat, you came to two false conclusions: a) You were going to set BOUNDARIES. b) You were going to put up walls to prevent another guy from taking advantage of you.
    3. Problem is this: your boundaries are arbitrary, blurry and poorly chosen. You should STILL let him take a guys trip to Vegas. You should STILL let him quit his job if he’s miserable. You should STILL discuss with him whether buying an expensive rock for a second wedding is a savvy and mutually agreeable plan. You should still be cool and accepting and listen to his feelings – same as you’d like him to do for you. That’s a happy marriage. The difference is that your guy took advantage of your goodwill – after taking advantage of your small fortune. You will never do that in your future – continue to support a losing venture who has no motivation to change and is willfully exploiting your patience.
    4. Don’t you see? You can do BOTH. Being cool is about letting 95% of things go and putting your foot down on the 5% – not sucking things up that make you clearly unhappy. You’re conflating the two things as one. You think that talking tough about your boundaries and making it crystal clear that the right man WILL DO WHAT YOU WANT is a winning strategy. It’s not. Being cool still wins the day.
    5. Which is why, in Love U, I talk about not being a doormat, but the “cool girl with boundaries”. I married one. ALL of my male friends married one. These women have good men on their hands and they let them be themselves without constantly criticizing and micromanaging. Please be smart enough to realize that there are VALID criticisms of your partner – most of them you suck up for the sake of the relationship; a few you put your foot down… like you did eventually.
    Long story short: don’t overcorrect on this one. Like a woman who had no passion who chases passion, a woman who had no money chasing money – one tends to go TOO far with this boundaries thing. Find a good guy who treats you well pretty much all the time and you can easily negotiate the 5% of disagreements you have. That’s what the OP has right now. A cool girl speaks her mind, listens rationally, and finds a compromise. Someone else may demand a 5K rock or bust. I think it’s obvious what’s more effective.

  131. Stacy2,
    Ah ha, now your various responses can be put in context based on your past history. A number of us, both men and women have been taken advantage of. The key is how you bounce back. I believe Evan has said that having the ability to still be vulnerable going forward is one of the keys to finding love again. Hopefully you have not loss that. Based on what you just said, there isn’t a real man out there who wouldn’t appreciate you. You can’t let a bad relationship sour you towards the rest of us. Try not to respond with your usual brimstone and fire, but the truth is your ex might not have been a good man if you did all those things and he didn’t appreciate it. You did what a spouse is supposed to do. If one person stumbles, the other does everything in their power to help them up. It can be very hurtful to realize that we played a part in a failed relationship by making a bad choice.
    Don’t stop being fundamentally sweet in order to play the “thou shalt not do this to me again game”. You end up tucking away the nurturing side of yourself which fosters endearment. How can you meet the guy that appreciates you, if you are hesitant to reveal the vulnerable side of yourself? It should be even easier now to spot unappreciative encounters, because you know the feedback that you were looking for in your failed relationship.  

  132. Hi Stacy2
     
    My marriage was the same.   Supportive, loving, giving.  Guys night out; no problem.  Weeks away hunting with buddies, have a good time.  Whenever Evan says to be the cool girl, I ALWAYS cringe, type out a reply about how that doesn’t work and then ALWAYS delete because I  know that Evan would say that I accepted the wrong guy — and he is right.  Doesn’t make it easy though
    Evan – I liked your list of things, that is truly how things should work.  Things we do for love, things we do because we should and the things we won’t do.

  133. Kristyn,
    i hear hear you and generally the argument about “accepting the wrong men”, but I still wonder whether some men simply need to be “handled” and shown some tough love. May be its just the whole east coast/”jewish prince” thing, which my ex was a classic example of, but it seems that a lot of men never really mature to the point where they behave like adults and not like toddlers – always testing what they can get away with, always trying to push the envelope a bit further. You let them have cookies before dinner once and oops, good luck putting them to bed on time and making them eat veggies the next time. You know what I mean? I don’t think these men are “bad” necessarily, I think they may be good.. In this day and age its hard to be disqualifying otherwise eligible bachelors because of these issues. I see women in my circle who got married to same kind of guys (some are my ex-s friends actually) whipping them into shape like crazy, and I keep thinkig what a fool I was for playing “cool”. Now there wome are buying huge condos and having babies and their husbands jump when they say so, and I have to go in first dates again- super aggravating.

  134. @Stacy2
    I’m uncertain if your comment is satire or not – I’m hoping it is satire.  If not, please understand that men do not need to be “handled” or shown “tough love” by their wives.  I know of situations where the wife has been so domineering that her husband jumps when she says so – do you think this is a GOOD thing?  Tell me, if the roles were reversed and the wife jumped when the husband said so, would you not consider the relationship to be abusive?
     
    Please understand – in situations where the husband is so whipped that he obeys his wife’s commands, one or both of the partners is secretly miserable.  What woman wants to be married to a man she considers a child?  What man wants to be married to a nagging harridan?
     
    If a man’s desires differ from yours, it is NOT because he is “immature.”  It is because his wants are different from yours.  If that is the case, he is not the man for you, nor you for him.  The attitude that is the killer for so many women is failing to recognize the difference between differing desires/goals vs. “immaturity”.  Immaturity implies a temporary state which will end in a long-term state of “maturity, that you think will match your own goals.  It won’t.

  135. I just want to say, you are on-freaking-point in this thread, Evan.
    You are saying things that I want to say, but can’t without being a bitter a-hole.
    Perhaps it’s because I’m a bitter a-hole. But that’s another topic.

  136. Evan Marc Katz

    This is why I resent it when you pull that White Knight bullshit on me. It’s not all or nothing. Just like I think Stacy needs healthier boundaries that are more male-friendly, I think men need to come to the middle and give in on 95% of what women want. Most of it is reasonable: call me, make me feel special, make a time/$ investment up front during courtship to show me you care. All reasonable. I don’t say you should be with a golddigger or that a woman should never offer to pay or split expenses within a relationship. I am an advocate of FAIRNESS. And when women on the left and men on the right both scream at me, I think I’m a pretty evenhanded guy.

  137.  
     
    Hi Evan, Here is how the misinterpretation of the letter I think could be happening.  I understand Stacy’s comments somewhat.  I didn’t see the poster demanding a ring.  It seemed as though she was willing to compromise on the price, which doesn’t need to be discussed, but it seems like a lot of women, right or not, demand much higher than that.  Not going into that, as I think that has already been discussed.  She offered to pay for a portion of it, correct?  That would seem less than demanding.  I think that this post draws the ire of men that “don’t want to.”  But, it doesn’t seem as though the woman was implying that she needed it without having had some communication previously.  From the letter, it seemed the couple had discussed it as he suggested tattoos.  Not sure where that came from.  It seemed to me that she would have been alright with something like what you said you did, an heirloom or something unique.  But even if she wasn’t, the bulk of women that you and some of the other men seem to be discussing, probably would be alright with that.  As determined through other reasonable posts on here.  Not supporting some of the unreasonable men on here though.  Anyway, I seriously doubt Stacy was trying to imply it was something a man needs to do, purchase a ring, but  maybe for her and others it is.  It is not how relationships work to demand things.  But, if a man knew that she wanted a ring, as was deemed from the letter, and he still sat like a bump and complained, what are you advocating for?  Women do something interesting sometimes, sarcasm.  When they are with a good guy, that seem to draw comparisons that the women that aren’t with one or are single are exaggerating sometimes.  Ask yourself how your wife would have been if instead of getting her a ring, you scoffed at the idea and acted like an immature child at the notion of getting one.  Sure, she’s great you said, but you did things for her.  How are we to know who’s paying for the wedding and or engagement activities?  We don’t.  Could be either one.  What if you didn’t pay for a portion of your wedding?  What if you didn’t have a good job?  I mean you can argue these things, but you would be arguing that you’re a good guy regardless, right?  It takes more than a man that lives with someone, and mistreatment in a relationship, can lead to confusion with how well or not someone is being treated.  Bad partners move in also.  That is slightly off track though.  What if you hadn’t thought of getting an heirloom and had not thought of anything, but been a bump when she had a conversation about wanting a ring.  I mean are you good because you got someone a ring, or did she appreciate that you thought of what you did?  How could that not be similar to this woman’s situation?  What if instead of being on similar pages, you weren’t?  How would a woman really approach asking for  a ring?  I think that is this woman’s dilemma.  On the one hand, it all about communicating what she wants, but on the other people are tearing her apart for wanting one.  Did your wife want one?  What if you had forced her into that conversation?  Would you have?  Would that be akin to other relationship needs?  This kind of post all too often draws in the men who are all, why?  equality?  women?  But in all seriousness, is it similar to someone asking for sex in a relationship?  How about a birthday present?  How do you know how much she HAS to have for the ring purchase price?  We don’t.    What if in your relationship you didn’t get equal gifts for birthdays, some people only get gifts and don’t return them.  Some don’t help the woman pay for a dinner with friends, get flowers for the person.  Would you say that that guy was a rotten person?  Probably you wouldn’t.  Someone might return the favor in other ways.  You aren’t about to explicitly detail everything you do for each other in your relationship, right?  Why is this person who asked for a ring, or suggested in a reasonable way that they wanted one, different?  It seems she did that.  And then, the guy didn’t show that he wanted to do so.  Should she reconsider the relationship?  By your standards of needing to communicate on a similar level, yes?
    As per the comments of ALL of the men (almost) on this post, it shouldn’t be the ring.  Right.  It should however be something that the individual couple decides, unless they can’t agree on it.  One person suggesting she’s “demanding” the ring and another suggesting that he should get one if it feels as though she asked him appropriately are kind of one in the same.  Both are wrong.  The right man, as you suggested per what you’ve done Evan doesn’t demand a certain conversation that needs to take place at all, or worse twice.  No more than she would demand something in the first place, correct?  How should the conversation go to ask for a ring another time?  It’s great to think that there should be a woman out there that doesn’t want a ring, flowers, a kind gesture, and without having to ask for it in the first place sometimes.  But, how realistic is it, and what does it say about a partner that can’t agree that someone should have those things, requires lengthy conversations about those things.  Who knows.

  138. Evan Marc Katz

    I can’t even read, much less respond to something so long.

  139. @jeremy
    Jeremy, did you ever consider that this may not be true for ALL men? That some men may be tend to rise to the occasion when they have clearly set expectations (which I know is a dirty word on this blog), and go down the drain when enabled to do whatever they want?
    One example: a male friend of mine lost his job, and his wife told him that she would divorce him and take his kids away before she’d move to a cheaper area to accommodate their reduced income. The outcome? He started a business that has flourished and they just bought a huge beach house. In the same scenario, I was ok with my ex “soul searching” which obviously only resulted into complete deterioration of his marketability . Over the same period my career finally took off, and that toxic combination bred a huge amount of mutual resentment. At the end, the first couple is still married and we’re divorced and neither one of us is better off. Call it expectations, call it boundaries, call it tough love, whatever you call it, based on my own observations and life experience those are absolutely necessary. If a man thinks I am so “cool” to allow him to do whatever he wants, what is his motivation to strive to be his best self? There’s none. Your wife loves you “unconditionally” – boo hoo lets party, she’s a cool girl, she’s not going anywhere, right? That was what my ex told me when I finally quit – that he though I was ok with everything because of my cool demeanor. Ha.

  140. @ Stacy2“One example: a male friend of mine lost his job, and his wife told him that she would divorce him and take his kids away before she’d move to a cheaper area to accommodate their reduced income.”
     
    Ugh. That has to be the most repulsive sentence I’ve read in my entire life. Statements like that terrify me about the prospect of marriage.
     
    I think you need new friends who choose to marry people of higher character.

  141. @Tom10,
    Agreed.

  142. Tom10,
    I know Stacy2 gave that story as an example to explain her point about good men. But it had the opposite effect on me.
     
    I personally think this guy has no self love (though I acknowledge that maybe he stayed for the kids.) Any human that would stay married to a person who would leave and take your children because you LOST your job, not quit, but lost.
     
    Because I have adopted a stance of not saying anything negative about another in this comments section, I will not say how I truly view this man and his decision to stay with that women….
    Though it is possible that their is more to the story, so I will hold off judgment.

  143. GoWithTheFlow

    @Tom10–Agree!
    @Stacy–When the economy tanked two nurses I know had husbands who lost jobs and were unable to quickly find new positions because companies weren’t hiring.  i.e. It wasn’t their fault!  They didn’t quit a perfectly good job to “find” themselves while the family finances deteriorated.
    What did these wives do?  They took on additional shifts and cooperated with their husbands in cutting expenses.  It’s called being an adult when the worse part of for better or worse happens.  They didn’t threaten to take the kids and leave their husbands.  What a horrible, selfish thing to do!

  144. I agree with Tom10 – this is disgusting behavior.  Threatening divorce is bad enough.  Threatening to take away a man’s children if she doesn’t get her way – let’s just say that a man with any self-respect would have lawyered up at that point.
     
    The kernel of truth in your argument, Stacy2, is that some people benefit from encouragement.  But that encouragement should be friendly, loving, and take into consideration the needs of BOTH partners, not just one.  Making threats, nagging, and issuing ultimatums is not the pathway to a loving and constructive relationship.  I know that you had a bad experience in the past, but don’t make it worse by learning the wrong lesson.  You tried to be supportive and loving to your ex – that was not a mistake (or at least would not have been a mistake had you been with a good man).  Taking that experience and learning that you should be like the woman in your example is no different than the men on the Manosphere whose wives divorced them learning the lesson to always keep a woman’s self-respect low.  Such behavior is abusive, no matter if it comes from a man or a woman.

  145. Serious question

    Stacy, I wonder if it’s how you word and/or interpret things but I find myself thinking after reading your posts that most of what you say has about 20% truth to it but the other 80% just comes off as cray (with all due respect).
    Most of us want to be with someone who challenges us to be our best selves and encourages us to go for what we want.
    Years ago I took a big risk and left my job to work with a start up that failed after a short period of time. I was doubly devastated — not only was I jobless but I’d had such high aspirations for what I thought was the opportunity of my career.
    My then boyfriend now husband told me you get one day to cry and mope around the house in your PJs and then you have to get back up and look for the next opportunity. I’m pretty self motivated so I wouldn’t have been moping for long ???? but he was showing me that he believed in me and he had my back.
    Im sure some one will jump in here and say “it’s not the same because youre a woman and men don’t care about your job.” Big picture here: he wasn’t coddling me saying poor baby, don’t worry I’ll take care of you (which would never make me happy) nor was he trying to motivate me by threatening me. He was challenging me to be that better person that handles a setback with courage and dignity.
    I’d like to think that the husband in your anecdote who lost his job could have been equally motivated by a wife who said, were going to get through this together. we will have to cut back, you may have to take whats offered for now versus the job you really want but we will be OK. But I realize different people have different levels of self determination so maybe he did need to be threatened with a divorce so as to not wallow in self pity and sit around the house playing video games until the bank foreclosed on them.
    If that’s the case, he should have never Left his mothers house because that’s what he needs, a mother, not a partner.

  146. Sparkling Emerald

    Your friend, s wife wasn’ t showing “tough love”.  She was showing no love at all and she breached her wedding vows as well.  Remember the part about richer or poorer ?  Talk about kicking a man when he is down.  And using his kids as pawns is DESPICABLE ! That’s emotional child abuse IMO.  Children deserve a relationship with both parents.  Using kids as pawns in a marital tug of war like that is hateful
     

  147. “That some men may be tend to rise to the occasion when they have clearly set expectations (which I know is a dirty word on this blog), and go down the drain when enabled to do whatever they want?”
    It’s clear that the implicit assumption running through all of Stacy2’s comments is that men are naturally irresponsible, immature, and wild, thereby necessitating some external force to regulate their conduct in order to save them from themselves and prevent harm to their spouses. This is predicated on her own limited experience with her ex, which has shaped her toxic worldview and caused her to generalize across an entire gender. The logic she uses is similar to the rationalizations of wife beaters and even segregationists and die hard racists who argue that’s the inferior races need to be saved from themselves for their own good. Reading her posts is like watching raw sewage overflowing from the toilet. A total lost cause.
     

  148. Shaukat,
    Kind of extreme on the metaphor, but I respect your freedom to say what you wish.
     
    I would just add that neither Stacy2, nor her post are a total lost. Instead of judging or condemning by showing as little empathy as possible toward women who have been hurt; why don’t we try to be good examples of strong positive men.
     

  149. Karmic Equation

    If I were to shrink Stacy2, I’d say she has a lot of anger…at herself…which she is refusing to acknowledge, so instead she is projecting that anger outwards…at ALL men.
    I’m not saying this to be mean or snarky, but I really do think Stacy2 needs to speak to a professional to resolve that anger. I predict that until she does, she’s going to self-sabotage her future relationships because she’s not addressing the real problem: Her anger at herself for letting her exhusband take advantage of her goodness.
    Stacy2, you were acting nobly and with love…but to a man who was ultimately not worthy of it. If you did the same exact thing to a man who WAS worthy of your love, you would not have become so embittered.
    If you need to be angry at someone or something, be angry at yourself for CHOOSING a selfish, immature man. You can fix that by choosing better next time. Please do NOT be angry at yourself for having been loving and kind towards him.
    When you give to a good man, it never hurts. When you become a demanding, entitled woman, who withholds her kindness and love to a good man, you will only ensure that good men leave you, so the only ones who will stay, are, ironically, the bad men you wanted to weed out by being demanding.
    To find a good partner, you need to BE a good partner.
    Go back to being the kind, loving woman you were. You weren’t wrong to be a “cool chick”, you were wrong to not enforce reasonable boundaries. You know better this time around. Don’t let the pendulum swing too far to the other side to “protect” yourself from future hurt.
     

  150. I still believe a woman needs an engagement ring and that the value should be based on what the man can afford.  I say that as someone who makes well over 100k but who also has student loan debt, a mortgage and pays taxes in a high bracket.  I do not ascribe to the three months salary nor do I think that there should be a set amount to be spent.  If any amount is set it should be set by the person buying it not by Zales or some commercial and most certainly not by the woman whom it is being bought for!  See that’s the problem here.  I can’t imagine the guy here,  she’s coming across as demanding and superficial wow just wow.  You must buy me a ring and it must be worth 5k no wonder the dude does not want to buy her one.  I think they should have had a conversation in which she expressed that she wanted an engagement ring and if he asked what type she liked or asked her to go shopping with her then she could if not she needed to leave it alone and let him chose it and be happy with what he chose.  End of story.

  151.  
     
    But, I don’t think that everyone read it that way.  That the poster was being “demanding” about the price.  She said that she would be flexible on the price. as in 5k or less.  She said that she would offer to pay a portion of it, flexible.  It seems like there is a major  misinterpretation in the letter that way.  Where does it directly indicate that the woman demanded a very expensive ring.  Also, keep in mind we do not know their expenses.  Argue it your way, but there are many women out there for whom 5k would not be enough.  I am not arguing that at all.  You said yourself, that you would need a ring.

  152. As  Callie mentioned, the expected price on engagement rings was literally a marketing ploy from the mid twentieth century. We all fell for it.
    “The idea that a man should spend a significant fraction of his annual income for an engagement ring originated de novo from De Beers marketing materials in the mid-20th century in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds. In the 1930s, they suggested that a man should spend the equivalent of one month’s income in the engagement ring; later they suggested that he should spend two months’ income on it. In 2012, the average cost of an engagement ring in USA as reported by the industry was US$4,000. In the UK, estimates of the average cost of an engagement ring range from £1200 to £2000.” (Wikipedia)
    Now, I admit using that argument won’t really fly if you’re trying to convince your significant other that you don’t want to buy a ring. You’ll probably just piss them off. However, in the case of the OP, given that they’ve both been married before, maybe they can approach the whole thing with a little more detachment. She should break down all reasons that an engagement ring is necessary to her a second time around. Is part of it the fact she wants something to show to her friends? I hate to sound callous, but that always seems to be the way it’s portrayed on film/tv. “Oooh, show me the rock he gave you!”. You get to hold out your hand and explain how flawless the diamonds are.
    The guy has tried to meet her halfway in a sense by offering ring tattoos. They don’t sound appealing to me either. However, the underlying point of getting something more personal than an overpriced jewel (even for under 5k) is what’s appealing. Maybe they could literally make a ring for one another, using materials that reflect things about the other person to them. I know you can get rings made from dinosaur fossils or meteorites or other cool things. Why not try that?

  153. SparklingEmerald

    I’ve always thought that marketing strategy saying a man should spend 2.5 months salary on engagement ring was very tacky.
    And there was a time when any colored stone was considered ok for an engagement ring, but DeBeers convinced almost everyone that ONLY a diamond would do.
    I think colored stones are prettier and they are far less expensive, and even though the problem of “conflict diamonds” has supposedly been fixed, I’m not 100% convinced, so I doubt that my conscience would allow me a diamond.
    There are plenty of alternatives to a $4,999 diamond.  Like family jewelry, or making a new ring out of an old ring, or find a stone other than a diamond, and if it’s a birthstone gem, buy it in the month it represents, as they are usually on sale.
    Personally, I wouldn’t want to spend HUGE amounts on an engagement ring, or an outrageous wedding. I just don’t see myself spending $10,000 for a dress that I’m only going to wear once.  Or thousand of dollars for an ice sculpture to hold up the punch bowl.  A modest ring and a modest wedding would be preferable for me, as I would rather put the money towards my MARRIAGE than the wedding.
    And if I was with a guy who didn’t want to buy me even a $200 birthstone ring, I would feel a little let down, but if all else was good, then I would just have to let it go.
    As for buying my own engagement ring, if I was with a guy who didn’t want to buy me one, well I couldn’t do that.  To me, that would be like buying your own mothers’ day gift because your kids didn’t want to.

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