≡ Menu

His Take: “How Can I Broach the Topic of Marriage?”

What is a good way to bring up the topic of marriage in a relationship? For example, I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year now. We have already discussed thoroughly what our wants and time-lines are: we both want marriage and children within the next four years. We’ve also often discussed our ideas and values when it comes to marriage, raising a family and running a home, as well as how many children each of us want. We even frequently talk about baby names that we like and dislike. However, we’ve never specifically talked about marrying or having kids with each other.

I’d like to ask my boyfriend if he sees the two of us going down that path together, but I don’t want to make him feel like I’m fishing for a proposal (so far, the most I’ve said is that I hope we have a future together). I’d definitely like to wait another two years or so before making that commitment and I know he still has a few important things he wants to accomplish on his own as well.

I guess what I’m mostly looking for is reassurance that we’re on the same page when it comes to seeing a future with one another. So fellas, from a male perspective, what’s the best way to bring up the topic? — Not Fishin’ for a Proposal


JOE: Obviously, the standard caveats about not knowing all the details and everyone’s situation being different apply, but I think yours is likely a pretty easy question to answer. Bottom line: I think you should just essentially tell him what you’ve written, then ask him if he feels that you’re someone he could see himself being married to some day. You’ve already framed your question perfectly and provided the commentary which would help to assure him you’re not pressuring him (not that I think he’d feel that way regardless).

I can’t guarantee that he will decide he wants to marry you or, if he does, that you’ll decide you truly want to marry him. I can’t be absolutely sure of his reaction when you ask him your question. But… you’ve been with this man for a year. You’ve discussed values, goals, a desire to be married, children, and even baby names with him. Those are not topics into which most men venture casually. He’s obviously not an immature person who can only think about the next five minutes of his life. If he is right for you, then asking him now if he sees a future with you isn’t going to scare him away at all. It’s not too early to ask. It’s not the wrong reason to ask. It’s not an imposition to ask. It’s not an ultimatum. If a man knows he wants to be married within the next few years and has been with a woman for a year but yet cannot even answer if that woman is someone he feels could become his wife, well, then it’s best to find that out now. My guess, though, is that it’ll be very clear to you when you ask that he does, indeed, expect someday to use those baby names on your children.

DENNIS: Quite bluntly, I don’t see what the problem is. You’ve been together for a year. He says that he does want marriage and children within the next four years. I’d say that’s just about as good a sign as any that you’re headed in the right direction, especially given that you both want to wait at least a few more years before making any sort of commitment, anyway. So what’s the rush?

In my slightly-less-than-sympathetic opinion, I believe you have all signs you need… for now. But if that’s not enough, I’d say that the issue is more with your own insecurity than with any ability or inability to commit on his part. To that end, I’m not sure that just asking him if you two are “on the same page” is going to make you feel any better. So, to answer your question, I don’t think there’s a “best way” to bring up the topic at this point. But that’s only because I feel like the topic has, ahem…. Already. Been. Brought up. <=insert waving finger snaps here

ART: Short answer: There may be a right way, but I don’t know it. You guys really seem like you’re saying it without saying it, which is what my fiancée and I did. So, that’s promising.

Long answer: Let me tell you about how I wrongly brought up this subject with my now-fiancée. I went to a wedding when she and I had been dating for about eight months and over the course of two nights maintained a pretty good level of drunkenness. Surrounded by married couples, couples in long term relationships, and at a wedding, I began texting her about how much I loved her and how all these couples reminded me of how much I liked our relationship. This was all adorable and harmless, until I went on Facebook and wrote something to the extent of “This wedding is fun but I’m not ready to get married. Sorry Emily.”

Now, let me note: marriage had not even been discussed at this point. We had each discussed our future plans in general terms, we got along really well, but we were still just dating. This forced the issue in the most embarrassing way possible (for both of us) and she remained mad at me for two days. The end product of this stupid mistake on my part was the realization that, while we were definitely not there yet, marriage was definitely something neither of us was ready to rule out (as well as apologies from me for months to follow).

The lesson here is this: if you are really suited for each other, a fucked up broaching of the marriage subject should not be the deciding factor on whether or not you eventually get married.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

{ 108 comments… add one }

  • avatar TheOtherMe June 9, 2011, 2:43 pm

    God Dennis, get out of my head. Perfect answer ;)

    • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 11:37 am

      Oh, but it’s so lovely inside there….

      Bet you’ve never gotten THAT compliment before. ;-)

      • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:40 pm

        I’m absolutely certain she’s been told how good her head feels before.

        • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 1:47 pm

          See, I would define that as, well, not her head, per se….

          • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 1:49 pm

            She’d use someone else’s?

            Wow. I learn something new every day, and not just from Sesame Street!

            ;-)

            • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 2:06 pm

              I don’t think we’re talking about the same “head” anymore…. :-p

              • avatar TheOtherMe June 13, 2011, 3:46 pm

                Gawd, I’m sorry I missed this exchange, it was quite funny :)

                BTW Dennis “Oh, but it’s so lovely inside there….” IS a compliment I’ve heard before…

  • leilani leilani June 9, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I’m with Dennis. I don’t really think anything needs to be brought up. I doubt he’s talking about baby names with you so he has some good options when he meets the lady he wants to have kids with. I also doubt that he’s discussing what he wants in a marriage and when he wants it because nothing good has been on TV and he’s tired of talking about the weather. You don’t need a verbal promise from him that he is going to propose. All signs point to the fact that he is very interested in a future with you, and assuming all goes well in the next few years, you are the person that he wants to take all those steps you have been talking about with. You don’t even want to get engaged for a few years, no need to shove the topic down his throat!

  • avatar Amber June 9, 2011, 2:56 pm

    ITA with Dennis. He said it perfectly.

    And honestly – she doesn’t even want to get married for another couple of years. Alot of things can happen in two years. So what he says now might now even be relevant or accurate by the time she is ready for that committment. LW needs to calm down and just enjoy the relationship as it is.

  • avatar Lindsey June 9, 2011, 3:05 pm

    You say you’re not in a rush to get married, so why not just go with the flow and let things progress naturally without having some kind of serious “talk”. You say you have a great relationship, have talked about marriage, children, even baby names for god’s sake..So…whats the problem, again? I agree with Dennis that all this anxiousness is probably stemming from your own insecurity about whether this man really wants to be with you, which he obviously does if you’ve made it a year!
    I will say though, it is truly unfair to ask someone to tell you whether they plan on marrying you in 2 years. Even if he loves you, can see a future with you, and has intentions to marry you, he is not a fortune teller and has no obligations to give you a concrete yes or no answer. For now, take this as they come and enjoy your time together without obsessing about the future so much. Best of Luck!!

  • MaterialsGirl Elizabeth June 9, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Art: and this is why facebook is the devil

  • avatar cmarie June 9, 2011, 3:06 pm

    I’d agree with Dennis if I hadn’t experienced this myself. I was with my partner and we were talking about what our wedding (if it’s ever legal) and what we would name our children. We even had the perfect boy’s name. Then she told me she didn’t want to get married because she didn’t like ceremony and stuff like that and she didn’t want to have kids because she didn’t want to be held down. It was quite a blow to our relationship and even though she still wanted to be with me, children are dealbreakers. However, that is a long time in the future for me so I was content to enjoy us while I could. Fortunately for us, she discovered her “mommy gene”. After a year together I don’t see any issue with simply saying that although you’ve had these discussion you need to be sure you’re on the same page and he is as serious as you. If your relationship is strong and you’re both mature, it doesn’t need to come off as an ultimatum, rather an adult discussion about the potential future you have. A lot of people will talk about their hypothetical children and life together then balk when it becomes serious. Just make sure to keep it as an open and honest discussion, no blame or pressure for either of you.

  • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I totally get where you’re coming from, Dennis, but at the same time, NEVER ASSUME in relationships. There are far, far, FAR too many examples of women who assumed their bf was on the same page they were, only to be dumped a few months later because he “needed to find the one he wanted to marry.”

    Legally Blonde anyone? **crickets**

    So I’d go with what Joe said, LW. Bring it up the way you did here. He might look at you funny and say, “I thought I’d been perfectly clear about that, yes, I see myself marrying you.” In fact, I hope he does! But it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

    • avatar melikeycheesecake June 9, 2011, 4:28 pm

      Yep Yep Yep to what you said.

    • avatar WatersEdge June 9, 2011, 4:52 pm

      I agree! Never assume. Just ask! If he’s talking about all that other stuff,it wouldn’t have to be a huge discussion. I’d ask, like Joe says, the way you phrased it. “We’ve both talked about how we see marriage in our futures. I’m not ready to get engaged, but I was wondering if you see me as someone you could marry someday. I could see myself marrying you someday, so I just wanted to see if we’re on the same page”.

      • avatar SpyGlassez June 10, 2011, 12:33 am

        I agree; this is basically how I broached the subject with my BF. We’d been together for a little over a year then, and had talked about marriage/kids. We’d also been talking about moving in together, and I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. No, we are not officially engaged (no ring yet and no date) but we are “engaged” in that we are going to be married. We are waiting for him to get a job because he just graduated, and then we will start talking about when.

    • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 11:32 am

      Yes, we should never assume anything. But, at some point, we cross over the line into paranoia.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of open communication between men and women and, in fact, started a blog just for that purpose. But, let’s take a look at this situation specifically:

      Given her description of their relationship, if she were to ask what she wants to ask, can she possibly get an answer other than “yes”? Can you actually imagine him saying, “oh, sure, I talked about marriage with you. Sure, I talked about kids with you. Sure, I talked about raising a family. But… nah, I don’t really see myself doing any of this with you. But hey, I’m glad you asked, because if you hadn’t, I would’ve just kept going along with this perfect little charade. I’m so busted.”

      Because if you can imagine this scenario, then I contend that you’re living life well past that paranoia line.

      The bottom line is, he’s dropped all the hints, so of course he’s gonna say yes. But, if he’s actually a big enough douche to talk about all this with her, with no intention of actually following through (which, apparently, is what the LW suspects), then a simple question isn’t gonna get him to come clean.

      If my rationale still isn’t clear, look at it this way: I should never assume that my girlfriend isn’t going to cheat on me. But, does that mean I should just ask her if she’s going to cheat on me? You know, in the spirit of not assuming anything?

      Of course not. Because there’s no way she’s going to say yes. If she’s not planning to, then obviously she’ll answer know. And if she is planning to and really is just that evil, then she’s gonna say no, anyway.

      My point is, sure, she can ask that question. But, given the circumstances, I doubt any answer is going to make her feel any better, because the question stems not from curiosity, but from insecurity on her part. And that, to me, is the underlying issue she probably needs to work on.

      • avatar LW June 10, 2011, 11:52 am

        You’re so right Dennis. The issue is definitely underlying insecurity.

        You see, I was with my ex for a year and a half. He’s the one that brought up marriage. And he told me everyday that he wanted to marry me and spend the rest of his life with me, be with me forever, etc. And I believed him. Then one day I was talking about our future life together and out of the blue he said, “What makes you think I want to marry you?” and less than a month later he dumped me because he didn’t want to be so serious. (This was all about 3 years ago)

        So, while I’m very happy in my current relationship, I do sort of feel like men are sometimes perfectly willing to stay in a comfortable relationship even though they see no future, until suddenly something better comes along.

        I don’t want to get married right now, but I would like to know that he sees a future with me so I don’t end up investing 3 years in someone who doesn’t think I’m the one.

        That’s the reason I asked “how” to bring it up. Like anything else, there are good and bad ways to try and get your feelings across. And yes, part of me feels insecure and wants reassurance, but another part of me knows that things are really great between us right now and I don’t have to always have the answer to everything in order to be happy. He’s given me positive signs – so yeah, part of me feels like I should just let it be and allow things to progress naturally.

        It’s a conflicting feeling. But all of the answers from you and Joe and Art were certainly helpful. So, thank you!

        • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:24 pm

          Best of luck with it all, LW. I think that, as your ex showed, you can never really know, and, in fact, even after you’re married, things can go badly. But in most cases where a man is as open about the things you and your boyfriend discuss as he is, it’s a good sign. Obviously, your ex proves that it’s not always a good sign, but it usually is. And it’s not going to hurt to discuss it with him… any outcome of that talk will provide you with helpful insight.

        • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 10, 2011, 12:41 pm

          I totally understand where you’re coming from. I had a guy ASK me to marry him, and then dump me a month later. So I understand the subsequent insecurity quite well.

          If you’re really looking for ways how to bring up the conversation, I like to keep things casual. The next time you’re on the couch, absently watching TV or whatever, just say something like, “So, I don’t want to put any pressure on you, and I promise I’m not fishing for a proposal here, but I just want to know for sure whether you can see yourself marrying ME one day in the future or not. I know we’ve talked about it before, but it’s been pretty hypothetical, and I just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”

          I think the odds are very high that he’ll say “yeah, of course” but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And of course, if he’s a horrible person he could lie and tell you what he thinks you want to hear and then dump you down the line, but that’s pretty unlikely.

          Best of luck to you :)

        • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 1:55 pm

          Yikes. I’m sorry that happened to you. And, yes, I can totally see how something like that could make you somewhat paranoid in future relationships.

          Not that this will make you feel better (well, maybe it might), but what happened with your ex is the exact situation I’m talking about. Because, with your ex, even if you had broached the subject in the same exact manner, I don’t think it would’ve made a difference. It seems like he just had a change of heart (which happens, unfortunately).

          So, unless you were asking him the same question every day until he had that change of heart, you would’ve gotten the simple “yes.”

          Then again, if you had asked him that question every single day, that would likely have caused the change of heart. ;-)

          So, kind of like what Joe said below, I think it’s more important to look at how he acts towards you, rather than focusing on asking him a question that probably won’t make you feel any more confident in the relationship, anyway.

          Hope that makes sense.

        • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 2:01 pm

          Oh, just to really clarify, I guess I see nothing wrong with just asking him, as long you’re casual about it.

          At the same time, if in fact, this issue is due to your underlying insecurity, I don’t think any answer he gives will make you feel better. And, in that case, it might only make things more awkward.

          • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 10, 2011, 2:10 pm

            True. It could get a little awkward. However, much of life is quite awkward, and becomes more so when you try to avoid the awkwardness. I always end up just rushing into it headlong to get it over with, but that’s me.

            Anyway, I think both sides of this coin are totally valid, so LW, I’m sure whichever route you choose things will work out :)

          • avatar LW June 10, 2011, 3:15 pm

            Thanks guys. I definitely appreciate your input :)

      • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:43 pm

        Looking more at your comment, Dennis, I guess my answer to it isn’t that his words will necessarily mean a lot (Text: “think u w/marry me sumday?” Reply: “K”). However, the way he says what he says when he replies and his demeanor will likely speak volumes.

  • avatar lk June 9, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Art…Hahahahaha…But, seriously, I totally agree that if you are well suited for each other there is not much you can do in the awkward-flubbed-misspoken realm to mess it up.

  • avatar Amber June 9, 2011, 3:12 pm

    This is the problem though – being quite early in the relationship, what if he is not ready to say the he sees her as someone he wants to marry? That doesn’t mean that in another year from now he wouldn’t be thinking it.

    She will freak out and probably start to emotionally pull away.

    • avatar Bethany June 9, 2011, 3:17 pm

      They’ve been togehter for a year- it’s not like she wants to have the conversation after only 3 or 4 months. I certainly don’t think that’s too soon to have the talk.

    • avatar LW June 10, 2011, 3:32 pm

      I was totally with you til you said I’d probably freak out.

      That’s another reason I asked “how” to bring up the topic. I’m well aware that a guy may not know for sure if he wants to marry a girl after one year together. I kinda think that’s the sort of decision men make when they’re actually ready to get married. And like I said, I don’t want to put pressure on him since I still want to wait a few years anyway.

      Anyway, I wouldn’t freak out and pull away if he said he didn’t know yet. I’d be a little hurt and disappointed, yeah. But I would understand, and be patient, and let things happen in their own time. Because I know that he definitely DOES want to get married and have a family. (Unlike when I was 19 and my first bf told me all that the time that he never wanted to get married or have kids, and I stuck around thinking he’d change his mind… never smart to think you can change somebody’s mind.)

      I did get the answer I was looking for from the guys on the panel. Their words gave me some things to think about. So, I’m content! :)

  • avatar Bethany June 9, 2011, 3:15 pm

    I think this line was perfect: “The lesson here is this: if you are really suited for each other, a fucked up broaching of the marriage subject should not be the deciding factor on whether or not you eventually get married.”

    It’s totally true. If your relationship is strong and healthy, you should be able to have the conversation you want to have without ruining anything. Yeah, it might be uncomfortable and weird (it was when I had it), but if having the conversation is going to ruin the relationship, then it probably wasn’t the relationship you’d want to stick with Till Death Do You Part anyway.

    • avatar kerrycontrary June 9, 2011, 3:24 pm

      I totally agree. If you are going to marry someone you should be able to talk about even the most personal and awkward subjects. I asked my boyfriend straight up “can you see yourself marrying me”, he said yes, and now I don’t stress about where we stand in our relationship. Easy Peasy.

    • avatar SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Also agree. If he takes this one uncomfortable moment and bolts, he’s not someone you want to be with.. Because life is a mess full of uncomfortable moments (scared to talk marriage? Wait til you have a baby! Nothing is as uncomfortable a subject as live birth) and you have to be able to survive them to stay together.

    • leilani leilani June 10, 2011, 10:23 am

      I agree that bringing up the subject of marriage should in no way be a dealbreaker in a committed relationship. I just think she shouldn’t sweat it, pay attention to all the indicators that have already been said, and just let the more specific conversations happen organically. If it comes up, there shouldn’t be any fear of getting deeper into it, but I really don’t think she needs to be stressing about how or when to bring it up when everything seems to be on the right track.

  • avatar BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I would bring it up, only because I get that nervous twitch when I want to know something, but don’t know it yet. Disclaimer: I’ve experienced a LOT of heartbreak that way, but definitely cleared the air between myself and someone else. If you’re ok without it being said directly, then I suggest you carry on picking out baby names. But if you’re not ok, definitely talk. And ask him just the way you wrote.

    That said, I’ve only been dating my guy for a 6 months. I recently realized that I want this to be for real real (and not for play play), so I asked him if he could see a future with me in it. The kids, the house, the wedding (ideally not in that order, but if it happens, it happens), essentially the whole caboodle. So, I just asked. Like that. And, he responded in the affirmative. Interestingly enough, the conversation was good for him because he was thinking it, but not sure how to bring it up.

    So, know yourself. If you want to know, then go ahead and find out. If not, then chill. It sounds like you have something great going on there.

    • avatar Britannia June 9, 2011, 3:27 pm

      +10 Internetz for a Drawn Together reference!!!

      • avatar spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 4:36 pm

        OK, I can’t find the Drawn Together reference and this is bothering me unnaturally. I loved that show.

        • avatar BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 4:44 pm

          Spaceboy!! NOOOOOO. Of all commentors I would expect you to know that.

          I’m for REAL REAL, NOT FOR PLAY PLAY! Foxxy Cleopatra!!

          Ok, I’ll forgive you because on every article hear you have made me crack up, but don’t ever let that happen again!

          • avatar Britannia June 9, 2011, 4:51 pm

            My boyfriend and I say that all the time –

            “I love you.”
            “For real real? Not for play plays?”
            “For real real.”

            It probably sounds ludicrous to everyone else, but our conversations are rife with South Park, Family Guy, Drawn Together, Archer, etc references. It’s practically like we talk in code. I love it when someone else gets it!!!

          • avatar spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 4:55 pm

            GAAAAHHH!!!

            I honestly would not have pieced that together. I kind of rely on my freakish see-it-once memory and not a DVD collection, so I’m bound to slip up.

        • avatar TheGirl June 9, 2011, 4:54 pm

          I believe its the ‘for real real (and not for play play)’ reference.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgJ4yg9xEEc

  • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 9, 2011, 4:19 pm

    My husband asked me what I wanted from our relationship. I think that would work for you because he could answer that he hopes to marry you or he could answer that he wants to keep seeing you and see what happens. It wouldn’t pressure him to give a specific answer at this time.

    • avatar Laurel June 9, 2011, 4:58 pm

      That’s a really good suggestion that I bet a lot of people could use (even if they’re not thinking about marriage)!

    • avatar Liza June 9, 2011, 11:20 pm

      Good idea! Seeing this post was a relief – I have been thinking the same thing lately and was wondering how I should bring it up to the bf. We are about to hit our 2 year marker and we’ve been doing long-distance over the Atlantic for the past 6 months. We always had similar conversations (e.g., how we want to raise kids, how we want a ceremony, etc.), but it was also similar in that we never specifically talked about OUR marriage/wedding/kids. I guess being in a LDR makes me want to know for sure that he could see himself marrying me, instead of just assuming, like other comments mentioned. This is a nice way of bringing it up without freaking him out. Then again, next time we see each other it will be for his cousin’s wedding, so maybe the environment will push HIM to bring it up! At least it won’t be too of topic in that situation.

      Thanks!

  • avatar melikeycheesecake June 9, 2011, 4:26 pm

    I agree with Joe.

    I think it’s ok to casually bring it up.

    Art– too funny!

  • avatar spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I would just fake a pregnancy and see how he reacts. That’s what they would have done on Passions.

    • avatar BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 4:45 pm

      FORGIVEN!

      • avatar silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 4:56 pm

        I also have a Friends reference for this letter, but I can’t figure out where to put it, so I’m sticking it here.

        It’s like the episode where Rachel turns 30 and she breaks up with Tag because she sits down and adds up all the stuff she has to do if she wants to be married and start having kids by the time she’s 35.

    • avatar Laurel June 9, 2011, 5:02 pm

      When I switched birth control I felt it was important to talk to my boyfriend about what we would do in case the birth control failed and I accidentally got pregnant. His immediate response was that he’d ask me to marry him. I want to be married before I have his babies, but…… *bug eyed emoticon* ……don’t tell that to someone who wants to be married and have babies with you!

    • avatar mf June 10, 2011, 12:21 pm

      I nominate this comment for Comment of the Week. Just sayin’.

  • avatar Kara June 9, 2011, 4:52 pm

    I would have dumped Art on the spot. What a tasteless thing to do. Do you really need public approval that much?

    And for the LW, if you’re in love, you needn’t pussy foot around that conversation. People who love each other are open with each other about big things like that.

    &People with histronic personality disorder are open with everyone they know on facebook about big things like that.

    • avatar WatersEdge June 9, 2011, 5:04 pm

      How rude! Art did a boneheaded thing, but he shared it to benefit the LW. Let’s not knock him!

      • avatar Art June 9, 2011, 6:14 pm

        Thanks, WatersEdge. This is why I don’t tend to share personal anecdotes; it’s much easier to seem like a flawless expert when no one can see my flaws!

    • avatar Jess June 10, 2011, 4:34 am

      oh come on, if you would break up with someone for that “on the spot” you obviously would have been just waiting for an excuse anyway.

      Can you imagine, “I’m SO torn, I love him so much and I thought we were perfect together. It’s killing me inside but i HAVE to leave him because he posted he’s not ready to get married on my facebook wall. *sob* I thought he was the one, and then THIS??”
      no way…

      • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 10:59 am

        Clearly you misunderstood me. I would not be dissapointed that my boyfriend wasn’t ready to get married…not at all. I would be dissapointed that I was dating someone who would make a cheap joke publicly at my expense. Indicating that he cared more about his public image than about individual realationships with real people. I guess there are no feminists on this site, because if there were they might have noticed that Art’s joke presupposes that all women are desperate to get married and that they deserve to be made fun of for it. I spelled histrionic wrong in my original post so maybe that’s why you didn’t understand my point. Here’s the definition for those who don’t know: Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval . But I guess since the advent of facebook, more and more people could be characterized this way. I just think it’s really sad, but I guess all you broads care about is getting married….

        • avatar Valerie June 10, 2011, 11:25 am

          Uhhhhh……? I’m really not sure how Art’s post assumed that all women are desperate to get married OR made fun of his then-girlfriend in any way? Or how it was some sort of joke? Or how he was somehow trying to bolster his public image? And are you trying to suggest that Art has histrionic personality disorder?

          In case anyone was wondering: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR defines histrionic personality disorder as:
          A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
          1) is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
          2) interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
          3) displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
          4) consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
          5) has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
          6) shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
          7) is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
          8) considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

          Sorry, but I’m not getting any of that from “This wedding is fun but I’m not ready to get married. Sorry Emily.” Nor have I ever gotten that from any of Art’s posts…?

          • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 11:43 am

            Nothing you just listed really undermined my point. None of us know Art well enough to know if he meets all the requirements of the disorder. I’m just saying he’s acts like an attention seeking person.
            Saying “Sorry Emily” after “I’m not ready to get married” assumes that emily wants to get married, and that he is dissapointing her. He’s sharing it on facebook so yes, I think it’s safe to assume he thinks it’s funny or why else would he post it? Him posting it in the first place was an indication that Art thought that making a joke like that would be a good idea because it would amuse his facebook friends. So I can conclude that he made a sub-conscious decision that amusing “friends” on facebook was more important than his girlfriends sense of self-respect and her feelings. My point is confirmed by the stated fact that emily was upset. I don’t really think Art has a disorder, I just think he’s attention seeking to the point of being shallow and pathetic. What’s not clear here?

            • avatar MissDre June 10, 2011, 11:56 am

              Everybody makes mistakes that piss off their significant other. But obviously, he was a good enough boyfriend previous to this that she didn’t dump him for it, and obviously he was a good enough boyfriend after this that they are now engaged.

              Leave the poor guy alone. He wasn’t trying to glorify something stupid that he did, he was admitting a big mistake with the intention of highlighting the fact that yes, people can still end up together after handling something poorly!

              • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 12:22 pm

                Eh, I’m pretty forgiving, but I don’t let men disrespect me like that. It’s not the 50s gals, I think we should have some reverence for what our mothers fought for. Guys shouldn’t feel like they are empowered to cut us down in public and then have a laugh about it later. Imagine Emily posting that to her facebook page. It wouldn’t make any sense, right? Well, why does it make sense when Art posts it? Because it’s assumed that marriage is what Emily wants and Art has the power to withhold it from her and to mock her for it. I don’t accept that kind of stuff from the guys I date, but from perusing this sight I’ve gathered that a lot of you gals do. And I think it’s sort of sad that this generation takes for granted what the previous one worked so hard to give to them.

                • Budj Budjer June 10, 2011, 12:33 pm

                  I gathered that he had poured his heart out to her so much that night that marriage is the impression he gave to her. When he realized they had been dating for 8 months he decided in a belligerent fog that he would carry through with an action that would later be considered a foot in mouth moment to clarify he didn’t want to give off that impression…I think you are reading into this way too much.

                  Art, I envy your beard.

                  • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 12:48 pm

                    Clarifications of that nature should be made in person. Why should a grown man use facebook like it’s his teddy bear confidante?

                    • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:53 pm

                      Because it’s not a legal document, and it’s intended to express thoughts at the moment. Yes, often, people express things they should not have, because it’s a permanent record of them, but it’s not like he was using Facebook as his sole means of communicating important things to his girlfriend. It was just a comment.

                • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:57 pm

                  “It’s not the 50s gals, I think we should have some reverence for what our mothers fought for.”

                  I’d assume that would also include not beg considered such delicate emotional flowers that you need to be treated with kid gloves and deference. It was a Facebook comment. If you’re unable to deal with it as such, you essentially are living in, if not the 50s, the last millennium.

                  • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 12:57 pm

                    “not being considered…”

            • avatar LTC039 June 10, 2011, 1:04 pm

              How to you sleep at night with all the racing compulsive thoughts in your head?

            • avatar Nicole. June 10, 2011, 4:10 pm

              Well, I do actually know Art well enough to know he definitely does not fit the characteristics of the disorder. I also work with the mentally ill and the homeless, thus qualifying me to make this distinction.

              Additionally, both Emily and Art are hilarious and constantly poke at each other’s humorous habits and short-comings, not because they seek attention, but because they find the “funny” and seek to entertain.

              I am personally offended that because we disagree with you and your brash assessment of Art means that there are obviously “no feminists on this site,” because tossing around big words and personality disorders and preying on advice-givers on a girly site like this doesn’t disqualify you from being a HUGE F-ING NARCISSIST.

              That is all.

              • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 5:31 pm

                You undermine yourself when you throw out a random personality disorder in order to prove that tossing around personality disorders is irresponsible.

                • avatar Nicole. June 13, 2011, 11:31 pm

                  Oh dear, I didn’t diagnose you, I just stated that it doesn’t disqualify you from the possibility.

        • avatar LTC039 June 10, 2011, 1:03 pm

          You’re reading waaaaaaaaaaaay into Art’s post. I can’t stand it when people take simple, supposed to be comical, stories & turn them into rage fests on social issues. Get over it.

          • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 1:09 pm

            Isn’t this website basically a rage fest on social issues? I mean, isn’t that why you come here?

            • avatar LTC039 June 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

              No…this website is an “advice column.” It is meant for people to write in about personal/relationship problems & in turn receive advice as to how to handle their issue from Wendy, guest columnists, & commentors. If you want to rage on social issues, go to Politico.com

              • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 5:34 pm

                Personal/relationship problems *are* social issues.

                • avatar LTC039 June 10, 2011, 7:52 pm

                  No, not quite…
                  Social issues are more along the lines of poverty, gay rights, **women’s rights**, welfare system, global warming (if you believe in it), crime rates, school system, etc…
                  Get it now?

                  • avatar MissDre June 10, 2011, 8:41 pm

                    Sigh. I think she just has to have the last word (as demonstrated by the constant back pedaling that bagge72 pointed out)…. best to just ignore people like this. They thrive off disagreements.

    • avatar Debbie June 10, 2011, 1:30 pm

      So you read one silly, stupid drunken post on Facebook and decide it’s a smack against all of womanhood and undermines our mothers’ fight for equal rights and you’d immediately break up with a guy who by all indications has been nothing but great to you. Uh, who exactly is being histrionic and attention-seeking?

      No one is defending Art’s FB post (especially him who says he’s continued to feel bad about it and apologize for it months later) — it was stupid, but come on, people screw up and say and do stupid things. If we all dumped each other every time we said something stupid, no one would ever have a lasting relationship.

      And, I agree with @jsw, your expectation to be treated with such complete, unwavering deference at every moment reeks of women being way too emotionally delicate and weak to handle anything else. It doesn’t support women’s strength, it communicates that women are weak. Definitely a 50s stereotype that should be gone by now.

      • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 1:47 pm

        It has nothing to do with emotional delicacy. It’s just being clear about what is and isn’t acceptable in a public forum. These are issues that people are struggling with now with the advent of facebook and twitter. I’m just taking the position that facebook is real, it’s permanent and that thoughtful, intelligent people ought to think about what they post there. I think it’s very typical for young women to be hostile to any mention of feminism. I’m not beating my chest, just stating why I found his comment inappropriate. You are openly displaying your disgust for any kind of feminist discussion and I feel that is way more extreme than anything I’ve said here. For the record, I have no ill will for Art, and I don’t think he deserves to be alone forever or anything. I was just saying that *I* wouldn’t date him. And seeing as he’s engaged I’m confidant he doesn’t give two s%&s about that. I’m just expressing an opinion & I think there must be some truth to it, or y’all wouldn’t be so up in arms about it.

        • avatar Debbie June 10, 2011, 2:22 pm

          I totally agree with you that people need to be careful about what they post online and that people seem to me to be too willing to share too much in a public forum. And Art definitely crossed that line (which he admits). And I absolutely appreciate what our fore-mothers did for our generation and am a feminist. My response to you, though, is based on:
          1) Your immediate knee-jerk reaction to dump the poor guy for one stupid mistake.
          2) Your psuedo-diagnosis of some guy you don’t know.
          3) Your inflation of a stupid guy foot-in-mouth mistake to become a huge sexist strike against women. In fact, when we focus on each small slight, I’m concerned that actually serves to degrade real, true feminist issues — if we scream about every little thing, no one listens when we scream about the important stuff.

          • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 2:49 pm

            I totally agree with you that harping on small things doesn’t help feminism as a whole. But I don’t take it as a small thing when guys assume women are crawling all over themselves to get married and then think it’s OK to poke fun of them for it in public. That’s just me. Maybe that’s extreme to some of you, but it’s not to me. I just think those sorts of jokes make women seem weak and needy and superficial. I once dumped a guy I was dating for a year because he showed me this email correspondence he had with a friend where they were sending pics back and forth of a girl they both knew and they thought was awkward or something and making jokes at her expense. I thought that exchange demonstrated a huge lack of sensitivity. And for me that’s what I look for in a man first and foremost. Because I value sensitivity. I don’t expect any of you to have the same standards, I was just sharing how I would feel if my boyfriend posted that on his facebook page. I guess I shouldn’t have said anything because I don’t know Art, I just figured he was kind of volunteering his life for scrutiny by being on this site. Last week I thought it was crazy that one of the LWs was thinking about dumping her boyfriend because he was convicted of a felony. So I guess everbody’s different.

            • bagge72 bagge72 June 10, 2011, 4:32 pm

              Nice back pedaling, but you sure did make a whole lot of assumptions about people on this website, for somebody who was just trying to state “I was just saying that *I* wouldn’t date him” and “I don’t expect any of you to have the same standards, I was just sharing how I would feel if my boyfriend posted that on his facebook page.” If that is all you were trying to do you wouldn’t have had to judge everyone else on here, and tell them who they are or are not, while also indication that we aren’t smart enough to understand what you were saying.

              “I guess there are no feminists on this site”
              “I spelled histrionic wrong in my original post so maybe that’s why you didn’t understand my point”
              ” I just think he’s attention seeking to the point of being shallow and pathetic. What’s not clear here?”
              “I don’t accept that kind of stuff from the guys I date, but from perusing this sight I’ve gathered that a lot of you gals do”
              “Isn’t this website basically a rage fest on social issues? I mean, isn’t that why you come here?”
              “You are openly displaying your disgust for any kind of feminist discussion and I feel that is way more extreme than anything I’ve said here.”

              • avatar Kara June 10, 2011, 5:25 pm

                This is an advice column site. That’s kind of what people do on advice columns sites. Judge.

                The indication that people didn’t understand what I was say was because if you scroll above a bunch of people made it pretty clear that they didn’t understand my perspective and I was clarifying. And I’m not going to itemize these instances because I’m not crazy.

  • avatar Laurel June 9, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I’ve actually thought about this one too, ever since Wendy made that post of “X # of things it’s totally okay to talk about when you’re in a relationship” and one of them was “I really feel ready to be marred”. After we’d been dating for about six months we had a conversion about living together before marriage and both personally thought it was better to be engaged before living together. Then…six months later….he asks me to move in with him. And because I love him and love being with him, I agreed. I know he feels pretty serious about me, and isn’t interested in dating anyone else. (I asked him once, casually, if he would regret not being with anyone else since I’m only his second serious girlfriend/sex partner.)

    So yeah…I’ve promised myself I’ll stop bringing it up (for a couple months after we moved in I’d occasionally ask him leading questions and he’d basically shut them down without answering.)

    • avatar Christy June 9, 2011, 7:59 pm

      I don’t know your life, but just from this it seems like a problem to move in together without being clear about what it means. I’d stop with the leading questions and be direct about asking whether he sees you two getting engaged at some point. And if he doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s a red flag. The LW sounds like she’s on the same page with her boyfriend, she’s just afraid to ask and be sure. I don’t think you’re in the same book with your guy right now.

  • avatar Jshizzle June 9, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I’m not a guy…but I might suggest the LW just be honest and say “hey dude, i am in no way fishing for a proposal here, i know there’s a lot of stuff we both want to accomplish before getting married, however, i can’t see myself with anyone else, and I’m hoping you feel the same way”

  • avatar Valerie June 9, 2011, 7:43 pm

    @Dennis,

    1) Love your answer, totally agree.
    2) Are you the same Dennis Hong who co-authored one of today’s article on Cracked.com? http://www.cracked.com/article_19253_7-legendary-acts-petty-revenge.html

    If so, I just wanted to say that I LOVE DearWendy.com and I LOVE cracked.com, and if there is now a connection between the two, consider my mind BLOWN! :D

    • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 8:23 am

      Put on a tight helmet for your own safety. Or at least to reduce the mess.

      Ready?

      Since he hasn’t responded, I’ll do so for him, because I’m a giver: yup, same Art.

      • avatar TheOtherMe June 10, 2011, 8:37 am

        I think you mean same Dennis.

        • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 8:44 am

          *finishes coffee*

          *brain activates*

          Yup. Same Dennis. Thanks!

          • avatar Art June 10, 2011, 9:17 am

            What can I say, people just want more of me, even if they don’t realize it.

            • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 9:23 am

              Indeed. I was trying to answer the question but hadn’t yet escaped the fantasy I was having about you.

              • avatar Valerie June 10, 2011, 10:48 am

                AANNNNNNNND, Boom goes the dynamite!!!

                • avatar _jsw_ June 10, 2011, 11:28 am

                  That’s not the euphemism I typically use, but it’s a good one.

                  • avatar Valerie June 10, 2011, 11:32 am

                    Heheheh, I LOVE that one! Have you seen this youtube video before (VERY safe for work)? :)

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W45DRy7M1no

                    It’s been on my mind lately because this guy was JUST on Tosh.0 for a web redemption (NSFW, if you want to see that video too). HILARIOUS!

    • avatar Dennis Hong June 10, 2011, 11:34 am

      Yup, that’s me. Just think of me as the writer’s version of the rom-com. ;-)

  • avatar Valerie June 9, 2011, 8:20 pm

    What Art said also rang true to me: “The lesson here is this: if you are really suited for each other, a fucked up broaching of the marriage subject should not be the deciding factor on whether or not you eventually get married.”

    I definitely know this is true. When this guy Chris and I had JUST started dating (we had been seeing each other for about a month), we had been on a date and Chris casually mentioned something in passing about “how he was never going to get married.” I was a little stunned, and, since we hadn’t been dating that long, I didn’t press him further and just let it lie. But then after the date I went home and as I thought about it some more, I started freaking out because I knew I liked Chris a lot, and I also knew that at that point in my life, I wasn’t just “dating to date,” I was looking for someone serious, with the possibility of marriage–some day, so if Chris wasn’t interested in marriage ever, I felt that I should just cut my losses. So after analyzing it and over-analyzing it and driving myself crazy, I talked to my mom, and her advice was to “just ask him!” So I did! I called him up that night and asked if what he said during our date was true, and he didn’t even remember saying it! In the conversation that followed we learned that yes, we both want to get married someday, and we also got the children question out of the way too (we both do want kids, but not right now). It was a little awkward, and maybe sort of intense, but I didn’t scare Chris away by just laying it on him. I guess we were suited for each other because that was 3.5 years ago and we’re getting married in October! I think the point of me telling this story is that I think if you want to know if you and your boyfriend are going down the same road together, you should just ask him!

    • avatar Meg June 10, 2011, 1:13 pm

      I did a similar thing, and my guy in question is named Chris too. He casually mentioned at brunch w/ friends after we’d been dating about 2 months that he wanted 5 kids. I about spit out my mimosa, because while I wouldn’t refuse to have 5, it seemed like a big number to just casually drop. I really wondered if he was serious, so finally I asked him about it. Turns out he was serious that he liked the idea of a big family, but the specifics were totally negotiable based on what his wife wants, financial constraints, work schedules, etc. Which is pretty much exactly where I fall on the matter.

      • avatar MissDre June 10, 2011, 1:31 pm

        Haha my bf wants 10 kids – if he can financially support them. He says his minimum is 4 though. I definitely don’t want that many, I said I may go for 3 but I’d rather have 2. Although I’m open to having 2, and then adopting a pair of siblings once my own kids are older.

        But yeah, he’s definitely serious about wanting 10!

        • avatar Meg June 10, 2011, 4:40 pm

          It was funny, once we started talking about it I realized that he hadn’t thought about the fact that 5 kids pretty much meant me being pregnant or breastfeeding close to 10 years, and that the oldest and youngest would be pretty far apart in age unless everything happened textbook-perfectly. I honestly don’t think 5 biological kids is all that likely unless there’s a set of twins in there or something, but we’re both open to the idea of having some naturally and adopting some if it works out that way. I’m already almost 27 and we won’t get married for probably another year and a half or so, so that’d be a really tight timeframe otherwise!

          • avatar MissDre June 10, 2011, 5:11 pm

            I feel you on that one. My boyfriend is already in his 30′s and he wants to be around 35 when he has his first. To START having ten kids at that age, he’d be an OLD man by the time they all get here.

            Even having 4 is a lot, like you said it’s constant pregnancy or breastfeeding. The other thing is, I probably wouldn’t be able to work! In Canada, we have one year maternity leave. So that’s a year off, and after going back to work you have to put in another year before you qualify for another maternity leave, then you get pregnant, so that’s 2 years and 9 months between babies. And having 4 or 5? Jeez!

      • Skyblossom Skyblossom June 10, 2011, 6:18 pm

        When I was in college I wanted four but after having our first baby I wanted two. It’s hard to know the realities of raising a child until you have a child. I think you can’t know until you have children how many you will ultimately want. I do know some large families and they manage incredibly well and I am always impressed with how they do it.

  • avatar Jess June 10, 2011, 4:31 am

    I do this too, the wanting to be sure about if we’ll get married or not. I mean, everyone thinks its normal to have a 3/5 year plan career wise. Your partners a bigger part of your life than your job so its hard to just have a “enjoy the moment and let it unfold naturally” approach. Even though, logically I know that’s the best way to go about it…

    Although the other day we were talking, and my boyfriend was like, “We’re so good together. All of my friends assume we’re going to get married.” And we’re in Europe so getting married is not the obvious next step here. It made me very happy :) :)

  • avatar rock June 10, 2011, 4:45 am

    cool your jets, lady. you are fishing for a proposal.
    if you really talked about all that stuff with him, then you are on the same page. it’s pretty simple. men don’t often talk about baby names with their girlfriend (when they don’t actually want that stuff) and not get all weird or closed off about it.
    you should just wait another few months or a year, because i’m sure he’ll ask you after he’s done doing all the things in his life he’s still got on his “before marriage” list.
    chill out.

  • avatar jena June 10, 2011, 10:04 am

    Am I the only one concerned that she’s planning on or at least wants to marry this guy yet is afraid to bring it up and wants advice for, essentially, TALKING to her partner?

    • Budj Budjer June 10, 2011, 2:00 pm

      I think she is more afraid of it causing relationship problems if he isn’t on the same page or if he thinks she is pressuring him for marriage. She should really be focusing on the not pressuring part because if the former happens then they want different things for the future / are unevenly invested in eachother anyways…

      • avatar jena June 10, 2011, 3:40 pm

        again, she should be comfortable enough with a partner she wants to marry to TALK about marriage.

        • avatar LW June 10, 2011, 3:47 pm

          I am comfortable enough to talk about it. My question wasn’t “Should I talk about it” my question was “How do I talk about it” . I mean, marriage is a big deal. I want to go about it in a way that let’s him know that I want a future with him, but doesn’t make him feel like I’m expecting a ring right now.

          I said in a previous post here, there are good ways and bad ways to talk about things (like when you’re mad, don’t get all dramatic, cry and throw accusations cuz that won’t get you want you want).

          That’s why I asked what the men here think. I wanted to know the best way to bring up the topic from a male perspective.

          • avatar jena June 13, 2011, 11:44 am

            You say, “I’m not expecting a proposal anytime soon, but can we talk about marriage and what we both want in the future?”

            If you can’t bring that up, you probably shouldn’t marry a guy you can’t communicate with.

            • avatar LW June 13, 2011, 3:33 pm

              You are missing the point and making assumptions. At no point did I say that I “can’t” bring it up or ask if I should. Nor did I say I was afraid to or didn’t want to. I asked for a male perspective.

              Going by your thought process, any women who has ever asked a guy for his opinion is destined to be alone I guess, since it automatically means she “can’t communicate”.

              So get off your high horse and quit being such a judgmental and condescending biatch. This is a POSITIVE forum for people to lift each other up and provide support and encouragement.

              Once again, thank you to all the positive, happy and supportive commentators that make Dear Wendy such a wonderful community.

  • avatar mf June 10, 2011, 12:26 pm

    Personally, I’m with Joe. If you guys have discussed marriage and kids, he has very likely thought about the possibility of marrying you. If you bring up the issue, I don’t think he’ll be blindsided.

    It may help if you make your feelings clear (“I think you’d be a great husband and I can see myself marrying you in a few years”). In my experience, some guys have easier time expressing these sorts of feelings/thoughts if they know you feel the same way. (I’m not saying he necessarily does share your feelings, but if he does, you can make it easy on him, right?)

Leave a Comment


9 − five =