Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “Why Does He Flirt Right in Front of Me?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I am a 44-year-old woman dating a 61-year-old man. My question is: what makes a man flirt with other women right in front of you? My boyfriend does this in a joking way, and, while I don’t think he is actually serious about it, it still does not make me feel very good. We have been dating for about five months. I have never let on that it bothers me. — Tired of the Flirting

Your answer lies in your final sentence, my dear.

I been dating this guy for six months now and I’m very unhappy. I have done a lot for him — even moved to the same city he lives in so we’d be 10 minutes from each other. Still, we only see each other once every 2-3 weeks. He has a demanding job and I know he is busy, but I only ask that we spend time with each other once a week for a couple of hours and he can’t even do that. I’m always there when he needs me, but I get nothing in return. Every time I want to break up he doesn’t want me to, and he says he loves me and promises we will spend time together. We have only had sex four times in six months. I have a high sex drive. I met someone else who has been there for me and made me feel like a woman, so, yes, I cheated. I was vulnerable and lonely, but I don’t feel bad cause I was not in a happy relationship. So am I wrong for cheating? I think it’s best for me to move on from this relationship. — Cheater?

Yes, you were wrong for cheating. Yes, you are right for moving on already. Seriously, if you’ve been with someone for only six months and you’ve been consistently unhappy most of that time, there’s no debating it: MOA.

My husband and I have been married five and a half years, and I still do not have a wedding ring from him. When we got married, we used a silver ring I had and had it re-sized to fit my ring finger. I feel deep resentment right now. When we married, we were low on funds and he promised me that. when he got his degree and his engineering job, he would take care of that. Well, he has been at his engineering job for over a year now. I saw a ring I liked — a small sapphire and 10kt gold, but he said no.

What should I say to him to get my point across? — Tired of Being Ringless

Ask him why he said no and if his answer isn’t sufficient or he doesn’t give you a reasonable alternative that you are happy with, stop doing things that make his life easier and more enjoyable (like, having sex with him, for example) until he steps up and gives you the ring he promised you.


You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

104 comments… add one
  • Sophronisba March 29, 2013, 9:09 am

    LOL! Wendy channels Lysistrata for LW #3

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  • ktfran March 29, 2013, 9:12 am

    I love shortcuts. They make my Friday mornings at work a little more bearable.

    Umm, LW 2. Wtf? You weren’t in a relationship with this guy. I mean, you saw each other once every few weeks. They reason he wants to keep you around is because you make it easy for him to not put in any effort. MOA. MOA. MOA. And next time, break up with someone before you cheat.

    LW3, I’m sad your husband was kind of a butt about this ring business. I’m not usually a fan of withholding sex, or anything for that matter. But that’s pretty crappy of your husband. I work in the engineering field and they make good money. I don’t know really what to tell you to do because he sounds kind of like a jerk.

    LW1, WWS!

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  • TECH March 29, 2013, 9:13 am

    I was a little surprised at the answer to LW #3. Withhold sex to get what you want? Straight up manipulation? The letter doesn’t give us enough details, but I’m willing to bet the husband is just very conservative and practical with money. There has to be a way they can come to a happy medium.

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    • SweetPeaG March 29, 2013, 9:42 am

      I was wondering if Wendy was joking on #3. Withholding sex to get what you want is usually a terrible idea. I think she should just sit the husband down and ask him “Why?” and not move until she gets a straight answer. Maybe he has student loans to pay off. Maybe he really is just a thoughtless jerk. But, if my husband pulled something like that with me, I’d need to know WHY.

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      • Jess March 29, 2013, 9:46 am

        Right. I took Wendy’s answer as being tongue in cheek.

    • Anna March 29, 2013, 10:20 am

      I was too, but I’m hoping it was said in a joking manner. Withholding sex to get what you want isn’t right IMO either. It’s manipulation. If a guy wrote in saying “I’m so upset that my wife hasn’t bought me a Harley yet. She promised when we got married at some point she would buy me a Harley. The other day, I picked out a nice Road King and she said no.” I doubt the answer given by Wendy or the forum would be “Well, you should probably stop helping with the chores until she buys you exactly what you want.”

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    • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 6:25 pm

      It’s not manipulation. It’s a consequence. Most folks are not interested in having sex with a husband who isn’t being good to them. And if you don’t believe some women need to be told yes it is ok to not be your husband’s personal sex release aid, you haven’t been reading the DW forums.

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  • Fabelle March 29, 2013, 9:19 am

    LW1, some guys—some PEOPLE—are just flirty by nature. You can tell him it bothers you, & maybe he’ll try to tone it down, but if this is the way he is…be prepared for it to not stop.

    LW2: “I met someone else who has been there for me and made me feel like a woman, so, yes, I cheated.” I can’t describe how much I love this sentence. You, um, definitely have some kind of way with words.

    But anyway, can this even be described as cheating? The relationship doesn’t seem to have even been there. Of course, you should have broken it off (he didn’t want to? Too bad!) before you slept with someone else, I guess. Just break it off ASAP, okay?

    LW3: This is just weird. And er, I don’t know if Wendy was joking about witholding sex, but I wouldn’t take that advice because it’s a pretty skeevy tactic. Just communicate—why didn’t he want to buy you the ring? Did he not like it? Is he not ever planning to get a ring? Remind him of what you agreed upon & emphasize how much this means to you. I can’t tell from this letter whether or not you’ve done that.

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    • kerrycontrary March 29, 2013, 9:22 am

      I bet LW2’s “boyfriend” is actually married. Or seeing someone else.

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      • ktfran March 29, 2013, 9:28 am

        I picture him with a harem. He has his different go to gals to meet different needs.

    • Jess March 29, 2013, 9:50 am

      Yeah I am with you on #3. Did she leave out most of the details of that conversation or was it really that brief? I mean, in my house, the exchange would go like this:
      Me: I found a ring I want –you know the one you promised me 6 years ago?
      Him: No.
      Me: Wait, why not?
      Him: No.
      Me: Why? And when? And how much can we spend on it? Let me remind you of the promise you made and list the reasons why this is unfair.

      People have wildly different expectations about communication I guess. I just never understand people who ask Wendy what their spouse is thinking because they haven’t asked themselves.

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  • mainer March 29, 2013, 9:19 am

    LW1: It’s because he’s 61 and doesn’t give a shit anymore.
    LW2: Stop acting like a puppy.
    LW3: Joint bank account? Buy the ring yourself.

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    • bagge72 March 29, 2013, 9:28 am

      I agree with all of these especially number 3 haha.

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      • Amanda March 29, 2013, 10:35 am

        Yep, LW3 should just buy a ring already.

      • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 11:12 am

        Personally, I think she is upset because he broke a promise. I don’t think it’s really just about the physical gift, more that he promised to do X and didn’t fulfill it. So buying a ring for herself isn’t going to make her feel any better…since he still will have broken a promise.

  • kerrycontrary March 29, 2013, 9:22 am

    About LW3 answer…Yeh I would not withhold sex. Not giving sex as a form of punishment is manipulative and bordering on emotionally abusive (i.e. similar to giving someone the silent treatment as a form of punishment). First I would try sitting down with your husband again and explaining how important it is to you that you have a ring. Establish a budget for this ring and then save up for it. Are you on an allowance? Do you work? If you can save some of your “fun money” go out and buy a ring yourself.

    But honestly, I don’t think you should feel “deep resentment” over a ring. That’s a little extreme. Are you sure the resentment isn’t about something else?

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    • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 9:31 am

      Maybe the resentment is really over the broken promise, and the missing ring is just a physical symbol that the husband isn’t holding up his promise.

      I don’t think her buying herself a ring is going to make this resolved.

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    • Sheryl March 29, 2013, 10:21 am

      Yeah, I totally disagree with Wendy’s advice on withholding sex or doing nice things.

      If you cannot talk through problems and learn to compromise, you should try couples counseling.

      Using sex (or lack of) as a weapon will escalate (because really, where do you stop?) and lead to more problems and potentially, divorce.

      If everything else in your marriage is great, then maybe spending money on a new ring when you already have a ‘perfectly good one’ (in your husband’s eyes) is a waste — and he thinks that money would be better used for savings or a family vacation. Also, why not save up your money and buy your own ring?! If your husband is demonstrating his love in other ways, just let this one go.

      However, If there are other issues in your marriage (like, he doesn’t really do anything nice for you, or withholds any money for you to spend on ‘nice things’ while he goes to buy a new drumset), and the ring is just a symbol, well, again, I suggest counseling, or else this marriage is doomed already.

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      • Lindsay March 29, 2013, 10:54 am

        I totally thought of the drum-set LW, too! That’s why I was so torn on this one.

  • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 9:30 am

    I don’t get why LW2 is even writing into Wendy. I mean “it’s been six months and I am unhappy” “sex 4 times in six weeks” and “I cheated”…WTF is the question??

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    • bagge72 March 29, 2013, 9:33 am

      Right! Maybe she just need to get it off of her chest, and to get some reassurance from people. She’s probably afraid to even talk about with her friends.

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      • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 9:39 am

        And seriously, who moves anywhere for someone who makes them unhappy and doesn’t have sex with them and doesn’t have time to hang out and they have known for less than 6 months! What?

      • SweetPeaG March 29, 2013, 9:45 am

        People with seriously low self-esteem.

      • Fabelle March 29, 2013, 9:48 am

        Oh yeah, I forgot about that part. WHY the hell did she move to be near him when she wasn’t happy & was barely even seeing him??

      • bagge72 March 29, 2013, 10:03 am

        The same people who give up on a marriage after less then a year because they “lost the spark”. They are the people that know they are already miserable, but for some reason proceed with things that don’t make sense, or rush into things with out thinking about them.

        I would also like to try a new place for lunch today, but haven’t figured out where I want to go, because I love the places I usually eat at! Not that it has to do with this, but I figure if Addie can do it so can I!

    • Christy March 29, 2013, 10:38 am

      4 times in six MONTHS. MONTHS. That’s an occasional hookup, not a relationship, barring EXTREME extenuating circumstances.

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      • MMcG March 29, 2013, 11:20 am

        It’s not even enough to be occasional… it’s like they accidentally were in the same place 4 times and she took her clothes off. Was there any effort involved at all!?! So sad LW2… aim higher and MOY!

  • sarolabelle March 29, 2013, 9:34 am

    If you are in a marriage for 5 years I would think you would communicate better. Talk about the ring, budget for it. Set aside some money every month (both of you) for it. Then when you get the money go pay cash for it! It’s that simple. You can save for the ring yourself. It just needs to be a priority.

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  • GertietheDino March 29, 2013, 10:05 am

    Buy your own damn ring LW3. Seriously – who holds onto that for 5 years?

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    • Iwannatalktosampson March 29, 2013, 10:36 am

      Seriously. I’m assuming they have joint bank accounts. His success is her success. If she wants a ring go buy it. I’m hoping she’s not waiting for some big romantic gesture. Those make me barfy.

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  • trixy minx March 29, 2013, 10:12 am

    Oh its Friday morning. Totally forgot what day it was. I love these short cuts.

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  • Lindsay March 29, 2013, 10:26 am

    I’m not sure how I feel about #3. The LW really should have asked why. He’s not your dad, you’re free to turn his answer into a discussion instead of sulking in your room. In terms of money, if he’s only been at this engineering job for a year, I can see why he might want to spend the money on other things, if you guys have been low on funds for a while. I honestly didn’t realize that people got sapphires and stuff on wedding rings (unless you’re talking about an engagement ring), whatever happened to plain ol’ bands?

    On the other hand, I can see how this would be disappointing that he made this promise and then changed his mind (or never intended on following through). But if he’s a good husband otherwise, then is it really that big a deal? What else is his doing?

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    • SpaceySteph March 29, 2013, 10:45 am

      I have little diamonds all up on my wedding band. I originally said plain to save money, but my husband was like “you’re going to wear it forever, don’t you want something with more sparkle?”
      And you know what? I do like the sparkle.

      If her taste is a little more bling, she should pick one she wants regardless of what is traditional. That said I agree about there maybe being other things higher on the priority list to spend the extra money on. Maybe some long-time-coming car repairs, home repairs, etc. It’s important for them to talk about their financial situation and set purchase goals together. The ring should be in there if its important to her, but it probably isn’t the top of their list.

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      • Lindsay March 29, 2013, 10:52 am

        Ohhh, OK. I guess I don’t pay much attention to wedding rings. (Maybe one day…haha?) I think it is nice to be able to have one that’s unique to what you personally like, especially like you said, if you’re wearing it forever.

  • bagge72 March 29, 2013, 9:28 am

    LW1 he’s a guy, and he has probably always been that way so if you don’t tell him that it bothers you then how is he going to know? I also bet if you look back it’s probably how he got you too.

    Don’t worry LW2 he was probably cheating on you too. In this next relationship don’t move to a whole nother city to be with somebody in the first couple of months of a relationship, oh and don’t cheat.

    LW3 you need to get more upset with him about things like this if they actually mean something to you, and you need to tell him, because if you don’t that his how you build up resentment, and a divorce.

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    • Amanda March 29, 2013, 10:38 am


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  • Iwannatalktosampson March 29, 2013, 10:35 am

    If you hang out every 3 weeks when you live 10 minutes from each other you have a fuck buddy, not a boyfriend. You only hang out when he wants to. Sounds like a fuck buddy. Although even the sex is had sparingly so that makes for a pretty shitty fuck buddy. Move on. (And cheating is still cheating just because you feel like you deserved to cheat.)

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  • lemongrass March 29, 2013, 10:46 am

    How can you be married for 5.5 years and not know how to get your husband to realize you are serious about something?

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  • j2 March 29, 2013, 10:59 am

    Facepalm Friday.

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  • CurlyQue March 29, 2013, 11:06 am

    For LW3 i was thinking maybe he’d already bought her a wedding ring, and just hadn’t given it to her yet…but maybe that’s too naively positive.

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    • gatecrashergirl March 29, 2013, 11:09 am

      Ha. I was thinking the same thing but posted at the same time as you.

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  • gatecrashergirl March 29, 2013, 11:08 am

    I was hoping that LW3’s husband said no only to go back and buy it to surprise her.

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  • Lucy March 29, 2013, 11:53 am

    I feel like #2 is a fake letter written by BGM. In the space of six months, she’s moved to be closer to him, but they only see each other every 2-3 weeks? I can’t make the math work on that. On the off chance it’s a real letter, dude is obviously married.

    LW3 – You’re married. Buy your own damn ring, and when he comes home that night, say “Look at this beautiful ring you bought me! Thank you so much, sweetie!” So much more acceptable than sulking and withholding sex.

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  • katie March 29, 2013, 12:17 pm

    LW1- people flirt. that is just the way it is. people are not mindreaders, though. so if you want this guy to understand that you dont like something, you need to actually tell them about it. you say yourself though that it is done in a joking manner, so then im confused. so hes not actually flirting, hes joking with other (assuming) women and your … what? jealous? confused as to why people would joke-flirt? i think you need to lighten up a bit first, and then learn how to communicate. but really, he probably wont change this. its just a part of him. and a LOT of people joke flirt. its really not a big deal at all.

    LW2- im calling fake just because of “made me feel like a woman”.

    LW3- first off, im confused about what you are mad about because you *have* a ring. i am also confused as to why you had a ring that didnt fit your finger- you had to get your own ring resized? i dont get that… but, anyway, surely you understand that after being poor for 5 years, a ring doesnt take priority? i can think of 400 other things that it would be better to spend money on after finally getting a good job then a ring, sorry. so be realistic. but, also, he should keep his promise. so then i have to wonder…. do you know anything about your joint finances? and yes, they are joint, because you are married and have been for 5 years. so where is the money going? where is it being spent? if you dont know, find out. you need to be a financial team. maybe if you understood your households finances you would understand why a ring isnt a good idea right now, and then you both could formulate a plan to buy one in the future… but mostly, i wouldnt focus on it so much. there have been many many women ever since the invention of the ring for marriage that didnt have one. its ok. it doesnt make your marriage any less valid or good. a ring is nice, sure, and i can understand why you want it, but there are way, way more important things in life..

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    • Caris March 29, 2013, 2:44 pm

      I have to wonder…did she feel like a man before? :s

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  • KKZ March 29, 2013, 12:20 pm

    NO NO NO Wendy! Withholding sex to get something you want is BAD behavior, for a woman or a man. I know you probably meant it tongue-in-cheek, but this kind of stuff gives women a bad name.

    (Sorry if others pointed it out, haven’t read the comments yet, my eyes just bugged out of my head to see Wendy suggest that, even snarkily.)

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    • KKZ March 29, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Ha, well, I’m late to that party obviously… but very gratifying to see you all here saying withholding sex is bad juju. Not that I’m surprised, this community if any would be on board with that. But I’ve known women who think it’s a legit tactic. And I’ve known men who have a serious chip on their shoulder about women doing this as a habit. (Sitcom wives who pull this trick as part of an episode plot are NOT helping the cause.)

      Again, pretty sure Wendy was joking, but that’s because I know Wendy (well, I know her writing persona) and have been here long enough to read between the lines. I’m just thinking of an innocent bystander, especially a man, reading a line like that and throwing his hands up in the air saying “I knew it! I knew it was all a conspiracy, that you women actually support this and advise each other to do it.” Ya know?

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      • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 9:59 pm

        why the fuck should people of any gender be putting out with people who are ignoring major important things that are important to them?

      • bittergaymark March 30, 2013, 10:11 pm

        Exactly! Especially when there is a piece of jewelry involved for pete’s sake — one that both promotes the destruction of the earth AND oppression in South Africa…

  • L March 29, 2013, 1:01 pm

    LW1 – My ex used to flirt all the time with other girls in front of me and it drove me crazy so I understand where you’re coming from. When I told him it made me uncomfortable though, he didn’t do anything about it and told me I was being “insecure”. That should have been my first warning sign. If he is like my ex and doesn’t listen to your concerns and doesn’t even acknowledge them, he’s not worth it.

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  • AKchic_ March 29, 2013, 1:10 pm

    LW3 – you have a ring. You’re wearing it. You just don’t like the fact that the ring is A) used and B) something that wasn’t specifically picked out for the purpose of being a wedding ring.

    So fucking what? Your husband probably feels that the ring you have been wearing for X number of years is a suitable ring to serve as a wedding ring. You two shelled out a bit of money to have it resized for the purpose of showing the world that hey – you’re married. Therefore, it is doing the intended purpose of a wedding ring. A flashy gold and saphire ring is just that, flashy. You are looking for (and I hate this word, but it fits) some “bling” to add to your finger.

    Money for that ring can be spent on other things. Food, vehicles, a trip somewhere, bills, clothing, do you see what I’m getting at? A ring to replace an already serviceable ring is a very low priority. Hell, it’s not even something I’d categorize as a priority. It’s a glamour “want”. One I wouldn’t bother with. Wait for a 20 year anniversary and then have him buy you a really nice anniverary ring.

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    • 6napkinburger March 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

      Dan savage had a good column the other day about an engagement ring, where the guy wanted to give the girl a nice ring that was about $1,000 and she thought it was dumb and there were better uses and they were saving for a house. He made the point that while it isn’t insubstantial, $1,000 bucks isn’t going to buy a house, and that it this was one of those things you suck it up and deal to make your partner happy. While this is reversed, I can’t get on board with trashing her for wanting something she was promised that she waited a long time for, just cuz she has already has something that literally fills the most basic function. I may have a ’85 camry which still runs, but that doesn’t mean I’m selfish for wanting a ’13 prius once that becomes a financial possibility.

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      • katie March 29, 2013, 1:45 pm

        the thing is though this LW and her husband have been poor for over 5 years, and he has been at his new job for a year. even IF he is making good money (which he may or may not be, we have no idea)(“good” is also very subjective depending on their debt, individual situation, ect), you dont go from poor/struggling to financial stability in a year.

        its not bad to want anything, but you need to be realistic about your life and your world and your situation. my guess is that this LW is thinking that new job = ring, and thats not how real life works.

      • MMcG March 29, 2013, 2:17 pm

        The LW doesn’t say they were poor the whole time though… Just when they got married. If he’s had his job for a year after attending school I get the impression that she was supporting them, and this was something that he said he wanted to do/promised to do. I don’t get the sense that the LW is trying to get some boing in leiu of putting food on the table, but she took her husband at his word, supported him through school and getting a job, and is wondering what happened. They definitely need to talk, but it seems more like broken/drawn out promises that are the problem, not the ring itself.

      • MMcG March 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

        *bling not boing. Good thing it didn’t autocorrect to boink!

      • Caris March 29, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Well, if she feels like he broke a promise then she needs to tell him that. And maybe he is planning to buy her one soon, but doesn’t have the money for it yet? Maybe he wants to pay off his debt first?

      • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 10:01 pm

        Honestly? then he should not have gotten married. Seriously. If you can`t afford a three figure ring? AND it is important to your spouse? You need to not get married. Seriously.

      • Caris March 31, 2013, 9:50 am

        Honestly? I think marriage is more important than a stupid ring. Having a ring or not having one is not what makes a good marriage.

      • katie March 29, 2013, 3:54 pm

        that is true, but she also says that the husband said after he finished his degree- so i assume he has been working on his degree since they got married. i also assume they were very young. they likely have a lot of debt, and he just started his adult job, so he probably isnt making that much…

        its true that maybe this guy is a dick, but i just think it is much more plausible that they arent able yet to get the ring she wants yet.

      • Caris March 29, 2013, 2:37 pm

        idk $1000 seems way too much money to be spending on a ring. And it may not buy you a house, but saving that throughout the years can help you buy one eventually.

        And he’s been in the job just for a year. He just started out so we don’t know if he is making enough money to throw away $1000 for a ring.

      • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 10:02 pm

        No. I can only assume you have never had a real job. $1000 is extremely totally reasonable for someone with an engineering degree to spend on a ring.

      • Caris March 31, 2013, 9:48 am

        Jewelry has no purpose, so I think that spending 1000 on it makes no sense. I’d rather spend it on something more useful.

  • sobriquet March 29, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Ooh, withholding sex! Wendy’s trying to get us riled up in the comments! 😉

    Here’s my theory on LW3: I think they got married when they were very young- 19 or 20 years old (I think this because he’s been in school this whole time finishing his degree). Her husband is either a stereotypical engineer and very bad at communicating OR the marriage is simply a flop. The latter would explain why he has no desire to spend money on something as symbolic as a wedding ring. That’s my guess. That also might be why she’s so hung up on the ring thing this far into the marriage. She says she’s extremely resentful… would you really be that resentful about a ring if you had a happy marriage?

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    • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 10:04 pm

      Honestly? I would. I’d be like “wtf this piddly little thing and you’re being a dick about it? Not cool.” And for those who would say “WELL reverse that, why is SHE being a dick about it?!” BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT TO HER and he knew that going in. He is 100% in the wrong here.

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  • sobriquet March 29, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Also, what’s your take on wedding/engagement rings in general? There was a feminist thread discussion here recently in which someone was talking about how changing your name is feeding into the patriarchy (or something). But. If that’s true then accepting an engagement ring is DEFINITELY un-feminist. The history behind diamond engagement rings is that they were a sort of insurance for the woman in case the marriage didn’t work out. Why? Because if the wedding fell through, she would be deemed “un-pure” or whatever and would no longer be able to find a husband to support her. Therefore, she could cash in the ring and use that money to get by.

    So if you think that changing your name is un-feminist, well, so is wearing that diamond ring.

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    • sobriquet March 29, 2013, 3:11 pm

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    • Fabelle March 29, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Yeah, I agree—wearing a ring is unfeminist. And so is changing your name (although I didn’t jump into that discussion when everyone was having it). But basically—to throw my own thoughts out here—I think it’s OKAY to do things in your life that are unfeminist, even if you are a feminist. Not every action or decision you make in life ~has to~ reflect your core beliefs, and just because an action or decision you make *doesn’t* reflect your core beliefs, doesn’t mean you can’t identify a certain way anymore. (I know that was phrased pretty horribly, but hopefully my point comes across 🙂 )

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    • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 3:46 pm

      I told my fiance straight up I did not need (or really want) an engagement ring. It was important to him that he proposed with a ring, so we ended on an old damily herloom ring (with less than 1/4 carat diamond total weight and from the 1930’s). After we marry we’ll both wear plain white gold bands.

      To some degree I think the big flashy engagement rings are a little un-feminist, but to each his own right? And I know some people buy their groom a gift in return/exchange for their engagement ring. (theattack specifically I know bought her fiance a gift of comperable value right after they were engaged.) I do not think it is “un-feminist” for both parties to wear a wedding band.

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      • theattack March 29, 2013, 4:39 pm

        Well, I bought him a sword that I could afford. It’s in no way even close to the value of the ring he gave me, but I had been working like two months in a low paying job, and he had been saving for a few years for mine. Plus I told him I didn’t want a ring in the first place and to get me something cheap (like $100 if he did buy one), so it’s kind of on him that he bought what he did.

        That’s what I don’t get about this discussion though. How is it unfeminist of me to wear a ring that someone else chose to buy, ya know? I would buy him the world if I could too, so I get why guys would do that.

      • katie March 29, 2013, 5:12 pm

        well i think its just that the whole thing is anti-feminist. so, yes, you didnt buy it, but the whole process of the man buying the ring and the woman wearing it in itself is anti-feminist.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 5:24 pm

        Ohh, yeah, I agree with that. I think in some cases men buy engagement rings because it’s a status thing. My fiance knew I didn’t want one, and I think he just wanted to do something nice for me, but at the same time, his colleagues and bosses all want to look at it, and I bet it would have been embarrassing for him if he hadn’t bought one. I think there are a lot of cultural factors that go into why individual men still choose to buy them, but they’re all rooted in patriarchy for sure.

      • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 10:07 pm

        No. It’s no less anti-feminist than accepting a christmas sweater wtf. I work for a gender advocacy centre and this is a stupid arugment.

    • katie March 29, 2013, 3:49 pm

      i think that rings are weird anyway, because of the whole “oh well he isnt wearing a ring so he is ok to pursue” attitude. like, you should get to know someone you want to pursue, the process shouldnt be as simple as ring or no ring.

      i get that now in our culture, its just what we do. thats fine. i do hope that the male engagement ring will catch on though. i like that.

      personally, i will probably not wear one, just because of my job. i work with food, we arent allowed any jewelry. if i didnt work where i did, i probably wouldnt even wear it a lot anyway because im not a jewelry person.

      though i will say, you cant really find any kind of tradition or holiday or culture or whatever that doesnt have really terrible, anti-feminist beginnings. or just terrible in general beginnings.

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      • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 3:55 pm

        Why does the ring/no ring thing bother you so much? It’s like clue number one someone is 99.9% surely off the market. I don’t think it’s as simple as ring/no ring (like you need to do some other leg work/have conversations before bedding someone or something) but to me it’s an outward symbol that I’m committed and off the market. Obviously people cheat and are scuz balls…but isn’t the point of a wedding band to be an outward symbol of your committment to another person?

      • katie March 29, 2013, 4:01 pm

        well, there are the women we talked about once a while ago who complained that men werent wearing rings and they were pursuing them in vain.. and then there are people who ask me out, and when i say im in a relationship, they protest that fact because i dont have a ring…

        i dunno, that part of it i dont like. if im committed im committed and a ring doesnt change that. i dont like being judged by a single finger being naked or not.

      • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 4:13 pm

        I don’t think people are right to give you shit for not wearing a ring, that isn’t fair (you have a legitimate health and safe reason to not wear one at work and it’s your choice either way). But I don’t think there is anything wrong with glancing at a person’s left hand before approaching them at a bar or something. If you are in a committed relationship but not a ring wear-er (for what ever reason, married or not) it’s on you to say so. Of course a ring doesn’t change your commitment or anyone’s commitment, but a lot of people enjoy the outward symbol.

        I’m pumped for my fiance to start wearing his wedding band. He has said he is looking forward to it as well. It’s meaningful for us. But we’d never judge someone who chose not to wear rings. Actually, I told his family I was only going to wear a wedding band post-wedding and they all thought I was nuts, so I do understand being judged. (I sort of think engagement rings are silly, but whatever.)

      • 6napkinburger March 29, 2013, 4:47 pm

        I think it’s one thing to JUDGE you for not wearing a ring, and another for someone who is interested in you to point out that it is a bit “misleading” that you aren’t wearing one. Same thing with the women bemoaning the guys who don’t wear one. Lots of ppl on here get up in arms when people hit on other people even though they know they are in a relationship — that those hitter-on-ers aren’t respecting the hit-ee’s relationship. Rings are usually a pretty good indicator regarding whether or not you are (a) wasting your time; (b) looking like an idiot; and (c) stepping on someone else’s toes. I don’t see people being like, well, he’s not wearing a ring, even though he introduced that lady as his wife, that is all I am going to use to base whether or not i will pursue him. It’s just a first impression thing — he has a ring? Ok, I won’t bother. She doesn’t have a ring? I’ll offer to buy her a drink. Of course you should get to know the person you are pursuing, but first you have to introduce yourself. Rings help facilitate mutual understanding from the get-go.

    • Lindsay March 29, 2013, 4:20 pm

      My problem with engagement rings is more about the materialism than about what it signifies toward women. I have a friend who was a women’s studies major, and we found that while she and I agreed on a lot of current issues (like equal pay, abortion, etc.), where we differed was that she cared more about what things signified or how they originated in history, whereas I care more about what things mean today or what their direct effect is. So, it doesn’t bother me so much that people used rings as insurance back then, as long as that’s not how they’re used today and that’s not what my fiance meant by it. (What I will say, though, is that my friend obviously knows more about possible research regarding how symbolism and historical origination might affect women’s lives today, so I may be shooting myself in the foot here.)

      I don’t have any strong opinions about what I want my future engagement or marriage to be like at this point, because I imagine it’ll just reflect my relationship with that guy. I’m fine with having a ring or not having one. I probably wouldn’t change my name because it seems like a big hassle, and I also am really into genealogy, so I like being connected to my ancestors in that way.

      One big thing, though, is that I don’t want to be “given away” by my father. Part of it is a feminist thing, but the other part is that I’m not super close to my dad. If I were, I might like the chance to have a special moment with him walking down the aisle.

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      • GatorGirl March 29, 2013, 4:22 pm

        We decided to walk into the ceremony together. It’s part of my religion to do that too, but I think it also symbolizes that we are choosing to enter into the marriage together as equals. Which I personally think is awesome.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 4:31 pm

        That’s awesome that you’re doing that. I wanted both of us to walk in from opposite directions and meet each other at the ceremony site so bad. My fiance had apparently always “dreamed” of watching me walk down the aisle to him, and it was important to him, so I let him have it. I didn’t want to crush something he had always wanted when it wasn’t as important to me. But then I ended up in a situation where my dad’s like “Okay, so I’m walking you down the aisle! Great!” And I don’t really want that, but it’s not worth hurting his feelings over either, so I’m just going to make my mom walk me too. So then I asked my fiance if his parents could be involved too so that I wouldn’t have to look like a child and he gets to look like an adult, but he hates that idea.

        I’m honestly feeling right now like my wedding is the last thing I would have wanted. It’s starting to resemble everything I’ve always hated about weddings, and somehow what I want is being pushed to the side as unimportant by everyone, and I’m ending up stuck doing the work so that everyone else can have what they want. Last night we got into a bit of a dispute because he thinks receptions have to be really formal events where we’re introduced and have songs playing, and I HATE that idea. I absolutely loathe it. Neither of us want to budge on it. I just hate our wedding right now. I kind of wish I could cancel it and get married at the courthouse right now.

        Sorry, that turned into a long venting session.

      • 6napkinburger March 29, 2013, 4:37 pm

        My culture has both parents walk you down the aisle, and both of his walk him down the aisle. He and his parents enter first (or something near first) and then he stands up at the end of the aisle for you. You walk in last, with both parents, you stop at about 3/4 of the way, they lift your veil (if you have one) and kiss you, and he comes and gets you. and then you walk the last 4th together. That way, it isn’t “dad is giving away his property”; its “forming your new family with the blessing of your old family” — for both of you. Doesn’t the groom have to walk down the aisle at some point? Would he hate being walked by his parents?

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 4:42 pm

        I’ll bring that up to him. I think he’s going to have to give up some of this traditional bullshit or I’m going to die. He wanted to walk in with his groomsmen from the side, have his parents seated in the front row, and have this big moment where I’m the center of attention. All of that makes me want to throw up. I’ll ask him about doing it that way instead. Thanks for the tip!

      • 6napkinburger March 29, 2013, 4:53 pm

        You should note that it is a traditionally jewish tradition (maybe other cultures too?? not saying its a monopoly on that walking style!) and so if you do it, some people may (not unfairly) wonder if that has a significance for you. Absolutely nothing wrong with you doing it for your awesome practical personal reasons (go team make your wedding make you happy!) but also nothing wrong with them wondering that. Just a heads up so you aren’t confused if people ask you about it. 🙂

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Thanks, I was wondering what culture you were referring to. My fiance is a quarter ethnically Jewish, so people will probably wonder if we decided to adopt it religiously or something. We’re randomly doing some other Jewish things in our wedding too just because we like them, so it will definitely look like it. Jews have the best wedding traditions though!

      • Painted_lady March 29, 2013, 4:53 pm

        I hate to say this, but I read your first paragraph and thought, “Wow, at what point does theattack get to have the wedding she wants?” I know you agreed to a much bigger wedding than you would have ever wanted, then relented to his etiquette-happy family…you’re getting married too! You’re so sweet to not want to deprive your fiancé of what he wants, but why is that more important than depriving you of what YOU want?

        Maybe I’m out of line, and I apologize, but have you pointed out that you’ve been completely passed over so that everyone else can get what they want? I’m not one who says the bride should have absolutely everything she wants, but you do get to have stuff you want, even if it’s in direct conflict with what he wants.

      • Painted_lady March 29, 2013, 5:01 pm

        Also, he’s marrying you – whom I assume he loves for who you are and not just the way you factor into the dream he’s always had for his life. If he’s been paying attention at least as much as I have, he should know all of this fairy-tale, patriarchal stuff is really, really NOT you. And that you are also reflected in this wedding should tater to him. I’m sure it does – he sounds like a great guy from what you’ve said – but maybe he needs someone to force-feed him a reality check.

      • Painted_lady March 29, 2013, 5:02 pm

        Tater? Ugh, *matter*

      • katie March 29, 2013, 5:07 pm

        yep, this would be my biggest issue. like, ok, you want to marry me, but only if i do the big wedding bullshit, but thats not me at all, so then *you really must not want to marry me*. because if you did you would understand.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 5:16 pm

        Yeah…. I mean I know that he’s not trying to force me into his picture-perfect life or anything like that. I’m so far from everything else he thought he wanted, and he knows his life is going to look different with me from what he always “dreamed” of. We were just talking earlier this week about how I’m more important to him than what he just assumed his life would be like. In reality I think he just hasn’t realized the details of how that plays out. Like all of his previous girlfriends before me were high-maintenance, athletic, wanted huge weddings and engagement rings, boob-job, tanning bed orange, wanted to be a stay-at-home trophy wife, etc. He’s still learning to grasp the day-to-day realities of what it means to be with someone the exact opposite of that. It’s innocent on his part, but it’s definitely time for a reality check.

      • katie March 29, 2013, 5:24 pm

        yea, and i get that. like you have to understand that itll be a process for him… i go through the same things with jake too. he was brought up in a very traditional way, so just me being like, no i dont think ill ever change my name if we get married was a big thing. like he hadnt even really thought that happened, or something.

        if it was me, id frame the conversation around *choosing* what your life is and looks like vs. what it “should” look like, or whatever. so like with jake and the name thing, i was like, well, this might not be what you wanted, or thought you wanted, but you have the choice to accept it and like it and even be happy with it. you can change those things within yourself, even if it might take time.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 5:31 pm

        Interesting… I like that a lot. It’s kind of hard to fight traditional values in the person you love. “Choice” is a really good way to frame it. I’ll try that for sure.

        No matter how many times I say to him “No, weddings don’t HAVE to be like that. Our wedding will be whatever we want it to be, not what it’s “supposed” to be,” it just doesn’t click with him. But I’m a “Fuck the man!” kind of a person, and that just doesn’t come naturally to him. Men are so much more traditional than women, it’s obnoxious. Probably because tradition doesn’t make them look like idiots.

      • katie March 29, 2013, 5:39 pm

        isnt that weird about men? i didnt know any of this, i had no idea, before being there for jake’s brothers wedding and then jake and i actually started talking about getting married ourselves. jakes brother was actually the one who wanted the “real” wedding, and his now-wife just went along with it, but thankfully he did plan a lot of it. and, if it makes you feel better, she just told us last weekend that there was only like 2 things she actually cared about, and the DAY OF the wedding, jake’s mother, her MIL, changed them last minute. so she didnt get the wedding she wanted either. i mean, a lot of women dont. its stupid, but it happens.

        i think you have a real point though with “it doesnt make them look like idiots”. it also has never been around to keep them down either, or keep them “owned” or whatever. they dont understand the need to not do it, because its always been rainbows and butterflies from their perspective. im going to bring that up the next time we talk about it.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 5:05 pm

        I pointed it out just last night. I was okay with all the compromises until he insisted that we have to have the grand entrance at the reception, and that just made me kind of want to cry. I don’t want to be the center of attention more than I have to, and he just keeps saying “But you’re the BRIDE! You have to do it, because it’s just part of having a wedding!” We’re going to finish last night’s conversation this weekend, because I’m definitely starting to feel skipped over. You’re definitely not out of line in asking that. It makes me feel better for someone else to point out that I have a right to say no to some of this stuff. He can only have so many things that are just “oh so important” to him.

      • Painted_lady March 29, 2013, 5:11 pm

        Good – I sometimes get all self-righteously indignant when I feel like someone I like is being wronged, so I can get a big over-the-top and piss people off. Anyway, good luck on the conversation! You’re not in the wrong to want to do some stuff your own way.

      • bittergaymark March 30, 2013, 10:14 pm

        What exactly did you want to do? Sneak in via the kitchen?

      • theattack March 30, 2013, 10:19 pm

        Walk in normally like everyone else instead of having some song playing and our names announced over the speakers…

      • katie March 29, 2013, 4:53 pm

        ok, i absolutely HATE the “ive always dreamed of…” in regards to having a family, weddings, holidays, or any cultural kinds of things. no, actually, you did not dream that up. you were told that is the way we do things, and you were told to want it. thats why you want it. it has nothing to do with your own dreams and ideas, it has everything to do with the manner in which you were brought up and what was pumped into your head as normal. ugh.

        anyway, if i were you, i would let him just plan the whole thing then. if its all just *so important* he can do it. give him all your stuff your working on, give him all the contact info ect, and tell him youll show up on the date when he tells you to in a pretty dress. call him cinderella as much as you can, and refer to the wedding as “his”. thats what i would do. if he didnt get it after that, i wouldnt even know what to do.

      • Painted_lady March 29, 2013, 4:56 pm

        I love this, katie. I’m always for direct and to the point, but if that doesn’t work, calling him Cinderella is pretty fucking hilarious.

      • katie March 29, 2013, 5:05 pm

        jakes SIL called his brother cinderella the whole wedding week we were there. it was hilarious… definitely my new favorite.

      • theattack March 29, 2013, 5:11 pm

        I hate it too. I really do. I’ve always dreamed of eliminating stupid patriarchal traditions from my life, but somehow that doesn’t matter. In the world of weddings, somehow people justify tradition as being the only way to do things regardless of anything else. But I do get that he’s been looking forward to seeing me come down the aisle, and I was fine with giving him that. Whether it was his own invention or society’s (society’s, duh, you’re right), it doesn’t change that it’s important to him. I’m NOT convinced that he’s always dreamed of having an introduction at the reception though. That’s stupid, and it’s pushing me over the line.

        I love the idea of calling him Cinderella. Hahahaa, that’s hilarious! I’m going to try negotiation first, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll probably resort to your tactic.

      • Caris March 29, 2013, 6:23 pm

        Dude, I feel for you! Good luck this weekend when you have the conversation!

    • AKchic_ March 29, 2013, 3:31 pm

      I don’t care one way or the other about rings. I wear a ring specifically at work to help keep some of the more shy guys from hitting on me. I know that some of them are incorrigible and don’t care, but the rings will deflect some and keeps them from even trying. Others are just cocky assholes and will do what they want to do because they think that women adore “bad boys”. *snort* Not in my line of work.

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    • BreezyAM March 30, 2013, 10:05 pm

      Um no. Men wear rings too. Call me back when men change their names in the same numbers as those who wear rings.

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  • Ringless May 5, 2013, 6:26 pm

    To answer a few questions. I supported him through his bachelors and masters. He spends tons of money on sporting events and bars. I brought the subject up before Valentines day last year, he said “yes now that my finances are better I should take care of that soon”. I sacrificed so much. I gave up my car for him. The ring I had was a 15 dollar sterling silver ring that i had resized because i knew he was a student. I accepted that. Because I helped him, he has very little student debt, and we live in a country where Uni education is tuition free. But I paid for almost everything else. He now makes close to 6 figures.If I have to beg for something it makes me not want it anymore.

    My 1st cluebat should have been when he came home from classes one day with a nice take out meal for himself, when i was eating 3 day old leftovers, I asked why he didn’t get me anything he said because it’s expensive.

    I need to figure out how to get home.

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