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Parallax - Advice

March 18, 2002

Illusions of Love

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Love is not a given. Love is seldom easy. Love is ups and downs and laughter and tears and good times and bad times. This week's letter writers seem to be deluded by perceptions of love. Number one believes in the child's rhyme, 'First comes love, then comes marriage...' Number two used to have a handle on life but it broke; now she can't handle the truth. And number three lives by the motto: 'There's nothing so bad that it can't be worse.' Can our perceptive pair offer a glimpse of reality?

She hears wedding bells.
For whom the bells toll?
 Date: 03/18/02

Sex, lies, and delusions.
The perfect couple.
 Date: 03/18/02

My way or the highway?
Show her the freeway!
 Date: 03/18/02

More from last week...

She hears wedding bells

Dear Conversely,

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I've been dating my boyfriend for three years now. What are the chances of this working out into marriage? We each have our own apartments, although I stay at his place most of the time. We've talked about marriage briefly, but it ends with him saying, 'I'm not ready.' I'm thinking of leaving him in six months if he does not make a decision. Please help me.

Her view:

Dear Wedding Bells,

I think three years ought to do it; if he still doesn't know, he won't know in another three years. You are fighting a losing battle. I'd cut him loose. Who wants to wage a war to get a marriage proposal anyway? That sucks out all the fun…and the whole point, I might add. I don't believe he loves you enough, or doesn't want to marry you. It's either a 'vamoose' situation or one of pure humiliation. However, I like your idea of a timeline - it's a good back-end to give yourself.

The breakup will be awful - as they always are. But you are otherwise caught in a trap of non-commitment. And, if you are ready and have been waiting, there is nothing more unappealing to him than a foot-tapping, hands-on-hips girlfriend.

So, I'm afraid you have only one option. That's to go out and find someone who is excited to be with you, and does not present you with sad renditions of, 'I am not ready.'

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His view:

Dear Wedding Bells,

Since he's willing to admit that he's not ready to get married, he's one step ahead of you - because clearly you aren't either and you don't even know it.

Based on the information you offer, it appears that you think marriage should be a direct consequence of spending a lot of time together - most of it at his place - and then having a brief discussion about the topic over coffee and donuts. In addition, you seem to believe that walking out on him, or threatening to do so, will force him to propose.

The fact that you neglect to offer a few vital pieces of information (such as your age or his, or the stage of life each of you are in) tells me you're not too bothered by these details. For all I know, you could be nineteen or thirty-nine.

My suggestion is that you figure out why you want to get married in the first place. Then decide whether this man is the one you want to spend the rest of your days with. Once you do all that thinking, try an even more challenging trick: Decide whether it's more important for you to be married or to be with this man - because right now it appears that you want that ring more than you want him.

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You Vote!

You Vote! 52% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 48% with HIS VIEW.

17% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 83% with HIS VIEW.

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