Carolyn Hax: Fiance would rather buy experiences than engagement ring
Carolyn Hax: Fiance would rather buy experiences than engagement ring

Carolyn Hax: Fiance would rather buy experiences than engagement ring

Hi, Carolyn: We’ve been together for 2½ years. He says he loves me, he says he wants to marry me, he says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but he doesn’t want to buy an engagement ring. He says he’d rather spend that money on experiences.

I feel as if he doesn’t value me enough to buy even a cheaper ring. If he were passionate about me, wouldn’t he be running to the jeweler? I’m worried his actions aren’t in line with his words.

Puzzled: If you were passionate about him, would you ask him to drain joint-adventure funds on something you won’t both enjoy?

Just playing devil’s advocate. Rings and other material symbols have their place, as anyone with a precious heirloom can attest. And it’s definitely concerning when someone asking to be your life partner shows zero interest in what you actually want.

But I do mean the part about placing his priorities right alongside your own. As it stands now, you want what you want, and he wants what he wants, and neither of you seems particularly interested or invested in what the other person values. That is not marriage-ready thinking, from either of you.

Time to ask: Why are you both surprised by these different priorities 2½ years in? How have you handled them to this point? Is he attentive to you, and are you to him, in other ways?

That is the defining challenge of marriage: to value each other’s well-being as equal to your own, without losing yourselves in the process.

I am agnostic on engagement rings myself — and a true believer of the most obnoxious kind in choosing a partner who fits who you are and what you want out of life. Not perfect alignment, obviously, but alignment on what you deem essential, plus ungrudging respect for each other’s differences and right to have them, plus deep investment in your mutual happiness.

So I’m not saying to cave on the ring — or to insist on one, or break up, or anything definitive yet. My advice is only to make sure, before you take more steps toward marriage, that you’re both paying the-rest-of-your-lives-worthy attention to your own and each other’s needs and to how you work together to meet them. The jewelry thing is just the first time you’ve noticed the knock-knock of the bigger issues at your door.

Dear Carolyn: I’m quick and reliable at answering texts. But when I ask a question, some of those dearest to me wait for weeks to answer, if at all. I hate hounding those who don’t answer, but sometimes it’s a time-sensitive question. Do I just give up on them? I’m not good on the telephone, which is why I prefer texts.

Quick: When it’s time-sensitive, that’s your concern more than theirs, so you’re the one who needs to step out of your comfort zone. It’s either calling or “hounding,” your choice.

Texts to high-volume texters routinely get pushed down the queue to oblivion, especially if people need time to come up with an answer. Best to get used to following up.

Related Posts