The big rock
OK, Cary's advice here isn't horrible, but the letter was interesting enough to get comments on.
Demanding the big rock
She wants her fiance to spend three months' salary on her engagement ring. Is that fair to the man?
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By Cary Tennis
Jan. 28, 2005 | Dear Cary,
About a year and a half ago, my husband's and my best friends broke up. She was unhappy and disappointed with him; he was rejecting and cheating on her. We all got together and got married at the same time, and they had been together over 12 years. They have a son (whom the husband never wanted) who is now 3. Since then, he has been through a couple of new girls, and she has recently moved in with her boyfriend of about a year. He is the complete opposite of her ex-husband, and is a very good man. I thought he would be her rebound man, since he was the first one after the split and is not really her type, physically or culturally. She has said right from the beginning that she's not really attracted to him or passionately in love. She has been honest with him about that, but he hung in there. She now says that she loves him, but not like the way she loved her ex. He is good to her, and is trying hard with her son, who is a willful boy, to say the least.
My concern is that she may be in this relationship for the wrong reasons, but maybe I think that because I was raised very differently from her. I never expected a man to take care of me or that I would be dependent upon anyone. My friend sees this man as a way out of a financial hole. While my husband and I were progressing in our careers, our friends were working low-wage, dead-end jobs, despite high levels of education and potential. My friend has had severe financial difficulty, particularly since the baby and the split. Her job is better now, but she still couldn't support herself alone. Her boyfriend's company pays their living expenses, and he has always saved his money -- he doesn't believe in living in debt. This support is enabling my friend to get back on her feet financially. Her boyfriend is very generous, and she takes good care of him.
They have a conflict, though -- they have been talking about getting married and she is adamant that she wants an expensive engagement ring -- worth three months of his salary. She says that she doesn't want to be greedy, but after the split she told herself that her next guy would be fairly well-off and the ring is an important symbol of that to her. I tried to tell her that's a lot of B.S. put out by the diamond industry, but her upbringing was more traditional and she wants this. She's also starting to lobby for a new, more expensive house, which he would pay for. He doesn't believe in spending money on rings, he would rather spend it on something more worthwhile -- like a vacation or furniture or a house. He has also depleted his savings setting up their current home for her, and needs some time to recuperate, but my friend is working herself into a tiz over the ring.
My question -- is this a normal expectation that women have? It seems very antiquated and unfair to me. Is it right for my friend to expect an expensive ring? I see a lot of women wearing them -- am I the weird one for thinking it's ridiculous? Actually, I think part of the problem I have with this situation is that I see her as selling her soul for material goods. She loves this man, but does she love him enough? I don't know.
posted by Steve @ 12:40:00 PM