It was the sweetest thing in the world that I have ever experienced. My boyfriend (whom I later married) and I were walking on the beach when some friends of ours came running to us saying that I needed to see something that washed up on the beach. I ran with them back to where they were a few yards away and there was written in the sand ‘Erica, will you marry me?’ I turned around and James was down on one knee with a ring. He said he loves me so much and could not imagine living without me. I emphatically said yes and we embraced and kissed, and all was right with the world in that moment.
It sounds good, right? Too bad it did not actually happen. If you asked me how James popped the question, I would not be able to tell you anything because he never actually proposed. ‘But Erica,’ you must be thinking, ‘how did you’ll get married without a proposal?’ Believe me, that’s just what happened. Let me try to explain as best I can.
First of all, from the beginning of our dating period to the end we knew that we would end up together. Things were not perfect, of course, but they were just right for us and we recognized it immediately. We would talk about when we would be married and how much we would enjoy being together all the time under the same roof as a family.
Neither of us had much money, but we needed an engagement ring to get married. When he started mentioning the need for us to have a ring, I told him not to spend a lot of money on it and we agreed on a reasonable cap. However, every time I talked to him about it he would say that he is going to get me a ring worth more than the limit we agreed on. I was getting worried that he would go completely broke on a ring. He also has untreated ADHD and has a hard time focusing on the bigger picture on his own which means that he can spend a lot of money in a short period of time if left to himself.
We went down to the beach with two friends of ours. While at an inlet thrift store, we passed a shop that sold jewelry and I saw a nice ring for a great price that would not break James’ bank. James paid for it and immediately walked away because the video game shop nearby caught his eye, and the shopkeeper gave me the ring. That’s it, ladies. That’s the “romantic” way it happened.
You know, in this life I am not ambitious and do not seek to have many things. I do not want to be a home owner, I do not want to have children, I do not want to have a college degree, I do not want to own a brand new car, and I do not want to be the CEO of my company. Regarding marriage, I did not want a reception or a big expensive wedding, but what I did want is a nice proposal. It did not have to be flamboyant and expensive, just nice and from his heart. The proposal I described in the beginning of this post would have been more than sufficient and it was neither flamboyant nor expensive.
We have been married for three months now and the marriage is just fine, but sometimes the feelings that I was cheated out of the proposal are overwhelming. Even watching fake proposals on TV and movies are overwhelming. And what do I tell my girlfriends when they ask how he proposed? Many of them have great stories to tell, and all of them are simple, yet very romantic. I have no story to tell. Nothing at all! What I have been saying is, “At the beach,” and I let them fill in the details in their mind. Besides, there are 101 romantic ways a woman can be proposed to at the beach. In fact, a close friend of mine (I’ll call her Maria) was just proposed to at the same beach, and that made me feel overwhelmed for a few reasons. Let me explain.
First, she got a proper proposal and I did not. Second, she got a nice sparkly diamond ring from Jared while my ring came from a thrift shop and already has a spot of brown on it, so I have been wearing my plain wedding band. Third, her fiancé has a nice job with little economic worries and is financially responsible while James is laid off, has a hard time finding work due to an old felony from the late 90s, and would spend every dime of our money if he could thanks to his ADHD, but that last point has already been addressed and is not a big issue anymore.
We hung with Maria, her fiancé, and her family last night for a few hours. I am genuinely happy for her, but I could not help but feel jealous. I know that I am not the only woman to have a non-proposal engagement or be in a new marriage that is struggling financially, but it is still hard to see someone get all of the things that I wanted. She absolutely deserves to be happy and have all the good things in life, but don’t I deserve those things, too?
It seems like every time something is going well in my life, it comes with a big down side. I can marry the love of life, but it will be without the proposal I have been waiting for and we will have to struggle for an undisclosed amount of time while he looks for work. I can work the job of my dreams where I deal only with paperwork and computers, but only if I take a big pay cut in base pay and bonuses. I can go to college, but only if I accept a lifetime loan.
But I digress, a little. Anyhow, James noticed I was feeling down by the time we got back home and he asked if the proposal was the reason why. We talked about it before, so he knows that it is a big deal that I did not get a proposal. We talked about it and he said that since we were already talking about marriage he did not see the point in proposing. I told him that every woman wants a proposal because it is a public display of love shown for her. He said that he is very private and would not feel comfortable proposing publicly. I told him that he could also propose privately, but the point is that he propose, that I did not get any kind of proposal. He said he did not realize how important it is to me and he will keep that in mind for the future and that he can try to make things right when he gets my new engagement ring.
His intentions are good, but do I believe him? Not for a second. Like I said, James has ADHD which means that his brain is wired a certain way that, well, is not normal. If it is not the focus of the hour he will forget it completely whereas the average person can put something to the back of their mind while they are taking care of more urgent business. We have a number of important things coming up, including moving to a larger apartment, paying to have his mother move in with us from across the country, and buying furniture. After all of that is taken care of (money permitting) over the next few months to a year, do you really think he will even remember to buy me a new ring without me reminding him? And whatever manner in which he gives it to me will not really be a surprise since he just told me last night what he plans on doing and took the surprise out of it.
This is what I have learned: James is super sweet, loving, and concerned about my feelings. However, this is how things are going to be, not because he is a bad person, but because he is incapable of doing some things on his own because he cannot focus long enough to finish many of the thoughts he has. He is trying hard to do what he can and I really do appreciate his efforts. I know that if I had to do it all over again I would still pick him. Yet, he just cannot do the simple romantic things that a husband does for his wife. Our “night life” is great. No problems there, but I’m talking about romance, not sex. I have to plant the idea in his mind to get me even a simple card or teddy bear, and this is difficult since I am a hopeless romantic. Everyone knows that romance lies mostly in being caught off guard, but James has to be prodded to do romantic things because he cannot think beyond what we need and what he wants. That's ADHD in a nutshell.
So people, help me out here. How do I get over the proposal I never received? Have you experienced something similar where you got a crappy proposal or none at all, and when you look back on it do you feel robbed? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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