By Fabio Trifoni
This week Dr. Toughlove gives advice to a 21 year-old engaged woman, who is not sure if she is ready to walk down the aisle.
Dear Dr. Toughlove,
I’m a 21 year-old woman, and I just recently got engaged to my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for about a year or so, and, for the most part, I’ve been pretty happy with him even though we have some major differences that tend to cause a bit of tension between us. However, I’m not entirely sure about getting married quite yet. I said yes when he proposed only because he had already spoken to my family and friends about it without my knowledge, and they all emphatically approved. He then roped some of my friends into this elaborate proposal involving double dates and him dropping to a knee right in front of them. I felt like I had to say yes. My mother even told me it is about time for me to settle down and start making a family. Even though I said yes, I had second thoughts almost immediately, and, honestly, I somewhat regret accepting his proposal. But, what can I do? Doesn’t everyone experience ‘cold feet’? Or am I experiencing something different? If you could give me any advice, I would greatly appreciate it.
Dear Frigid Feet,
I would congratulate you, but doing so could make you believe your decision wasn’t incredibly stupid. It was.
Though marriage is a somewhat absurd social institution with little benefit beyond tax breaks and the ability to lose last names like “Nippel” or “Coxworth,” it is a rather serious commitment. Honestly, divorces are extremely expensive, and a lifelong relationship sounds incredibly trying. You should only consider marriage if you can’t imagine your life without your beau. If you don’t fit this description, you need to book your fiancée a cheap room at the Heartbreak Hotel and break off the engagement. Otherwise, you will be staring down the barrel of one unwanted penis for the rest of your days.
When he proposed, you should have asked to talk with him about it later. Instead, you filled this poor sap with false hope. While you’re lamenting your decision, this kid is envisioning his life as a flawless romantic comedy in which he is Zach Braff and you are Natalie Portman. Every moment you allow him to continue this fantasy, you strengthen it. You need to level with this fellow as soon as possible. Tell him you are not entirely convinced you want to marry him, and “Garden State” was a polished turd at best.
As for his proposal, I find it strange that he would propose in front of a large group of friends. To me, this tactic suggests one of three things. One, he was and is extremely confident you will marry him, and he clearly does not understand you as much as he believes. Two, he needs constant social validation. Three, he wanted to do something nice for you and didn’t succeed. If the latter is true, rest easy. If one of the former is true, you may have a slight problem. You need to sit him down and figure out if this fellow doesn’t understand you or if he is a needy toad.
Also, you are only 21. In the adult world, you are a tadpole. Women and men change immensely throughout their twenties. What you want today will inevitably differ from what you want in ten years. A day may come where the thought of marrying this boy brings a splash of vomit to your mouth. You do not want to have this realization after you are already married and cooking his spawn in your oven. At this age, you should adventure out into the world with a flask, a head full of hormones and a hankering for terrible decisions. Many pursue marriage only after their bodies begin to sag and a single milkshake makes their ass jiggle for a week. Don’t rush into it, kid. Unless you have terminal cancer, you have plenty of time to sign your life away.
In short, you need to sit this bro down and level with him. Read your question aloud to him, use some common sense, and answer it yourself. If he’s an adult, he’ll be fine. If not, he may lose his shit and throw a tantrum. If he does sob and shout until snot surges from his nose in gurgled spurts, you may not want to marry him. I don’t think you're ready for a child quite yet.
These are my words: abide.
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