She wasn’t ‘nagging’; she doesn’t want to get married

Boyfriend told his family she was nagging for a ring. She doesn't want to get married. Never did. Is he a jerk or did he mean well?



March 9, 2020 - 9:46 AM

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

Dear Carolyn: I have been living with my boyfriend for two years, and as far as I am concerned, our relationship is perfect. I have no interest in marriage; I never did. I like the fact that we get up every morning and make the free choice to be with each other. I don’t want any more children, either. I got pregnant in college, and my son will be going off to college soon and that’s enough child-raising for me.

My boyfriend’s mom and sister hinted about marriage several times and even asked my boyfriend directly, but I always assumed he shut that down. I now find out from his sister that my boyfriend told his family I’ve been “nagging him for a ring” but he’s just not ready to make a commitment.

When I confronted my boyfriend about this outrageous lie, he said his family would consider me weird and unnatural and blame me for the fact that we’re not married. This way “he can take the heat.”

I’m livid. Not only did he reduce me to the ugliest possible stereotype — the pathetic, simpering girlfriend nagging for a diamond — but he did it behind my back. He insists he’s protecting me and painting himself as the villain, but I want him to set the record straight immediately. He refuses to do so, and when I said I would, he said it’s not my place to interfere with his family.

Should I tell them? Or do I have to live with this slander hanging over my head? — Wedding Lie

Wedding Lie: Wow. Did he validate this in any way: “he reduce[d] me to the ugliest possible stereotype”?

In your place, I think I could accept it as valid that this interpretation never occurred to him, and he just saw things in a completely different way, and therefore meant well. I don’t think I could accept it, though, if I spelled this out for him and then he still refused to acknowledge my point that he sold me out.

And by not accepting, I mean I am not sure I could stay with someone who did that to me: who would neither acknowledge harm done nor honor my request to make me whole. I’m sorry. That was just a terrible thing to do.

Readers’ reactions:

• He allowed the two of you to decide to live together without getting married, and for him to be the only one who has to listen to his family nag about it. Can’t you at least appreciate that part of it?

Now the decision to come clean to his family is something you can discuss, but an instinct to protect you from his intrusive, possibly obnoxious, relatives is hardly the worst thing in the world.

• No, no, no. He protected her by shaming her. If he’d said, “She wants to get married, I told her no, and she’s been kind enough to not bring it up again,” then he’d have been protecting her. When he says, “She’s nagging me for a ring,” he turns her into something she’s not, something not good. Not kind at all.

• With that act, we learn a lot about how he sees women.

• Your spontaneous reaction to the sister probably set the record straight.

I hope so.