marriage
October 5, 2010 2:23 AM   Subscribe

For those of you who have followed this drama, things are finally about to happen. After an eight month break-up, my ex has asked for a "closure meeting". I plan to propose. What's the best way of doing this?

I have finally decided after eight months apart, that I love my ex and want to marry her. Unfortunately I have really hurt her this year.

Anyway, she wants to meet up tomorrow to "straighten some things out".

I plan to propose.

How would you advise that I handle this meeting tomorrow? She is likely to be looking to close things down and moven on....
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (101 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
In the other thread you got advice telling you DO.NOT.PROPOSE, so it would help if you explained why you've decided to ignore that advice, I guess.
posted by dzaz at 2:35 AM on October 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Do it in a public place, and don't, whatever you do, react in any other fashion than calmly when she says No. Which she will. You know, she knows it, and I know it. You're not marrying this woman. At all. Ever.

Right after she leaves, I'd suggest finding someone who will explain to you why this happened, in a very clear way, because if the last thread you started didn't convince you this is a bad idea, then it seems that we here at Ask can't actually help you.
posted by Solomon at 2:36 AM on October 5, 2010 [44 favorites]


I'd gently advise rereading the thread you link here, particularly about grand gestures. Talk to her, see what she wants, try it the slow way things work in reality and accept it if she doesn't, but for the love of god, don't propose.

Seriously, if that looks like avoiding the question: there is NO good way to do this.
posted by carbide at 2:37 AM on October 5, 2010


She wants a closure meeting, and to straighten things out. That means she wants to move on.
You mention you have really hurt her this year, not letting her live her life will probably hurt her more, are you sure you want that?
posted by sebas at 2:38 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will preface this by saying that you obviously didn't listen to the advice given the first time. Why are you going to listen now?

What's the best way of doing this?

Don't.

She is likely to be looking to close things down and moven (sic) on....

Dude, Let's be honest here. You know she is going to refuse, so why are you asking? All you are going to be doing is making a difficult situation even worse. She wants to draw a line under the relationship and get on with her life. By doing this you are going to hurt her even more. Your proposal is not going to be the romantic gesture you think it is going to be. It is selfish at best, and emotional blackmail (abuse?) at worst.

I have said it before. Sometimes the nicest thing you can do is just let somebody hate you, let them turn around, and never look back.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:38 AM on October 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


Well, I guess if the majority of these answers didn't convince you...

The ex I hate the most is the one who said, "but I was about to propose!" after I broke up with him. What, I wasn't worth a proposal during the relationship? After our relationship dissolves, you suddenly decide then that I'm worth marrying?

YMMV.

Hang on. She is likely to be looking to close things down and move on? Why on insert-deity-of-choice's green earth would you want to propose to someone who wants to move on?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:40 AM on October 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you love her, let her go gracefully and with goodwill.
posted by b33j at 2:56 AM on October 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Whilst its most likely that she will say no and possibly wtf?!! - we don't know this woman or your relationship - for all we know she broke up with you 8 months ago as an 'ultimatum' hoping you'd see the error of your ways and propose and this meeting is because she's finally given up hope and wants to move on.

Don't go into the meeting with the intention of proposing, if she is really just looking for closure and to move on then let her. LISTEN to her (if you're even capable of that - based on the fact you ignored the advice in your last question, its possible nothing could dissuade you from popping the question, however ill-advised), its possible that if the only reason you broke up was because you weren't ready to get married then there may be an opening - an opportunity to explain that you weren't ready 8 months ago but the time apart has given you time to think and to grow as a person and now you're ready. IF the opportunity presents itself, don't expect a "OMG YES!" answer. You've been broken up for most of the year, she's probably going to need time to think even if she is amenable to the idea of getting back together.

Do you have a ring? If not then its going to look like a desperate attempt to salvage the relationship rather than a carefully thought out and planned decision IMO.
posted by missmagenta at 3:11 AM on October 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


She is not a piñata.

Continuing to emotionally bludgeon her will not result in the release of delicious candy.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:18 AM on October 5, 2010 [304 favorites]


What are you asking here? What is the best way to ambush my ex and disrespect her desire to move on from this relationship? What is the best way to ensure that my proposal gets turned down flat? Because you already marked the best answers to your last question that told you these are the certain outcomes of this plan. There is no way to do this and end up with an engagement that is starting from a place of mutual respect and love and understanding. You've been apart for 8 months. You don't even know if you're proposing to the real her or some idealized fantasy memory in your head.
posted by heatherann at 3:41 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


...or...just consider this.

Go into meeting with her with the mindset that you are ONLY going to listen to what she wants to say.

You are not trying to talk her into anything.

You have no agenda. Nothing, other than "I need to listen to this woman with respect."

What I think I really don't like here is it seems pretty clear (from the details you've given, granted there could be an ocean of info we don't have) is that you're trying to hold the power here; you effed up and didn't treat her respectfully in the past (and no stones; we've all made mistakes), but what's truly bothersome is that you're going in with an agenda. In other words, you're not willing to listen respectfully to what she needs to say; instead you're gonna go for a grand romantic gesture that in no way could be tuned in to her needs right now (and how could it be if you've been apart for 8 months)?

So if you're going to go, go quietly. Just listen to her.
posted by dzaz at 3:42 AM on October 5, 2010 [14 favorites]


A look at the questioner's posting history reveals a common thread.

Dude, save your money &, more importantly, your feelings, for your therapy. That seems like the path you need to follow in life before you go follow any others.

But do let us know what happens when you totally ignore this thread's advice too.
posted by i_cola at 3:47 AM on October 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


Why do you keep asking for and then ignoring advice given? One would think you're just posting to be a drama queen and it sure seems like you're just wasting everyone's time.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 3:48 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


To answer your question:

You say she has asked to meet you. OK, you meet her. Make it somewhere she feels comfortable and safe, a public place with other people around but somewhere with a bit of conversational privacy (you don't want anyone to be publicly humiliated). Somewhere she doesn't feel cornered or pressured by you. She needs to be able to stand up and safely walk away from you in an instant, and you need to have the decency to let her walk away without getting weird. From your description of things, her goal is to settle some things, to talk things out, and to say goodbye, not to field an unexpected marriage proposal. She may decide that you're a dangerous lunatic if you ask her to marry you after whatever it is that split you up and kept you apart.

So. Go with the ring and the speech, go to a place that's good for her, listen to her and respond to her about the things she wants to talk about, and ask her to marry you if that's what you have to do after talking things out. Maybe warn her and ask her up front, before she wastes her breath on whatever it is she plans to say. In any case, you need to imagine right now that she says no. No fucking way. No fucking way, you imbecile. No, no, no, you were never listening and you are not listening now. No, you pathetic excuse for a man. No, you motherfucking bastard. No, I hate you, no. No, I cannot fucking believe this shit is happening, no. No.

Something like that. All very possible declarations. It's hard to say quite what her reaction might be. But if she says no in any form, don't argue, don't beg, don't cling, don't be weird. No means no. Immediately leave (unless she explicitly tells you she still wants to talk things out). Pay the bill, say goodbye, and leave, or let her go while you give her time to vanish. No more contact unless she contacts you, and then only on her terms unless you want to start evolving from regretful ex to arrestable stalker.

Then, with that out of your system forever, go get treatment for your mental health problems.
posted by pracowity at 4:10 AM on October 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


I was one of the people in the previous thread warning you off the Big Grand Gesture idea, from a position of having been where your ex-girlfriend is in the past. I still think proposing to her as you're planning is not a good idea, and I can't favourite dzaz's answer above hard enough as to how best to handle this meeting.

With that said, though, if you are going to propose to her anyway, at least ask yourself a lot of questions beforehand. Questions like:

- how could the very act of you proposing under these circumstances affect her? You might well be coming at this from a perspective of 'eh well, it's not like I've got anything to lose' - but she has. Presumably she's gone through a lot of confusion and pain and turmoil reconciling herself to the end of your relationship, and that's is a part of her life she'd like to put behind her. This could well put her right back there. Are you willing to risk that? How would you plan to minimise that risk?

- how do you know she'd want to marry you? Sure, you know that she wanted to marry you eight months ago, before you broke up with her, and you know that she likes big grand reunions in films and TV. But this isn't films and TV, and her attitude towards you and what you can offer her as a life partner is bound to have changed a great deal over the past eight months. The reasons you've given for wanting to propose so far all have to do with you: you've decided you want to marry her, you've decided you really do love her, this is what you want from life. What do you think she might want, from what she's told you since the breakup? How would you plan to offer her that?

- what have you done to address and eliminate the problems that led to the breakup in the first place? Have you had counselling to help with the depression issues? Has it helped? You've mentioned previously that the very idea of commitment gave you anxiety attacks. That's a pretty big issue. What have you done to address that problem? These aren't issues that need to be fixed with the relationship, issues that swearing neverdying love to her will fix; they're issues with you and your feelings about relationships, and if you want to propose a reunion, let alone marriage, she deserves some serious reassurance that you've fully dealt with them now.

- have you, or do you plan to, fully acknowledge the pain you've caused her? The way you've phrased this could be read as 'I really hurt her, and I feel terrible about the fact that means I now can't get her back - how do I fix that?', rather than 'I really hurt her, and I feel terrible about it - how do I say sorry?'. A proposal is not an apology.

- how do you plan to respect what she wants? You've already indicated that you're planning to propose here despite the fact she wants closure to the relationship. That's a pretty big blow. How will you respect what she wants from you, if that's not also what you want? Will you listen to her? What if she says no, will you accept that? Cry, beg, or storm off? What if she yells at you (which it sounds like she has every right to do), how will you deal with that? What if she asks you to get out of her life entirely for six months while she considers this? Could you do that?

I'm sure she's great and I don't doubt you love her. But you are coming across here as if the fact that you hurt her is only relevant in that it affects the main problem, which is How To Get Her Back. If you actually want to be the kind of person she deserves, start framing this as working out what she wants rather than working out how to get her to do/say/feel what you want.
posted by Catseye at 4:11 AM on October 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


I think the person in this non-relationship who needs the most closure is YOU. You've been doubting this situation for months now, and seem very confused and worried about it.

Let's say you DO ask her to marry you. Will her subsequent rejection of your proposal will give you the closure you very much seem to need? Have you thought about this? When she says no, are you going to let her go gracefully as she's requesting? Or are you going to continue to remain in denial?
posted by elizardbits at 4:20 AM on October 5, 2010


Why?

Why do you want to be married to your ex? Not propose, not marry, but be married, for years and years. You're obviously dead-set on it despite a million HELL NO responses. What in your head is telling you yes?

I was going to advise you to sit down and write about why you wanted to marry this woman, and what could go wrong, so you could put some serious thought into it, but I fear you might just write a marriage-will-solve-my-problems manifesto and convince yourself even further. An impassioned argument can still be wrong. So I encourage you to give this (again, the marriage, not the proposal or the wedding) some real thought anyway, but in the company of a therapist.

Proposing is not going to solve your problems, it is not going to patch up what went wrong between the two of you, it is not going to guarantee your happiness for even a nanosecond, it's not even going to guarantee that you will get married, and she doesn't even want to be with you. I get that you're in a tough spot, but neither she nor an engagement will dig you out. It's a lot tougher than that.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:24 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


How would you advise that I handle this meeting tomorrow? She is likely to be looking to close things down and moven on....

Let her close things down and move on.

Considering your previous post and the advice you received there, proposing to her seems like a very disrespectful and insensitive thing to do.

Others might rephrase that as a "dick move".

Or this is a troll.
posted by chillmost at 4:37 AM on October 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


It sounds as if you've watched too many chick-flicks where the scrappy hero pulls his head out of his ass at the last minute and wins the beautiful girl. That rarely happens. It's why they make movies about it.

She's asking for closure. Meaning she's done with the relationship and trying to get past the hurt.

If you are going to into this closure meeting with the idea that you can resurrect your relationship then you are not listening to her. You are focused on yourself and your own thoughts. If you love her, you listen to her - she's telling you she is done. Let her go gracefully so she can look upon this relationship with fondness and not regret.
posted by tar0tgr1 at 4:37 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with pracowity here:

1. Meet somewhere public
2. LISTEN to her
3. Say what you need to say, if you must
4. Be prepared for the fact that she WILL turn you down, and will almost certainly be angry, upset or both
5. Let her leave; don't try to force her to stick around, either verbally or physically
6. Talk to a therapist or counsellor or someone about your issues.

Oh, and if you're the sort of person who likes talking over emotional issues, it might be a good idea to arrange to meet up with a friend after you meet her.

[And note that I'm only giving this advice because the principle of AskMe is 'answer the question as asked'. My advice would otherwise be the same as everyone else: don't do this. Meet her, listen to her, thank her for your time together, and say goodbye and move on. That's what she wants to do, after all]
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:43 AM on October 5, 2010


I thought I should remind you of this answer to one of your past questions, which you marked as a best answer at the time.

What made you decide not to follow this advice, as it does seem very sensible and has not lost any of its worth, in my opinion, since then?
posted by greenish at 4:45 AM on October 5, 2010


I feel her pain...

Read this:
Presumably she's gone through a lot of confusion and pain and turmoil reconciling herself to the end of your relationship, and that's is a part of her life she'd like to put behind her. This could well put her right back there.

This:
...is that you're trying to hold the power here; you effed up and didn't treat her respectfully in the past (and no stones; we've all made mistakes)

This:
You don't even know if you're proposing to the real her or some idealized fantasy memory in your head.

And finally, this:
What, I wasn't worth a proposal during the relationship? After our relationship dissolves, you suddenly decide then that I'm worth marrying?

Can't emphasize enough the importance of respecting her feelings on this. If you're insistent on going through with it, then go. But you're probably not going to find a lot of sympathy here when you post your next AskMe.
posted by sundrop at 4:59 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"She is likely to be looking to close things down and moven on...."

These are your own words. Respect her and let her move on.

I'm also guessing that since she has asked to meet with you for closure, she turned down your invitation for the holiday. I don't know what kind of clearer sign you are looking for.

You're not listening to Ask. You're not listening to yourself. Most importantly you are not listening to HER. This is not the beginning of a good marriage.
posted by like_neon at 5:04 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your behavior conveys a cognitive disconnect with the reality of the situation. Proposing in this context seems creepy and obsessive. It's the sort of detail I would expect to read in a CNN piece about a young woman murdered by a crazy ex.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:16 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You were with her for 7 years and you have been second guessing marrying her according to your previous questions.

Have you gotten help for your depression? You said you broke up with her out of being depressed in a previous question, but did you actually get a therapist and get treated? Or will you go hot and cold on her again?

I don't think you should propose right now. I do think you should tell her how you've been feeling, how you've been second guessing, how you've missed her and how you think you need help for your depression.

And respect her decision. If she's done with you, let it be. If she's not, then you have to be totally open and honest about where this proposal business is coming from. And you have to really think about what you want proposing to do for you emotionally (get her back?) and what you hope would happen and what pitfalls she may encounter. She shouldn't have to hear six months into planning the wedding that you're not really interested in going through with it and are confused.
posted by anniecat at 5:34 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you remember nothing else, please remember this: Marriage Does Not Solve Problems.
You get married because you, as a couple, have gotten a handle on the little issues and big problems and know how to go through life as a team.
Any problems you two had before this grand gesture will still be there. All that will have changed is the level of desperation.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:37 AM on October 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


How would you advise that I handle this meeting tomorrow? She is likely to be looking to close things down and moven on....

DO NOT PROPOSE. Close things down and move on. You effed up. That's rough, but learn from it for future relationships. This relationship is over.

No way, no how is she saying "Yes" to a proposal. You're just digging yourself a hole of humiliation and resentment if you go down that road.
posted by sonika at 5:43 AM on October 5, 2010


This is going to sound incredibly snarky and sarcastic, but I really do mean it: In the previous questions, and this one here, you seem incapable of demonstrating that you actually do love and respect this woman - I base this on your inability to see past what *you* want - and given that, I think you should go ahead and do whatever you want, since that's what you seem to do best.

Keep in mind that if your ex has been hoping for a sign from you that you have matured and learned over the last eight months, you are about to demonstrate (in the most self-centered way possible) that you have not.

Do not be surprised if she says no.
posted by rtha at 5:44 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have finally decided after eight months apart, that I love my ex and want to marry her.

Bully for you! You've decided, after months (if she's the ex-girlfriend you mention here) of chasing your own tail on this issue, to perform the least sensible, least considerate of her feelings, MOST likely to publicly get a drink tossed in your face action possible. Congratulations! I'm sure she'll be thrilled to hear that not only have you failed to listen to her for even one second during the past months, but that you've unilaterally decided that proposing marriage to this woman who obviously wants to move on from you is the most sensible course of action.

Marriage is romantic, yes, but it is, at its most basic, a business arrangement. This would imply that two people should be involved in the decision. That other person is her, in case you didn't catch my meaning.

You've insisted that she does like big, grand romantic gestures. This won't be one of them. Do not do this.
posted by timetoevolve at 6:02 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


What if she wants this meeting to inform you that she has met someone else, and all she wants is for you to give her (current, happy, healthy) relationship your blessing?

Like others are saying, you need to be prepared to listen to her before choosing to propose. But, to state very clearly what others have also been getting at: you need to be emotionally prepared to do that listening.

You're getting your hopes up. You're excited at the possibilities. But you must make sure that you can handle it, emotionally, if what she wants to say to you makes a proposal a non-starter.
posted by meese at 6:10 AM on October 5, 2010


Do you have a ring? If not then its going to look like a desperate attempt to salvage the relationship rather than a carefully thought out and planned decision IMO.

I agree. You could order something on BlueNile today, have it shipped to arrive tomorrow, and you have 30-days to return it if she doesn't accept it or prefers a different style.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:11 AM on October 5, 2010


I know it's been said, many times, many ways, but do not propose to your ex. No person in their right mind proposes to an ex! Nobody! Before proposing marriage, it is necessary to take appropriate measures to ensure that the person in question is NO LONGER YOUR EX, and that said person ACTUALLY WANTS TO SPEND THE REST OF THEIR LIFE WITH YOU. Then, when you have come to a MUTUAL understanding of your individual and joint goals, issues, and feelings for one another based on REAL LIFE AND NOT MOVIE MADNESS, maybe consider popping the question.

Why do you keep coming here with this? You refuse to listen to your therapist and you refuse to listen to us. What are you getting out of this?
posted by Gator at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


People propose to their partners, not their exes.

Let's say I've got an ex and needed to get my stuff or tell him off one last time. Let's say he completely devalues and ignores my own state of mind by proposing marriage.

Now that he's an ex, chances are I would have an absolutely visceral, physical reaction. I might knock the ring box out of his hand and start yelling. I might hit him. I might kick him while he's down, screaming the whole time about what an asshole boyfriend he was and how he's just insulted me for the final time by ignoring my desire to move the hell on.

If you are absolutely prepared to deal with the consequences of being rejected (in public), humiliated, yelled at, and possibly kicked after she knocks you sideways while you're down on one knee, then go for it. Also be prepared to be hated by her forever after and go down in history are a farcical internet story.

Seriously, don't do this to her. And more importantly, don't do it to yourself. Save the ring (if you have one) for a girl who wants to be with you. Learn from this former relationship and move on.
posted by motsque at 6:42 AM on October 5, 2010


And one more thing: that visceral reaction might only happen if I realized he was even serious. More likely I'd think it was just a desperate dick move, laugh, and walk away. Be prepared for that, too.
posted by motsque at 6:43 AM on October 5, 2010


I think this is a terrible idea, if you are hoping for happiness, sunshine, and dancing unicorns of love. It's a great idea if you are hoping for tears, embarrassment, and feeling really low afterward.

And really, you need to be talking with your therapist about your fixation on doing the wrong thing. Seriously, this is sliding from kind of quirky over into the land of unhealthy behaviors; this isn't doing your life any favors.

But hey, there are a lot worse things you could be doing, I guess, and the only one at risk of being harmed is probably yourself.
posted by Forktine at 6:43 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay. I'll put this out there. Let's say you're living in a Jane Austen novel. Jane Austen novels have two proposals in them.

The first proposal is a grand declaration of love that the woman inevitably and passionately refuses because the man has somehow hurt her.

The second proposal from this same man is a more quietly discussed occurrence where both parties have come to a mutual and quiet understanding of their love for each other. There is no grand gesture, and indeed the quiet approach on the part of the men may because they're not going to put their whole heart on the line a second time and will graciously accept a negative answer. Since this is a Jane Austen novel, there isn't a negative answer to the second proposals. There's simply a, "What about now?" question followed by a, "Yes, now," answer. Nothing grand or highly emotional. It's simple and unquestioning.

Now here is what you need to remember:

You are more than likely not living in a Jane Austen novel. Jane Austen didn't live in a Jane Austen novel. You should EXPECT a negative answer. And since you will get a, "No," anything more than a simple, "I'd like to marry you," is inappropriate. Hell, even that is inappropriate. But a, "I'd like to marry you," at least takes the pressure off of her because the sentiment is about your feelings and does not require an action on her part. I would not give her a ring. I would not present her with a ring. I would make no grand gestures, and I would say nothing more about marriage after that simple declaration. When she says no, then you leave it at that. You let her walk away, and that is it.

I also don't think you should do this. I think you need to let her go. I think if you love her, you will show her by respecting her wishes and not take her on another emotional roller coaster.
posted by zizzle at 6:53 AM on October 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, I wish you, personally, the best - that is to say, growth, wisdom and rightfully-earned happiness.

That being said: I really, really hope she flips out, screams, cries, possibly humiliates you. I hope she disappears from your life permanently.

I hope this happens because the sort of big, cinematic against-all-reason gesture you want to undertake - despite the warnings of the very smart, diverse, experienced community whom you consulted on the matter - is immature at best, sociopathic at worst.

Relationships and marriage take work. Long, boring, frustrating, non-phototgenic WORK. You get the big, sparkling, remember-it-forever moments because you slog through a sea of shit to rearch them... NOT BECAUSE you think one might really bring a tear to your imaginary audience's eye. And I don't care if you've had epiphanies, seen the error of your ways, etc. - that is EXACTLY that you're trying to do here. This is, emotionally speaking, as much of a blatant Oscar grab as a Merchant-Ivory film. And every bit as insufferable.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:57 AM on October 5, 2010 [24 favorites]


Hmmmm. Okay, I'm going to suggest you propose to her. Not because it's a good idea (really, it's one of the worst ideas ever) but because you clearly seem obsessed with the idea. It's like you need closure, too, and you think the only way you're going to get it is if you give it One. Last. Shot. That's ridiculous, of course, because by the time someone needs closure, the opportunity to save anything is LOOOOONG since past. Closure is more about straightening the corners on a bed that's already been made.

Proposing is a total dick move, but in order to not have it be a DOUBLE total dick move, go in and let her speak her peace. If she has questions, answer them. If she has things she wants or needs to say, listen to her. Give her the space to let her get these things into the open. If you propose before she has had a chance to say everything she wants to say, that will most likely cut off any more conversation.

Oh, and DO NOT take any video of it.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:58 AM on October 5, 2010


Ignore the haters and invite me to your wedding. Go for the big gesture, don't let her get a full head of steam with her prepared speech.
posted by unixrat at 6:59 AM on October 5, 2010


Proposing to her at your next meeting would be an entirely selfish act on your part, and will put her in a position that's awkward at best and really upsetting at worst.

If you care about her enough to want to spend your life with her, please consider her perspective as well as your own. If she wants to end her relationship with you in a more permanent way, you have to respect that.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:01 AM on October 5, 2010


A lot of people have felt the same about an ex as you do now. Some of them are now married. Crucially, very few of them are married to that ex.
posted by mippy at 7:08 AM on October 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


But hey, there are a lot worse things you could be doing, I guess, and the only one at risk of being harmed is probably yourself.

Hopefully this is the case, but I'm not so sure. What if the woman is confused and upset about this herself? She might just turn you down and laugh at you, but having been (relatively) recently dumped after seven years I wouldn't assume she is in that place yet. In that case, it is really cruel to be playing with her in this way. And playing with her you are, from everything I've read. You feel like you are being tossed about by your emotions, but it's probable that she's been equally tossed about by your rejection and ambivalence. And note: you are the one who's doing it. Nothing you've said indicates you're not going to screw with her again if she so much as considers taking you back. Please let her be. You're not the only one with feelings here.
posted by BibiRose at 7:10 AM on October 5, 2010


Original poster, may I humbly suggest that you visit somethingawful.com's "E/N" forum. Because it was made for questions like this. Metafilter, with its policy of polite discussion, really isn't. You need some tough love, man.

(By the way, I understand the need to force closure on an issue, and that's what I see here. Once you ask her to marry you, and she says no no no way, then you can move on, right? I've been in that situation too, when I was younger. Burn the bridges and all. But it is an immature need, and one that you should try to overcome.)
posted by seventyfour at 7:25 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


First of all, stop thinking of this whole situation as your own personal drama. I'm not sure, but it seems like your ex is trying to get away from your special brand of insanity. Then again, maybe she wants to play along with you for a while, but do her a huge favor and cut her loose. You need heaps of therapy, and staying in your little dream world isn't going to get you there.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:27 AM on October 5, 2010


But hey, there are a lot worse things you could be doing, I guess, and the only one at risk of being harmed is probably yourself.

This is part of the problem -- the OP already thinks this. He has no consideration for the woman's feelings. At all. All of his questions and comments are "I want I want I want I want," when the fact is, this could actually harm her. Years of a relationship, a painful breakup, months of separation and then all of a sudden an invitation to go on holiday (from the previous question) and then a marriage proposal could send her into an emotional tailspin. The idea that he should just go ahead and propose in order to get this madness out of his system seems pretty flippant and inconsiderate of the woman's feelings.
posted by Gator at 7:28 AM on October 5, 2010 [17 favorites]


Serious question, OP: what are you going to do if she says no?
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:35 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Usually I am with the group on stuff like this, but for once, I have to disagree.

Yes, doing this could potentially hurt his ex and make her angry and not necessarily give her the closure she is presumably looking for.

But isn't it possible that her story is that she was with the love of her life for 7 years, he got depressed and panicked about getting married, he left her to do right by her because he couldn't give her what she needed, and she's spent the past several months hoping and wishing that he would get his act together and come back to her? Sure, she would probably also be spending that time trying to get over it, knowing that chances are, he will not be getting his act together and coming back. She'd have been hearing her family and friends tell her what a jerk he is, that she deserves better, etc, and she has probably started to believe them. But maybe that doesn't change the fact that she loves him, wants him back, and this proposal would be wonderfully romantic and just what she's been hoping for because she still wants to spend her life with him.

Or maybe it's not. But he's got to take that chance. All the statements above about how this never works out are obviously not based on any statistics, just negativity that this is from the movies, not real life. Which may be true! But we can't know that, and we can't know how she's going to react.

So to answer the question - let her talk. Be calm and rational and tell her that you hear what she's saying, but you would regret it for the rest of your life if you let her go without a fight.
posted by coupdefoudre at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


[lots of comments removed - folks you know how we do things here, please answer civilly or not at all, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:54 AM on October 5, 2010


But isn't it possible that her story is that she was with the love of her life for 7 years, he got depressed and panicked about getting married, he left her to do right by her because he couldn't give her what she needed, and she's spent the past several months hoping and wishing that he would get his act together and come back to her?

Sure, but 'wanting her back' does not equal 'getting his act together'. A proposal proves the first, but not the second. And since it's a big grand impulsive gesture that doesn't gibe with what she seems to want from this meeting (ie, closure), it could well be a sign that he hasn't got his act together and isn't a reliable person to trust with her emotions.

OP, if you really do want this girl back because you think you can be the person she deserves, you need to prove that to her - and that takes hard work, above and beyond any showy grand gestures. Hard work that starts with being prepared to listen to her, hear and respect what she's saying to you, and acknowledge the fact that the problems that broke you up went beyond 'absence of proposal'. And if you tell her you want to try again, and she says she doesn't, you need to respect that and leave her alone to move with her life in the way she sees fit. Your life is not a romantic comedy.
posted by Catseye at 8:00 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


But isn't it possible that her story is that she was with the love of her life for 7 years, he got depressed and panicked about getting married, he left her to do right by her because he couldn't give her what she needed, and she's spent the past several months hoping and wishing that he would get his act together and come back to her?

That way lies madness. If you're going to ignore her when she says "I want to meet one last time to get closure" (which means in no uncertain terms "I have moved on, but I still have things that I feel I need to say to feel better about my decision to move on"), then where do you stop? If she's all "No, I do not want to marry you", do you take her at her word? Or do you imagine her saying things she doesn't mean, because she's afraid of being hurt? And then you pop up again like 6 months later to ask her again, this time to REALLY prove to her that you're serious. I mean, that's how stalkers are born. At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say "There is no chance of us getting married, due to how long it's taken me to propose and the fact that I'm proposing while we are broken up. The only reasons to propose are selfish ones."

If you go into this thinking that the proposal is somehow, possibly, maaaaaaybe a nice thing that you are doing for her, you're taking the first step towards becoming a crazy person.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I personally don't think anyone is so fragile that a proposal will wreck them completely. Nor can we know what she wants or doesn't want. WE'RE NOT PSYCHICS. Be socially apt, you know her, you know the situation, use your judgment.

--You need a ring, definitely.

--Be happy for her if she says no (or fake it until you can get out of there). Your mood should be "I am so lucky to have ever had you in my life. I love you and want you to be happy; with me or without me."
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:14 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah finally, the 7th installment of the ongoing saga staring our hero spaceandtime30! and some other person.

I have finally decided after eight months apart, that I love my ex and want to marry her. Unfortunately I have really hurt her this year.

I want to dismember these 2 sentences, and attempt to show you how very very wrong your thought process is in this situation.

Oh yes, it is "unfortunate" that you've hurt her this year— sure will lower your odds of achieving a successful proposal right? You've calculated that proposal is what will make Female-Object-of-Desire-A willing to restart your relationship. And you've calculated that your relationship is what will make you happy again. And as you want to be happy at all costs, you will disregard Female-Object-of-Desire-A's emotions, and show her a complete lack of respect by attempting to impose your own happiness over hers.

Do you realize that this is not how normal adults interact in relationships? I also find troubling the fact that you dated this woman seriously for 7 years and never considered marrying her in that time, didn't miss her, and felt like you were lying when it came to publicly stating your love for her.

I'm going to suggest that you don't actually love this woman. These are not loving actions, behaviors or thoughts. This behavior is much more like what a narcissist or sociopath does. You seem unable to consider her feelings, you view her as some two-dimensional character, and all you really have learned in the last 8 months is that you were more comfortable in a relationship than not in a relationship.

You are not the only human being in this situation. For everyone's sake, especially this woman's, please start pretending that you care about other people.
posted by fontophilic at 8:15 AM on October 5, 2010 [16 favorites]


With the only caveat being that I don't know you personally - the first thing I think of when reading both your posts is "Mind Fuck". As in: You are a.....". Hell, even if I did know you personally, I would likely still see you this way.

Let her move on, suck it up & stop messing with her head.
posted by East Siberian patchbelly wrangler at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2010


A proposal is just that...a proposal.You're telling her how you feel and what you want and giving her an opportunity to choose how to respond to that. She'll either say yes immediately, say no immediately, or want some time to think about it.
She may want to move on without you, and that's fine, but let her do it with the full knowledge of how you feel right now. Letting her go without telling her you want to marry her would be a mistake, and would be unfair to her. Give her all the relevant information, then let her make her decision, and accept whatever that decision is.
posted by rocket88 at 8:51 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You were once completely ambivalent about committing to this woman - different parts of your mind shouting "yes!" and "no!" Now, however you're seemingly resolute that you want to marry her, while everyone around you, including her, is now shouting "no!".

It's like you've created a situation where your ambivalence is no longer just something inside of your head, but now a "drama," as you call it, acted out by other people.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:53 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Serious question, OP: what are you going to do if she says no?

More to the point, what if she says yes?
You clear about wanting to propose, but do you want to be married to this woman forever? Do you want to do the laundry with her and have bad colds together, go to Ikea together and have children with her, put down the toilet seat for her, have her mother to visit, listen to her telling you really important things when she's drunk, bring her to your work party, feed her and wipe her ass when she's had a stroke. Marriage is more than a grand gesture in a cheap restaurant. What if she says yes?
posted by Iteki at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2010 [16 favorites]


Do you want to be a good guy, the kind of guy that someone like her wants to marry? Then go to the meeting, listen, apologize for what you need to apologize for, don't defend yourself about anything, wish her well and move on.

By being this kind of person, you will be able to meet and marry SOMEONE ELSE wonderful, some time down the road. She is long gone and there is nothing you can or should do to try and change that, unless you're really so selfish that you don't care how much you hurt her, and so stupid that you think it's going to work (which it will not.)
posted by davejay at 9:52 AM on October 5, 2010


You know what? Just do it. That's the only way you'll get it out of your system. You're clearly not going to listen to people telling you it's a horrible idea.

Realize this, though: you're not, in all likelihood, going to get another shot at it. Is it worth it to do this, rather than trying to prove to her over time that you're different, and ready to make a life with her?
posted by supercres at 9:53 AM on October 5, 2010


Oh, here's another way to think about it: what would you think if you read the following question...

"I was laid off eight months ago, and now I've realized it was the best job I ever had. My ex-boss has finally scheduled my long-overdue exit interview. I plan to ask for a promotion and a raise. What's the best way of doing this?"
posted by davejay at 10:04 AM on October 5, 2010 [34 favorites]


Go. Listen to her talk. Propose. Because it's obvious from this question and the last linked "drama" that you HAVE to do this and no amount of wise, rational advice will stop you. So, in defiance of common sense and rationality, propose to her and present her with an absolutely gorgeous ring (I nth the Blue Nile recommendation). She'll VERY LIKELY say no after the hell you've put her through. Like, no. Very very no. But if she happens to say yes, suggest a LONG engagement. You guys need to start up your relationship again and try to go through the hard work of just living day by day for awhile. But sure, try to win her back with a proposal, a diamond ring, and some of the security that brings. And then pay for a lavish wedding because holy hell, does she ever deserve it after everything she's been through with you.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:34 AM on October 5, 2010




"I have finally decided after eight months apart, that I love my ex and want to marry her."

Is this what you think true love sounds like? ME, ME, ME, I WANT, I WANT, I WANT!!!

You have no idea what love is. Not a clue. Not one inkling. She is asking you to let her go, to let her be free. And instead of acknowledging her feelings and wishes, you are planning to hijack her meeting and turn it into...

YOUR BIG CHANCE! to prove once and for all what an awesome guy you really are! Because it's still all about you, and always will be!

"Hey beautiful, I'm the guy who took your emotions on an agonizing rollercoaster ride and then ripped your heart out! I'm really hoping you've been wallowing in hell for the past eight months, trying and failing to get over me, because I've decided that I want you back. So wah-lah, here's a ring! That should be sufficient to smoooove over all the crap I put you through, because I know that you're nothing but a dumb fairytale princess who doesn't have the sense to see through empty romantic gestures. Obviously, I'm still the emotional and mental toxic mess that I was when I put your heart through the wringer, but this time I'm betting you'll be too distracted by the sparkly ring to notice. There, everything's fixed!"

^ THIS is what she will hear if you insist on making your big proposal. If you had any respect for this girl at all, you would not even consider demeaning her with such a cheap, insulting, and hurtful gesture.

The meeting may be your last chance to do one kind thing for this girl, and to treat her the way she deserves to be treated. This is not your chance to impose your wants on her. Stop thinking about yourself for one second and LISTEN to what she has to say to you. Let her unload whatever pain and grief she's been carrying for the past eight months. And then leave her be.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2010


What a melodrama. I wonder how people make decisions about their life.

From the history and the comments, it seems like you have a long and tumultuous relationship with this woman. I don't think it matters whether or not you propose - if she's smart, if she's learned anything, she'll shoot you down.

After 8 months of rollercoaster heartache, you are probably both in dire need of some respite. Your relationship's over. Just accept the loss.
posted by boghead at 11:05 AM on October 5, 2010


How would you advise that I handle this meeting tomorrow?

You should be doing homework on how to be compliant with a restraining order.
posted by asockpuppet at 11:21 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Consider this:

You've ignored 62 pieces of advice saying this is a VERY BAD IDEA because it's basically not listening to what your ex needs and you're putting only your own needs first.

Instead, you favorited the two people who said to go for it (but neither was a "This is a great idea" recommendation.)?

Please try to notice that again, there's a pattern of you asking for advice and COMPLETELY IGNORING what the very helpful people here are telling you.

Ask yourself: why do you keep asking for advice and ignoring it? And try to connect that this is EXACTLY what you're doing to this poor woman. Please, leave her be.
posted by dzaz at 11:26 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the advice people. I think I will make sure I LISTEN to her. I'll put the proposal out there. And if not, I guess I will let her go with dignity.

Sad but true,.
posted by spaceandtime30 at 11:27 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aaaaaaand, here come the "best answers," the comments that tell you to go ahead and do it. Whatever, man. Good luck in your fantasy world. When you're back here in another month asking MetaFilter how to deal with the fact that she said no, I promise not to say I told you so.
posted by Gator at 11:27 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you're going to mark the only two answers that tell you what you wanted to hear as the Best Answers, what was the point of asking us anything at all? You were just waiting for one voice out of a hundred to tell you to propose? Did you even notice the evident disgust with which the one answer that you think validates your choice--the one that tells you to just get proposal out of your system--was given?

But since you've wasted your time here, asking a question to which you already had an answer in mind simply because you like airing your drama in public, please do let us know how the proposal works out.
posted by pineappleheart at 11:31 AM on October 5, 2010



Thanks for the advice people. I think I will make sure I LISTEN to her. I'll put the proposal out there. And if not, I guess I will let her go with dignity.


Ok, fine, you say you'll listen, but you're going to propose anyway. That's not really listening.

What if one of those things you have to listen to is that she has moved on with someone else, or she is moving away, or that she wishes to have no more contact with you?
posted by asockpuppet at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want you to imagine the conversation this girl's gonna have with her mom/sister/close friend after your meeting. If you propose:

Friend: How was the meeting with your ex? Did you get some closure?
Ex-girlfriend: Well, I tried to talk to him, but he, uh, proposed.
F: He did what? Is he crazy? What'd you say?
Ex: I said no, obviously. I feel so guilty, though. I don't understand why he's doing this now, I just want us both to be able to move on. Now I feel worse than before.
F: What a jerk.

And if you listen to her calmly and rationally, and act like a grown up:

Friend: How was the meeting with your ex? Did you get some closure?
Ex-girlfriend: Yeah, it was really good. We talked about a lot of things and I really feel I understand our relationship better. Plus I've got a better handle on what went wrong.
F: Awesome.
Ex: He really is a good guy, you know. I'm glad we're on good terms again, even if it didn't work out for us now.

Theoretically, if you cared for her, you'd want her to be happy. Talking to her, rather than proposing AT her, is more likely to make her happy. The choice seems obvious.

Of course there's always the chance she'll say yes. I'd put that at about 1 in 1000. IF that happens, I would suggest immediate counseling to you both before you start making marriage plans. For her, because she just agreed to marry someone who has hurt her repeatedly over the last year, and she may have co-dependency issues, and for you for the co-dependency plus the fact that you seem to thrive and drama and are maybe a little immature. Best of luck.
posted by Grafix at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose that's a reality I'm going to have to accept. It's dreadfully sad. If I'd only proposed in January instead of panicking, things would have been a lot better.

She may well be moving away, or with someone else. Or want no more contact.

What a terrible, sad, God-awful shame this whole story is.

Still, if she accepts I promise you'll all be invited to the engagement drinks.
posted by spaceandtime30 at 11:35 AM on October 5, 2010


I guess I will let her go with dignity

Who's dignity? Potentially embarrassing her and causing a scene in public is not sparing anyone's dignity here.

You know that scene in Welcome to the Dollhouse where Dawn has to write an essay on dignity? Dignity is not being a grate-grubber. You are being a grate-grubber.
posted by asockpuppet at 11:37 AM on October 5, 2010


Great answer Grafix, thanks....
posted by spaceandtime30 at 11:37 AM on October 5, 2010


Even if she's hoping you'll ask, and says yes, you are not ready for marriage. If all you can think about is what you want and what will make you happy, and you cannot demonstrate that you've made the changes you've talked about making since your breakup (but have you actually made them? Your questions do not indicate that you have), then you are not ready for marriage.

What have you done - not thought about, not planned on doing, but actually done - to address: Does the subsuming feeling of "I'm lying to myself" mean something's wrong?; how about At the very mention of deeper commitment, I spun into frenzied panic, had problems breathing and packed my bags and left. Had been experiencing mild depression in the run-up to this rather dramatic and immature outburst; then there's I was actually extremely depressed at the time, and am wondering now whether that was the reason why I ended it so dramatically.

Or have you been wallowing in self-pity since January? What have you done to change?
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


[few comments removed - you know the drill, or should.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:14 PM on October 5, 2010


Marriage doesn't create a commitment or connection; it is simply the manifestation of a commitment and connection that already mutually exists.

That sort of commitment and connection comes from mutual respect and self-awareness. It comes from a deep understanding of each other's needs, and an intrinsic desire to meet the other person's needs as much as -- if not more than -- meeting one's own.

None of these conditions are even remotely present in your situation, OP. Nor, evidently, were they present eight months ago. Proposing marriage -- whether right now, or back then -- is therefore pointless. Despite attraction and attachment, you do not actually have, nor did you have, the most basic elements to make a marriage. It's like saying, hey, I would like to bake a cake; I have some baby powder (which looks like flour) and gin (which is liquid) and rocks (which are shaped like eggs). Well, you can put them together a hundred ways and stick them in the oven all you like, but that mess won't ever be cake.

What it comes down to, for me, is this: I get the sense that you are deeply frightened of this actually being over, and you will do anything to prolong it so that you don't have to face being alone and feeling sad. I also get the sense that simultaneously, you don't really comprehend that your ex is an independent human being, separate from you, who also has deep feelings such as fear and sadness. Hence your essentially pathological refusal to let her go: you can't bear the anxiety brought on by the sense of separation from her, which you keep acting on because you evidently aren't able to empathize with her own need to separate from you.

Unfortunately, I don't think you have the impulse control, nor the basic empathy for your ex, to keep yourself from "putting the proposal out there." It is sad and foolish and desperate AT BEST; at worst, it is cruel and disrespectful and unhealthy. Like baby powder and gin and rocks don't make cake, desperation and foolishness and disrespect don't make an engagement. But I suspect you're not going to take anyone's word for that.

Once this breakup is finally over (and please, for the love of all that is decent, let it be sooner rather than later), I suggest a twofold project in therapy: first, learning how to deal with your own emotions; secondly, learning -- if it's possible -- how to develop real empathy for others. Empathy is one of the single most essential ingredients to making meaningful, lasting, loving, healthy connections -- which is something I think you might want, even though you don't seem to have any idea how to create and sustain them right now.
posted by scody at 12:18 PM on October 5, 2010 [48 favorites]


Good luck - you certainly have quite a bit to think about before you meet with her tomorrow, and I hope you can both walk away tomorrow at peace with the outcome, whatever it may be. Please do let us know what happens!
posted by bahama mama at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2010


I was for your marriage proposal when you were attempting your vacation plan with her, and I going to go against grain and be pro-proposal again.

No one has one path to settling down. Yeah, this sounds like a bad idea on paper, but I think you should go for it. And you know what? I think you will give her the ultimate in closure. She wants to meet with you BECAUSE SHE'S NOT OVER YOU EITHER. Asking for a 'closure' meeting is ridiculous.

When you propose, you will bring you both full circle to the issue that cause you to break up. And I think that's a good thing for both of you. I have no idea what will come of it. But it should be cathartic for you both at the least.

I would n'th all the other posters that you listen really hard. I don't think you will get shutdown the minute you propose, but I do think you are likely, if you are listening closely (pay attention!), to have a really really great conversation that will help you both.

Also, I don't think you are over-the-top or nuts to want to do this - I think you bring the breakup full circle, and if you are not ambivalent or cruel than this is entirely appropriate.
posted by zia at 2:09 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


oops

against the grain
posted by zia at 2:10 PM on October 5, 2010


I'm going to buck the trend and suggest you totally propose to this poor woman. Frankly I think that you WILL be giving her the closure she seems to want, for if going into a closure-seeking reunion means you put her through the wringer and PROPOSE, she is unlikely to ever feel the need to contact you again. If closure is what she wants, well you are about to go nuclear holocaust all over your acquaintanceship. With such a dramatic and ill-timed and completely inappropriate gesture, she wont be left second-guessing your breakup, which is what closure means.


If you being you means doing something wildly crazy and inappropriate, go for it! Just be prepared to get the hell out her life after, for she will never trust you to have so much as a cordial emaiil relationship after.

Oh, and I'm nthing therapy.
posted by custard heart at 2:14 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


She wants to meet with you BECAUSE SHE'S NOT OVER YOU EITHER. Asking for a 'closure' meeting is ridiculous.

I'm seriously willing to bet you $5 that she is over him. Asking for a closure meeting is not ridiculous, especially if he's prone to stuff like inviting her on vacation. She may just want to tell him "I'm over you, please stop all this".
posted by 23skidoo at 3:08 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


She may just want to tell him "I'm over you, please stop all this".

Or, at this point, she may want to inform him that she is getting a restraining order.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


If she has an ounce of sense, she'll bring a friend of her own to this "closure meeting." I would think the holiday invitation tipped her off to what was coming (I notice we never heard what her response was to that invitation).
posted by Gator at 4:15 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"She wants to meet with you BECAUSE SHE'S NOT OVER YOU EITHER. Asking for a 'closure' meeting is ridiculous."

When I met with my ex-boyfriend again months after our breakup, it certainly wasn't because I wasn't over him. It was because I wanted to make him aware in no uncertain terms that it was over. I walked away from him because I knew I deserved to be treated better. Suddenly he had all sorts of intentions to do Big Romantic Gestures... gee, why does that sound familiar?

He thought he'd hop on a plane and "surprise" me with a visit, like how I always wanted when we were still together. When I told him, DO NOT COME HERE, I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOU, he called my mother to get my new address. He thought he knew better than me what I really wanted. He was 100% wrong on that.

In reality I had moved on, wanted nothing more to do with him, and I was terrified of how far he'd go to prove me wrong. I was angry that despite my best efforts to put him out of my life, he was STILL not listening to me, STILL imposing his will on me, and STILL hurting me. And it made me furious that apparently I just wasn't worth the effort before. I wanted to scream, I am not a unit of stock, you cannot decide to "buy me back" when you realize that you underestimated my value.

I agreed to meet him so that he could see the truth for himself, to read it on my face and in my eyes that I was OVER him. Thankfully, he listened and understood, he apologized for acting crazy, and four years later we still keep in touch as friends. I am so grateful that he didn't try to pull off some asinine move that would have added more trauma to an already painful situation. I had lost a lot of respect for him during the breakup, but he earned it back by being respectful and letting me go.

Proposing to his ex will NOT be a good thing for the OP. If there is anything left to salvage of his relationship with his ex, he's going to end up trampling over the last shred of it with such a blatant disregard for her feelings. If he's got any chance of getting her back, he's going to have to put in a lot of hard work to resolve his own issues, and then prove to her that he has truly changed. And that's a big if in the first place. But OP has shown no indication that he's willing to do what it takes. Instead, he's spent the past eight months building a fortress of denial, ignoring all advice from his therapist and the people here, and has finally managed to convince himself that the easy, cheapo bandaid solution will be good enough to fix everything. Even if the girl does say yes, the relationship is as doomed as ever.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:58 PM on October 5, 2010 [23 favorites]


spaceandtime30, it's really hard *not* to sympathise with you because you are obviously experiencing a great deal of emotional turmoil. Please look back on your romantic history, not just with this girl. Going back to your very first comment on Ask, it looks as if you've done this with at least one person before - broken up with someone, realised afterwards that they were "the one", and gone back only to be rejected. Look at that pattern and talk to your therapist about it, because if the current "one" says no (as seems likely) then you don't want to repeat the same pattern again.
posted by andraste at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think keep it under cover has it here. I observed this from the outside with two good friends in college. It ended with a restraining order and several strained friendships. These kinds of grand gestures and big romantic efforts are very popular in movies and romance novels. In real life they are generally considered harassment.
posted by purpletangerine at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why marriage? Why not "let's get back together"? Is it because marriage would force you to address past anxiety? Yes, you might overcome your fear of heights by jumping out of a plane, but will the parachute work?

A convenient link from the Related Questions below this post: What conversations are a MUST before two people get married? Have you discussed anything like those questions? Were you really ready to live with her forever, except without the notion of marriage? Marriage changes nothing and everything. If your relation is solid, it's more of the same. But if it's rocky, things might change, but it could be just more of the same, with the same frustrations building up without the idea that the relationship can end anytime it gets to be too much. Concerns about habits and friendships? "Until death do we part" can sound like a threat instead of a wonderful thing.

Of course, if you propose, she might say "if" and give you some criteria to meet, some goals to accomplish alone or together. Proposing isn't the same as getting married, it just means you'd like it to happen, sometime.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love zia's advice. I totally agree with and laughed out loud reading her point "Asking for a 'closure' meeting is ridiculous."
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:07 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well for those who care, the dinner last night was lovely. We went out. Chatted. Talk through were the relationship faltered. Agreed that it was a crying shame that we didn't talk like this during the relationship when the mutual feelings of love were still present.

I said I had an engagement ring made for her and wanted to be her husband.

She said she had thought about it, but didn't want it and preferred to be alone and rediscover herself for the moment.

I found it all rather sad. Proposed again.

She said "no - not at the moment. But I want to do whatever it takes to keep you in my life as a friend."

And we parted on good terms.

That said, I STILL FEEL SICK TO THE STOMACH that I didn't propose in January instead of ending it. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!!!!
posted by spaceandtime30 at 2:22 AM on October 7, 2010


spaceandtime30 said: "Proposed again."

You proposed again, after she said no? WTF?
posted by Solomon at 4:19 AM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


For your own sanity, you need to take a break from contacting this woman and see if a therapist can help you get on with your life. This is where you need to try and focus your efforts now.

Right now, you're a man waiting on the platform willing the train to come back. Cash in your ticket and make some new travel plans.
posted by mippy at 4:45 AM on October 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


As someone who's been in a situation that seems very familiar to your own, I've been following this thread for the last few days with a lingering feeling of dread. To be honest, the outcome of all this is much better than it could have been. In my situation, I realized after the fact that I had not improved in the time-off from the relationship. I was only assembling myself in a false way to seem better to my ex.

Getting rejected sucks. There's no way around it. But what's worse is getting into a relationship (or marriage) on unhealthy terms. I was in no shape at all to be a good husband- I was depressed and plagued with anxiety. (Not to say all people who have depression or anxiety can't be good husbands- it's just that in my case my behavior poisoned the relationship) Regardless, I wanted to give her what she had wanted (and couldn't provide) when we were still together. But it wasn't right. Engagement should be a happy event, not a last-ditch effort to save a relationship (which I truly understand now).

Please, try not to torture yourself over this. Do what she is doing-- be alone and rediscover yourself. Reinvent yourself. Take up a new hobby, enroll in some courses at college, or start up a membership at a gym or a yoga center. Therapy does help with gaining perspective on stuff that might seem hopeless.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:29 AM on October 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks for letting us know how it went. May I ask what you intend to do now?
posted by Gator at 5:43 AM on October 7, 2010


This is the part where a bunch of us recommend that you maintain zero contact with her for a while - at least six months, a year's probably better, if you truly want to have a genuine friendship. You both need ways of readjusting how you are in the world without one another, and that's hard to do if you're around each other. You might not take this advice. That's okay. A lot of us didn't take it (at first) either.

Thing two: please be gentle with yourself. Please go back and reread some of your earlier questions, and remember what it was like for you then - your questions read as if you were in a terrible spiral of despair and panic and depression. You were in no condition to propose to anyone. From your most recent questions, I haven't thought that you're there yet, either. But still.

Get some therapy, and do something therapeutic. Discover or invent the you that is you without her.

And thank you for letting us know what happened.
posted by rtha at 5:46 AM on October 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well, good for both of you.

You are lucky to have such a good friend.

Everyone here is being very dramatic about it but realistically a good relationship (meaning a good base of friendship and mutual affection) can survive a proposal, easily.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:09 AM on October 7, 2010


I don't know what to do now. I'm slightly lost. I really want to get married to her. I've asked about getting back together. She seems to have come to the conclusion that by ending it, I actually did what she didn't have the guts to do, but wanted to.
I feel so sick. And sad. This year could have been a special one.
But the heartbreak now has cut so deep that I don't think she'll take me back. Even though I want to get married.
SIGH.
posted by spaceandtime30 at 6:50 AM on October 8, 2010


This seems very difficult for you, and I'm sorry to hear it.

It sounds as though the relationship ended for a reason. In your previous posts, you revealed that the relationship caused you anxiety and confusion. Now it seems as though your ex-girlfriend was similarly ambivalent about continuing the relationship and wanted to end it but "didn't have the guts." I know that this is hard, but it sounds as though she just may not have been the right person for you. Neither of you wanted to be with the other anymore. It might not be easy to remember why right now, especially because you're feeling lonely and vulnerable, but for whatever reason, you decided that your relationship with your ex was not the best you could do. I think you were right to end it, and I think that in time, you'll understand why you did.

Best of luck. I hope you're getting support from your friends or a therapist right now; they'll help you through to the other side of this.
posted by pineappleheart at 8:27 AM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is going to hurt, no question about it, but you'll make it.

Have you ever seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou? Anyway, spoilers (I think you should watch it, though) but there's a point where there's going to be a crash and Bill Murray says "This is gonna hurt." And it does. But it gets better.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:07 AM on October 8, 2010


I know it's been mentioned in this thread..but really loving someone means putting their needs ahead of your wants. You talk a lot about what you want and not a lot about what she might need. Now is the time to lose your focus on yourself, and think about what is best for her, which sounds like for the time being is being single. If you really love her, you will give her that. You say that this year was supposed to be a special one. It still will be, if you let it. Take this pain you're in and learn from it and grow.
posted by heatherly at 11:41 AM on October 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm very sorry things didn't work out the way you wanted them to. Regret can be unbearable at times like this; I've been there too, and so have many of the people in this thread. Often, the people who answer questions like these tend to deal out snappy advice as though they've never screwed up and lost someone they loved, or hung on too long, or made a million other dumb relationship mistakes, but I'm sure they have, same as you. Don't kick yourself too much.

There was another breakup question here, a few years ago, that garnered the following response from jellicle. It's still one of my favorite AskMe answers ever. Maybe it will be useful to you, too:
So. Take a deep breath. Your life is your own now. You can do anything you want in the world, and don't have to ask anyone anything. You have nothing to lose, and no one to answer to. You can start anew in a city you always wanted to see, find a new job in a new field, join the Peace Corps or the Foreign Legion, write a novel..... anything. Like it or not, life is kicking you out of your rut, you're heading off the beaten path, your compass is broken and your map has been eaten by a tiger. Take a good look around, pick somewhere to go, and go.
You'll make it, I promise.
posted by cirripede at 2:35 PM on October 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


spaceandtime30: "This year could have been a special one."

When you said this it really struck me... why are you saying "this year could have been special?" You sound empty (and having been there, I sympathize). Marriage isn't the only thing that can make a year special. Think of anything, everything good that has happened to you this year. Think of what you can do to make the rest of the year great for you. Learn how to love yourself... you don't need to have a mate to validate the great person you already are. Therapy can really help you figure all this out, take it from me. Therapy was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:18 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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