Friday, February 1, 2013

Help! I changed my mind!


Dear ESB,

I'm a longtime reader and lurker.

How do I tell my partner of six years that I've changed my mind about marriage? I've been very against it, but now feel "ready." He wanted to get married (eventually) early in our relationship. However, I am certain that all my talk against it has not only convinced him it's something I'd never want, but also convinced him it's not something he wants either!

Something subtle but important has changed after our many years together. This "traditional" choice has crept up on me, and is now something I value and want to share together. I think it makes sense to make it "official" legally, and I'd even like to have a tiny wedding--or elope.  

What's the best way to approach him about my change of heart? I want to be fair and honest, but I am terrified of judgment and rejection after so many years of loud refusal on my part.

And, if we do, how do I tell everyone else? I feel a barrage of "I told you so"s coming.

Help!

Sincerely,
Formerly smug mindchanger

*****

Here's what you say to him: "Will you marry me?"

Here's what you say to everyone else: "We're getting married." (I hate to disappoint you, but no one will actually be that shocked.)

Photo by Imaginale via Caitlin

19 comments:

  1. I did this! No one was shocked and everyone was happy :)

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  2. Yep. The best wedding I ever attended (besides my own) was for two friends who decided to get married after years of loudly bragging that they didn't "need to get marriage". When they told us they'd decided to do it, we laughed so hard with them about it and were SO excited. Do it.

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  3. My boyfriend and I have just got engaged after 8 years together and all of our friends and family are incredibly excited for us. I am sure your friends and family will be too.

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  4. Anyone who says I told you so is a jerk. Just because you changed your mind doesn't mean you were formerly wrong and/or lying. People can and should change, grow, evolve, whatever. What was right for you four years ago isn't anymore, and thank god for that. If I held to everything I swore I knew in my twenties I'd be an ass.

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  5. I think you guys are kind of missing the point. I think she wants to subtly let him know that it's okay now to ask her. I don't think she actually wants to do the asking herself.

    If this is the case, I'd just have an honest conversation: "Hey, so, I've been thinking. Marriage? Kinda into it now. So.. feel free."

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    1. Yeah, or just fucking ask him.

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    3. I don't care about any "proposal," and I'm going to HAVE to ask him, because of my long and vocal history.

      I'm fine with asking him; I'm not too into conventional gender roles (one of the reasons I haven't wanted to marry). I'm just nervous because I'm afraid he's internalized all my previous beliefs and will think I am insane.

      *Edited for early morning typo.

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    4. @Mindchanger, I think he'll be happily surprised! After being in love with you for 6 years, it's extremely likely he just wants to be you forever, marriage or not...which is why he might have changed his mind along with you in the first place--and why he'll change it right back. <3

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  6. Ok, this was me. I probably didn't handle it very gracefully. If I were to do it again I might start off by dropping some hints by talking about married friends with great relationships, or about meaningful weddings you attended together ("Wow wasn't it incredible to see Bob and Sandy say their vows and do that whole forever thing"). Maybe let that sink in for a week or two before you lay it on him, if he hasn't already figured it out.

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    1. are you the OP? so if that is how you would have liked to do it, how did you actually do it?

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    2. Not the OP. Sorry I wasn't clear. In my case, I waited too long, was too nervous, and brought it up at a weird moment. But it worked out in the end, we got married a year later.

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  7. Subtle hints and permission to ask? Sheesh. If, after six years, you can't sit down with your partner and be forthright about how your needs have changed then what the shit are you doing?
    That being said, if her previously anti-marriage stance was so compelling that he really isn't interested then this may be a longer discussion. But it's a discussion, which involves talking about things.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. I'm not into hints or coercion. I'm just extremely anxious because I've been loudly anti-marriage for YEARS. It's going to seem out of the blue to him. And our relationship is wonderful as-is, and I don't want to introduce an element of tension.

      You're right. I need to just sit him down. I've been thinking about it for a year. But I haven't had the nerve.

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    2. I wasn't really down with whole marriage thing either for most of my adult life. What made me think about it differently was arguing with idiots about why marriage equality is important. I realized that there are lots of good reasons to want to be married.

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  8. This exact thing happened to me this last year. After years of telling him I didn't believe in marriage, I just changed. I started out with a few casual, exploratory conversations about my new feelings (usually over a bottle of wine for courage) and was able to determine that he was into it. So I proposed at Christmas, he said yes, and we're getting hitched in April. Friends and family were surprised, but super happy for us.

    Even when you know the other person is going to say yes, it's incredibly hard to do. I understand why guys often just put off asking, even though they want to get married. I never felt more emotionally exposed or vulnerable. But if you love him and want to marry him, it's worth doing!

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  9. if he doesn't realize your new outlook on the matter after a few hints... how about, "we should go to that vineyard/brewery/lake we like this coming april/summer, it would be fun. we could go to city hall and get married on the way there."

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  10. Also, if you dont want to deal with jerks saying "I told you so" when you announce the news, just dont announce it. Elope and then if people ask, you can honestly say that you changed your mind and ended up getting married after all! Dont make it such a big deal, and it wont be. OH, and good luck with your boyfriend! I am sure it will all go swell!!

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