My girlfriend and I have been together for about 10 years (met freshman year of college) and have been discussing getting engaged for quite some time (yay!) and I’m about ready to pop the question! In hetero millennial relationships, that would mean that the dude would propose, the girl gets the ring, fbook pics go up and then planning for the rest of their lives begin! However, what would you suggest for a couple where both parties want a ring, want the fbook pics, but still want an element of surprise and want to be considerate of each other.
We’ve already discussed that I want to do some proposing, and that she wants to be proposed to. But even though I’m proposing, I still want a ring. How do we do this? Does she propose to me at a different time after I’ve proposed? Does she just hand me a ring a few days later? We’ve considered waiting until engagement photos, but I don’t want to wait too long to get the ring. We’ve also discussed a time frame in which we are planning on doing our respective purchase (not the engagement, just the purchase) – so at least we know that when the time comes, she won’t need to rush to make a purchase.
It may be strange, and a good thing to need advice for – but what creative suggestions do you have for giving the ring to the proposer that doesn’t feel sorta weird and after the fact?
Further proof that love is in fact not a lie! Hooray! Ok you both already know you want to be proposed to / receive a ring / get married, so the surprise of “wow you love me enough to spend forever together?” has passed. (I mean, this fact alone will continue to surprise you forever, but Now the surprises have to come from other things — like what the ring looks like, how it’ll be given, where you’ll be when you receive it, and what you’ll say to each other — which is great because those are very fun things to get creative with and to show how much you know each other.
If it were me, I’d get together with her and set aside two days (at least, depending on how elaborate your plans are) where neither person has any other obligations, and each of you claim a day to be in charge of. That’s the day you’re going to propose. Plan everything on that day — activities, locations, foods, super specific details that are unique to the other person and your relationship. And yeah she’ll know that on this one Saturday, she’ll be getting a ring, but she doesn’t know anything else, so everything that could be a surprise is a surprise, and you get a whole day to show off what she means to you. (And to take so, so many pictures!)
And then she’d do the same for YOU, planning the day, giving you your ring, doing and saying all the things. Surprises abound! Everyone’s happy! So many photo ops!
I hope this helps! I know the readers will have amazing ideas for you, too. Good luck and congratulations!
My soon-to-be-husbutch and I are getting married this year and are planning to jump aboard the baby train next year. Exciting times! I’m a pansexual, cisgender high femme and she’s my handsome genderqueer human. We’ve talked a lot about how we’d like to raise our future spawn and agreed on the importance of respecting our children’s genders. Until they start expressing themselves and communicating with us about their genders, we’re planning on giving them non-gendered names, clothing, and toys as much as possible and trying our best to avoid enforcing gender stereotypes and roles. All good! However, my partner asked me the other day whether we could use they/them pronouns for our kids until/unless they specify otherwise. To be honest, I was surprised by her suggestion and have conflicting feelings about this idea. I think I’d be more comfortable with it if my partner used they/them pronouns too – my initial reaction was that I didn’t want our kids to feel alienated by being the only people in our immediate and extended families who use they/them pronouns. I feel like a bad ally and partner for having this reaction, and a little out of my depth. How are other parents, especially those with one or more trans or gender expansive humans, dealing with this? Any help appreciated.
I took your question to Twitter and got some interesting responses! To my knowledge, everyone who replied identifies as cisgender, but it might be reassuring to know that one parent does outreach for an LGBTQ youth center and provides training on gender and identity throughout the country.
Most parents raising their kids gender-neutrally are using gendered pronouns, at least until they hear otherwise from the kids. Lauren explained her decision like this:
My partner and I put a lot of thought into this. For background, we’re both lesbian-identified cis women. In my understanding, “they” is a pronoun we use for people whose gender we don’t know (“oh no, someone left their wallet!”) but also it’s the deliberately chosen pronoun people with a nonbinary identity. Using “they” for our baby felt like it would be trying to choose a nonbinary identity for our baby, not avoiding a choice and staying truly neutral. In the end we decided to use “he” and “him” pronouns for our baby, but try to create an environment that keeps gender-neutral and feminine expression accessible to him. We hope that he approaches gender with a sense of freedom, playfulness, and room for exploration as he grows– whatever his future identity may be.
In Erin’s case, after explaining that each person experiences gender in their own way and that gender can change for some people throughout their lives, her 4 year-old chose “they/them” as their pronouns. Some family members aren’t honoring her kid’s decision — which is an incredibly stupid hill for these family members to decide to die on, but whatever — and Erin and her partner are already coming up against unnecessarily gendered situations at school. They’ve suggested to the school that they try lining the children up by some other kind of binary — like peanut butter and jelly, or who likes cats and who likes dogs — instead of by their gender.
Oh! Everyone who replied is also super serious about making sure their kids have a variety of role models and acquaintances across the gender and presentation spectrum — this was a big deal to all the parents!
For what it’s worth, Lauren also reported being shocked by just how upset their families were when the sex of the baby wasn’t announced during the pregnancy, so that’s something to brace for! Several people also suggested checking out GenderSpectrum.org, specifically their Resources page in the Parenting and Family section.
You’ll make the right decision! And you can absolutely change course if you see that your original ideas need to be rethought. There’ll be so many additional things to worry about getting right, I bet the pronoun situation will feel easy in comparison. Maybe some non-binary readers could share their thoughts in the comments!
I was engaged in 2014, and then got married in 2016, to someone else. Okay, let’s back up. My 1st fiancee was very young and I was her first girlfriend and it was the first serious relationship she ever had. She was my best friend and greatest love. But I somehow got it in my head that I was being selfish and shouldn’t keep her from experiencing so many things that I knew I had experienced in the span of our age difference. So I ultimately sabotaged that relationship. Cut to a little over a year later when I met someone who I thought I clicked with and would be able to ride out this thing called life with. We got engaged in under a year and married a few months later. But now I feel like she isn’t the person I thought and we don’t really fit that well together, at all. I can’t stop thinking about what I threw away and that I married the wrong person. My wife is kind and I care for her but I’m so unhappy. I don’t even know how to bring all of this up! Help!
Yes let’s please back up. I’m just going to get right to it, so please know before we jump into this deep end that I respect you and wish you nothing but the best in life! Ok! You might have married the wrong person, but that doesn’t mean you threw away your one true love.
A couple of things are going on here.
First of all, it looks like you’re rewriting your history and leaving some things out in order to soothe yourself into believing that you’d still be with your first fiancee if only you hadn’t purposely ruined everything. If she was your best friend and truly your greatest love, why did you not trust her to know what she wanted? You say you somehow got it into your head, but I bet there were some red flags, even if super tiny ones, that helped you know on some level that your relationship with your first fiancee wasn’t going to work out. Something was going on beyond just you knowing what was best for her and pushing her away, because that only happens in soap operas and romantic comedies.
Second but most pressingly, you’re now married to a person who doesn’t feel like the right fit anymore, which is a deeply unsettling situation to find yourself in after just two years. You said she isn’t the person you thought she was, which makes a lot of sense because it’s not really possible to truly know most people after only a handful of months. WAIT HEAR ME OUT there are definitely some wild otherworldly people out there who are so self-aware and so honest that maybe it is possible to know them on a deep personal level after just a little while, maybe, but most people take much longer to figure out. Most people haven’t even figured themselves out yet, so odds are good that whatever we think we know about them is just a version of what they think they know about themselves, which is riddled with inaccuracies and blind spots, AT BEST.
You’ve committed yourself in extremely serious ways to two different people over the span of four years, and I think it’s probably difficult to come to terms with these commitments not lasting, or in the case of your wife, at least not lasting the way you thought it would. It seems like you’re subconsciously searching for a line of reasoning that explains this away, and looking back on the first fiancee as The One You Were Meant to Be With kinda acts as a way to get you (and your wife) off the hook for whatever’s going wrong in this marriage.
Also your wife 100% knows that something’s wrong, even if she’s not acting like it or admitting it to herself. You should talk to each other and to a marriage counselor to see what your next steps might look like.
For the record, it’s ok to have two failed serious relationships! Don’t be afraid to stand up and say Both of These Women Were Wrong Fits for Me, Actually, or hey, maybe even Both of These Women Were Good Fits for a Time, But Then They Weren’t, and then sit with yourself in that honesty while you figure out what it is that you really want and need in this world! I mean, first admit that you don’t know yet, and then start figuring it out. Don’t rush into people — whether it’s your romantic partner or it’s the version of yourself that you see when you’re with them.
And real quick: you didn’t mention this, but just from my own experience and anecdotal situations I feel the need to say that if you find that you’re a different, better, more interesting exciting stable happy person when you’re in a relationship with certain people, unpack that. Figure out why you couldn’t or wouldn’t be that person without them, and if you like that version of you so much, just be it, all on your own. All of you is right there, even the stuff you think only other people can bring out!
So in closing, stop holding a candle for the past, start taking some hard looks at what you’ve got going on right now, and resolve to move forward one way or another.
Y’All Need Help is a biweekly advice column in which I pluck out a couple of questions from the You Need Help inbox and answer them right here, round-up style, quick and dirty! (Except sometimes it’s not quick, but that’s my prerogative, OK?) You can chime in with your own advice in the comments and submit your own quick and dirty questions any time.