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Engaged after two weeks, I thought, but now a promise ring? What’s that mean?

 
 
kimryan
 
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 06:04 pm
I'm 21 ...22 in OCT...He’s 23...We both have good jobs. He has his place and I have mine. I thought I got engaged to fast. I thought. I felt like things were going too fast. What he wanted to do was to give me a promise ring. Not to get engaged…Thank God. But what does that mean? This relationship drives me bananas sometimes. I never should have said yes but I did, I said it in the heat of passion I guess. But I made 2 mistakes: 1 for saying yes to an engagement that I know better that I’m not ready and 1 for thinking he even wanted to be engaged. I said yes because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. (Ok dumb I know) But he wasn’t talking about being engaged. I just thought that’s what he said…He just gave me a promise ring tonight. And told me he wanted to marry me someday and couldn’t wait to tell me this weekend so he told me now because I had the wrong idea. I feel so foolish. What’s a promise ring to be engaged?
He said… that it’s a promise we would consider being engaged in about a year. He said that it lets everyone know that we are in a serious relationship and that we will be engaged in about a year. But it’s a promise between me and him to do something later about our relationship… and he wanted to know if I understood what he was talking about. I gave him a big hug and told him how relived I was that we weren’t really engaged. He thinks I’m crazy and was worried about our relationship because he knows that that is what I thought.

What are promise rings really for anyway? Is that true what he said? Does he know what he’s doing? Has anyone ever heard of this? I mean I was already to tell him I didn’t want to be engaged yet, that didn’t mean no but not yes either. I was just not ready. I was “so” upset today over this I put it on yahoo answers today. But is this common?
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 07:31 pm
@kimryan,
Quote:
He said… that it’s a promise we would consider being engaged in about a year.


I'm baffled too, Kim. You didn't promise to become engaged, which sounds kind of like you didn't promise to make another promise some time in the future. I take it you also didn't promise to give the ring back if you didn't become engaged. I take this as entirely meaningless, and if you decide to sell it, don't bother reporting it as "other income" on your tax return.

Seriously, he might be trying to show he is serious. He may also be trying to put you under some kind of obligation. Don't let that happen.
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 07:14 am
It smells like a big ole tether to me.

A big sign, yelling, Mine! Mine! Mine!

It is one thing when you are engaged, and a ring is given. That is a token of a promise to actually marry. And without a specific time restriction. I've known people who were engaged for six months, and couples who were engaged for years (RP and I were engaged for 2 1/2 years). The length of an engagement can depend upon a lot of outside factors, including someone being deployed overseas, wanting to finish up a college degree, having saved up enough for a nice wedding or whatever. A couple who are both schoolteachers were wed at the start of a long week off so that most of their honeymoon could be accomplished during paid time off.

But - promise rings and whatnot tend to be the province of High Schools or of the uber-religious. It can be exacting a promise of fidelity without actually making a full commitment. It can also be exacting a promise of maintaining virginity. It's not the same as a "purity ring" although there are going to be folks who treat it the same way or interpret it as such.

Never agree to relationship milestones such as this because you want to make it so someone "doesn't feel bad". That's a lousy precedent to set, and sets you up for all sorts of passive-aggressive manipulation in the future. If it truly bothers you, if you are confused and think you're being steamrolled - tell him.

Do it now, before there really is an engagement ring. Do it now before a wedding date is set, or before you really are married, or you're pregnant. And tell him that he is moving way too fast.

You will get one of the following reactions (your mileage will vary, and there can be variations of course).

1) He apologizes. "You're right, I came on too strong." Awesome. You may or may not end up happily ever after but that kind of self-awareness is great.
2) He maybe agrees but insists he did nothing wrong. Except he did. Stand firm. This, too, can work out, but he needs to take your feelings into account, too. Plenty of relationships start off unevenly, and many of them can still be smoothed out. But he needs to acknowledge that you are a partner in this endeavor. Otherwise, he's just plain being selfish.
3) He says you're wrong; he did nothing wrong (or he ignores you, which is the same thing). No - he is not listening. Again, this is a selfish behavior on his part, where he is staking a claim on you as if you were a seam of gold he found in the California hills. It is not a kind or caring or sensitive behavior. It ignores your feelings and treats you like either a china doll or a child who doesn't know her own mind. Want to be a part of that for the rest of your days? Most people don't.
4) The worst. It's not only #3, but it escalates, perhaps even into threats. That should be a big ole red flag to you. Things can only get worse from there. Run, don't walk, away, and be glad that his true colors were shown to you early.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 07:29 am
A promise ring is pretty much what he said:

Quote:
He said… that it’s a promise we would consider being engaged in about a year. He said that it lets everyone know that we are in a serious relationship and that we will be engaged in about a year. But it’s a promise between me and him to do something later about our relationship…


Basically it is a step prior to being engaged. It should be in the situation where you see each other getting married, but aren't ready for the full committment yet. Most people don't go through the step of a "promise ring" - I could see with your ages why this might be ideal.

Though what his real intentions are - I cannot say.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 07:31 am
Maybe it just means "exclusivity" - kind of reserving each other while you get to know each other better.

Make sure you both agree what this promise ring means. Sounds like neither of you are sure and he's hedging his bets and putting a "reserve" on you.

You sound conflicted, too.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 07:38 am
@Linkat,
I agree with Jespah and Linkat with the proviso that even engagement does not mean you have to get married. Engagement is also a time where you figure out if marrying the person is something that you really don't want to do... sort of a last chance for the horse not to go in the gate. Engagement is not an equation with lifetime commitment: it is serious, and leads up to that commitment vow.

To me, promising to promise to promise is a kind of loop for overt possession of someone. It must seem romantic, but it reads to me as a trap. A lifetime is usually a very long combination of days and years.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 01:57 pm
@Linkat,
Yeah, I see it as "it's too early and we're too young for me to actually ask you to marry you -- but I see this as a very serious relationship that could really go somewhere."

Maybe something like deciding to live together in terms of commitment, but an object rather than a living situation.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 04:22 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:
He may also be trying to put you under some kind of obligation.


That's what I'm seeing too.

Quote:
Don't let that happen.


Don't let that happen.

0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 04:25 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
Never agree to relationship milestones such as this because you want to make it so someone "doesn't feel bad". That's a lousy precedent to set, and sets you up for all sorts of passive-aggressive manipulation in the future.


These are very wise words.

Quote:
Do it now, before there really is an engagement ring. Do it now before a wedding date is set, or before you really are married, or you're pregnant. And tell him that he is moving way too fast.


Yes!!!!

Quote:
4) The worst. It's not only #3, but it escalates, perhaps even into threats. That should be a big ole red flag to you. Things can only get worse from there. Run, don't walk, away, and be glad that his true colors were shown to you early.


I hope you're paying attention... this is a good advice you're getting here.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 04:36 pm
@ossobuco,
Replying to myself, I meant that promising... to promise...to be engaged... to marry (forever) is a pretty early and trapping type move for what is a process period of becoming sure you want to be long time life partners.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 04:54 pm
@contrex,
Hey, thanks, contrex!
0 Replies
 
 

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