Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.
Print Email

Think Mink

Altar-ed States

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 9/19/2001

My boyfriend, Jack, just asked me to marry him. He's really a great guy--dependable, kind, steady, has a really good job. Everyone is telling me how lucky I am, what a wonderful husband and father he'll be. I know I should be thrilled, and I sort of am, but I'm also sort of not. I keep thinking there should be more. I mean, he's great, and I know he loves me, but I'm not sure if I'm really in love with him. I'm fond of him, sure, and I would never want to hurt him, but he just doesn't make my heart leap. Maybe I'm asking too much. I hear other women complaining about their husbands and boyfriends all the time, so maybe the perfect guy just doesn't exist for anyone, but I'm not sure I want to give up looking for him. Or do you think I should be realistic and marry Jack?

Unsure of the Future

Dear Unsure:
In a word, no. You've made this poor guy sound about as exciting as an old washcloth: usable, but not something you'd put out for company. Not every love affair comes complete with all the romantic accessories--thunderclaps, fireworks, bells, birdsong--but if that's what you're hoping for, even though he may be the greatest guy in all the world, you'll never forgive Jack for not supplying them. It's no one's fault if he doesn't make your heart go pitter-pat, but you can't walk down the aisle feeling like a sacrificial virgin on her way to the volcano either.

Of course, if all you want is just not to hurt his feelings, you could go ahead and marry him, which has the added benefit of saving you from being an old maid. You could even have kids, knowing he'll do the honorable thing and support you all after the divorce. But if you really want to spare him--and yourself--a lot of pain, let him go. He might be Mr. Dependably Dull to you, but he just might be Mr. Wonderful to someone else.

Of course, I'm not going to guarantee that you'll ever find what you're looking for. Prince Charming is a fairy tale. On the rare occasions when we do run into a guy who fits the description, likely as not after a few weeks' worth of kisses he'll show up as a frog after all. Men are imperfect creatures (OK, I know, so are women), and there's no guy in the world who can fulfill all our fantasies. But I know what it's like to be so in love that the words to even the sappiest love songs make sense, and I know that, even if it doesn't last forever, it's worth holding out for.

I just don't know how things got so screwed up, but a few months ago my girlfriend thought I was cheating on her. I wasn't, but before she learned the truth she had sex with the bartender in the bar we hang out in. He'd been coming on to her for weeks, so God knows he made it easy for her, and I found out because the bastard bragged about it to a friend of mine. My girlfriend swears it was just the one time and that he took advantage of her--not that he raped her, but that she was so drunk, depressed, and angry with me that he was able to seduce her. She's not much of a drinker usually and says she barely remembers it. I want to believe her, but I'm still hurt, and I'm having trouble trusting her. I've been staying away from the bar since then too because I'm afraid I'll punch the guy's lights out if I see him. Can you help?

In Pain in Pittsburgh

Dear Pittsburgh:
I hear you, brother. This bartender sounds like a choice piece of work. Any guy who thinks it's cool to brag about his conquests is uncool enough to think that seducing a woman when she's drunk and vulnerable counts as one. Unfortunately there's no law against being an asshole, but there is one against assault and battery, so unless you're willing to risk arrest for the sake of your lady's honor (or your own pride), your hands are tied.

Of course, this doesn't make your girlfriend totally innocent, but it does make for extenuating circumstances. You might also want to ask yourself why she believed you were cheating on her. The problem isn't just that you can't trust her now; there's also the question of why she didn't trust you before. Is she paranoid, or do you make her jealous? Is she neurotic, or are you a big flirt? If you're an angel and she's just imagining things, you should maybe lose her before she gets even nuttier. If you've been treating her like crap and she finally broke under the strain, you should maybe do her a big favor and get lost yourself.

But if this is all just one big misunderstanding and your relationship is otherwise good, talk it out with her, then drop it. We're all capable of stupidity under stress, and since this was an isolated incident, blaming her is pointless. I won't tell you to forget it, because you never really can, but you can stop brooding about it. Concentrate instead on the present, and the next time you want a beer find a new bar to have it in.

Related stories

Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter