General Question

suzanna28's avatar

Why is it in modern day society women still feel the need to wait for a man to propose ? Why can't there be a mutual discussion and decision ?

Asked by suzanna28 (684points) September 26th, 2011

Why must you whole future be put in the hands of another human being?

I find this practice of waiting for a proposal to be old-fashioned and dated.

If you are already living together like husband and wife or dating seriously why should there be something wrong with having a discussion about marriage.

I feel like alot of men see it as pressure. Why is that. If you are already living together.. Where or what is the pressure ?
You are already getting the benefits of marriage so what is the fear of signing a piece of paper.

If you know that marriage is what you want… why waste your youth with someone who doesn’t want that.

I don’t understand why women allow this out of fear of their boyfriend leaving them. So what ?? I think it is a sign of low self esteem and subordination.

You are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of.

Please explain.

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24 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Some people are into tradition, without putting too much stock into ‘what it all means’. The same question can be asked of why women are taking their husband’s last name. The rest of your details imply that all women that do either are somehow brainwashed, which (as I always say) doesn’t allow for human agency. I’ve been married before my current marriage. I wanted the proposal and the whole 9 yards because I wanted to experience how ‘it’s normally done’. When I was with my love now, it was never an issue, we knew we were going to be together, married or not and we didn’t need a proposal. I also feel that sometimes, there are certain milestones people want to hit ‘cause other people are hitting them – that’s why the obsession with ‘the right kind of an engagement ring’. Sometimes, the size of the ring is inversely proportional to how much depth to love there is in a partnership.

Cupcake's avatar

I’m not sure I would want to marry a man who insisted on the traditional proposal. My (now) husband and I discussed it and decided to get married. Seems logical to me.

suzanna28's avatar

I also have issues with the name thing.. I don’t believe in that either.. Why should a woman have to show that she is married but a man shouldn’t
If a woman changes her name the man should too

Changing you name comes from old times when a woman was seen as being transferred from being the property of her parents to being the property of a man….

I didn’t change my name when i got married and my husband doesn’t care..

Coloma's avatar

I agree. But, most people still cling to the old ways of relationship “traditions” which usually translate to really fucked up beliefs. lol

This is probably the biggest reason I am not dating at this time…finding an “enlightened” partner, one that questions and challenges their beliefs and programming is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. haha

SpatzieLover's avatar

I proposed. I also planned our elopment. He took my last name.

If you are dating someone you are compatible with, then your ideas of how a modern relationship works should be similar to him. Be prepared to have both families question your ideals.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m not sure why so many people fear change in general. In a modern sense, maybe the man proposing shows he feels he is actually ready? Even briinging the topic up to talk about can make some men feel pressure, so I guess waiting for him to ask is like him showing he really is ready without pressure?

Hibernate's avatar

Now it depends on the woman. Some take the initiative and don’t wait .. by the time it can be afforded it’s not that important so they do the asking part.

blueiiznh's avatar

Of course there is “the traditions” answer” and in many regards it can be a valid one.

I personally don’t think it is a pressure. I also don’t think it is has anything to do with benefits, but I am uncertain as to what benefits you are speaking of (sex, health insurance, etc…)

It’s all about open and honest communication. If it is important enough to you to want to get married and are sitting there waiting and not communicating this desire, then you somewhat get what you don’t ask for. If you have never discussed this topic and are waiting not knowing if your SO is on the same page or planet on this, then where are you going to be if it regarding the topic of children if you also don’t know.

There is no reason to wait. Life is too short. Discuss it and let your feeling be known. If it doesn’t fit, don’t settle.
Life is about choices. Choose the life you really want.

smilingheart1's avatar

It seems to me, especially, when it isn’t the first time around for one or more of the parties, talks seem to supersede “proposal” where just as you’ve asserted, @suzanna28, that more of an agreement gets reached. Sometimes, the topic of pre-nuptial contracts even comes up. It isn’t all that romantic to talk in those terms but if one has ever had their “clock cleaned” in the past romance kind of pales in this context of surprises, rings and bended knees.

wundayatta's avatar

I asked a related question recently, but I didn’t answer my own question. Thanks for the chance.

I think there is a movement backwards in feminism. Girls these days, on average, are moving either back towards more traditional roles, or they never left traditional roles. Perhaps the movement towards equality that started in the sixties was all sturm and no drang, if you know what I mean (a lot of fuss, but no real change).

I think women, in general, like the role of passivity. They like men catering to them. They like dates being paid for and doors being held and men thinking about them in romantic ways and romantic proposals. This shows them the man cares and is thinking of them. For some reason, they feel entitled.

I think that women do this because they believe they have won the battle for equality. Now they can go back to the old “perks” and still get equal pay or have equal say. But they are fooling themselves. I think what happens is that this sets up a situation where women take back seat. They are passive. They wait for the man to take the lead. I think women fool themselves about equality.

When men take the lead on all these symbolic things, it sets up a pattern so that when women are in marriages or at work, they have a tendency to accept the leadership of men. Even in relationships, I think they expect the man to tell them what to do so they don’t have to think too much about it. They generally have decided to agree to what a man says and this leads to some problems. If men insist on sex, women have a harder time saying no when they don’t want to do it. In their minds, men have greater rights then they do. Somehow, they owe men.

I also think this works on a psychological basis. Men are bigger and stronger and have more leaderships qualities. Physically, in bed, women (again, on average), like the feeling of being dominated and taken care of. They like giving themselves up because it makes them feel secure and connected, especially if they reserve this treat for someone special. For women, on average, sex is special and they fool themselves into thinking it is the same for men.

It should be the same for men, but it isn’t. This is because men have been separated from their emotions in an effort to be strong all the time. The same thing that allows men to take the lead, also cuts them off from giving women what they really want and what they think they will get if they let men take the lead.

Women think that it is their job to please their man in order to keep him. Where this idea comes from, I’m not sure. I suspect it has to do with how they are brought up, and the messages they are given by mothers and by the issue of dressing attractively (for both women and men). This idea that women should be pretty and should wait until they are chosen is the groundwork for later second class citizenship.

It looks as if they are sitting pretty, but in fact they are setting themselves up for passivity. They get things by being passive, not going out and seeking those things. They wait. They don’t act.

This is pervasive, even, I suspect, among the most proactive women. Certainly many women overcome these societal trends, but not enough, in my opinion. I think women are complicit in their second-class citizenship. What’s worse, is they don’t even see it. They think of it as privilege. The privilege of being kept or being desired. I think it’s a trap.

smilingheart1's avatar

@SpatzieLover, you’re some kind of chick!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@smilingheart1 I remind myself constantly to stay true to me. It shows in how I live my life ;)

blueiiznh's avatar

I disagree with you @wundayatta on every point.

I think there is a movement back towards feminism for reasons well beyond equality. For reasons that they should not have to fight so damned hard to simply be respected.

I feel that women prefer to be respected as equal and better as opposed to being passive. Who the heck doesn’t like to be pampered and catered to. I do too.

The comment stating: “Even in relationships, I think they expect the man to tell them what to do so they don’t have to think too much about it. They generally have decided to agree to what a man says and this leads to some problems.” feels a bit chauvinistic.

Maybe it’s a choice between what people wish to see in their SO and future spouse.

It still is about communication no matter what you want or hope for.

Seaofclouds's avatar

My husband and I had a conversation (many actually) about marriage way before it happened. I actually proposed to him first. He stopped me mid-question and told me to hush because that was his job. A few weeks later he proposed to me and we eloped. We had the elopement planned before he proposed. :)

I don’t think that there is any set way to do things. It’s just a matter of what works for that couple. I think that for couples already living together, many of them probably get to a point where they figure “why bother” or “why waste the money”. They are already living the life, so many of them feel like a piece of paper isn’t necessary for their relationship because it won’t change anything in terms of their day to day life.

Blackberry's avatar

Also, just because some parts of society and our technology is a bit more modern, doesn’t mean most people are as modern as we think. We’re still fighting for basic civil rights for some people, so we’re obviously not very modern.

poisonedantidote's avatar

First I shall be the bad guy, as ‘tis my job…

“You are already getting the benefits of marriage so what is the fear of signing a piece of paper.”

This is the line that catches my attention the most. I have no idea what you mean with the benefits of marriage, surely the benefits of marriage only come after you are married, e.g. the stability, the tax cuts, and all that.

As for the fear of signing a piece of paper, just because I’m willing to live with someone does not mean I want to spend the rest of my life with them, yet. Specially when there is a high risk of losing half your stuff, you need to be sure before you propose.

Having said that… I will now go on to be the good guy, and say I agree with most everything you said.

The #1 thing that pisses me off in a relationship is poor communication. If I don’t feel that we can both speak our minds freely, without any feelings of doubt, it gets ugly real fast. Personally, I will mention marriage very early on in to a relationship. Usually after a couple of week or so, I will not propose, but I will reveal my long term intentions should there be any. I will say something like: “You know I’m only interested in a long term relationship right? like… I want to get married some days and start a family” or something allong those lines. If I’m not serious I will also say so.

Really, I think the best chance you can give your marriage is to have a long conversation about it before hand, several times if need be. “will you marry me… yes” is not enough information to go on.

wundayatta's avatar

@blueiiznh I sure hope you are right. I have spent my life working for women’s rights and it seems to me they must never have wanted them because they are giving up every gain they made.

I’m not sure you understood me, or that I understand you. Are you saying there is a movement back towards feminism? If so, could you offer some evidence? Everything I see says women are giving up feminism. I work on a college campus. You can hardly find a female student who is willing to admit to being a feminist these days. They bend over backwards to deny any feminist sympathies.

I totally agree they shouldn’t have to fight hard to be respected, and yet they do have to fight. Their mothers fought, as did their grandmothers. Now they think the battle is won, and they are giving up. The battle is not nearly over. They shouldn’t have to fight, but the reality is that they still do.

There is a cost to letting yourself be pampered. It puts you in a subordinate position. It’s fine if you both do it equally, but if it’s always the man doing the pampering, then the dynamic changes. The man pampers during the wooing, but once he has married her, he often stops pampering, and demands that she pampers instead of letting her offer. He’s still in power even though the pampering goes the other way. Again, male expectation of privilege.

As to the chauvinistic statement—hope you didn’t think I was advocating that position. I am saying that it is my perception that that is how most women seem to want it to be. It is a kind of female chauvinism at work that encourages male chauvinism. They are colluding on this, in my opinion.

I think it is a choice in what people want to see in their spouse. The question I am asking is what there is a trend backwards? Why are the relationships moving back to the traditions we say in the 50s? You can disagree with me about the trend, and I hope I am wrong. But I fear I am right and I don’t understand it.

Communication is find on an individual level. I totally agree with you. But I’m not talking about the individual level. I’m talking about sociological trends. Would you say that on a trend level, communication skills are dying? Is that what is causing this regression? Or do you not see the regression. In which case, what evidence do you see that tells you the movement towards gender equality is still moving forwards?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

My husband proposed, but it wasn’t a surprise. We talked about it beforehand, we planned it, we knew where we stood.
Maybe that’s not “romantic,” but it seems to be working out just fine.

janbb's avatar

As something of a side note I find it ridiculous when couples say, “We’re not engaged yet, he has gotten the ring” as if one needed the ring to plan to get married. I think my husband’s proposal was, “Well, we could talk about marriage” – so we did. I neither wanted, nor got, an engagement ring. We each had wedding rings until his got flushed down the drain.

gorillapaws's avatar

If I was with a woman who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and she saved up and bought me a piece of jewelry worth > $10k I’d consider hyphenating my last name.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t know, I don’t actually hang out with these women. Course, I suppose if I was one of those women, I wouldn’t answer your question, because you clearly have such a low opinion of it, it doesn’t really create a safe space for people to offer up ideas.

@wundayatta Just because some women don’t identify with the term “feminist” doesn’t mean they don’t strive for what many would consider feminist ideals. There’s many ideas on Where Feminism Went Wrong, but I don’t know that this thread is the place to discuss them.

Haleth's avatar

Maybe we’re just seeing and hearing about the proposals. Traditional proposals can be flashy and people often propose in public. They make a big story. Something that stirs things up more than two people who quietly talk about marriage and reach a mutual decision.

blueiiznh's avatar

@wundayatta thanks for the clarify

skfinkel's avatar

Do you know Carly Simon’s song, Don’t you think its time we move in together, have a family of our own you and me, .........that’s the way I always thought it would be. Don’t you want to marry me, will marry…...

So, she might have had the same issue.

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