Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, gents.
That means, for men in relationships, being a decent human being, holding down a steady job and keeping your partner happy may no longer be enough.
Valentine’s Day brings with it a relationship assessment form. How serious are we? Very? Okay then, where is my ring, b*tch?
For my girlfriend, marriage has always been a huge thing – which is a shame, because I’ve never been that fussed.
I’ve tried to put off the discussion by playing the ‘it’s something you do when you’re older’ card, to which my girlfriend responds: ‘You’re 28!’
She is right though, this is around the age that people start popping out sprogs and getting hitched. Yet I still don’t feel ready and resent the pressure put on men to propose after a few years.
From friends, family members and even strangers – it’s certainly something you need to have a watertight alibi for not doing sooner. It’s like meeting your friends for drinks and sticking to water. People want to know why.
But the truth is, I don’t understand why the love I have for my girlfriend is seen to be any stronger or weaker based on a ring.
A ring doesn’t let you know how my girlfriend’s smile makes me warm inside, how much I can’t wait to get home and discuss the stuff that’s happened that day with her, or just the complete admiration I have for who she is.
But as people around my girlfriend get married, and YouTubers and bloggers tell her I should have popped the question by now if I were serious, I think she feels genuinely disappointed.
She’s told me that after almost four years together she’s ‘embarrassed’ to introduce me as her boyfriend. Apparently, that label doesn’t convey the stability and longevity of our relationship.
I think the difference is that she has been romanticising and imagining a wedding from the first Disney movie she watched as a kid. I haven’t.
Truth be told, the fact that I’m bisexual plays a role. I know that if things worked out differently, and I’d ended up with a man, there was a time I couldn’t have got married. I wouldn’t have been able to have biological kids. Even the countries we planned holidays to would need to be vetted.
Being bisexual means you can’t ever really plan for the future, because so much of it is decided by the gender of the person you end up with. And one of those things I didn’t plan for is getting married.
Outside of that, I am just a simple man and – I think many men would agree – the more pressure is put on us to do something, the less likely we are to do it.
We are raised not to bow to peer pressure, so whether it’s a cigarette or a diamond ring, the more you make us feel like we should, the more likely we won’t.
Pride aside, there are other reasons I don’t rate marriage. The expense for one, with the average UK wedding costing over £30k. That’s a deposit for a house. I know what I would rather.
But that is where my girlfriend and I differ. I see it all through logical eyes, whereas she has an idealistic attachment.
The truth is, if marriage is something she feels she needs, then it’s important – no matter how crazy I think it is.
So men, if you’re in this situation there’s really only two options.
Either do what guys do best and kick the conversation into the long grass by telling her you’ll think about it, but not right now. Or do what I’m going to do.
Understand that you think it’s completely unnecessary, outdated, and that you don’t need near strangers to come and clap at your love. But also realise that it’s important to see relationships through each other’s eyes and give your partner the things they need to be happy.
As I see it, if you’re really not bothered about marriage either way, then why not just bite the bullet and do it anyway?