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Highly Miserable People!

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Totally Married Podcast

Episode 122

Elizabeth and Andy (attempt to!) discuss the 14 habits of highly miserable people before answering listener questions about a homophobic friend, how to find someone to casually date in a new city when you’re not looking for something serious but are looking for some seriously good sex :) and lastly, how much is an appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring? Enjoy!


Anonymous says:

Hey guys! So…I gotta chime in about the engagement ring. First of all, my husband didn’t have a ring when he proposed and it was still an incredibly special moment that I will never forget. I know I’m pretty laid back so not all women would feel the same way, but the bottom line is that I was just so overjoyed to be getting engaged to this man that I loved (and still love) so dearly that a piece of jewelry didn’t matter.

Anyway, the biggest thing I wanted to address was the comment about how, if a dude can’t save up at least $1,000 for a ring, then he’s not ready to enter into marriage in the first place. This really bothered me and I couldn’t disagree more. My husband couldn’t come up with this kind of money when we got engaged (and neither could I) and he was definitely ready to get married. We both were. I know every couple is different, but I don’t think that kind of blanket statement is true. What matters is how much you love, understand, and respect each other.

Not trying to be snarky…just wanted to give another perspective :) Love you guys and the show!

Masha says:

I love your show, but I have to disagree with the idea that the minimum price for an engagement ring should be $1000. The price you pay for an engagement ring should be dependent on what you can afford and what your significant other would want. We had my husband’s grandmother’s ring so we didn’t actually have to buy one but if we hadn’t had that, there is no way I would have felt comfortable with my now-husband spending $1000 on a ring for me. Many women (assuming the woman is the one being proposed to, which is generally the case) don’t want a ring at all or may want a much much simpler ring.

A quick google search of ‘alternative engagement rings’ shows lots of interesting options. One I’ll point to is:
The website that that’s on is Offbeat Brides, which is a great one for people who are looking to plan a wedding and want to get validation and ideas for less traditional weddings. It was a huge help for me when I was planning mine last year.

Another interesting and quick read:
This Wikipedia section briefly discusses how the idea came about that engagement rings should be diamonds and that a certain amount of your salary should be spent on them. It’s the result of an extremely successful marketing campaign.

There is so much judgment everywhere about how an engagement and wedding should be. My grandparents and parents both had incredibly simple ceremonies. My grandparents were married 50 years and my parents are at 31 years and going strong. Many people who have expensive weddings find themselves divorced within just a few years. Perhaps some of the time people spend thinking about the perfect engagement ring and the perfect wedding should be redirected to making their relationship stronger and making sure they are with the right person.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t get expensive rings, but I just think we really need to break down this expectation that people must do it. Especially right now, when so many people are experiencing serious financial hardship.

Maya says:

I have to chime in! As Masha, in the comment above, expresses: I also think that the engagement ring/scenario is largely dependent on the woman.

I was in an 8 year relationship with a guy I met my senior year of high-school and my dreams of what our engagement might be looked like a fat colorless diamond in platinum with a proposal that rivaled any romantic comedy box office hit. Needless to say that (luckily) did not work out.

Now that I am with my current beau I have a far different picture. Both being underpaid non-profit worker bees we have opted for a non-traditional engagement. We have formally decided to get engaged (date/venue/photographer already booked), but are not announcing until we have the ring, which as it turns out is far more important to him than to me. I could care less if he has a ring to give me at the proposal, but to him it’s very important.

We have been looking for a ring together, settled on one, and set up a payment plan. We found our ring on Etsy. There are a TON of great designers that have beautiful (and affordable) non-traditional engagement rings. You can greatly reduce the cost by looking at natural or rough diamonds. People forget that diamonds come in all shades! If you remove color/clarity from your list than you can find some very inspiring stones.

Our ring is only about $700 and I am so anxious for it to arrive… it’s a 1 carat, moss green, cushion shape, rose cut diamond in 18 carat recycled gold. I know it’s been ethically sourced and has a small impact on the world.

Here are a few of my most favorite etsy engagement ring designers we came across in our research:

I do however think that if a person is not able to set aside some money, and I think $1000 is a good benchmark, for their engagement plans, it does indicate that they are not financially ready… not necessarily emotionally ready. But marriage is legally a merging of financial assets… you should be in somewhat of a financial place, or have some good prospects before you commit to marrying someone.

James says:

There’s very little I can add to the excellent comments above, but here I go anyway!

I was a little surprised that Elizabeth and Andy could set a dollar minimum for a ring when their wedding was small and discreet and probably cost a fraction of what most “normal” weddings do.

My wedding was similarly small, because my wife and I didn’t really want a wedding – we just wanted to be *married*. We didn’t get rings until a year later, and even when we did, I got a ring finger tattoo instead.

Aaaanyway, my point is everyone is different and has different expectations. I’d advocate ignoring society’s standards, especially about the cost of weddings, and do you. If you want to get married but can’t afford an expensive ring, fuck it – get married without one.

Becky says:

Yeesh, I think the guy with the homphobic friend needs to bounce from that friendship. Or bounce with an agreement to keep the friend in his life when/if he has worked on whatever issues he has. Maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t be friends with someone who admitted to being homophobic and not liking another friend because of that–every time we hung out all I’d be able to think about was that. I guess keeping his two friends separate would work but then again, why does the dbag friend deserve special treatment so he doesn’t feel uncomfortable? It’s his own issue and this writer-inner shouldn’t have to worry about it so much.

Sidenote: Andy, you were on fire this ep! Don’t know what it was but I was laughing almost the entire way through. Good job, bro, good job.

slowestloris says:

I agree about the homophobic friend. I get where Elizabeth is coming from saying that he should feel sorry for his friend for feeling this way, but I just can’t agree with it. As human beings we have a choice of how to think, even if a lot of ways of thinking are deeply entrenched – and the fact that he just flat out states he’s homophobic and therefore doesn’t like this other guy shows that he ultimately thinks this is an acceptable way to feel. As if it’s some disease he’s suffering from that he has no control over. What if the situation had been that the other friend was black, and the guy was like “oh I’m sorry I don’t like that guy because I’m a racist”? It’s just not acceptable.

I will agree with Elizabeth that the way he pronounced his homophobia is unusual and could be a sign of room for discussion, should the writer-inner be willing to enter into something like that. It’d be worth a shot just to be like “so your homophobia – what is up with that?” and see where it goes from there

Whitney says:

Thanks for the advice!! I will try to find some single dads, and see if this can happen! Trying the whole internet dating I get between 10-30 messages a day and I’m lucky if one of those is a man that actually captures my attention! Dating is the suck :)

Masha says:

Whitney, when I read your comment, instead of thinking of it as in only 1 in 10 or 1 in 30 men is drawing your eye, I read it it as: it’s giving you one man every day or so that is capturing your attention! That doesn’t happen (probably) in every day life, and even if it did, by online dating, you’re limiting the people you find to the (hopefully) single men of about your age range who have already expressed interest in you. Don’t despair even if it takes lots of tries. I tend to be an evangelist for online dating, because that’s how I met my husband :)

Christina says:

I was going to add my two cents about the $1,000 min for an engagement ring, but I see I’ve been beaten to the punch. Still, I’m chiming in.

I love you guys, but I think you are speaking from a somewhat privileged perspective. Sure, $1,000 is a lot of money but somewhat do-able for a middle class college graduate to come up with, but consider a single parent, a blue-color worker, someone on a limited income with a disability — or just someone trying to pay down a large debt due to credit cards or a mortgage. Should someone have to delay living their lives together because it will take them two or three years to save up $1,000?

My husband and I could have spent more (being from that privileged, college-educated, middle class I mentioned), but we wanted to spend on limited money on having a fun wedding while not takinig out any more loans. (College payments, ugg! Am I right?)

If you’re someone who wants to spend money on a nice ring that you can show off and pass down as an heirloom, I don’t think $1,000 is a crazy amount, but I don’t think it is a one-size-fits-all solution. And if you spend less, I think that’s fine.

Jessica says:

I just wanted to comment about the homophobic friend. I think that Elizabeth is right that this guy was pressed into saying why he didn’t want to hang around the writer’s gay friend. I do think it’s important to realize that being uncomfortable around someone doesn’t mean you have hatred towards them though. He was just being honest about a situation that made him feel weird and I don’t think that’s reason to stop being friends with someone (especially since he was pressured into saying it). This homophobic guy doesn’t sound like he has any hatred towards this gay friend; he just seems uncomfortable and realizes how bad it sounds to say why he felt that way. No one should hate anyone especially without getting to know who they are as a person whether they are gay or homophobic.

Emma says:

Vintage rings are great! Don’t spend thousands of dollars on jewelry if that’s not a big priority for your lady. I personally would feel really uncomfortable if my engagement ring had cost that much.

Andy says:

I bought my wife an engagement ring that I found in our favourite little local jewellery shop, and I’d decided that I loved it, and hoped that she would before I knew the price. It was $400 AUD.

It wasn’t the nicest quality of gold, but the amethyst in it was beautiful and she loved the look/feel of it. She loved it so much that when it was time for us to consider our wedding rings, we decided that we’d get her ring reset in a higher quality of white gold, meaning her favourite ring was ‘upgraded’ and looks better than ever – not only that, but she only has to wear one ring and it’s both her engagement and wedding ring in one AND I chose it!

The price of the ring is so unimportant that it’s not even worth mentioning – if you’re ready to buy a ring, you’re probably ready to get engaged. If your partner is shallow enough to set a price point on the ring before she/he will ‘say yes’ then you’re definitely not in a strong enough relationship (or at least one with strong enough values) to proceed.

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