For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him.....
For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice....
For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy....
She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.
We meandered to the backyard, which was on the inter-coastal, champagne flutes in our hands. Although I knew it was a joke, I couldn’t help it. I kept admiring the ring on my finger, pretending it was really my engagement ring. I expected Eric or Jaye to fess up and admit to Eric’s family that our engagement was a joke, but they didn’t. They just kept letting Eric’s family think we were really engaged. Lois kept on beaming, tossing out questions about our engagement. She wanted details. Jaye ended up answering almost all of them for me. After all, if not for Jaye, this “engagement” would not be happening.
“So… when did this happen?” Lois asked.
“Tonight, Mom,” Jaye answered quickly. “Would you believe it happened right before we came over?”
“Really? Wow. Were you expecting it, Hilary?”
“No,” I honestly replied. “It came out of left field.”
“Oh, I love a surprise engagement,” Lois beamed.
“Yeah, it was a surprise all right. Hilary wasn’t the only one that was caught off guard,” Jaye clarified as I tried to keep a straight face.
“How did Marc propose? Did he get down on one knee? Irvin didn’t, and I was so disappointed.”
“Don’t feel bad, Mom, Marc didn’t get down on one knee either. But I think he did get weak in the knees.” Jaye added, “But you asked how he proposed. Let’s just say… I don’t think he planned for it.”
Lois smiled and took a delicate sip of her drink. I still had a stupid smile plastered on my face. I was having a blast. Well, I was until I glanced over and saw the pained look in Marc’s eyes, which was growing more noticeable with every additional comment out of Jaye’s mouth.
He was trying so hard to be a good sport. I could see it was getting increasingly difficult for him to let this charade continue. As he got agitated, so did I. In an instant, the joke stopped being funny. It was sad and hurtful. No matter how hard I pretended, Jaye’s proposal wasn’t real, nor was it going to magically become so. Instead, it started to become crystal clear to me, while looking at Marc’s troubled face, that he had no intention of proposing to me now—or, I feared, ever. Would I be okay always just being his girlfriend?
It’s amazing how devastating disappointment can be, especially when it’s over something that you didn’t really expect to occur in the first place, if you are truly honest with yourself...
Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship. She is currently the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.