My Fiancé Waited to Propose — Because I Asked Him To

Gillian Sisley

A ring means something different in the workforce, dependant on your gender.

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Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

You may not believe me when I say this, but I’m not a control freak.

I’m really not.

Although, when people found out that I told my partner he wasn’t “allowed” to propose for 2 years when we started dating, a lot of people assumed I am.

But no, I’m not a control freak.

I’m just a woman — hell-bent on getting as close to equality as I can in the current social climate we live in.

I’m also a woman who is far too aware of how unbalanced our society’s view of gender is, and that people look at you differently when you have a sparkly ring on that particular left-hand finger.

I’m excited to get married, and spend the rest of my life with my partner (4 months from now until the big day!) — but back when we start dating, before engagement (and no disrespect to him), I had some shit to take care of.

Some shit of my own, as a legally single, unhitched, career woman.

I wanted to define myself as a professional first, on my own terms.

Even before our first date, we’ll both tell you that we knew this was it for us — we could just tell that we were exactly who the other had been waiting for our entire brief lives on this Earth.

That may sound overly romanticized, but it’s the honest truth.

I was also very aware of another reality — being a woman in the workforce is a hell of a lot more political than being a man.

When we first started dating, I was still in school and he was a new grad. We had yet to truly begin our careers. I was heading into PR, he was heading into finance.

I knew fully well that our experiences in the workforce were going to be just as different as our specialty industries.

Because although he had an undergrad, and I had an undergrad AND an advanced diploma, he was still going to be seen as more professional and credible than me.

Because that’s just the way it is — and if you don’t think that’s the case, odds are you’re not a woman. Because we’ve seen this shit happen our entire damn lives.

I already had a lot to prove, simply by being a professional woman — and I’m sorry if this offends you, but I wasn’t about to put a target on my finger immediately out of the gate that screamed, “Maternity Leave!”

Because I know all too well, being engaged now with a big-ass diamond on my left ring finger, that when people see me now they’re not contemplating what I do for work, or what my passions or hobbies are —

They see “bride-to-be” and “she’s looking like 30 isn’t too far off, the clock is ticking!”

Which is always fun when all you damn care about in this chapter of your life is the right to build your business and make something of yourself in your career.

I already had enough batting against my credibility.

Picture this:

I was a 22-year-old, blond entrepreneur, fresh out of school with a brand new business. I had a hard enough time as is trying to get clients (particularly older male clients) to take me seriously.

When I sat in meetings, I was there for the purpose to talk business. I didn’t want to talk about wedding planning (which is my new full-time job, yes?), or when we’re thinking of having kids, or if I’m going to close down my business so that I can commit my all to motherhood.

No. My entire identity is not exclusively founded in the incredible feats my biology is capable of. I am more than that. I’m a f*cking professional business woman, dammit.

Would they be asking if my fiancé was planning to retire his business to fully commit to fatherhood? Unlikely. So what makes it appropriate to ask me?

Like most new grads (and young women with a bit of sass), I had a hell of a lot to prove, and I needed every edge I could get to back-up my credibility as simply a to-be-taken-seriously female entrepreneur.

I had a fear that a ring on my finger would detract away from my competency and others’ willingness to take me seriously on a professional level.

Knowing what I know now… that was a very valid and reasonable concern.

Because there are people who are so small-minded that a shiny rock on my hand actually does detract from their ability to take me seriously as a professional.

But that’s their own damn problem, not mine!

The fact that this exact thing is happening now is evidence enough.

The day my fiancé proposed was the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m so incredibly glad we’re engaged, and very excited to be planning our wedding in equal measure with him.

And I’m also incredibly glad that I had 3 years to actively define myself as a professional, competent woman in my own business, on my own terms, with as few biases against me as humanly possible (some can’t be so easily removed as taking off a ring).

I’m so incredibly blessed to have such a supportive and understanding partner beside me, who appreciated and respected whole-heartedly why I made a request that he hold off on proposing.

He never took it personally, because it wasn’t about him — it was about facilitating me to achieve something very important, and as my partner, he only wants to see me happy and succeeding, no matter what I’m doing in life. What a f*cking standup guy.

I’m also so glad that I took that time to choose my clients carefully, so that when I shared the news of my engagement, they wholeheartedly congratulated me, and then after a few moments, we got straight back to work.

Because that’s what I’m here for: to do my job and to do it damn well.

Final word.

This may surprise you, but I’m actually incredibly looking forward to motherhood. I can’t wait to have a couple messy, fussy tater tots of my own and complain about how I haven’t had a good night’s rest in years.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother.

Someday.

But that day is not here yet. And until it is (which is a decision completely up to my partner and I) it’s no one else’s business.

Unsolicited questions from strangers about when I’m planning to fill my baby box? Not thank you, sir.

I run a social media marketing company, and I’m here to consult on social media. Although I would make more money from this meeting if I entertained your question (as I charge by 15-minute increments), I’m not interested in doing so.

When I show up for a meeting, I’m there to work.

So if you want to talk about the sexist stipulations of the gorgeous ring on my finger (which is honestly more beautiful than I ever could have imagined and I’m one lucky lady), then you can go ahead and find another social media consultant.

Can I perhaps recommend a man? You seem to be more comfortable in speaking appropriately to professionals of the same gender as you.

Just a thought.

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Online solopreneur. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about trending news, viral Reddit content, and anything else that tickles my fancy.

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