Things are changing around here at Dallas Single Mom. You have probably already seen the changes if you have been keeping up on social media. I (Heather) have gotten engaged but I am also handing over the reins to Teia Collier. She is also a DFW based blogger and I feel like her commitment and expertise as a blogger herself will really take Dallas Single Mom to a whole new level. Dallas Single Mom has been my baby and my first venture into freelance writing and marketing. Turning this corner is difficult for me but change never comes easy and I think the readers deserve a lot more than a part time blogger. There is a new sheriff in town that is as vibrant and brilliant as her smile. This new chapter in my life is one I want to experience with the entire depth of my soul. I will still be blogging here and there whenever my blended family lifestyle seems to be pertinent for many this blog and to the many DFW area single moms but I am also exploring food, travel, culture and astrology over at LetsGoHeather.com.
I don’t’ have a big, fancy proposal story for you. Boo! Hiss! I know. I think as I get closer to 40 and with three kids of my own the “fairy tale” everyone envisions has been replaced with a NEED for practicality. Every now and again the spark and the fire of our whirlwind romance nestles into our not so distant memories but the reality of our present and the excitement of our future together requires us to be grounded. I have learned a lot from the being the first one to discuss marriage. I mean aren’t women supposed to wait for the guy to ask? I wouldn’t have brought it up if I didn’t think I wanted to be committed. He also would not have asked if I wasn’t ready. This was me telling him I was ready to take our relationship a step further. What that step further was not just being partners, but comingling finances, blending families, opening up our baggage and becoming the Buen-Ruiz Family 2.0. It has been an incredible ride and I know I will have another crazy adventure to come.
What led up to “The Proposal”
I had once told him that I would break up once we “ran out of things to talk about.” A little over two years and EVERY SINGLE DAY we speak to each other. Every single day is another “I Love you!” and another smile. In my daily life, every other thought that falls back to the person that I met so long ago. He is a single parent like me and we navigated co-parenting, blended families and our future. We share so much of our experiences and we helped each other when things were down. Most importantly we lifted each other when times were tough and best of all we laughed way more than when we disagreed.
I don’t think there was only one thing that led up to me discussing marriage. We don’t have to get married. We are perfectly fine with being committed. We have our own houses and our own lives. There were challenges and doubts on my part. I had spent so many years being single – especially being Dallas Single Mom, that I questioned what I could possibly know about being in a relationship – especially a healthy one. Steve is a single dad with primary custody of his three children. They have gone through divorce of their parents, and dealing with a mom in a supervised visitation situation. That is not a pretty picture at all. Would I be equipped to take on this situation? Did I have what it takes? Was I good enough to parent HIS children? Would I be able to blend these two families? There were so many questions. I had screwed up my own marriage and I had married before on the idea that “things will work themselves out.” I was not going to leave things up to chance if I decided to marry again. So when I suggested we get married I gave careful considerations to the 6 other human beings that needed our love, protection and security. This meant we needed to try hard to maintain stability. What led me to want to marry was me giving myself permission to marry this family.
What does it mean to give yourself permission to marry?
I am choosing to not just marry Steve. I am also becoming a part of his family and he is a part of mine. Our kids will be a family together.
Women don’t propose marriage for a variety of reasons. Single moms may not propose marriage because many have “been there and done that.” I can’t list all the reasons why women don’t propose marriage because I didn’t “seek” advice on how I should propose or if it was the right decision for me. I just knew it was. As a self-aware couple we could easily bring up discussions and situations with each other.
I am close to 40 years old. It’s kind of silly to ask my parent’s permission to marry or ask his parents. It’s also silly that at 40 years old and with three kids that I would even try to adhere to a standard that has already passed to the wayside. I absolutely know what I want. I want Steve and I have always wanted Steve. And Steve has always wanted me and has always chosen me. No one is looking for greener grass or biding their time for things to come their way. We are making things happen. We have the time and the life we have always wanted – yet we want more. Steve IS faithful and he IS there for me and he IS the person I want to spend the rest of my life with fighting over the last portions at dinner. I am the one he vents to when things are not perfect and I vent to him. So I didn’t ask permission from the world to marry him, I gave permission to myself.
If you were so sure he would say yes, why were you ok when he said no the first time?
This is an easy question. He had to think about it. It was a sigh of relief that he said no the first time. I felt like “great – I already asked and now the burden is off of me and we can go back to enjoying our relationship.” You see, we don’t need to be married to be committed. We already chose to be committed when we chose to be in a relationship and when we told our kids. I think the decision to tell our kids was much more serious than a marriage proposal. Steve thinking about things is Steve (being a fixed sign in astrology) taking careful consideration and thinking hard about what marriage means to him this time. Now that he got the green light from me that I wanted to take the next step it allowed him to process and see how he could integrate our family into his.
When my ex husband first proposed to me I had just gotten lasik – I couldn’t see a damn thing but my ring was “GORGEOUS” – I had been there and done that. I realized it doesn’t matter what kind of ring you get if behind the scenes your marriage is a colossal mess. It was the same experience for Steve. When Steve proposed on his first marriage he was young and he didn’t really want to get married. He did love her but others were telling him to either shit or get off the pot. In hindsight maybe he should have got off the pot instead of #2. Steve and I can both agree that our marriages were failures but it never kept us down. Through children and Tinder – cheesecake and dinners we cherish the products of our marriages – our children. As for time to think about it? I gave him forever.
“When you love your partner you give them all the time they need. I didn’t make any ultimatums. I made my desires known and he was determined to make them happen”
I don’t need to get married, I just want to . . . . .
I don’t need to get married. Steve doesn’t need to get married. We just WANT to get married. There is no con or ulterior motive. I don’t have to force him or nag him to marry me. His ex had done such a great job at ruining the experience of marriage for him that I was surprised he would even say yes to me. But HE DID! I was completely against the idea of marriage for a very long time and would still recommend that young women wait awhile before getting married. This goes for single mothers as well. Build your own nest egg and get reliable income before getting married.
As I have matured, I smile whenever he gets excited calling me his fiancée and I get excited when I am consulting astrology on the best date to get married. We don’t NEED to get married instead we chose to have the ultimate form of PARTNERSHIP. Stability in families requires commitment, dedication, responsibility and most of all LOVE!. As we plan for retirement, college and home buying it requires us to safeguard those needs. If something happens I want to know that he will be able to take care of and make decisions for Baylee.
FAQs about women bringing up marriage to men
But doesn’t asking a man to marry you just mean you are desperate?
No. When it’s love you don’t have to resort to desperation. Every person’s situation is different. Desperation causes us to do manipulative things to undermine a person’s feelings and their best interest. You don’t start a marriage through manipulation. Proposing just means you are being honest and vulnerable to a person you love. It also means you are in control of the decisions in your own life. This also requires a form of healthy communication.
I highly recommend a book called Nonviolent Communication by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. If you are looking to improve upon communication in your relationships or with family this is the book to get.
What if he said no?
He did say no. I respected his first answer. I would have still been committed for the foreseeable future regardless of what answer he gave.
Why would you stick around if he said no?
Because I knew he would say yes and he did. I know this because I am in tune with my partner on a higher level and not on a lower level.
Weren’t you afraid he would look at you differently after you asked?
No. I have always been non-traditional. I wasn’t worried about what he thought or how he looked at me. I presented my most honest self from the beginning and ever since. In fact on our first date he asked to go dutch treat. He ended up having a great time and paying but I have always loved that even playing field and this was no different.
Aren’t you emasculating him?
He is a single father with primary custody of his own children. He has been given a gift of being put into a situation that society deems as a “woman’s role.” He is both mom and dad. Steve is so responsible and in touch with who he is that the opinion that others have of him isn’t important to him. As an adult comparison is the thief of joy. At the end of the day trying to please everyone or be someone else leaves less time for “You being You!” Am I worried about emasculating him? No. Being truthful of what I want and being honest is not emasculating him when that kind of intimacy is all he has ever asked for. If you are uncomfortable being open and vulnerable with your partner, then you need to work on that. Even a strong feminist like me is still capable of being open and vulnerable with a partner.
If a woman has to ask a man does that mean he is not committed?
I think for some men the answer would be yes. For most single dads in the same situation as Steve commitment in a relationship has to be rock solid because they are caring for their children. Is that the case for all men? No. I ask because I am comfortable asking. I am not concerned about antiquated and outdated belief systems to please everyone else except for our own families.
So were you scared?
Yes. I got over it by reminding myself why I was doing this
When and where are you getting married?
We are getting married around the summer of 2019. That will be the same time we move in together since we are working on our finances to buy a new home. We plan on a destination wedding to Hawaii or the Maldives.
What does your family think?
My family are happy about it. My mom doesn’t think marriage is necessary at our age but as long as we take care of ourselves and are happy. His parents are happy and we got a lot of congratulations!
Where’s the ring?
Currently it is sitting in my mom’s jewelry box. It no longer fits my mom’s finger and since she is elderly she is giving my sisters and I her jewelry.
So what do your exes say?
Does it really matter. My exes have not said much about it even though my children have told them. I plan on telling them a bit more about plans such as moving, homes, new bedrooms when the date of us moving in together gets closer. As for his children’s mom, I am not sure. She is in a very volatile emotional and mental state for the past few years with her alcoholism and physical and mental health issues. Our main focus is ensuring she gets sober and becomes much more capable and emotionally healthy to have unsupervised visits with her children.
So what are you doing now?
I still blog and I am focused on my career and going to school for my Masters Degree in Finance. We are also working on our budgets and finances as we prepare to get married and buy a house.
What advice do you have for other women that want to propose marriage?
There is less pressure when a woman proposes marriage because there are no expectations. You have to really know your man and know what you want. If your guy is pretty hip to modern gender roles he will be ecstatic that you asked. The key is to keep calm and say what’s in your heart. Most proposal stories I have heard have been for practical reasons as the couple came to a consensus on it. Nothing can stop you except yourself. If you believe in the traditional engagement ring then buy one or make your own traditions. You do YOU!
As we transition the blog over to Teia, you can still find me over at LetsgoHeather.com