Dear Miss Emily:

My husband and I got engaged some 12 years ago, and we're
still married.  One thing has been bothering me to
this day.  When he asked me to marry him (we had been dating
for almost a year and living with each other on and off),
he did not present me with an engagment ring.  This was the
second marriage for both of us, and we were no youngsters
(I was 42 and he 50). He was making very, very good money
at the time.  I guess I should say that I told him I
loved him but wanted to wait a while. He had been engaged a
year earlier and found her in bed with another man, a couple of
months before the wedding.  I had gone through 8 in-virtro
fertilizations with my first husband. I knew I could not give
him children. He said he was okay with it, although I knew how
much family meant to him. About a year later, I asked him to
marry me and we started to plan the wedding.  Friends and family
asked me where the ring was, and I began to think about it
as it really had not hit me before.  One evening, a friend of
mine asked him in front of me and, I guess to protect him,
I responded that I did not really need or want a ring as I
had so much jewelry and I did not wear any of it anymore.  
Until the day we got married, I did wonder if he was going to
give me a diamond.  But no!  When I asked him about it some
time after we were married, he said "I asked you if you wanted
one" and repeated my remarks about not wanting one, as I
had too much jewelry.  I told him a woman does not want to be
asked if she wants an engagement ring. It is the man that
should want to give her one. He has never felt the least bit
guilty or bad about this and has never apologized or anything.
I have told him it is not just me but that this is the custom
in the U S and a sign that a man loves and wants a commitment
with a woman.  Do you think he was doing it as a way to hurt
me because I had told him I wanted to wait? He also used to
point it out to me when a woman at a resturant or somewhere had
a huge rock on her finger. Until recently, it never bothered
me but then I started to think maybe he is trying to backhandedly
say "Wow, her husband must really love her, look at the ring
he gave her!"  He did give his first wife an engagement ring
that had been his mother's, and when he got divorced, his
ex gave it back and he had it made into a pin or something
for one of his sisters. My husband is a very perceptive man,
as he sees lots of things other people let go by and will
admit he is very manipulative.  What do you think the story
is here?  He refuses to talk about it.  And when he won't talk
about something...well that is the way it is.   
Still wondering after all this time.


----------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------


Dear Still Wondering:

The fact that you feel slighted about not getting a ring,
after all of these years, is a sad statement. Men take things
literally, so if you verbally let him off the hook for not
getting you a ring, he took it as fact.  Women get mad when
men can't read their minds (this can also be true for men)
meaning, "I know I said that, but I meant the opposite."
This is a hearty endorsement for speaking honestly from the
get-go. Your husband was fifty at the time, and perhaps he had
lost sight of protocol or, one engagement failed and he sub-
consciously didn't want another ring returned to him. I don't think
he was trying to punish you because you wanted to wait before
getting married, however, he might have felt somewhat hurt and
the idea of getting a ring had lost its luster. Nor do I think,
what you are obviously thinking, that because you could not
give him a child, he would not give you something that you
wanted. He doesn't like you bringing it up because false
pride will not let him face the fact that maybe he failed to
do the right thing. His remarks, about other women's rings,
are insensitive, and that may very well be a problem with
this man.  He is in his early sixties, now, and not likely to
change.  If I were you, I'd find a nice ring to complement
your wedding ring, buy it, and wear it with pride.
And if anyone asks where you got it,I would say, "I bought it
for me!  There was an empty space and it needed to be filled."
What could your husband possibly do or say to that?  If he
brings it up, tell him you'd rather not talk about it. This
puts you in the dirver's seat, which is where you desperately
want to be concerning this matter.