The elastic definition of imminent
By Cheryl Lavin December 30, 2013 10:08AM
When Sophie met Kyle and fell in love with him, he was a 40-year-old confirmed bachelor, but she thought she could change him.
“Cliche as it sounds, I thought that if I were just patient, he would make a commitment to me.”
She gave it her best shot — and 3 1/2 years of her life.
The first two years of the relationship, she blamed herself for Kyle’s “emotional detachment.” She went to therapy to find out what was wrong with her. “I thought if I were smarter, thinner, had bigger breasts, was less emotional — in other words, emotionally detached like him — then he would feel comfortable making the commitment.”
And they made some progress. Kyle took baby steps. After 21/2 years, he could say, “I love you” and actually talk about marriage. He even toasted their “imminent engagement” with her parents. “He said he wasn’t going to drag me through spring without us being engaged. Spring turned into summer and then fall. But he kept saying our engagement was ‘imminent.’”
And then one bright fall morning, he said he was ready to look at engagement rings. But, all day, he stalled. “I was sick to my stomach because in my gut, I knew I was crazy to believe him. I trusted a man who didn’t deserve it.”
Sometime before sundown, they made it to the jewelry store. Kyle approached with a dead-man-walking gait. “ Every single block, he had to stop and take a breather while he vacillated about marriage. I guess I should’ve showed him mercy and broken up with him, but I just couldn’t do it. For whatever masochistic reason, I wanted him to make the decision. He finally grabbed me by the hand, and off we went to look at rings.”
Kyle bought a ring and planned a weekend at a romantic bed and breakfast. Sophie was sure this was it. There was even a plaque in the room with something about love lasting forever. “Well, guess what? Nothing. It was at this point that I started considering him a big joke and myself the punch line.”
Thanksgiving was over, and Kyle told her he wouldn’t drag her through the holidays without an engagement. He circled Dec. 12 on his calendar. Sometime in the early hours of Dec. 13, Sophie realized that marriage to Kyle — who was still saying their engagement was “imminent” — would be a big mistake.
She was at his apartment, and she went to sleep. “When I awoke, I was done. I got out of bed and looked at his pathetic face and thought, ‘This is the first day of the rest of my life, and I don’t have to wait for your decision to move forward.’ As I headed out the door, I looked at him and all I said was goodbye and good luck.
“While I waited for the elevator, I heard his door open, and for a split-second I thought, ‘He’s coming out to say something, I’m sorry, something ... But no, he opened his door, gathered up his Sunday newspaper and closed it again. That gesture pretty much summed up the relationship.”
She never heard from Kyle again.
How long did you wait for someone to pop the question? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new website askcheryl.net.