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Dealing with a bratty girlfriend?

Tagged as: Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (24 April 2010) 11 Answers - (Newest, 25 April 2010)
A male Canada age 30-35, anonymous writes:

The more I learn about my girlfriend, the more I get turned off. In short, my girlfriend is bratty, and I feel is borderline gold-digger. Ironically, she knows that I think this, and will try to clean my image of her up by saying things like, "I hope you don't think I'm being a brat" or "I hope you don't think I'm a gold digger."

The latest situation; with all the engagement rings we have ever looked at within her self-proclaimed "$1500 spending limit" she hates, and identifies every flaw with them, sometimes as simple as the "oh, center stone is too small." The ones she wants are $5000+, and I don't have that kind of money now. She says level headed things like, "I'd rather get a less expensive ring and use the money on our future house," but then brings up stories about friends hating the ring their then-fiances got them, like she wants me to know not to buy her a ring she doesn't like.

I was also kind of put off in that when talking about wedding dresses, she says that she looks best in strapless dress, even though she knows I really like dresses with straps. She plain out told me to "deal with it," yet she can't "deal with a ring" that doesn't meet her specifications. So now its like my opinion means nothing to hers.

How do I deal with her?

View related questions: money, wedding

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A female reader, ToadChops United Kingdom +, writes (25 April 2010):

ToadChops agony auntYou two don't really sound like a match made in heaven. You're thinking of MARRYING this woman - a woman you describe as (and who certainly sounds) 'bratty'. The point of marriage is to love and cherish someone for the rest of your life. Will this really be possible? She sounds manipulative and selfish. Of course there are probably aspects of her personality that appear to outweigh the flaws, or you wouldn't even be considering it. Tell her exactly what you wrote on this page. She'll be hurt and angry at first, but if she loves you she will at least try to see your side of things. And you will try to see hers. If she doesn't... Well, can you really live with someone like that forever?

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (25 April 2010):

CindyCares agony aunt How frustrating- it seems I am not able to convey clearly my idea. Let me try once more and then I promise that forever I'll hold my peace :) Let me tacle it from another angle .

The original poster mentions diamond rings, strapless gowns and lot of invitations,which leads me to assume, perhaps wrongly ,that he chose or accepted to go through the whole hoollabaloo of a formal wedding. Wedding rings,wedding attire,formal reception or dinner,honeymoon trip, pics and videos, flowers,printed invitation and what not.

This stuff costs a lot. I am in Italy now- here the average (average ! nothing too fancy ! ) cost would be around 25000 or 30000 euro. How much is it there ? A bit more, a bit less ? A big amount of money anyway .

Personally, I would not choose to spend this kind of cash for,basically ,throwing a party. But the original poster DID. His gf may be feeling that throwing in a couple grands more for the ring would not alter dramatically the situation, and , in thinking this , she may be wrong, but surely not the greedy little monster that you make out of her.

Anyway- I bet these tiffs belong to the typical pre-wedding jitters. Expect more :) and do not worry - if you really love each other, that's all it counts ,you'll pull through . Good luck !

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A male reader, heartfullalove Ireland + , writes (25 April 2010):

heartfullalove agony auntHi Cindy, I'd no intention of twisting your post: your post is there in clear print and states its own case. Your post is clearly well-intentioned and doesn't in any way presume to tell this guy what to do. I quoted the most salient part of it, regarding the presumed notion that a man's love can/should/must be quantified by the amount of money he splashes out on the engagement ring, as an illustration of what he's up against.

I'd like to think in a naive romantic way that two people who are so in love they want to spend the rest of their lives together wouldn't be torn apart by one party deciding that the other had decided to spend $1500 rather than $6000 on a trinket of intangible value, and that this was a let-down and an indication that he's not really the man for her. I don't think I need to invoke the spectre of starving millions in Africa and Asia to point out how utterly obscene, greedy, selfish and pointless the notion seems. It also rings a few alarm bells in terms of what will be expected/demanded of the guy in the years to come.

I congratulate you (Cindy!) for opting for a non-traditional wedding, and deciding that skipping the engagement ring didn't make a blind bit of difference to how much you love your guy and how much the wedding means to you. Brilliant. You sound perfectly sweet, and well done to both of you. Unfortunately, this guy's prospective wife sems to take a different view.

I'd like to think that, ideally, they're both millionaires - I'd love if we were all millionaires - or at least very well off to the point that $1k or $5k or $16k or $100k wouldn't be missed - but on the balance of probabilities, we have to assume that he's working from one pay cheque to the next like most people (and the current world economic climate is just the start: a lot of people are in for a very nasty shock over the next few years).

If the difference between $1,500 and $5,000 for this guy isn't a huge deal, then he's incredibly lucky and living in a position millions would envy. If the difference IS enough to cause him concern, then he's every right to decide 'enough is enough' at a certain point, and a woman who wants to share the rest of her life with him will surely understand this and support it entirely, and if she has issues or difficulties with it, you'd have to wonder what exactly her concept of romance and love consists of.

So, if

'The engagement ring is commonly assumed to be a big deal, and commonly expected to be a bit of a stretch for the man's wallet'....

isn't it worth considering: WHY?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (25 April 2010):

As the original person who started this thread, I have noticed something interesting: men standing on my side, and women defending my girlfriend. Must be sexism/society values at its finest.

As for the dress, I understand its hers, so I could care less what she wears, as long as it makes her happy. But it annoys me about how my opinions mean nothing to her, but her opinions must be met.

Another thing to mention is how she talks about a giant, grandiose wedding, but then says "we need to keep costs down so I am not going to have alcohol [dry wedding-which by the way, I am totally for], and invite lots of people."

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (25 April 2010):

CindyCares agony aunt Not fair,Heartfullalove. You twist the sense of my posting. The key words,there,were "tradition" and "traditional". I never meant that one should be slave to tradition;au contraire. You don't need an engagement ring to get married - you can skip it altogether ( I did ). You don't need a tuxedo,or a wedding gown ,to get married. You can show up at City Hall wearing your old jeans; you can go to Las Vegas and get married in short shorts and sequined bra. All I am saying is that apparently these guys have chosen a traditional engagement and a traditional ceremony ,which entail certain guidelines ,customs,habits- which I neither invented nor followed for myself, and nonetheless are there, are known and easily create expectations. The engagement ring is commonly assumed to be a big deal, and commonly expected to be a bit of a stretch for the man's wallet. If the gentleman who wrote feels differently, he's right to do whatever he feels like- but he was maybe too quick in judging his gf a gold digger,that's all.

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A male reader, heartfullalove Ireland + , writes (24 April 2010):

heartfullalove agony auntShe does, indeed, sound like an absolute brat and a gold-digger. I get the distinct impression that you've already worked this out, and are beginning to wonder whether marrying her is really a good idea. It doesn't sound like it to me, but you know her better than we do.

I realise you don't want to give her up, but honestly....you want to MARRY this girl? I hope you've thoroughly thought through the consequences of what you're signing up to.

Is this your money that she's decided you have to spend? OK, the idea of a wedding is indeed lovely, but I understand the expense is fairly considerable. Which is why couples are increasingly opting to commit to one another, live together etc etc as 'de facto' husband and wife without going through the whole rigmarole of a wedding and all the senseless expense it incurs. Stingy, or very practical and very sensible? You decide.

As for the ring:

'all the engagement rings we have ever looked at within her self-proclaimed "$1500 spending limit" she hates, and identifies every flaw with them, sometimes as simple as the "oh, center stone is too small." The ones she wants are $5000+, and I don't have that kind of money now.'....

Well, if you don't have that sort of money to spare, how on Earth does she expect you to spend it? Does she have that sort of money? Would she spend it on you without blinking an eyelid?

As for the dress: well, that IS her decision, it's her who'll be wearing it (I assume). She prefers a strapless dress, then it's her call. But 'she plain out told me to "deal with it,"...it really sounds like the affection and respect one would feel entitled to expect between a loved-up couple is missing, on BOTH sides, since it's pretty obvious from your post that you're under few illusions about the nature of this girl's character.

To follow up on the other replies: Marieclaire makes one excellent point

'if you don't like your girlfriend why are you marrying her?'...

and one somewhat debatable one

'sorry but when it comes to the wedding stuff then it's the brides decision and that decision is final. you might think that's a double standard but well life suck eh? that's the way the world works'

which nonetheless tells you a helluva lot about the psychology that's involved and which, if this wedding goes ahead, you will be dealing with on a daily basis for the rest of your life (unless the marriage fails and you have to get a divorce: they're not cheap, either)

Succinctly put by CindyCares, you are required to accept the following truths as self-evident:

'the bride,and the bride only, has total decisional

power'

and

'the value of the engagement ring is supposed to be at least 3 months of the guy's salary. I think you earn more than 500 a month, so she is not justified perhaps but forgivable if she hints at something more substantial'

That's it, then: no debate here to be had, no issues that need to be discussed reasonably and rationally. Just do what you're told, buddy. That's what you're there for. Don't even entertain a moment's concern over the very real possibility that you might end up deep in debt for years and years to come.

If, in all honesty, you're entirely happy with being told how high to jump, and money is no object at all, and you're happy to sign over your future to a life with someone whose diva-ish behaviour is already causing you concern, feel free to do so. It's your life.

I'm not sure where the 'supposed to be at least 3 months of the guy's salary' comes from, or who came up with that equation in the first place and decreed that that was the case, but the fact that the figure even exists tells you something: that there ARE a minority of girls who actually think in those terms, and you appear to be on the verge of marrying one.

Weigh up the pros and cons. You have a choice here. You may not have any choices about anything at all in your life by this time next year.

Good luck

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (24 April 2010):

CindyCares agony aunt Lonely Two, and FierceBadRabbit, I agree with you ,what really matters is the love represented by the symbol, and not the symbol, and if people would remember it they would save time and money and wouldn't have to run around like beheaded chickens . But let's not be to hard with the poor expensive bratty brides :),often there's a lot of pressure from parents ,family and friends to do things "properly". Not everybody is born a rebel or a fighter... and a wedding is not the best or easiest occasion to affirm one's individuality of thought.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 April 2010):

Common... she's hardly a gold-digger if the rings she's considering is $ 1500 (very cheap) or even $5000 (more reasonable). In order for her to be a gold-digger you'd have to add another zero to the amount really.

The ring my fiance bought me was $ 16,000 and he didn't make half as much fuss over it as you are doing.

As for the dress- you don't have a say in it AT ALL. Wedding day is supposed to be her day so keep your points to yourself and get her a decent ring if you want to marry this woman.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (24 April 2010):

CindyCares agony aunt You are gonna hate me for saying this :) but your gf is not being totally unreasonable here. Possibly she might be a tad less demanding, ok- but she does not deserve such an harsh judgement if you consider that :

- the bride,and the bride only, has total decisional

power over the wedding gown. It's HER big day, the day that she gets to dress like a princess or a fairy or a whatever she wants and she has probably been dreaming about that since when she was in 1st grade. It may be not right, but traditionally nobody , including future husband or her mom or best friend, has a say about the wedding attire. Whatever the brides says,it goes.

- now ,the ring. Personally, I did not even want an engagement ring. I said, screw the ring and let's go to Thailand and Sri Lanka instead . But I was a rather alternative future bride then, I did not want to be traditional. You guys instead have chosen the traditional way and, traditionally, the value of the engagement ring is supposed to be at least 3 months of the guy's salary. I think you earn more than 500 a month, so she is not justified perhaps but forgivable if she hints at something

more substantial.

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A male reader, CaringGuy United Kingdom + , writes (24 April 2010):

Seems to me like she seems to have different ideas to you. She does sound like she's a bit expensive. I'd look at everything as a whole, and not just the ring thing, and then make a decision. Usually when someone says "I hope you don't think I'm a brat", it means they are exactly that.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (24 April 2010):

YouWish agony auntHmm...sounds like she's lost sight of the reason for the dresses and the rings - your marriage and happy life together.

Unfortunately, society stresses so much on the perfect wedding, where it's all about the bride being queen for a day. The wedding industry encourages this, and so wedding costs drive towards the sky.

As for the ring, you're the one buying it, so stay within your budget. Tell her that her insistance of a $5000+ ring will delay the wedding. As far as the strap vs strapless wedding dress, sorry, but that's her choice. You're not supposed to see the dress, much less help pick it out before the wedding day. That's a tradition for her, her mom, her friends, the bridesmaids, and all you have to do is sit back and admire her beauty on the wedding day.

She is the one that set the $1500 spending limit, not you. I doubt she's a gold digger, but most women are dazzled by diamonds and want the best. Just reassure her that as life goes on and you two get promoted in your professions and your quality of life rises, there will be more jewelry to come!

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