She loved him. She wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. But that’s not why she mar­ried him.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Love, Lust & Other Stuff -

two pros­ec­cos deep into the 87th wed­ding I’d at­tended one sum­mer, it got to this point: If one more per­son asked, “So will you be next?” I was go­ing to over­turn a char­cu­terie bar.

I was cap­i­tal-o ob­sessed with get­ting en­gaged. My boyfriend and I were com­ing up on our four-year mark. I was 27; he 32. We loved each other. We lived to­gether. Mar­riage was the next log­i­cal step. At least, this was how I added it up for Greg, more times than I would like to ad­mit (“Jess, it’s com­ing,” be­came his ex­as­per­ated party line).

But I had an­other mo­ti­va­tion for pres­sur­ing him to pro­pose. In my mind, an en­gage­ment ring was a tal­is­man that ren­dered its wearer in­vin­ci­ble, and—i’m not proud of this—i wanted it more than I wanted to marry the man I love.

I was never the Girl With the Boyfriend. I at­tended a tony high school in an af­flu­ent sub­urb of Philadel­phia. My fam­ily, while com­fort­able fi­nan­cially, didn’t come from the same sto­ried blood­line as many of my peers, and with my big boobs and too-blonde hair, I stood out. I was a Mar­i­lyn in a sea of Jack­ies, a slut, a skank. I com­forted my­self with food, and by col­lege, I gained 20 pounds. I didn’t feel com­fort­able get­ting naked with any­one, so I went from slut to asex­ual side­kick.

But I shed both skins af­ter I grad­u­ated and moved to New York City. There, I landed a job I loved, lost the ex­tra weight, and then met Greg. My life was com­ing to­gether the way I’d hoped, but it wasn’t enough. As I eyed the sparkly rings on the most “to­gether” women I knew, get­ting pro­posed to seemed syn­ony­mous with “I made it.” With a quick flash of my left hand, I could com­mu­ni­cate not only that I had ar­rived but that I was no longer the un-fuck­able chubby girl in my group of gor­geous friends. When Greg pro­posed, a week be­fore my 28th birth­day, I was elated— and then I promptly pan­icked. Did I want this for the right rea­sons?

I met with a ther­a­pist to wrap my head around the doubt. “You crave val­ida- tion,” she told me, “be­cause you didn’t get it when you were younger.”

I ex­haled, re­lieved to hear that she con­sid­ered my re­la­tion­ship oth­er­wise sound. But I wanted to know how to stop it. “You don’t,” she said. “It’s part of your blueprint. Some­times we just have to sit with the things that make us feel bad and wait for them to pass.”

So I do that. I let it hurt when I re­mem­ber the day some­one wrote “trash whore” across my locker’s face. I let it sting when I think of how a thin, pretty friend hooked up with my col­lege crush. Some­times, I catch girls eye­ing my ring, and I want to tell them that get­ting mar­ried didn’t re­brand me or com­plete me. It did teach me that noth­ing—not the per­fect plat­inum tal­is­man or the great­est guy who mar­ried me de­spite the fact that I went a lit­tle crazy— can al­le­vi­ate that old ache I carry around in­side me. That’s some­thing I have to do on my own, and I’m work­ing on it. Knoll’s novel, luck­i­est girl alive, is out this month.

THE r In g , THE SHOE S , A n D… OH, Y e AH… THE g room .

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