Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Break from my story - Questions

I'm taking a break from my story to answer some reader e-mail and questions. Some of these are old (from older posts) and some are new.

Email question - Ruth, I'm dying to know how the family reunion with Harris was and how your relationship is going? Can you give us the Harris update?

The reunion was fantastic. It was at Disneyland and I had a ball experiencing this for the first time. My favorite rides were Pirates of the Carribean and Soaring Over Californina. Harris' extended family were interesting people with all sorts of backgrounds. I can honestly say that I've never seen such a blended family (races, religions, and cultures. I think I asked too many questions of his African American, jewish relatives just because that was something my small world never imagined. They were equally interested in how I grew up and why I left. Harris' immediate family was wonderfully comforting and welcoming. We had a night where it was just Harris' parents and siblings (and their families). We sat around the table and had a great time.

My relationship with Harris is progressing. He asked me to marry him. I said I wasn't ready and he said he figured that would be my answer. We've decided to keep going on as we are for a year and see where that leaves us. If we're still in the right place, then I will consent to an engagement. I love him. I'm sure of it. My fear is that rushing into anything rarely works and walking right into a marriage would be what I ran from before.

How's your financial situation?
It is guarded as always. Thanks for the concern.


  1. Congratulations. Take your time. So glad you had fun at D'land and CA Adventure.

    I am glad you got to meet his extended family. It shows you that it take all kinds of people to make a family, not just those that BG approves of. I am proud of you.

    Hope the RA gig is going well. Hang in and good luck with your classes.

  2. Ruth, I think Harris is probably a great guy but asking you to marry him seems WAY too soon. He may be the type who always feels driven to rescue someone or something. It doesn't make him a bad person, but it makes for bad choices some times. Just be careful. <3

  3. Heck, my husband proposed to me after 3 dates; they've been together over six months. There's no timetable on that sort of thing, but I agree. Ruth, you are wise to wait and if he's the guy I think he is, he'll wait for you to be comfortable and you both will know it's YOUR choice.

    I'll check in as I can during my own semester (as both student and teacher). All the best!

  4. SO glad you had such a good time with Harris' family! That said, you're definitely wise to wait. You've had such a traumatic time over the past number of years that you DO need to give yourself the opportunity to just focus on you and your own needs. Which Harris appears to understand, and I have to say I like his willingness to lay it all out while not pressuring you.

    Keep doing what you're doing, kiddo. Your head and heart are in the right places, and that's the best any of us can ask of ourselves!

  5. Just my two cents to the "it's too soon for him to be asking that" - my husband and I decided we wanted to marry each other after dating three weeks (and knowing each other three months). Not saying that taking your time is wrong, either - I think it would be telling if he wasn't willing to wait for you. I love your clear thinking on this, and I don't think you should start doubting him just because he proposed after dating you a short time. Thrilled to hear you had such a good time in Disneyland - I've never been, either :)

  6. I am so glad it went well!! It sounds like Harris has a wonderful family!

    Waiting is always a good idea, especially as you are still healing. What's so wonderful is he isn't pressuring you. That is a sign of a good one. :o)

  7. I'm so happy that the reunion went well and that you felt so accepted and comfortable with Harris' family. It's great for you to experience family in a positive way and to see the other possibilities that exist.

    I agree with others that it's very sensible for you to wait to commit to marriage. Not that your situation is completely analogous, but when people are in some kind of 12-step recovery program, the common wisdom is to wait at least a year to make major decisions regarding relationships and other life changing events, taking the time to focus on healing past hurts. You are making amazing progress toward that healing, particularly through your counsellor and the catharsis of this blog. However, it's wonderful that you know the depth of Harris' commitment to you. I knew almost immediately that the man I am with would become my partner for life. That was six years ago and we still aren't married. Although, my individual circumstances are quite different from yours. Regardless, commitment is ultimately something that lives in the heart, not on a piece of paper. I send my prayers for all the continued happiness and joy you so richly deserve.


  8. You are very wise to wait at least a year. Lisah mentioned that 12 step programs recommend waiting a year before major changes. Grief counselors also recommend the same. You have been through a LOT of changes in the last 1-2 years. It is a very good move for you to take time to evaluate, enjoy where you are, and grieve/start to deal with your past life.

  9. He has black and Jewish relatives? That's an oddity.

    My wife and I were engaged after six weeks and married less than 5 months later. But we had also known each other for at least a year prior. Some couples move quickly to marry, others don't. It's up to each couple.

  10. I definitely recommend you wait for marriage - let yourself get acclimated to a normal relationship.

    Not saying this won't work out, but you're still finding yourself.

    I don't think it's unusual for some men to get a little ahead of themselves when it comes to true love. I know my husband was thinking marriage after about 6 months of dating, but we didn't marry for another 2 years. My dad asked my mom to marry him after they'd been dating only a few weeks (she said no, but they married several years later). Personally, I think it just means the guy is very sentimental, which is a good sign.

    Just remember, this is your life and only you can live it. If you want to go slow, go slow.

    Good luck!

    -Lauren H.

  11. I so understand where you are coming from on the engagement. Hell, I broke it off with 2 guys(one of whom is now my husband) for uttering the word boyfriend to a relative. It took 8 years of him hanging around before I finally decided to settle down.

  12. not rushing into things is a great idea. i know it goes against your upbringing but i would really recommend living together for 6 months before people get married. for some couples, living together brings them closer, and for others it makes them apathetic or resentful of each other.

    in my opinion, the biggest problems married couples face are 1. sex, 2. money, 3. children, 4. careers, 5. inlaws, and 6. feeling like one person (or both) is being taken for granted.

    with sex, you just don't know if you are compatible until you go for it... money is a huge issue, you have to talk about and observe how the other person spends their money and what they consider to be wise purchases... obviously both people have to be on the same page when it comes to starting a family... you have to consider what problems might arise as part of your (or his) career, (examples: will there be lots of traveling? working late at the office? having to take a night shift? will the pay sustain your lifestyle?)... you'll need to be able to deal positively with each other's relatives, whether that means liking them or just being able to restrain yourself from shooting them... and just realizing that marriage takes a lot of work to maintain, some people go into a marriage thinking it's going to be a honeymoon for the next 30+ years, and just lose interest in keeping the relationship in harmony when they realize that it's more work than they bargained for.

    sorry for the long relationship post, i personally never wanted to get married, my husband and i had been living together for 4 or 5 years before i finally popped the question and by then i knew that we could handle the good times as well as the bad.

    i'm kind of envious that he has so much diversity in his extended family. my husband's relatives are all lily-white farmers, and mine are all lily-white conservative christians... i would love to have some diversity in the family!

  13. I'm so glad meeting Harris' family went well, and that you had a great time at Disney.

    Putting on my "College faculty" hat here, I'd suggest holding off on getting married until you have your degree. I've seen way too many girls get married and end up dropping out because it's just too much to keep up with, and many end up never coming back. And having the college degree makes a big difference as far as independence and security. Even in the best relationship in the world, you need that.

    That also serves as a nice firm boundary that gives you time to explore a bit and come into your own, which you (and really, any college student) needs. I'm convinced, having taught at the college level a few years, that this is one of the biggest benefits of going to college. It gives you a slightly sheltered, but not too much, chance to be a grown up. And EVERYONE needs that.

  14. Wow. :)

    My super sweet husband knew within a couple weeks that he wanted to marry me, and began bringing it up in a few months, but didn't formally ask til we'd been together a year. So I don't think it's THAT crazy that he's asked yet, but you're wise to take it slow. Have fun!

  15. I don't think it's crazy that he already asked you, but I also think you are smart to wait. See how it's going and make sure you truly know each other. I don't think you need to shack up and have sex before marriage to find out if you are compatible. Marriage has to be worked at. You will know if you are compatible if things go well while dating. My husband and I did not live together before marriage and we are nearing our fifth anniversary and we are very happy and never fight or argue. Sex is something that two people should wait for and save as a gift for the person to whom they commit their lives to. It should not be used as a test. The ramifications are too serious, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

    I a glad you felt so welcomed into his family. If you do choose to marry Harris, it will be really nice for you to have a loving and supportive family for yourself and for future children.

    I am so glad you found someone with whom you can have a real relationship. After some of the things you wrote in your last few posts, it must be enormously different for you, and something you did not think you would ever have.

  16. Talking about marriage and actually becoming engaged are two different things. It seems he respects you enough to wait until you are ready. And seriously, I think you still have some healing to do regarding your family and upbringing before you are probably ready for getting married.

    Kudos to you for seeing that. And congrats on what seems to be a wonderful relationship! I'm so glad you enjoyed the reunion and had an opportunity to see again how some other families interact and such. No family is perfect. We all have our drama and such. But not all families are abusive and damaging such as yours is.

    BTW...if you are considering getting married and since you have made it public that your relationship may be headed that way, get ready for more backlash from your family.

  17. Ruth,

    I'm so happy that things went well with the Harris peeps meeting. Diversity is a wonderful thing. It always brings perspective toward times when we are introspective. I think my family is loud and crazed and when I brought my friends home, they found them charming. It was nice to see things through their eyes.

    As for the engagement/marriage thing, I think you are wise to wait. I also would not put time frames on anything. You'll know when it's the right time. I would hope that you get a chance to get your degree and spend some time being independent. I think Harris is a good man and he obviously values you on many levels. Just remember that you don't have to be part of a couple right away. You can take time to appreciate being Ruth, RA and college student.

    Take it day by day and enjoy the fact that you aren't waking up next to a man you hate and 6 kids.

    BTW, I'm going to Europe at the end of the month!!!!!! I'm excited. And broke. But mostly excited!!!!


  18. Harris definitely sounds like a keeper! But I also agree with everyone else commenting that it's wise of you to wait, and to get your degree. If you do decide to become engaged, that doesn't mean you can't continue school, of course. Plus you're still learning who *you* are, and I think that especially with your background, that's critically important. You're trying to cram into just a few years the learning about self and independence and individuality that those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up in more open environments had many more years to learn; there's no reason you should rush anything. You have the real luxury of time now, so take advantage of it!

    My family is also nicely diverse, with Asian members, Jewish members, etc., and I love it. It sounds like Harris's family is just a great bunch of people, and certainly helps explain why he's such a great guy!

    I've read your entire blog, and I have to say I am so proud of you. You're a strong young woman, and I hope that the future brings you nothing but the best.

  19. I don't post much, but I've been following your story for awhile now and I just wanted to say that I'm really happy for you that things seems to be getting better by the day. You may not be as "worldly" as some people think you should be, but you are wise beyond your years. I can't think of a single female under the age of 30 that I know personally that wouldn't have instantly said yes and just taken for granted that it wouldn't come back to bite them. Many, many females are so illusioned by the prospect of marriage that they think it's their instant ticket to "happily ever after", no matter what. It takes a lot of maturity to realize and act on the fact that a lasting relationship will continue to last even if you don't put on those rings as soon as humanly possible.

  20. So glad you had fun at the reunion! I love the Soarin' ride at Epcot in Orlando (haven't been to the one in California), it's so cool.

    I'm also glad Harris is giving you the time you need to consider the idea of marriage. You're absolutely right, there's no need to rush, and especially given your history you need to be sure you're doing the right thing! He sounds like a great guy.

  21. I agree that it's a good thing to wait, but don't feel like you have to wait until you get your degree. I didn't, and both my husband and I finished our degrees after we got married.

  22. Congratulations on Harris, on the RA position, on LIFE! =)

    That's all- just congratulations. You'll figure the rest out just fine. Enjoy the ride.

  23. I'm glad that you enjoyed the family gathering, and that things are going well with Harris. I also think that waiting for engagement is a good plan for many reasons. I'm in college now (also a few years older) and quite a few of my female classmates are engaged, some married. And, once there's a ring on her finger, many of those girls shift their focus to Being Engaged or wedding planning. School drops down to third or lower on the list, rather than remaining a priority. And, after all the effort you've put into getting into school (and making sure this year is taken care of), you owe it to yourself to finish school and do well. Not to mention other reasons to wait, related to family complications.

    I hope the semester's starting out well! I'm always glad when I get to week three, because it starts to feel normal again. :) Good luck, Ruth, and good luck with your floor!

  24. Ruth,

    I can't believe you posted about a marriage proposal that you're "thinking about" on a public blog. It's certainly not very respectful of Harris.

  25. How is it not respectful?

    -Lauren H.

  26. Just.me, let's get back to reality, please. (1) Both "Ruth" and "Harris" are fake names representing REAL people. Unless someone personally knows "Ruth" or "Harris" and their "real" identities, then no one's getting "exposed" or "disrespected".

    Ruth has always stated that her blog is for her therapeutic/healing purposes and judging from other people's posts over the months, it is apparent that they too have suffered similiar abuse that Ruth grew up in.

    Human beings are social creatures who want/need to share their pain and joy; such is life. None of us lives in a bubble, shell, or on an island by ourselves. We all need to reach out and share our ups and downs and get understanding, feedback, etc. People need/want to be heard, for their feelings to be validated. As long as real names and identities are not revealed, I really don't see how someone is disrespected.

    Just.me, I know people who jump up and down screaming about "others" who are "not being respectful" of this person or that person, but in the background they are doing exactly what they accuse others of doing. Now, most of these people are goody-goody two shoes who think they have the inventory on being a sanctimonious, holier than thou saint. However, most of them prove themselves (eventually) to be hypocrites. That's at least my experience in my 47 years on this earth.

    If this is a pathetic/weak attempt to discredit Ruth or just be the proverbial thorn on someone's side, I say that you lose on that count. Back to the drawing board for you. No soup for you! :)

  27. Ruth, glad that all went well at Disneyland and that Harris's parents were/are wonderful and loving people. You are deserving of some good AND goodness in your life. We all are. It's a good thing that our past does not dictate our present or future. It is a wise decision to slow down...waaay down on the marriage proposal. Marriage is a big step and a hopefully once in a life-time commitment; you BOTH need to be emotionally prepared to take on such a committment. Dating or even living together is NOT the same as being married. You are on your road to healing and you have achieved a good amount towards that goal, but you still have a ways to go. Another year or two will prepare both of you for marriage if that is still what you BOTH want at the end of the term. Wishing you the best.

    Signed - someone that has been married 27+ years.

  28. Ruth,
    I didn't realize how rude my post was when I wrote it. I sincerely apologize for my abrupt words.
    I'll try to say it again, in a kinder and more gracious manner.
    When a man proposes to you, it is a VERY serious, sacred and vulnerable position he's placed himself in. It's an honor to be asked, and I'm glad he's sincere in his intentions.
    Had you said yes, it would be (IMO) appropriate to write about it. But in a way I'm sure you did not intend, you have made his proposal seem trivial by writing about it and not being sure of what you want. I can certainly understand your not being ready for marriage. It just seemed unkind and not very respectful of his feelings that you chose to blog about it.
    I hope I explained myself better this time.
    Oh, and if Harris doesn't know about this blog and you're not using real names? Well, I apologize for assuming he might be aware of it.

  29. Hi, Ruth. I found your blog via NLQ (which I found via TWOP) and spent the past week catching up (comments and all). You sound like you are thriving and I'm so happy for you.

    I wanted to address just.me's concern about Ruth's apparently trivial take on Harris' proposal. Now, I'm getting into semantics, but she didn't write that he proposed to her, just that he asked her to marry him. Which I didn't take to mean he bought the diamond and got down on one knee, especially if he "knew" her response would be she needed more time. I took it as a couple examining where their relationship is going and he wanted to make his intentions clear that he wants to be in it for the long haul. I know my husband and I had the marriage talk several times before he actually proposed. Unless Ruth gets into the details of what and how Harris "asked [her] to marry him," (which she does not owe any of us), we don't know the circumstances. I'm just so happy that it appears she's found one of the good ones.

  30. Not to mention, an overly image-conscious male who got all in a twitter when the great honor of his marriage proposal was "disrespected" is kind of why Ruth left the cult. Unlike Adam, Harris is a big boy, I'm sure he can deal with Ruth blogging about something so impactful to her life on a blog which is meant to document, you know, HER LIFE. Just like I'm sure he'll be able to deal if "Ruth" eventually decides not to marry him, or to wait a few years, or whatever. Because he's a grownup.

    I also think "Ruth" uses this blog as a way to garner a variety of opinions on major decisions, because (and of course I don't know her personally and I could be wrong), she doesn't have the same social network many of us are so lucky to have.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Poor Ruth gets too many unsolicited opinions, but I'm going to add another one:

    Please don't listen to those who say you should live together before marriage. Not only is it unnecessary, it is also unwise. Even secular studies have shown that people who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce or have problems in their relationships.

    Believe me, waiting is worth it. (And I know that you never said you were going to shack up with Harris; I was just responding to a poster who advised living together.)

    Just my 2 cents. =) Good luck to you; I enjoy your blog.

  33. I'm joining the unsolicited advice group to say ignore Cherie and all others trying to force their personal beliefs on other people. If you want to live with someone, live with them, if you don't don't. Personally I would never marry someone I had only dated and didn't really know, but if anyone wants to get married without "shacking up" first, it's their own business, and they should stop trying to force their decision on others.


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