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Cash and Marry

I'm supposed to get married in two months, and I'm having serious doubts. I fell in love with this girl for many reasons -- she's kind, fun, shares my interests, is adventuresome, motivated, and smart. After seven months, I proposed. Since then, the sex has gotten less frequent, she's complaining about the ring, and I have noticed more and more general selfishness from her. She comes from an extremely wealthy family and thinks she deserves the finer things in life. I have no problem with trying to provide those, but not to the point of going into debt and making it our priority. Now, she wants a different ring. I told her that I'm willing to nix our honeymoon to pay for it. This is just the most recent cause of stress. She has constant emotional problems, she drinks too much, and she takes her anger out on me. I have my share of problems too, but I'm worried that all this stuff is a sign of things to come.

--Drained

LOOK, PEASANT, the queen wants her rock. What are you waiting for? Get out in the fields and start pulling the plow.

Back before the sex dried up, you could thumb your nose at the high price of mink-lined toilet tissue and gold-dusted muesli. Maybe your yodels of passion drowned out the difference in your personal theme songs. (Yours: "All You Need Is Love" -- your girlfriend's: "All You Need Is Lexus.")

Suddenly, you've got a wedding date breathing down your neck, and unresolved issues splattered all over your front. If you're like a lot of couples, you've devoted massive amounts of brainpower to the design and construction of a nude ice sculpture of the two of you for the hors d'oeuvre table; and not a lot, if any, to long-term conflicts, like your girlfriend's Repetitive American Express Syndrome and your reluctance to function as a wallet with legs.

Don't overestimate the powers of a wedding ring (even a better class of wedding ring). It is handy for vacuuming every available piece of legal tender out of your bank account and off your body. In a pinch, you can use it to cut air-holes in your windshield. But, its usefulness pretty much ends there. Giving one doesn't guarantee that you're going to get sex (frequently...or ever), or that your bride is going to quit drinking and hurling wing chairs at you when you note that her credit card bills mirror the national debt.

You've got to talk that stuff out long before you agree to forever-ize. Postpone getting hitched for a year. Throw your expectations and hers on the table and come up with terms that work for both of you; ie, "You put out four times a week, and I'll get you a pink Ferrari with Barbie plates"...or whatever it is that floats her 150-foot yacht (and your little dinghy). Talk it all out -- money, sex, drinking, throwing sharp objects, where you're going to live, and how much you plan to overpopulate the planet. Instead of buying a big diamond, rent a medium-sized couples therapist. If, ultimately, you can't come to an agreement on major issues, run like hell in any direction that points away from the altar.

By the way, last I checked, we were living in the 21st century. So, how come you two are running your relationship like it's 1952? A woman who demands the finer things in life is a woman who should get three jobs to pay for them.

Copyright ©2001, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.