I read this excellent advice in Maureen Dowd's column yesterday. Dowd wrote about Christmas memories, both hers and those compiled in a new book by Caroline Kennedy, and mentioned how her mother once swiped one of her Christmas presents and gave it to a less fortunate kid. Quite understandably, this caused indignation and tears.
While Mrs. Dowd may have suffered from an overarching sense of charity, she did make a good point that has served her daughter well all her life:
"Don't cry over anything that can't cry over you."
We're already two days past Christmas and zooming toward New Year's, and this season, like every season, for every woman who pried open a spring-hinged box containing an engagement ring, there's another woman who thought she might get one but did not.
Which means it may be time for her to re-evaluate her relationship.
However, this is not the time for accusations and histrionics. If the woman has been led to believe the relationship was on a serious course, she's got to step back and give herself time to see if it indeed what it seemed to be. Hey, maybe the guy just isn't ready to get married. Or maybe he just doesn't care about her the way she cares about him.
Whatever it is, she needs to be open to the acutely but temporarily painful fact that perhaps this guy is not the guy for her.
Instead of making an issue about it, it's time to be slightly less available. This serves two purposes: She can ease back into (or improve on) the life she had before the man stepped into the picture. She will also give him time to miss her a bit, leading him to realize how much she means to him -- or how little (in which case, what a blessing it is to know!).
It's definitely not time for an ultimatum. I'd be damned to wake up next to some guy whose arm I twisted into marrying me. If you expected a proposal but didn't get it, do not resort to giving ultimatums. You may end up scoring the ring and the party, but you'll wonder about the man's feelings for you for the rest of your life.
In the meantime, take Mrs. Dowd's advice. Don't cry over anything that can't cry over you, which includes cars, jewelry, Christmas toys, so-called best friends who call only when they need something, and unrequited loves.
Clearly, material things cannot cry for you, but you can determine whether those of the human variety can by stepping back a bit. Then see what happens.