There is a story in the news about a bride to be whose fiancé called off the engagement just days before the wedding. She is suing him for just under $100,000 for wedding expenses and emotional distress.
I don’t know enough about the case or the law to have an opinion on whether he should have to pay up, but it does sound like he treated her quite badly. Or maybe not. Perhaps he was just being true to himself. What if he wasn’t haaaapy?
What struck me about this was the moral outrage by the newscasters, especially the women. When grerp or I write about the cost to kids and spouses when men or women decide to not honor their marriage vows, the seething response from many women is why do you care? It strikes me that for many people the idea of someone suddenly failing to honor their engagement is far worse than suddenly failing to honor the actual marriage vows.
We don’t see news stories with wronged husbands whose wives one day decided they weren’t happy. That would be passing moral judgment after all, and even a church can’t do that! Commitment is all well and good, but you can’t expect someone to honor their promise even when they don’t want to.
But maybe not. Maybe some promises really have to be kept, and others aren’t such a big deal. Jilting at the altar seems to be one the media and many women bloggers see as unacceptable. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps because no kids are harmed? Anyway, there does seem to be much more sympathy for women left at the altar than for men who kept their promises only to be ambushed with divorce.
ABC News even did a piece a few years back: Jilted Bride: ‘In a Moment, It’s the Worst Day of Your Life’. The subtitle was Broken-Hearted Brides Faced Cancelled Weddings and Uncertain Futures. This is strange, because it almost sounds like not keeping a promise harms the other party.
While looking for news stories on the lawsuit I mentioned in the opening I found several blogs by women who felt that keeping promises was extremely important. Blogger Nicole Siaa explains:
But during all that planning, all the list-making, cake-tasting and tuxedo-renting, Buttitta’s fiance had plenty of time to put a hand up and say, “Hey, maybe this isn’t the best idea.” When he finally did, it was at the 11th hour. That’s after the dress is paid for in full, the venue is paid in full, the florist has received the shipments of flowers, the baker has molded the gum-paste flowers, the guests have booked their hotel rooms — the point at which the absolute most amount of money that could be spent was spent without hope of recovery. And that, in this recessed economy, is an even bigger humiliation than being abandoned by a guy with cold feet.
It turns out, the time to decide if you are being true to yourself, and if you aren’t haaaapy, or if you don’t love the person is before the wedding. Who knew? Would it be better if the guy then wrote a book and made a movie about how glad he was that he dumped his fiancée at the altar? Maybe men could take their fiancées to go see it for date night. Certainly that would make it better, right? Nicole adds:
The point is, Buttitta’s fiance lied. He tricked her into believing that spending that money was not for nothing.
Well, maybe not. From what she is saying this guy actually did something wrong. Maybe the more formal the promise, the less important it is?
Blogger Heather Murphy-Raines also feels the bride to be was wronged by the man who decided to be true to himself:
Good for you, Dominique Buttitta. Good for you. Breaking it off was his decision, but leaving you with the bill is just plain wrong.
I don’t call this sour grapes. I call this natural consequences. This is a lesson her ex-fiancee should have learned in the third grade. Do the right thing, or perhaps someone — in this case, a court of law — may do it for you.
Now I’m really confused. We should have courts decide who was wrong when we decide who should bear the cost of a flaked commitment? Now the man has to go explain himself to some guy in a robe?
Someone help me out here!