Which is worse, jilting at the altar or walking out on a marriage?

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!

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56 Responses to Which is worse, jilting at the altar or walking out on a marriage?

  1. Höllenhund says:

    That fiancé dodged a bullet. Smart move.

  2. Anonymous Reader says:

    Hey, clearly the groom just needs to go to Paris, then India, then to the Caribbean where he can get his groove back.

    +1 to Hollenhund, $100,000 for a wedding suggests a case of “Epic Bridezilla” who might just be a tiny bit entitled & thus difficult to live with.

  3. Badger Nation says:

    It sounds pretty simple: men are expected to keep their (non-binding or binding) promises, and aren’t allowed to change their minds; women are not, and are, respectively.

    Being allowed to sue for “emotional distress” based on a broken engagement is bullshit. The whole point of an engagement is that it is non-binding. If it were binding, it would be called a marriage. If men can be compelled to pay damages for emotional pain incurred by his decision to not marry somebody, it’s time for an engagement strike.

    Given that “he said he would take care of me for the rest of my life” is entered into evidence in suits for alimony and palimony, it’s only a matter of time before somebody sues her never-engaged ex-boyfriend on the basis of “he said once that he had thought about getting married, so it was like being left at the altar when he dumped me.”

    Grow the F up.

  4. Badger Nation says:

    Dalrock,

    On this topic you might want to check out this Haley thread which produced prodigious debate:

    http://haleyshalo.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/hot-and-cold/

    The basic are a man pursued a woman, went on a date and then decided he wasn’t interested in anything more. Haley was aghast at this and argued he “owed” the woman. To paraphrase her words, “pursuing signals he’s interested, and that gets her hot and bothered so it’s unfair for him to change his mind.”

    One of the anecdotes was a woman furious at a man who had gone silent for a bit because he was dealing with his own case of cancer.

    It also contained the whopper “for most women, feelings don’t turn off and on light a light switch.”

    I could find no other conclusion other than Haley believed a man was not allowed to change his mind once a woman was interested in him.

  5. “Breaking it off was his decision, but leaving you with the bill is just plain wrong.”

    I do not think it is wrong, because I betcha he never wanted all the costly wedding fluff in the first place and was not even asked if he wanted such. They were most likely her purchases, paid for by her independently earned money or really the credit card that makes women feel independent. The wedding cost was thrusted upon him. He probably knew that had he objected to such expenses at the time he would have had to deal with a first rate tantrum.

    In general, what I think is so terrible is that even without marriage, women are finding ways to screw men. Getting sued for $100,000 is probably comparable to a divorce. Like you said, he still is going to have to go before a judge. So the trick is to not even get engaged to such a vicious women in the first place.

    I also wonder if she had an expensive engagement ring, I would hope she would deduct that from the 100K, but nah, the ring is to sweeten the pot.

    A woman is always in a state of emotional distress it seems. I wonder why women have not ganged together yet to come up with one big class-action against men due to all their emotional problems.

  6. Badger Nation says:

    LGR,

    I think it could be wrong – IF the wedding was implied to be paid for by the couple’s earning power and he has not contributed thusly. If her family was assumed to be paying for it, then it is incumbent on them to realize that the wedding planning was done “at risk” to their wallets only.

    If a couple has an agreement to pay the wedding expenses themselves then I DO think he’s on the hook for part of the costs. But I’m with you, I’m guessing the would-be bride ran up costs and charged them expecting they would be “taken care of” after the fact. I suppose we’re supposed to think it is unfortunate and unromantic that these details need be discussed and securitized, but the fact is that in the eyes of the law, marriage IS finance – the binding of two financial entities into one.

    I would love to see this court case in action. This is going to be some Miracle on 34th Street-style farce. Many hairs will be split over who thought they were paying for what, whether he objected, and what level of lavishness constitutes an unconscionable expense. Bridesmaids will cry on the stand. Baby’s Daddy will issue stentorian lecture. He may be asked to pay for food and venue deposits and other “split-benefit”, but can she seriously request a court to order a man to pay for a woman’s unused wedding dress or her hair appointment?

    All that aside, the general irony still stands – women everywhere complain men won’t “commit” and/or marry, then they undertake histrionic court actions in divorce or in this case before the marriage even happens to give men more and more rational reasons to avoid it. There was another case where a woman lied to her boyfriend about how much debt she had, moved to be with him when they got engaged, and then was dumped when he discovered her deception – and won a judgment to the tune of $100,000! What sane man would hop into this crucible?

  7. Anonymous Reader says:

    So who gets custody of the book and movie deal, the ex-groom or the jilted bride?

  8. Lavazza says:

    Great fun!

  9. Pickle says:

    “And that, in this recessed economy, is an even bigger humiliation than being abandoned by a guy with cold feet.”

    If there account was so damaged due to the economy, why on earth are they spending 100K on a wedding??

    If she had left him at the alter, he more than likely wouldn’t have sued and if he tried everyone would be yelling “A-Hole” at him. Good for him for getting out now instead of getting dumped 2-3 kids into it.

  10. WP says:

    This has much more to do with the humiliation (and later, rage) felt by her because 100 other people know about what happened then it does about her actually getting dumped.

    You see, he probably could have (and probably should have), went through with the ceremony then got it annulled later. This situation happened to a close friend of mine, who said he went through with it “for all his friends and family”. That, and a lot of the fees/money is no longer refundable. Probably 90% or more.

    So sure, him going through with it teeters on the “just suck it up and take it like a man” side of the fence, but if there’s no risk of doing it (as far as I understand the annulment of a marriage has no penalties), and everything is nonrefundable, then why not have a party, some free drinks/food, and overall a good time (assuming he had friends that were invited)?

  11. Badger Nation says:

    I’m reading the lemondrop comments, and they are sick. Lots of accusation he was “dishonest.” He “owes” her because he didn’t break it off soon enough.

    By this logic, I can’t wait to see a suit concerning “withdrawn consent” – a man claiming the accuser caused him emotional distress because she was “dishonest” about consenting to sex with him.

    For all I hear I keep hearing about how it’s a woman’s nation, women can do anything, etc, I’m coming across too many stories of women who every time something doesn’t cut right run to a man (daddy or the judge or the cops) and cry “the big bad man hurt me! Fix it and make him make it better”

    Another factor: men, show this to your girlfriends. Watch how they react. It might give you a clue about how she would act in similar situations. It should not be a surprise that a lot of chicks think they deserve money every time something doesn’t go their way in life; sometimes they will communicate that straight out, in the context of reading a story like this. It’s a business adage to “not hire anyone you can’t fire.” Don’t get engaged to someone who won’t let you get un-engaged.

  12. WP says:

    Just to make sure I’d like to state I think being sued over it is ridiculous.

  13. Badger Nation says:

    Just got back from reading more of the comments. It’s hard to read them with all of their “the jerk RUINED HER LIFE!” and “man up!” and sisterhood support and not come away thinking like Roissy/Gorbachev that women are just overgrown petulant children.

    “This has much more to do with the humiliation (and later, rage) felt by her because 100 other people know about what happened then it does about her actually getting dumped.”

    Oh yes – the whole wedding costs issue is just a pretext to punish him for the embarrassment.

  14. Eric says:

    Hollenhund;

    I’m with you on that one. Even if the guy gets stuck with a six-figure judgement it’s nothing compared to what the bitch would have stuck him with later on. Anybody who’s seen men, after the hell of a typical American marriage finally implodes in a horrible divorce, knows that a lawsuit would be a minor nuisance compared to that. Thank God the guy had enough sense to get out of it before kids were born and had their lives ruined too.

    Maybe this guy out to consider a counter-suit on just how much he racked up in expenses dating the little princess?

  15. Oak says:

    EXCELLENT point Eric. What people don’t realize is: This guy got off easy. He figured out how litigous she was before even saying ‘I do’. Hopefully, he has the abilty to generalize this knowledge and understand: Men should not marry. It contains only risks, and no benefits for men.

  16. Retrenched says:

    @ Anonymous Reader

    “Hey, clearly the groom just needs to go to Paris, then India, then to the Caribbean where he can get his groove back.”

    LOL

  17. “He figured out how litigous she was before even saying ‘I do’.”

    Well, she was a lawyer.

    Eric brings up a good point…if she’s ready to write these kinds of checks with his-and-hers money, just wait for the kinds of checks she’s willing to write later on…like when she wants to quit working. I bet she just assumes that he’s okay with supporting her non-economically-productive, oxygen-thiefing carcass.

  18. Octavia says:

    I don’t feel sorry for either one. On her part, she might not have paid attention to any signs of misgivings he was having. On his part, he probably had indications of her spending habits before even proposing to her. Either way, someone has to pay those vendors.

    As for if being jilted is worse than walking out on the marriage, it depends on the circumstances. People often run into problems when they try to make one-size-fits-all rules.

    And I’m looking forward to others trying to stretch this to unreasonable territories, such as sexual consent. Oh wait, someone already did it. LOL To my knowledge, courts don’t currently promote anything that would give credence to sexual servitude, at least not in the U.S., though some of the old laws are certainly interesting.

    There are ways to resolve an issue without having an ugly court battle or even going to court at all. The hatred for the court system, on the part of some people, is interesting to me. I would hope everyone would stop to consider that going to court doesn’t mean you’ll get a ruling you like. Before you decide to let someone be an arbiter for your relationship, you should think about the consequences.

  19. The Deuce says:

    As for if being jilted is worse than walking out on the marriage, it depends on the circumstances. People often run into problems when they try to make one-size-fits-all rules.

    Yes, it’s all so nuanced and complicated! Like, for instance, a man walking out on his engagement to his fiancee is probably worse than a woman walking out on her marriage of several years with her husband and children. So many rules! Who can say what’s what, amiright?

    The hatred for the court system, on the part of some people, is interesting to me.

    Yeah, but what if she punched him?! I don’t have any evidence that it happened in this case, but it could conceivably have happened, and there are no doubt cases out there where a guy wanted out of an engagement because his fiancee punched him, so the only reasonable solution is to make it so that women can never sue men for any reason whatsoever!

  20. The Deuce says:

    Btw, women are known for getting cold feet more often than men. Has anyone ever seen reporters or any other 3rd party get as enraged over it as these hens, or suggest that the woman should be forced in court to pay?

    Now don’t all speak up at once folks!

  21. CAB says:

    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.

    Only skimmed the comments, but I don’t think this was pointed out: for many women these days (and thus for a good portion of our culture at large), marriage is all about the bride getting married and the wedding day (“her special day”) itself. The work that comes afterward with building a life together and raising kids? Commitments, responsibility, vows? So passé. Narcissism is in — and the jerk hurt her feelings!

  22. Zammo says:

    “There are no more wives, only brides.”

    $100K for a wedding simply screams “Bridezilla”! She was scorned and got stuck holding the invoices. Now she wants revenge. Is anyone actually surprised by this?

  23. Tarl says:

    Lots of accusation he was “dishonest.” He “owes” her because he didn’t break it off soon enough.

    Just like a woman “owes” you sex if she excites your interest and doesn’t break it off soon enough! It’s downright dishonest of her not to give you sex once she has excited you…

  24. Thag Jones says:

    Laura beat me to it, but I doubt the $100,000 wedding was his idea. And why should he have to pay for her dress? Maybe she just prefers this righteous indignation to the embarrassment of returning the dress to the store.

  25. Brendan says:

    It’s still cheaper for him than getting married and then divorced. If he had gotten married, had a bambino or two (which was in the cards given her age I think), and then split, he’d probably be looking at 1500-2000/month CS if their earnings bracket is typical for lawyer/professional types in Chicago. He’d hit the 100k mark in only 5 years of that, really, so he’s probably ahead of the game, financially, even if he has to pay 100% of these costs (which is unlikely, I think).

  26. grerp says:

    Being rejected publicly is humiliating, but not 100K humiliating.

    No one should ever spend that much money on a wedding, unless it’s an affair of state or some such.

    He should have bailed earlier when it became apparent how freely she spent on an event spotlighting herself. They might have lost money put down, but they could have recovered catering fees, etc. before food and flowers were ordered.

    Bottom line, bridezillas don’t make good wives. He was wise to get out, but for everyone’s sake, he should have made that call earlier. The money was spent, and I don’t suppose there’s a good way to prove he didn’t authorize or approve it.

  27. Anonymous Reader says:

    Octavia:
    As for if being jilted is worse than walking out on the marriage, it depends on the circumstances. People often run into problems when they try to make one-size-fits-all rules.

    Indeed. Thank you for dispensing our dally allowance of irony, oh all-knowing Fish.

    Signed,
    Just Another Bicycle

  28. Badger Nation says:

    In legal terms, this case looks pretty open and shut.

    I’m guessing he’s going to be asked to pay something like $45,000 (half the costs minus female-only costs like dress and hair). I don’t think you can sue for emotional distress, only the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and that charge will probably be tossed unless she can show he timed the breakup for maximum emotional damage – e.g. he told his dad a year ago but hid it from her.

    Honestly there’s no legal reason he shouldn’t pay for part of the venue deposit, etc, if the un-bride was paying costs on behalf of their mutual enterprise. There’s no reason he should pay the whole thing. A civil (not family) court is unlikely to hold that one person should cover all of the risk of a failed party planning UNLESS it was agreed upon that someone other than the couple (i.e. daddy) was going to be paying for the wedding and this is some kind of ex post facto risk transfer lawsuit.

    Business contracts have explicit risk clauses dictating who is owed what if and when deals fall through. This will become legal precendent and we’ll now have pre-prenuptial agreements.

    IANAL but those are the legal and ethical facts. All the hysterical shriekings of commenters telling him to man up and everything else are just the tantrums of entitlement.

  29. Nutz says:

    I’m not going to bother looking it up, but this has happened already at least once before that I’m aware of. And she won. There’s a very strong possibility he’ll have to reimburse her for a good deal of those expenses.

  30. Dalrock says:

    @Anon Reader
    Signed,
    Just Another Bicycle

    I’m glad I wasn’t eating when I read that! Well done sir.

  31. Dalrock says:

    @Badger Nation
    Honestly there’s no legal reason he shouldn’t pay for part of the venue deposit, etc, if the un-bride was paying costs on behalf of their mutual enterprise.

    I really do think it sounds like the guy treated her badly, and ethically waiting until the last minute to walk out is a disaster (although far better than waiting until after the wedding). As for his legal obligation, to my unlegal mind it would seem that the crux of the matter would be his consent or implied consent to the costs involved. If she booked a $50k hall for the reception and paid for it herself without consulting him first, how can she argue that he should be responsible for this? However, if he was involved with the process, understood the nature of the expenses she was incurring and actively approved or even tacitly approved by silence then it would seem to me that he should be liable to split the costs. The other way I could imagine a judge deciding this would be in the absence of proof that he knew the scope of expenses she planned to incur to have him pay half of “reasonable and customary” wedding expenses. I’m guessing $100k isn’t reasonable and customary though.

  32. jack says:

    The female mind – who can know it?

    The only thing it will take to put an end to much of this nonsense is a thorough change of the white-knights.

    The women are not going to reject a systems that gives them the benefit of so many double-standards.

    But the white-knights may eventually be reachable. I saw the light. I was a big-time beta white-knighter for many years.

    Now I see the gals for what they really are.

  33. nothingbutthetruth says:

    Dalrock, being a foreigner, my English is very bad but I am positive that it is “whose fiancé” and not “who’s fiancé”

    [D: Ahhhh! Thanks.]

  34. nothingbutthetruth says:

    “I could find no other conclusion other than Haley believed a man was not allowed to change his mind once a woman was interested in him.”

    This is the point. I have reached the conclusion that, if a woman is interested in you, you can only avoid to be the bastard if you marry her (and, following that, if she is happy in this marriage).

    This is not a theoretical conclusion. I have had evidence of that with all the women that have been interested in me during my four decades of life in three different continents.

    If she is interested in you and you are not interested in her -> You are a smug and a fool because you don’t see the great woman that she is and you think you can do better. Who do you believe you are? How do you dare to despise this great woman? She will always hate you because her ego has been damaged.

    If she is interested in you and you are interested in her, but you don’t ask her (for example, because you don’t want a relationship right now or you don’t like her personality) -> You are a retard, a loser. Have you Aspergers? How do you leave her standing there? You will regret to let this great woman pass. You will die sad and lonely.

    If you ask her, but you decide to leave after some few dates -> How can you do that? After her feelings have been involved!! See Halo, for more details.

    If you have a relationship with her, but you decide to leave between some few dates and the wedding -> You are a bastard. How do you dare to break her heart?

    But, if she is the one who leaves, she has done the right thing. She didn’t love you anymore so she only avoided more pain for you and her in the future. She did the mature thing and you had to been grateful to her because she is so mature. Don’t try to tell her that you love her. Don’t remind her of her promises of eternal love, because you don’t want to open the gates of hell.

    As someone who was left by her girlfriend six months before the wedding (after six years of relationship), I have been in both sides of the fence. And believe me: there is no good exit for a men unless she does what the woman wants. But women can do whatever they want and they always have the high moral ground.

  35. LJ says:

    I think he absolutely should pay at least his half. I don’t think you can say standing up a bride is “worse” than asking for a divorce, but I think divorce is different in that it’s understandable that, over the course of decades of marriage, things change- that for any of a number of reasons- some legitimate, some frivolous- one may feel at age 45 that they can no longer honor a promise they made at age 25.

    It’s harder for me to understand how things can change so rapidly in the intervening months between the putting down of the deposit for the venue, the caterers, etc and the week before the wedding when it’s called off. To me the groom was negligent in timing his decision not to marry to cause the worst possible financial outcome. He should absolutely be responsible for that, just as a bride who accepts an engagement proposal and later changes her mind would certainly be expected to return the ring.

  36. sestamibi says:

    No, not some guy in a robe. Some bitch in a robe.

  37. Phil says:

    She is a 32 year old lawyer. Case closed. He never should have been dating her in the first place. And this lawsuit just proves it.

  38. Badger Nation says:

    “It’s harder for me to understand how things can change so rapidly in the intervening months between the putting down of the deposit for the venue, the caterers, etc and the week before the wedding when it’s called off.”

    Really? It’s not hard for me to understand at all – as one draws closer to a huge life event, the process of discernment gets a lot more realistic. You begin examining your future life in much starker terms, as in “am I prepared to deal with this habit or flaw every day for the rest of my life?”

    “To me the groom was negligent in timing his decision not to marry to cause the worst possible financial outcome.”

    This is madness. An engagement is not a binding contract – courts haven’t enforced “promise to marry” suits in decades, have they?

    In your view, at what point is the man allowed to elect to not go through with the marriage? In other words, in what time does he cross the “event horizon” and the state of engagement become a binding promise to get married, subject to punitive action upon breach? A week before? A month? Whenever the deposits can be recovered?

  39. JutGory says:

    Hmm…I wonder if Jennifer Wilbanks’ ex-fiance is paying attention.
    Or, maybe this guy should have made up some story about being kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a Hispanic male.
    -Jut

  40. LJ says:

    Badger, I wasn’t saying he did anything wrong by calling off the wedding. He should just pay for at least half of the expenses. Same would go with a woman calling off an engagement- nothing wrong with changing her mind, but she can’t keep the ring!

  41. Badger Nation says:

    “Badger, I wasn’t saying he did anything wrong by calling off the wedding.”

    You didn’t? It seems like “the groom was negligent in timing his decision not to marry to cause the worst possible financial outcome” constitutes doing something wrong. You advocate that he should pay “at least his half,” maybe more – why more, if he didn’t do anything wrong?

  42. LJ says:

    What I meant is, if he didn’t want to marry her, he shouldn’t have married her. Calling off the wedding is the right thing to do. However, I find it hard to believe he didn’t have doubts at some point before the week of the wedding- and it would have been the decent thing to do to share those doubts with his girlfriend before she put down a ton of money.

    But okay, no one’s perfect- maybe he was confused or ambivalent or trying to talk himself into wanting to be married he wasn’t able to get clarity on what he wanted to do until the 11th hr. Okay, fine. That’s forgivable. But he needs to share the financial consequences of that decision.

    As to why “at least half”? Because he was the one who called it off. If my boyfriend proposes, and I say yes and take his diamond, but later change my mind, I’m gonna give him back the whole ring, not reimburse him for half. Because his giving that ring to me was contingent on me marrying him, and so if he’s not gonna get a wife, he should at least be made financially whole. Same with this woman- why should she have ANY wedding expenses if, through no decision of her own, she’s not getting married?

  43. P.T. Barnum says:

    In Feminist Stage 2, shortly after/during women got the vote and outlawed prostitution and alcohol and drugs and males having their own spaces to talk to other males, this was called “breach of promise”.

    They kinda dropped it during the Stage 3 when they were screaming for the divorce, cause maybe it overloaded their Hamsters Rationalization Capacity.

    See everyone, there is a limit to a Hamster’s rationalization power!

    It can’t actually convince women to push for “breach of promise” suits and no-fault divorce AT ONCE.

    It’s okay to HAVE them both at once, but you can’t DEMAND both at once.

  44. P.T. Barnum says:

    The Hamster speaks!

    What I meant is, if he didn’t want to marry her, he shouldn’t have married her. Calling off the wedding is the right thing to do. However, I find it hard to believe he didn’t have doubts at some point before the week of the wedding- and it would have been the decent thing to do to share those doubts with his girlfriend before she put down a ton of money.

    I hate it how men are always pressuring women to get married. They talk about how they need a commitment, painting over any problems in the relationship and pushing for a commitment even though the woman may still have her doubts.

    Then, at the last moment, after pretending to be all for marriage, and pressuring the poor girl to spend all that money on a wedding, they bolt at the last minute!

    Men are such pigs. They only think of themselves and forget about the Wedding. The big, glorious Wedding where the woman will be the center of attention. To take that away from her.

    I mean, they can always get a divorce later, right?

  45. Hope says:

    $12k on flowers and $5k on wedding dress. Truly ridiculous. Weddings are ONE day! What a crazy amount of money to spend.

    The guy shouldn’t have to pay a cent. They have no legal obligations together in terms of the law, and unless some of the bills were in his name, he isn’t liable for any of it.

  46. Hope says:

    Seems to me that she was the one who decided to spend that huge amount of money, so naturally the responsibility should be on her. All in all I spent less than $500 for my wedding. So if my guy had dumped me prior to the wedding, I would have been out that amount, not nearly $100k. I didn’t have an engagement ring, because we didn’t feel the need.

    Women need to start taking responsibility for their own actions. If they really want to be “equal” to men, then they need to “man up” and take the hits like a man would, not run around screaming injustice any time something they could have prevented themselves happen. It’s a valuable learning experience and a mistake, and the lesson is: don’t let it happen in the future.

    No one gave me any sympathy for the financial losses that I incurred with my ex. I made mistakes. I left the cable in my own name when I moved out of state, and he ran up the bill and didn’t pay it. So I got stuck with the bill, but I paid it off. I could have sued him for using my name, but it would have been a major hassle.

    There were other entanglements. I just mentally wrote off the tens of thousands as the price I needed to pay to get out. I made my own bad choices when I was younger, and I paid for it in both time and money. That’s fair.

  47. LJ says:

    I think if you’re getting married, you should make the decision together on how much to spend since no matter whose bank account it comes out of it will affect your joint finances once you’re husband and wife. Probably best to set up a wedding account you both put money into. Then both parties have ‘skin in the game’ so the expenses won’t go beyond what both are comfortable with. Her mistake was paying for everything herself.

  48. Dalrock says:

    @LJ
    Her mistake was paying for everything herself.

    I don’t know the details of the case other than reading some of the news stories. However, I strongly suspect that she paid for all of these things herself so that she could make unilateral decisions. She didn’t want to have to run these decisions past him. She didn’t want him to ask her why she wanted to spend $600 on a pair of shoes, for example. She wanted unilateral authority but joint responsibility. As the lemondrop blogger puts it:

    Just think about it. Had they pulled the trigger and walked down the aisle, their assets would have been combined, so it didn’t matter which of them fronted the costs. Just as their lives were to be joined, so were their debts.

  49. Dalrock says:

    @Hope
    Women need to start taking responsibility for their own actions. If they really want to be “equal” to men, then they need to “man up” and take the hits like a man would, not run around screaming injustice any time something they could have prevented themselves happen.

    Funny. My wife says “man up” to her girlfriends. I have actually been thinking about writing a post on it.

  50. Badger Nation says:

    “Because his giving that ring to me was contingent on me marrying him, and so if he’s not gonna get a wife, he should at least be made financially whole. Same with this woman- why should she have ANY wedding expenses if, through no decision of her own, she’s not getting married?”

    I don’t think the engagement ring is a fitting analogy at all. A ring is not payment to a third party like wedding costs – it’s a resource transfer between the engaged parties, so the return of the ring acts to return both people to their pre-engaged state. What you are asking is that one person be made “whole” at the expense of another – making engagement a binding contract, which it hasn’t been for sixty years. (In many states (though not all), the man is entitled to return of the ring no matter who broke off the engagement – this is more pragmatism than ethics; courts are not particularly interested in tying up time hearing sob stories about who broke what to whom.)

    Also, engagement rings are expected to be, and almost always are, paid for out of a man’s personal resources. The two dominant models for weddings are the bride’s family pays, or the couple pays out of their marital enterprise – neither of which involve one of the engaged people fronting all of the cost nor entitled to recompense.

    I’ll say it again, every contract in society has buyout and severance clauses dictating who holds the bag for a failure – an engagement is likewise a risk proposition. She should have “expenses” commensurate with the risk of being engaged and the marriage not happening. The groom paying half of the non-refundable expenses is entirely appropriate, unless he can demonstrate she intended to pay the whole thing herself, spent money he disapproved of or otherwise recused himself from accountability. But that’s not what this is about – this is about revenge, stringing him up in court. For him to cover her side because she didn’t get what she wanted and feels ripped off is just solipsism.

  51. Octavia says:

    Anon aka Just Another Bicycle: “Indeed. Thank you for dispensing our dally allowance of irony, oh all-knowing Fish.”

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you weren’t operating under the assumption that I didn’t intend the phrase to be ironic. LOL! (And I’m feeling so considerate that I won’t even point out your spelling error. Doh! I just did. Sorry, indeed…)

  52. Justin says:

    Duh, just go through with the wedding, then divorce her a week later. If you live in a state with laws against wedding jilting, this should have been pretty obvious.

  53. Dalrock says:

    @JutGory
    Hmm…I wonder if Jennifer Wilbanks’ ex-fiance is paying attention.

    This made me want to google her and see what she is up to now. According to this article, she has met her dream man:

    Wilbanks, now 37, writes she’s been dating twice-married, twice-divorced landscaper Greg Hutson since early in 2009.

    Then later in the story:

    Still, Wilbanks has found that unconditional love doesn’t pay the bills. The New York Post reported she recently declared bankruptcy after racking up some $30,000 in credit card debt to stores such as Victoria’s Secret and Old Navy. Wilbanks is unemployed, and her only means of support is the $1,000 a month boyfriend Hutson doles out to her.

    Evidently all of this comes as a great surprise to her:

  54. MarkyMark says:

    Dalrock,

    Looks like Wilbanks’ ex BF, John Mason, dodged a SERIOUS bullet…

    MarkyMark

  55. dan says:

    “You contemptible pig. I remained celebate for you. I stood at the back of a cathedral, waiting in celibacy for you, with 300 friends and relatives in attendance. My uncle hired the best Romanian caterer in the state. To obtain the seven limousines for the wedding party my father used up his last favors with Mad Pete Trollo. So for me, for my mother, my grandmother, my father, my uncle and for the common good, I must now kill you and your brother.”

    Good thing this chick was armed with naught more than threats of (yet another useless, baseless, unnecessarily frivolous) lawsuit!!!

    [D: I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts.]

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