Her friends meet for lunch. The fingerwear on show makes it look more like a geologists’ convention. And she won’t let your forget it: “But [friend’s name] and [boyfriend you can’t stand] have only been together for a year and they’re engaged,” she says. You need to act. But should you offer the proposal? Let us guide you through the decision-making process: fail two or more tests and it could be time to cut your losses. Is She Marriage Material?
01 Quantify Your Devotion
You might think those finance guys’ knowledge of the fairer sex starts and ends with the champagne they splash on Friday nights. But trading stocks and managing your relationships share similarities. Take selling strategy, for one: “Once investors become emotionally attached to an asset (or you to a woman), they’re inclined to hang on to it for too long,” says Ian Bright of Dutch bank ING. “Bad traders also sell winners too early. It’s called the disposition effect.” Sound familiar? Good bankers use a “stop-loss” system: they automatically sell when a stock falls past a set price to take emotion out of it.
Use our stop-loss quiz (below) to tell if you should hang on or trade up. Answer “yes” for four or more questions and consider your first relationomic test failed.
Do you ever lie about what you’re doing to get out of socialising with her friends?
YES or NO
Would you rather spend Saturday on the sofa with DStv than with her?
YES or NO
Has it been more than a year since you went on holiday together?
YES or NO
Are you attracted to any of her friends than her?
YES or NO
Do you sometimes think about those friends while having sex with her?
YES or NO
Does spending weekend at her parents’ place fill you with dread?
YES or NO
02 Short-term Recession or
Does demand outstrip supply in your sex life? All relationships hit a sexual slowdown eventually; you need to work out if this one is permanent or whether green shoots are round the corner. Use sex counsellor Judith Orr’s quiz to tell whether it’s an issue worth considering.
How often do
you have sex?
More than twice a week (5pt)
Once a fortnight (3pt)
Once a month (1pt)
Once in a blue moon (0pt)
Who instigates it?
Both of us (3pt)
How does it compare
to when you first got together?
The same (5pt)
Similar enough (3pt)
I can tell she’s thinking about her to-do list (0pt)
How often does
she reject you?
Every three or four times (3pt)
She really needs to see a doctor about those headaches… (0pt)
Do you ever
Every now and then (3pt)
She knows not to try it during the rugby (0pt)
do you score?
Fewer than 12 points? You’re stuck in a rut and it’s not a good one. More? Odds are she’s one step closer to the aisle.
03 Time to Start Again?
Think about your relationship equity – emotional and financial. First chalk up the cash cost: have you forked out for more than your fair share of dinners and holidays? It’s estimated that dating can cost more than R50 000 a year on average in nights outs and gifts. But your stake isn’t only financial. Think of the family get-togethers you’ve sat through, the double-dates with her friends and the time spent bonding with her dad. It’s all credit in the bank – you need to ask yourself if you can bear seeing that all go to waste and, more importantly, if you’ve got the time to start again.
Three in the green zone? It won’t be easy for you to start the dating game again from scratch. Think very carefully about your decision before you act on it.
04 The Futures Market
Managing expectations is as important in the bedroom as it is in the boardroom. Sex and relationship psychotherapist Paula Hall says you should establish your deal-breakers long before popping the question. “Take an evening to think about it and write down your list of caveats when you start talking about marriage,” she says. These are the areas where you are unwilling to make major compromises. Give your girl this list of Hall’s top five deal-breakers below and compare notes on your answers. She doesn’t have to know there could be a rock in it for her.
PROPERTY: Is joint ownership the ideal?
BABIES: Do you want them and, if so, when?
MONEY: Should you get a joint bank account?
FAMILY: Would moving elderly parents in be a good idea?
FRIENDS: How many times a month should you see them?
If you mismatched on three or more? Stay out of the jewellers.
The Final Verdict: Hold or sell?
If you failed two of our tests, it’s time to renege. Backing out gracefully is far easier (and cheaper) than a failed marriage – and that’s without taking the R70 000 to R80 000 cost of the average South African wedding into consideration. Get back on the market sooner, not later. If you passed, congrats: there’s every chance she’s the one. Best get saving.