I Get That You’re Married, But That’s Not Your ‘Husband,’ That’s Just John From Kappa Sig

Congrats, girly!! I can’t believe that you are actually married! I mean, obviously, I knew it was coming. I was there for the engagement reveal, the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and then, of course, the wedding. So we were all very aware of what this was all leading to. I am so honored to watch you, my best friend from college, marry your college sweetheart. I was able to watch this beautiful love grow from the very beginning into what it is now. But no matter how many times you say it, I will not be able to wrap my head around the fact that your “husband” is John From Kappa Sig.

IDK, I guess growing up, everyone who had a husband seemed so old. And not just old—like also, established? That’s not to say you’re not established; your very stable nursing job and mortgage both speak for themselves. But “husband” just carries so much weight to it. On paper, you are married, but in my head, he’s still the guy that you would put on makeup to send a Snapchat to when we were freshmen. The nights that you and I used to get stupid drunk and walk home barefoot at 2am rain or shine seem too close for you to be a wife and potentially soon-to-be mother. 

Ok, now that I think about it, it’s less about you and more about him. You definitely have the poise and maturity to be a married woman. Those aforementioned Thirsty Thursday Shoeless Shuffles may have been one of those things where I thought everybody was doing it, but I was too drunk to notice I was the only one. He’s the one that I can’t believe holds the title of husband. We’re talking about the same John, right? The one who showed up to every event already a six-pack deep? The one who would go on rants about how the real world is a “scam” every time he got high? The only fraternity brother in history to be impeached from his position as social chair? That John?

Yes, all right, it’s not fair of me to highlight just the wild things he did in college. I know he’s much more than just a fun guy to party with. There was that time during Greek Week when I totally ate shit in tug-of-war and he ripped his shirt off to use as a tourniquet. I mean, I wasn’t even bleeding, but it’s the thought that counts. But that’s beside the point. I’m not even going to bring up the time when John said he “wasn’t sure he wanted to get tied down just yet” when you first started dating. We’re all allowed to change our minds. Level with me here: After seeing him at his craziest, don’t you agree it’s kind of weird that he did a full 180 and signed legal documents binding the two of you together?

I feel you getting mad at me. I’m so happy for you! I swear! I think the two of you make a perfect match, and truly I can see you spending the rest of your lives together. And I promise that I will just call him John from now on and not John From Kappa Sig. I’m just getting caught up in the semantics. Anywho, enjoy your honeymoon with your new hubby! Ew, actually, hubby is somehow worse.

Image: Samantha Estrada / Stocksy.com

Is Premarital Pregnancy Trendy?

When I was a teenager and started hooking up with my first “totally wrong for me” boyfriend, the thing I was most afraid of was getting pregnant. I never messed around without condoms, and even then, I’d make him pull out every time just to be extra careful. It wasn’t due to the fact that my parents said they’d disown me if I got knocked up—I’m pretty sure we only had one awkward conversation about it in the car, and I’ve mostly blocked out the memory due to the sheer humiliation of it all. No, it was the way they talked about relatives who accidentally got pregnant or how my mom looked disappointed yet resigned when I asked to go on birth control at 17.

Even as I got older, went to college, and started getting my sh*t together, the implication was there: don’t get pregnant before you’re married. The reason, of course, was that my life would be over. Destroyed. I’d be a ~ruined woman.~ So, I used condoms, pulled out, and went on birth control that destroyed my libido and made me not want to have sex in the first place, all in an effort to avoid the dreaded pregnancy out of wedlock.

I put a lot of work into not getting pregnant, but now, as a married, professional (lol) woman in my late twenties who spends an ungodly amount of time scrolling through Instagram, I’m starting to wonder if that was the right choice. As my biological clock starts to tick, it makes sense why some women would decide to get pregnant despite not being married. Unless you’ve somehow managed to avoid all media for the past couple of years, there’s a good chance you’ve been privy to celeb pregnancy announcements. Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian, Mindy Kaling, Emma Roberts, and Gigi Hadid are just a handful of the mommas out there who had a baby (or babies, in Mindy’s case) sans spouse. Granted, they are superstars who have money and the ability to hire people to help them. But it’s not just people who can make bank from one #SponCon who are bucking the “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby with the baby carriage” norm. It’s regular people as well.

Despite the outdated taboo, a few friends of mine got pregnant and had babies before getting married, and at first, I didn’t think much of it. But then, I saw more and more women my age posting stunning bump pictures without a partner (or at least, without a ring) and dressing their babies up and casually chatting about shared custody or their happy unmarried family unit. When I saw my 10th announcement within a few months, I pulled a Carrie and couldn’t help but wonder: Is getting pregnant sans marriage… trendy?

As someone who went the “socially accepted/expected” path (college, marriage, house, maybe babies in the future), I can’t speak to the hows and whys of the influx of single moms, but it’s definitely not just an Instagram coincidence. Before the 1960s, premarital pregnancy was pretty f*cking rare, according to 2017 data from the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee. Back then, about 5.3% of births were to single ladies. Since then, however, births to unmarried women started climbing. In 2008, 40% of births were to unwed moms, and today only about 9% of those are followed up with a good old fashion shotgun wedding, as opposed to 43% back in the early ’60s.

So, the big question is: Why are millennials choosing to have children outside of marriage?

Basically? We don’t view marriage the same way our parents and grandparents did. “Previous generations viewed marriage as the first step of adulthood. Many millennials, however, look at marriage as one of the last milestones you get to after you are financially stable,” relationship therapist and coach Jaime Bronstein explains to Betches. “Since many millennials aren’t gaining that financial security at the peak of their child-bearing years, they feel like they should just have a baby regardless of their relationship status while they can.”

Baily, a 27-year-old mom of a 1-year-old, agrees. “In my grandma’s generation, you just did not get divorced. It was against the church. In my mom’s generation, everyone’s divorced,” she explains. “This generation isn’t bothering. I never grew up wanting to get married. I was never that girl. I don’t look at wedding dresses or rings online. I just wanted to be a mom one day.

Despite not being married (although she is in a serious relationship with her baby’s father), Baily’s decision to get pregnant wasn’t totally accidental. “I’d be lying if I said alcohol wasn’t involved,” she admits, “But I had very knowingly canceled my birth control subscription to eventually try. It just happened a lot faster than I thought.” Since she’s with a man eight years her senior who, she says, “was on an ‘I wanna be a dad kick,'” having a baby just made sense. 

Sarah, a 29-year-old regional sales manager, is currently 33 weeks along in her pregnancy and in a serious, committed relationship with her baby’s father. The mom-to-be agrees with Baily, saying, “I think as a society we are becoming less traditional as a whole. Part of the shift from tradition is making the decision to have a baby regardless of marital status.”

When it comes to her relationship, Sarah says, “My pregnancy has only strengthened our relationship. It’s been such a joy to watch him settle into fatherhood.” She adds, “It’s funny how things that once felt so major (like a wedding) seem so insignificant once you’re expecting a child together.”

For Adriane, a flight attendant with a 3-year-old son, it was the legal freedom that came with being unwed—as well as the chance to see how her S.O. handled the changes—that made her feel like it was the right decision. “You get to find out how your partner deals with stress and big life changes. Like a trial period,” she laughs.

“You can always cancel if you don’t like it,” Samantha, an unmarried mom of two, agrees. “You see everything about a person before you decide to spend your whole life with someone. I think that cuts down on your chance of divorce. If things don’t work out, it’s a lot easier to break up than to divorce, and that will be easier on your kids.”

And while the moms I talked to (all of whom have some level of post-secondary education) are in agreement that they made the right choice in having their children, being unmarried can add a level of uncertainty.

It’s easier to leave when you aren’t married, and that has been a worry of mine at times,” says mom of two, Jenn. “A new baby is tough. Especially postpartum when my hormones are crazy, and I’m a mess crying all the time… There is a lot of gross stuff that goes on during pregnancy and after you have the baby which your partner is going to see. It definitely made me nervous that maybe he wouldn’t find me attractive or sexy again after seeing my body change so much and seeing me in such a vulnerable position.”

Luckily for Jenn, her partner is proving to be as doting—if not more so—than the husbands of her friends, which is something Baily noticed as well. “Men can be very irritating, and I’m a big ‘I’ll just do it myself’-er. I luckily still have a lot of support,” she explains. “My boyfriend is great, and he’s such a great dad too. But I see my single friends managing just fine without a man.”

Baily and Samantha both feel the societal shift will continue to grow as women see close single friends and “everyday women” rear children without a spouse. Add in the fact that single influential celebrities are also having babies and the whole trend gains speed. 

“Celebrities have a large influence on the minds of impressionable individuals. Naturally, you compare yourself to those in the public eye and wonder if their reality can be your reality,” explains relationship expert Spicy Mari. As the female empowerment movement continues to push forward (about damn time, amiright?), there’s a good chance unwed pregnancy will continue to become more popular.

As women become more financially stable, they feel as though they don’t need to be married to gain the financial benefits they once needed that came along with marriage,” adds Bronstein.

Ultimately, every relationship is different. For some, a legally binding commitment will make them feel ready to have a child. While 60% of pregnancies still happen post-wedding, a growing amount of people just don’t need that sort of declaration. Whether you’re married or not, things like judgment from older generations and sticky logistics should the relationship not work out are factors to consider, but will probably come either way.

Anne*, a recently divorced mom of a 1-year-old, advises anyone thinking about getting pregnant, “to ask themselves: ‘Can I co-parent with this person if we don’t work out?’ and ‘Am I willing to see less of my child if we do end up co-parenting?'” She adds, “Obviously, that can happen if you get married. But married couples are more likely to work things out than couples who don’t have that commitment.” 

Ultimately, deciding you want to get pregnant in 2021 isn’t necessarily contingent upon being married, so you have to decide what’s best for you and your child. “Think about your personal pros and cons. Think about the meaning and purpose behind both,” advises Bronstein. “Everyone needs to do what is best for them.” There’s no wrong answer here, as long as you’re emotionally, physically, and financially ready to care for a child.

“A commitment is a commitment, and a baby is a HUGE commitment. Nothing says ‘you’re mine forever’ like literally creating a life together,” says Baily. “Don’t let government papers, a wedding dress, or bitchy bridesmaids dictate how old your kids will be when you’re 40 on a cruise ship drinking margs, and they’re all off to college already.” We’ll cheers our mocktails to that. 

*Name has been changed.

Images: Camylla Battani / Unsplash; Giphy (5)

What It’s Like To Be A WFH Mom During Quarantine

At Betches, we’ve been working from home for 45 days and counting. And while everyone is starting to go a little stir-crazy from the lack of human interaction, and we’re all probably sick of Zoom meetings, what makes WFH different for me (and any parent) is working from home with a toddler. We’re talking about a whole new idea of annoying coworkers here. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of this extra time with my son and husband, but all of the memes about hiding in the closet or bathroom are real.

I’m 31 years old, and the Art Director at Betches Media, and I have a beautifully energetic 22-month-old son, Oliver.

All I see on social media is what to do with this newfound time that quarantine has given people—baking artisanal bread, learning a new language, painting a mural on your living room wall. Meanwhile, I’m over here just trying to find time to make myself lunch. Our day starts at a bright 6am most mornings, which I have to admit, are my favorite. We all wake up happy, pre-anxious meltdowns, ready to start our day. My husband usually works out while I take Oliver downstairs to eat breakfast and get a couple of minutes to catch up on some emails or the news.

After my 20-ish minutes of zen, Oliver is READY. Think about a wind-up toy that’s just running in all directions. I try to stay away from the TV as much as possible, so the morning is usually arts and crafts time where I can give him most of my attention so he doesn’t redecorate my house with red crayon (again). After that, I turn on Paw Patrol and hope we get a good hour of TV babysitting time while he plays with his toy cars.

My day-to-day as Art Director usually consists of meetings with team members and other departments about current and future projects. I work closely with our content, video, ecommerce, sales and marketing teams (in other words, every team at Betches). In between meetings, I am designing on the computer—usually logos, decks, Instagram posts, and new graphics for our shop website. Keep in mind I have to actually focus while I’m designing. So throwing a toddler into this schedule is a bit like throwing a puppy into a yoga class. 

In normal life, my husband and I commute into the city and my son goes to daycare. He gets to socialize with kids his age, be constantly engaged in learning new things, and have teachers deal with the crazy little people. Now, I am the teacher, friend, chef and mother. I try to make time through the day to engage with Oliver and give him undivided attention, but more than I’d like to admit, my computer takes priority. But I still try to find small ways to interact with him, like thinking of times when I can take voice calls instead of video so I can run around the backyard with him or take him for a walk to get some fresh air. (Bonus: it’s exercise, right?)

Aside from the obvious frustrations of WFH while mothering, there are so many new issues that have come up that you don’t see on the surface that a lot of parents are dealing with right now. As someone who has battled with a generalized anxiety disorder for half of my life, current events have only amplified this problem. Will my coworkers understand why I’m not answering them right away or why there’s a small person in all of our meetings pulling me in another direction yelling “come on, mama”? I’m also constantly worried that this will affect Oliver’s intellectual growth, social skills, and attachment to me and my husband. This is a crucial time in Oliver’s development, so I find myself Googling sensory activities and watching all of the Insta moms make this sh*t look easy. But I will say, everyone can have their artisanal bread… I’ve fully mastered playdough. 

While I’m grateful to have my husband to share parenting duties, he and I are in what feels like a constant battle of who’s “busier” and who needs to be watching Oliver. My husband works full-time in tech sales running a team and is on Zoom calls literally all day. He is very involved and does what he can, but his idea of “watching” Oliver is putting the TV on. (Ok fine, he takes him outside sometimes too.)

When all of the obvious problems started to arise, we also had to deal with f*cking sleep issues. I thought sleep training was left back in 2018 when my son was first born. We had to re-sleep-train Oliver to nap in his crib and stay asleep in the middle of the night. We went over a month of sleepless nights. So we were both cranky from not sleeping and we still had to do the day all over again. Luckily we contacted a sleep consultant ($250 later) and after a week we were back on track. Toddlers really need their schedule, and his was turned completely upside down.

While most days It feels like I’m on a sitcom rerun of some messed-up Twilight Zone babysitters club, I still appreciate this time I get to spend with my family. This has all taught me so much about motherhood, and I have so much more respect for stay-at-home moms and teachers. Working from home with my toddler has given a whole new meaning to work/life balance. I am so grateful to be a part of a company that empowers me as a working mother, and I’m ok with working until 11pm to finish projects because I know I’ll never have this amount of quality time with my son again. 

If you’re someone who is right alongside me with this, the best advice I could give is to plan with your significant other the night before on who has meetings when. Understand your child’s attention span and plan for different activities where you could both sit there with them, and get some work done. And sometimes, when it’s all too much, just turn on music and have a dance party, it’s a way better outlet than getting angry or frustrated. 

Images: Brittany Levine

Why I Decided To Take My Wife’s Last Name

No one who knows me would call me a traditional person. At 16, I was a blonde, perky cheerleader obsessed with the color pink, but I was making out with girls at parties and let’s just say, had zero interest in the football players. Nowadays, I find babies annoying and, frankly, weird to look at 99% of the time. The only time you can find me in rubber gloves and an apron is if I’m dressing up as Betty Draper for Halloween. In fact, the most conventional thing I’ve ever done is fall in love with my wife the first moment that I met her like I was in a rom-com, meaning that I would have to call myself a believer in love at first sight—even though that sounds insane and up until that point, you were a lot more likely to find me at a house party talking about how love isn’t real. Somehow, though, it happened, which is how I ended up married at the ripe old age of 26 like a child bride, sending all my “cool unconventional girl” credibility down the drain. (I got a little of it back when I proposed to my wife first after I got tired of waiting for her to ask me, a tip I’d recommend to any girl getting impatient for a ring.) But anyway, all of this is at least partly why most people who know me were surprised to hear that I was planning on changing my last name once we were married. The bigger surprise was that there was someone out there willing to marry me at all, and I know that because that’s what everyone told me.

I didn’t think much about the name change during the wedding planning process, mainly because I was busy crying on the phone to my mom about cupcake flavors and generally losing my mind. I knew it was something that would have to be dealt with, but until I found the perfect veil and made sure my bouquet would lean peony-heavy, I didn’t have the headspace to add it to my to-do list of things to stress about. Once the wedding was over and regular life was setting back in, I started researching what I’d actually have to do to have the same name as my wife. That investigation wasn’t super pleasant. 

All the reasons not to change your name are pretty convincing, honestly. It takes a lot of time in both the short- and long-term. In the short-term, you’ve got to carry your marriage certificate everywhere you go while you run around to government offices like Social Security and the DMV, and everyone knows a potential trip to the DMV is reason enough to decide to keep your maiden name forever. 

In the long-term, it just takes a while for absolutely everything out there in the world with your name on it to get the memo that it’s changed. You have to re-register to vote and get new credit cards and notify Human Resources at your job. And if you mess it up on a flight reservation, forget it. If anyone out there really doesn’t care that you’re a newlywed, it’s TSA. In short, I understand the real reason divorce is such a big deal now, and it isn’t the emotional devastation at all—it’s the sole idea of having to change your name back again.

Some people asked me why I was the one to take my wife’s name, and that’s a valid question. As two women, the typical gender roles that designate who changes their name didn’t apply to us. It could have gone either way. So, how did we choose? Part of it was that she wanted to keep her maiden name as a doctor. Cool. You’re smart, we get it. And she would’ve changed to mine if I felt strongly about it, and I knew that—so it wasn’t like I felt forced into taking hers. She also works a schedule that isn’t in line with normal working hours (see: doctor), so changing her name would have taken her three times as long and been much harder to accomplish. It just made more basic sense for me to deal with it instead. So, I stepped up to the plate and tackled the process myself, because one way or another I was determined for us to have the same last name. ‘Til death do us part, and all that. 

 

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“I could not have dreamed of you.”—my wife, in her vows, as I sobbed incoherently. 🌈 #loveislove #marriagedayone #soulmate

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But it wasn’t all based on logistics. The process was emotional to me on another level because of who we are.

As a same-sex couple, it’s uniquely important to us that we’re visible as a family unit to the outside world, and we have to put more effort in to achieve that visibility. We’re 10 times more likely to be mistaken as sisters, friends, or cousins. Part of that isn’t anyone’s fault. We’re both long-haired blondes who just tend to present as stereotypically straight, even though we aren’t. Guys will hit on us and then linger to ask inappropriate questions about our sex life once we tell them we’re married, instead of respectfully leaving the way they (usually) would when a straight girl says she’s married. I, on the other hand, once explained to a man in a bar that I was married to my wife, and he insisted on taking a picture with his arms around us like we were zoo animals. There have been times when men thought I wanted to be chased or that I was playing hard to get somehow by lying about being married to my wife when I was, in fact, just being honest and trying to get myself another drink without my marital status being dissected. 

Taking my wife’s last name doesn’t automatically prevent these types of situations from happening. No one is asking for our ID or documents in public, except the bouncer at whatever bar we go to (and sometimes we do forget our rainbow armbands at home). But it still continues to make a difference in every aspect of our lives, because it means something on a deeper level for us. 

 

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This National Coming Day post is coming out late, but so did I. I did not come out in a “normal” timeline, as if there is one. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t but at 16/18/20, what does that really mean? It takes time and it takes courage to acknowledge what’s true about yourself and what isn’t, regardless about what the rest of the world has to say about it. If I have any advice for anyone in the process of coming out, it’s just that there’s no right way to do it and that you’re doing fine. That’s it. You’re doing great. Keep sipping that chardonngay if it feels right. Don’t if it doesn’t. In the words of @spaceykacey, just follow your arrow wherever it points. 🌈 #nationalcomingoutday

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Taking my wife’s last name was another connection between us that made a difference to the outside world in addition to deepening how we feel about each other. Sharing a last name makes me feel validated when we book a flight together, or check into a hotel, or get our taxes done. If that sounds utilitarian, it is. But that’s part of the point. It’s making those typical, everyday experiences reflect the new boundaries of who we are. I’m not losing my individuality, but I am presenting a new part of my identity that’s now aligned with hers, and if you ask me, that’s as romantic as it gets. It’s not about who changes their name; it’s just about making it the same. Out of every single other person out there in the world, we chose each other. And as two women living in a country where marriage equality was just legalized federally five years ago, us being married is still a statement, whether we want it to be or not. There was a time not at all long ago where I couldn’t legally call myself her wife, and that’s something I’m always aware of. Choosing to take the same name as her was another way to celebrate everything that simple gesture symbolizes. The process itself was anything but exciting, but there was still a thrill in changing my name to hers. It’s an unmistakable link, a bond that can be seen on our licenses and passports and my new signature. If you ask me, that alone makes it all worth the paperwork. 

Images: Shannon Layne Nomann via Anni Graham

The Top Moments On ‘Love Is Blind’ So Far That Prove This Show Is An Addictive Train Wreck

Please tell me you all are watching Love is Blind, Netflix’s latest reality show. PLEASE. If not, you should get on that now, because the next four episodes just dropped this morning. This article, however, is only about the first five episodes, because I am merely a human with a full-time job who just spent the last two nights binge watching this show just to bring you all my BRILLIANT and HILARIOUS takes. Am I insane to cram that much reality TV into two school nights when I also have other things going on? Yes, I am. Do I regret it? No, I don’t. Do I need a venti nonfat latte? Yes I do, and if you’re in Midtown East please bring me two, I’ll put your name in our security system. 

I guess I should actually explain the premise of this show to you instead of the details of my coffee order. Basically, men and women get to know each other without seeing what the other looks like. They talk through a wall. It is blue and shimmery, and is reminiscent of that lava lamp we all had in our rooms in 1998. It also magically makes people able to fall in love with strangers within four days. And yes, if you’re counting, we are only two months into 2020 and I’ve already watched two shows where human beings shout words at a wall to communicate with each other. My mother is very proud. Anyway, once the contestants fall in love, sight unseen, the couples get engaged, get to meet, go on a trip, and plan a wedding. It’s all about as horrifyingly awkward as you would imagine. In fact, I have been shrieking in my apartment for days. I’m pleasantly surprised none of my neighbors have called the police, but also am slightly concerned that if I’m getting murdered I’m sh*t out of luck. Oh well! But, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was left shrieking through the awkwardness, right? So let me remind you of your horror, and let’s take a look at the most shriek-worthy moments of the season so far!

Nick And Vanessa Lachey

It’s so sweet of Netflix to provide a graveyard for the C-list boy band has-beens of the world! Everyone needs a final resting place, even if they were never Justin Timberlake. So, I was fine when Nick and Vanessa showed up in the first episode, thinking they would be the hosts. But then, they didn’t appear again until the couples got to Mexico, and Vanessa seemed like she had never read lines in her life. That’s when it became very obvious to me that the Lacheys needed Netflix for a free trip to Mexico. I had to look away, I was so embarrassed for them. I have a suggestion, guys. Cash in on this fame resurgence you’re getting from Jessica’s book, pay for your own trip to Mexico, and don’t ever remind me again how pathetic you are.

I hope you held your head low when you picked up your paycheck, Lacheys

Jessica’s Baby Voice

Jessica! You are 34. You were practically alive when Kennedy was assassinated. Sienna Miller is in a movie playing a grandmother younger than that! You don’t need to sound like you walked out of your mother’s womb in 2016. It’s just not necessary. This show is called LOVE IS BLIND, not LOVE IS DEAF, so I would think you’d want to sound as normal as humanly possible. Not the case for Jess. I mean, except when she was talking to the camera and sounded like a totally capable adult woman. WHAT WAS THAT?! Perhaps this show wasn’t the only experiment going on—I think Jessica was conducting an experiment of her own. And her findings? Men do indeed LOVE a baby voice. Betches writers do not. 

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I could definitely audition for the Californians on SNL. I guess I ended up in the right place though! 📍🐻⭐️ #whyismyvoicelikethis #loveisblindseries #Californian

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Carlton In Mexico

I’m sorry, but Carlton was the worst. Not only did he walk out on women that he did not deem interesting enough when they were in the pods, he also treated his fiancée Diamond like sh*t. First, he didn’t confide in the woman to whom he got engaged that he was bisexual. AND THEN! When he did, he expected her immediate acceptance without even a discussion, and when she wanted to talk about it he screamed that her wig was sliding off. HE INSULTED HER WIG!! This is a man that producers deemed mature enough to get married within a few weeks? Honestly, I don’t know what else he said past the wig drama because, as I’ve mentioned, I was shrieking, but I’m sure it also was terrible. His behavior combined with his hat that said “Daddy” on it made it physically impossible for me to watch any of his scenes in Mexico not through my fingertips. 

Damian and Gigi’s Proposal

Look, it’s awkward enough to watch something as intimate as a proposal. Add in the barrier of a lava lamp wall, and it’s even weirder. Then, mix in the fact that these people met only days ago, and it’s nearly unbearable. And finally, have the man proposing announce “I am your gift” while wearing a bow around his wrist, and I’m honestly shocked I did not spontaneously combust into particles of blood and guts. I did nearly drop my wine bottle, though, which would have been tragic because I still had to get through Gigi proposing BACK to Damian instead of doing the sane thing and saying, “That’s so nice you think you’re a gift, but can I get mozzarella sticks instead?”. Needless to say, my wine bottle did not make it through the rest of the evening. 

Gigi’s Continued Mention of the “Days Without Sex” Memes

Day 329 without sex: I went to Starbucks just so I could hear somebody scream my name

— ryki (@ryankii) July 14, 2018

Speaking of Gigi, she is one of the main reasons my throat is hoarse this morning. The second she started quoting the “Days Without Sex” memes at dinner to Damian I thought I would never recover. We get it, you want to have sex. Can’t you just raise one eyebrow at him and say “eh?” like a socially awkward normal person? You don’t need to go saying year-old memes out loud! It’s not cool! And it still wasn’t cool when you used the same joke again at the bar with the other girls! Is this what the world is like when you don’t have access to your phone? Instead of DM’ing things, you must speak them? That’s the Bad Place. 

All The Couples Meeting for the First Time

Well this was savage. I love that the producers sent all the couples to the same hotel for their trip, and forced them to meet up with the very people that they had been dating only DAYS prior to getting engaged to someone else. Oh yeah, and they provided alcohol. If that’s not a recipe for Jessica regretting her choices fun, I don’t know what is! Jessica talking to Barnett was the most desperate thing I’ve ever seen, I could not even watch. But, I think we all might be Jessica when she returned from the night to say about the man she is SO OBVIOUSLY pining over: “he’s deeply troubled.” 

Barnett and Amber’s Entire Relationship

Is it me, or do Barnett and Amber seem like a couple from Are You The One? instead of Love is Blind? Like, if this was one of my first impression articles about contestants, it would go something like this:

Barnett: Every show has to have a douchey frat bro for Ryanne to throw herself at in their DMs, and Barnett is that guy on Love is Blind. He 100% does not want to get married, but does want to get laid as many times as possible with minimal effort. Look for him to not make the final commitment and end up hooking up with all three girls he was pursuing after the show. 

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All I'm saying is @taylorswift if you're watching and I end up single after this. Ow ow! #LoveisBlind #netflix #ukulele #taylorswift

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So I guess he’s back on the market then

Amber: Amber is the kind of girl that will ruin your life and enjoy doing it. Watch out Barnett, she’ll find you. 

Ooohh probably not for long…

So, as you can see, I totally think this will work out. Kidding! I totally think they’re going to get the police called on them, break up and get back together numerous times until one of them decides to leave the country and “find themselves”, and never hold down a real job again. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but I do say all of this after Amber bit Barnett’s arm in the bar, and he said in regular conversation “speaking of bareback…” so maybe I’m not being harsh enough. 

And that’s what stuck out to me during these first five episodes! I’m looking forward to losing my voice again tonight while watching the new episodes; hit me up in the comments and let me know what you all found shriek-worthy in Love is Blind!  

Images: Netflix; Giphy (3),  barnettisblind, jessicabatten/Instagram, ryankii/Twitter

The Right Way To Tell Your BF You Want To Get Engaged, Like, Yesterday
Whether you love it or hate it, engagement season is upon us. I mean, it’s always kind of happening, but now, with the holidays approaching, I have a feeling everyone you know is going to get engaged every Sunday from now until the end of 2019. If you are in a long-term relationship, this time of year might have you thinking about your own future with your significant other. Of course, not all couples are ready to take the next step at precisely the same time. While you may feel ready for marriage, your partner may be moving at a speed akin to ABC’s progress in casting a diverse Bachelor. Perhaps you’re at the point where you’re considering giving your partner an ultimatum, like Katie did with Schwartz on Vanderpump Rules. Ultimatums, like Katie, are often thought of as manipulative and coercive, and they certainly can be. But can marriage ultimatums ever work and, if so, under what circumstances? There are a couple of factors you’ll want to consider before you bust out the “…or I’m done” statements.

Think About Why You Want To Get Married

Before you can even consider an ultimatum, you need to think critically about why you’re so focused on a timeline. It’s natural to have moments of insecurity in even the healthiest relationships, but if you’re feeling this way often, it’s worth exploring more deeply. Are you so focused on marriage because you’re fighting constantly and want assurance that your partner isn’t going to leave you? Are you anxious about marriage because all of your close friends are getting married and you don’t want to get left behind? If your desire for marriage is coming from a place of insecurity rather than security, it’s probably best to hold off until you feel secure and focus on mending the underlying fractures in the relationship with open communication. Many people get caught up in the notion of marriage as a magic Band-Aid for all of a relationship’s problems when, in reality, it is the great revealer of a couple’s strength and the first of many important and difficult conversations. Once the party and honeymoon are over, you’re left with a life commitment to your partner. If the foundation isn’t solid to begin with, time and challenges are only going to erode things further.

Does Your Partner Really Need An Ultimatum?

Ultimatums get a bad rap for a reason. Almost no one wants to be told what to do (or at least, be made to feel that way). In most cases an ultimatum won’t be effective, and will ultimately be harmful, because it provokes feelings of stubbornness and resistance by forcing the recipient to make a choice. It’s important to talk openly with your partner and understand what’s driving the lack of forward momentum before you can assess whether or not an ultimatum is appropriate. Try something like, “I’ve noticed that we haven’t really discussed taking the next step and getting engaged. Why do you think that is?” If your conversations reveal that your partner is someone who simply needs an extra nudge, an ultimatum might make sense. If, however, your partner prefers to do things on his or her own terms, you may push him or her further away or set yourself up for a lifetime of resentment even if you do ultimately get that engagement ring. So no pressure!

Deal In Facts

If you feel confident that your relationship is on solid ground and that your partner will be receptive, it’s essential that you approach the conversation (yes, it’s a conversation) in the right way. One way of doing that is to stick to objective facts rather than subjective feelings whenever possible. For example, saying something like, “Since we’ve been together for of years and I’d like to start a family by , I’d like to talk with you about getting engaged” is a lot more likely to elicit a favorable response than “What are you waiting for, Todd?! My eggs are dying by the minute!” When your thoughts are presented reasonably, it’ll be easier for your partner to see things as you see them and not feel attacked in the process.

Make It A Dialogue

An ultimatum is more likely to be effective if it’s framed as a conversation rather than an outright demand. Threats have no place in a healthy and functional relationship (a reality many of our beloved VPR cast mates need to be reminded of), and if you’re used to making threats to get what you want, you’re probably not ready for marriage. You may have heard of the idea in conflict resolution of employing “I” statements instead of “you” statements. It might sound like a middle school conflict mediation tactic, but it’s a useful tool when giving an ultimatum. Instead of demanding a proposal by , contextualize the issue in terms of your own life plans. You can say something like, “I love you, but if you don’t want to get married in the foreseeable future, I need to know so I can figure out my next steps.” This way, you’re empowering your partner to engage with you without imposing your will, but still honoring yourself and your goals without relinquishing your agency in the relationship either. This two-way dialogue can also extend to the time frame as well. If you’d ideally like a proposal in the next few months, but your significant other would prefer to wait another year, perhaps you can meet in the middle and compromise on a 6-month window. This way, both parties feel heard and as if each is part of the decision-making process and, therefore, more likely to commit to the agreed-upon time frame.

Stick To Your Guns

If you do decide that you need to issue an ultimatum to your partner, you need to be prepared to walk away if you don’t end up getting what you want. Practically speaking, if you decide with your partner that you’ll get engaged by the end of the year, but that doesn’t happen and you stay anyway, you lose credibility. The relationship may suffer as well. If you’re not willing to move on, the ultimatum becomes nothing more than a manipulation tactic, fostering an unhealthy and toxic relationship dynamic.
More importantly, you deserve to find someone who will give you what you want. If your partner can’t respect a reasonable timeline, it may be best to stop wasting months or years of your life and free yourself up for a person who can commit. If you can’t see yourself actually leaving in the event your partner doesn’t follow through, then you absolutely should refrain, not give an ultimatum, and ask yourself why you’re afraid to be alone.
Ultimatums are like fireworks. When handled with care, they can have an illuminating and satisfying effect. But when deployed incorrectly and carelessly, they can blow up in your face. Of course, marriage is not the end goal for many couples in long-term relationships, nor should it be. If you’re happy with the progression of your relationship, continue with what feels right to you and try to quiet the background noise. It’s so easy to get caught up in others’ expectations, whether real or perceived, but you need to move at the pace that feels right for you and your relationship, whether or not it leads to a proposal. Marriage is wonderful, but it’s an incredible commitment and you should not move forward with it until you and your partner are both prepared to light your cash on fire ready.
Images: Zelle Duda / Unsplash; Giphy (5)
8 Times You Should Take Your Engagement Ring Off

So you got engaged, the proposal was perfect, and the ring is everything you asked for (because you helped pick it out). Now you’re going to be spending the next few weeks/months staring at your hand constantly and angling your hand just so in photos so you can not-so-subtly show off your ring. And you’re probably never going to want to take it off, which makes sense, but in order to keep it in mint condition, you’re going to have to remove it from your finger on certain occasions. They say diamonds are forever, but they won’t be if you’re not taking proper care of your ring. We’ve asked wedding and jewelry experts Kelly Villarreal from Ada Diamonds and Mary Claire Newcomb from Here Comes the Guide about when you should be taking off your ring and how to keep those diamonds shining bright. 

 1. Working Out

Kelly Villarreal suggests that when breaking a sweat and handling machinery in the gym, it’s best to have your precious ring removed… even if that means its presence can’t be used to deter creepy gym bros from hitting on you. She explains, Lifting heavy objects or pushing into your hands can put pressure on the base of your ring, causing it to compress or bend out of shape. In extreme circumstances this can lead to fractures and breaks in the metal.” Yes, this even applies to those of us who don’t identify as Crossfit queens or bodybuilders. No amount of calories burned is worth a dent in a band that is supposed to last you forever. Not to mention the fact that your fingers tend to swell after an intense sweat sesh. Just put it in a safe place before you leave the house, and be thankful your attempt at a Kayla Itsines workout didn’t cost you thousands.

2. When Your Hands Will Be Wet Or Submerged

My wedding ring fell off in the shower. Instantly broke down. I’m just a skeleton with skin now. Take care of your health folks.

— Special Agent Smith (@ItsMrSmith) June 2, 2019

Villarreal emphasizes that it is very important to be mindful of your ring when, “doing the dishes, doing laundry, cooking, waitressing/bartending, house cleaning, or swimming.” She explains, “cleaning products and harsh chemicals (such as chlorine) can cause build up on diamonds and dull the polish/rhodium from the metal of your ring more quickly.” Ideally, you should try to milk the fact that you’re donning a precious gem 24/7 and use it as an excuse to avoid the housework that might endanger it…but when that excuse stops working (and the stack of dishes in the sink start driving you crazy), store it in a safe place. 

3. Sleeping

The diamond needs its beauty sleep just as much as you do. Villarreal warns that when sleeping, “the prongs of your ring can catch on your sheets, or rings can be knocked against things in your sleep, damaging prongs or causing diamonds to become loose or fall out.” There’s really no point in risking damage to your ring for the sake of leaving it on while you get your eight hours—one of the only times you won’t be able to show it off. Plus, we all read that story about the woman who swallowed her engagement ring in her sleep, right? Let that be a cautionary tale for you. 

4. When Applying Lotions Or Cosmetics

 

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yeah, that’ll be a no from me. 💎@bryanrussellsmith

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Just like other chemicals, cosmetics and other products can cause your ring to lose its shine. Villarreal explains that when applying products with your ring on, “it can wear away the polish and rhodium more quickly.” She adds, “Lotions and cosmetics also result in build up over time that dulls the look of your diamonds, or in cases of small melee diamonds, can completely cover over stones.” And finally, she advises, “Keeping your ring away from these products, along with regular cleaning, can keep rings sparkling brilliantly for much longer.” Truthfully, I’m probably never going to remember to take my ring off before applying hand lotion, because I do that approximately 50 times a day. But knowledge is power. The more you know, and all that.

5. When Wearing Gloves

If you’re going to listen to any of this advice, listen to this. You wear gloves more often than you’d think, especially if you live in a place like New York, where winter lasts for more than half the year (or so it seems). Mary Claire Newcomb declares,Ski gloves and rings are archenemies, since your ring size naturally decreases when it’s cold outside—leading to a loose ring that can easily slide off.” I’m going to go ahead and equate “ski gloves” to regular-ass winter gloves because I’m not bougie enough to go skiing often enough to have special gloves just for that. And it’s not just when wearing cold-weather gloves that you should take your ring off; in addition to winter gloves, Newcomb says, “Gardening gloves can accidentally pull an engagement ring off upon removal.” She adds, “And for those in the medical profession who wear latex gloves, oftentimes the prongs of the ring get bent over time as they get caught on the latex material.” I guess this means that I’m never wearing gloves again. The idea of keeping my engagement ring in a jacket pocket for the sake of wearing gloves seems far more dangerous than subjecting my hands to the winter cold. 

6. When It’s Not Insured

 

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have you listened to our most recent episode featuring @laurenbjewelry? we’re asking everything you’ve been wanting to know about engagement rings. Ps: you prob should have your SO listen too 😉

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Your diamond ring is probably expensive, and just as you would treat anything valuable, get insurance! Newcomb recommends, “Look into homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, or straight-up jewelry insurance for that baby. It’s super inexpensive and a lifesaver when needed!” Like, don’t be an idiot. Just think about all of the things you have insurance for that you care much less about! I don’t know about you, but I would happily forego dental visits for the foreseeable future if it meant protecting my new diamond. If Taylor Swift can insure her legs, you can surely insure your engagement ring. 

7. When It Doesn’t Fit Properly And/Or Is Damaged

I know you want to wear your ring, but if it doesn’t fit properly, it’s an easy fix and you’ll get back to wearing it ASAP, promise. Newcomb explains, “Whether it’s too big or too small, you can damage an ill-fitting ring (or even worse, lose it) quite easily.” She points out, “if something is already amiss with your ring, don’t take chances—just take it to a jeweler as soon as you notice it. Wearing it could make a simple fix a more difficult one in the end.” If you are anticipating a proposal from your hopeful forever-plus-one, take this as a cue to make sure he knows your ring size (or, in the case of my boyfriend, realizes that rings have sizes). If you’re too traditional to help him pick out the ring, you shouldn’t be fine, but at the very least help the guy out by leaving some of your rings around the house so he has something to reference. 

8. When You’re Traveling

It takes a lot to take off your engagement ring but safety and security should always take priority. There are two main reasons to take your ring off while traveling: potential damage and unwanted attention. If you’re traveling on a bachelorette party, chances are you’re going to be getting a lil’ too drunk, making your ring a liability. Keep in mind, most insurance companies will only let you take out one major claim so don’t waste it on something as preventable as this. Traveling foreign countries is another time you’ll want to leave your ring at home. You’re inadvertently drawing attention as a tourist, don’t give someone a reason to make you their target. 

Images: Jad Limcaco /Unsplash; @ItsMrSmith/Twitter; betchesbrides / Instagram (2)

JoJo Fletcher’s Tips For Planning A Wedding After ‘The Bachelorette’

Bachelorette couple JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers are FINALLY getting married (smh it’s been 3 years…). The couple are getting ready for their spring/summer 2020 wedding, and we couldn’t be more excited. On our newest episode of the Betches Brides podcast, JoJo sat down and told us the ins and outs of what she has in mind for her upcoming ceremony. Here are 5 tips she gave us on how to plan a wedding after the madness that is The Bachelorette.

1. Wait To Get Married

 

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I think it’s fair to say how @jrodgers11 and I met and fell in love wasn’t the most “conventional” lol — It’s funny how life falls into place in a way that’s totally unexpected, but in the end wouldn’t change it for anything. #VenmoPartner Doing things a little outside the norm is a part of our story now, and so is @venmo as we lead up to our big day! I’ve used the app to split costs with my girls at bachelorette parties and we also love the idea of accepting cash gifts to use towards a charitable cause. When almost everyone you know is on Venmo, it’s honestly a game changer. Has anyone else used it during wedding prep or have any advice as we start the planning process!? ?‍♀️

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It’s not rocket science, but apparently people forget this: The Bachelor/Bachelorette isn’t the real world. IRL, you aren’t traveling to Latvia with three of your potential fiancés, all expenses paid, and having a date card reveal your next destination. This can pose challenges to an engaged couple once the cameras stop rolling, because as JoJo explains, you may think you’re getting to know someone on the show, but the truth is, you aren’t. She emphasized that while on the show, “It’s this whirlwind romance, you’re on a high and you come off and you’re thinking that you totally know this person but, in all honesty, you really don’t.” As annoying as it is for us fans that she and now-fiancé Jordan have been engaged for three years with no wedding, JoJo explains that that time was what they needed to create a healthy and happy relationship together. She doesn’t even think their relationship would have lasted otherwise. “If Jordan and I were to have gotten off the show engaged and started planning a wedding right after,” she says, “we probably would not have made it.”

2. Decide What Kind Of Role You Want The Show To Have

On the Betches Brides podcast, JoJo makes it clear that she does NOT want her wedding to have anything to do with the show. She says, “it definitely won’t be some sort of Bachelor/Bachelorette wedding—I know that for sure.” She wants to be able to share some of her wedding with her fans but emphasizes, “Jordan and I are firm on that we don’t want our wedding to be a produced event.” Sad that means we can’t watch it, but happy for them overall.

 3. Come Up With A Vision

 

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Wow… ok excuse the novel I’m about to write. I thought we were just wedding venue searching this weekend but BOY WAS I WRONG ? I don’t even know where to start. 3 years ago we got engaged in a way that some, if not all, would say is crazy and totally unconventional. & They were right. It was. But it was also very real. We took a leap of faith that day and hoped/prayed things would work out how we wanted them to. Times were not always easy… they actually got very very hard early on, but we stuck by each other and worked every day towards our relationship. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday, Jordan asking me to marry him… again!! I didn’t see it coming nor ever expected it… I can’t put into words how much it meant to me @jrodgers11 … but I think you know by now from me bawling hysterically and totally blacking out. The show brought us together and set us up for a truly amazing proposal the first time around, but this time was all YOU. And that means everything and more to me. I can’t wait to marry you! Thank you for loving me so purely and protecting my heart in a way I always used to pray for. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sorry everyone for rambling. I don’t even know if what I just said made sense or not, currently crying typing this. Ok bye.

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 Before you can do anything to start preparing for your wedding, you need to figure out what you want it to look like. For JoJo, she wants her ceremony to be, as she puts it, “whimsical and beautiful and outdoorsy”. Though she doesn’t know the style she wants for her dress, she knows she wants “to feel like it is my wedding day—I don’t want a dress that I feel like I can wear to some white party gala. I want to feel truly bridal.” I mean, don’t we all want that?

4. Decide On Your Wedding Party

When it comes to the guest list, Jojo is trying to keep it small. She wants the guest list to be around 150 people whereas Jordan thinks it will be much larger than that (yikes). What JoJo is certain about is that she is not into the whole “Vegas thing” for a Bachelorette party. She mentions, “I just want to be on a beach, I want spa, I want sun, I want girlfriends. I’m not a big clubber.” As for Jordan, his idea of a great Bachelor party would be, “going to play golf and then going to a little hole in the wall sports bar and having a beer with his buddies.” And finally…

5. Get Your Finances In Order

 

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You know what’s really empowering? Feeling on the same page as we gear up for marriage and all that comes after that. I’m excited to share that we’ve partnered with @NorthwesternMutual and met with one of their advisors to help us plan our financial future together- from saving to starting our own business flipping houses, to everything else that’s important to us today. I still have a million other things to figure out when it comes to this wedding but let me tell ya… it feels dang good to know we are now one step ahead of the game when it comes to our life together. #moneymates #ad

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JoJo is on top of her sh*t when it comes to $$$. She and Jordan have sat down with a financial planner from Northwestern Mutual to discuss finances and future plans for their marriage. She says, “Meeting with that advisor from Northwestern Mutual totally made me so much more confident in what finances will look like as a couple and I would recommend it to anybody.” She said the advisor guided a much-needed financial conversation to prepare them for the future together. JoJo recommends all newly weds or anybody engaged to do it. “Have that conversation,” she urges, “it puts you in a way better place, and honestly, it was the best thing for Jordan and I.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impressed with JoJo and how shes handling her plans. She’s super chill (honesty maybe a little too chill) and made it clear that all she wants is a ceremony to get married to the love of her life and that’s all— no bullsh*t. I’m happy for her and Jordan and I am SO excited to see the pics. Listen to the rest of the Betches Brides podcast for more insider sneak peeks of her upcoming wedding.

Images: @joelle_fletcher/Instagram; Shutterstock