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The single lady's Porsche dilemma Add to ...

My boyfriend and I have discussed marriage. We've browsed for rings in the past, but so far there's been no proposal. Meanwhile he says he wants to give me a Porsche. I think he's stalling. Do I accept the car without a ring?

- Going Nowhere Fast

Honey, there's a big difference between a piston ring and an engagement ring. I don't know what you did to deserve a Porsche, but maybe you should think about giving lessons. Scenarios like this don't arise in the average relationship. Who are you dating -- the Sultan of Brunei?

Grandma always said presents aren't promises, and kisses aren't contracts. We all know someone who is unhappy about the perceived level of commitment in their relationship. But it's pretty clear that any guy who buys a woman a car wants her around, in some capacity. Is he using the offer to stall on a bigger commitment? Possibly.

Refusal to commit while employing elaborate delay tactics is common. For some, money comes easier than the ability to manage a relationship. However, "just throw money at the problem and it'll go away" doesn't work in romantic partnerships. A new car won't fix a broken relationship - but it will make road trips a little less ordinary.

If you've got lots of time on your hands, there's plenty of room for reading between the lines. For example, if he plans on leasing rather than purchasing the car - it may be a red flag. And maybe, just maybe, the model he chooses will tell a tale. If it's a Cayenne or a Panamera, perhaps settling down and having a family are on his mind. A 911 is a solid choice for happiness in the near future. But even better? A glorious glass-top Targa. If he's been kicking the tires on a Cayman, he's definitely trying to put you off. A skookum vintage model, on the other hand - say a 1963 356 C - screams long-term commitment. With no warranty left on that baby, it's going to require lots of TLC and significant capital investment.

Many homo sapiens - and men in particular - use automobiles as mating calls. Many women, also, are impressed by cars, and some would even prefer a Porsche over a ring. And why not? Like a ring, you can polish and show it off. The depreciation factor notwithstanding, a Porsche is a decent piece of property. If it turns out that a car is enough to keep you happy, just make sure your name is on the pink slip.

If your partner is content to remain in unwedded bliss, and you're settling for less than you desire, it's not a recipe for a lifetime of happiness. We've all been attracted to someone who's not quite right for us. On the other hand, maybe your guy is simply not ready, right now. The minds and ideas of human beings change in a mercurial way. It's not necessarily just the right woman that prompts a man to commit, but the right timing. How he feels today may change next week, or in ten years. Listen to your heart on this one. You know where your comfort level is, and whether it's worth waiting around to find out if you're going down the same road.

Which brings me to you. What are you putting on the table? Is his fear justified? If a man doesn't feel commitment from a woman, he has no reason to be committed. If you're pressuring him to make a decision he's not willing to make -- that's a problem. Can you look after yourself? If you're not offering enough to prompt him to make a commitment, maybe it's time to check the mirror. If this is a stall tactic, then why is he stalling?

In any case, a modern woman would be silly not to accept this offer. The wonderful thing about gifts is that you get to keep them even if things don't work out. In the event that a ring is not presented in a reasonable time, you may choose to get in your Porsche, and drive into the sunset.


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