Why women are living by the rule: get hitched or get ditched.

The other day I was walking through a PR party for a product I’ve already forgotten about, sipping my new favourite cocktail (Central Park *), when I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. “Kath, Kath,” she exclaimed, elbowing her way through a crowd of stone-faced Fashionistas and men with frightening well-groomed eyebrows. “I’m going to live in London in three weeks!” Great news I thought. I mean, what modern girl hasn’t at least thought about moving to Londontown? I happen to think of a bankruptcy-inducing shopping spree at Selfridges as a near right of passage. The odd thing was the last time I saw this friend she was raving on about how “in love” she was with her boyfriend.

“What about your man?” I asked. “We’ll see”, she said with equal measures of mischief and melancholy.

She went on to explain that, after two and a half years of living together, she was ready for more commitment (read: a ring) and he wasn’t. So rather than waste another moment “living in sin”, my clever little pal had bought herself a one-way ticket to visit the Queen and possibly find herself a new prince. The thinking being that her current toad will either wake up to himself, or soon enough she’d be waking up to someone else.

While it may seem a little extreme to leave a perfectly happy relationship for the unknown, simply because he’s not producing a diamond, my friend wasn’t alone. Turns out hundreds of girls fed up with waiting for their boyfriends to propose were packing their bags and leaving town en masse. With so many women giving their boyfriends the “get hitched” or “get ditch” ultimatum , I wouldn’t be surprised if STA travel came out with a group discount fare. What’s more, the gals that hadn’t administrated this tough love approach seemed to regret it.

Like my friend Rachel, a 33 year old a graphic designer, who recently broke up with her boyfriend after what she deemed as “three wasted years of delusion”. On the brink of turning 34 her level of panic is akin to one of the last people to make it onto the dock of the Titanic, watching as the last few life boats are lowered into the freezing sea. She is on a mission, which includes never again dating a guy without a time limit. She leaves for New York in May.

Then there’s Sami, a 27 year old Lawyer who headed to London last December leaving behind a boyfriend of a year–and–a–half when it became clear to her that he had no intention of settling down. Instead she made a pact with herself to put herself out there and give herself a real chance at meeting a guy who is looking for the same thing as her while she looks her best.

Forget Rolex or Cartier, it seems today’s must–have watch is the ‘relationship stopwatch’. Instead of spending years in long–term relationships, or living together unwed, our generation of women are wising up and setting stricter time limits on how much time they’ll spend in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere. For some, it’s a decade, for others, it’s by December, but around the nation deadlines are being set as we speak.

You could be celebrating your third anniversary or enjoying a romantic dinner when, seemingly out of nowhere, the alarm bell rings, lights start flashing, champagne glasses are put down and men are being forced to make the ultimate decision: marry me or set me free.

It’s all pretty scary stuff for the guys out there. One minute they’re in a perfectly happy relationship, the next their being told they’re wasting our time. Since men are generality of  the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mind set “, it no wonder they’re not rushing to Tiffany & Co. Why would they? Guys are often at their best a little later in life – as a friend in his early 40’s once said to me- “As long as you’re in fairly good shape and have a little cash, you can be dating 40-year-olds well into your 60s”. The debate about biological clocks and ageism against women isn’t new, however, I believe the real reason women’s alarm bells are ringing is for an entirely different reason.

When a woman starts dating, she’s pretty certain within the first six to nine months if this is a guy she wants to marry. For men it’s not that simple. Take my friend Michael. I asked him how long into the relationship with his now wife was he before knowing she was “the one”. His answer surprised me. “It was four weeks before I proposed, which was about a year and a half into our relationship. I couldn’t imagine living without this woman, so I realised, she must be the one I should marry”. Aha, I thought. For men, it’s not the idea of being with one person for the rest of their life that appeals to them (as it is for women), but rather the fear of nothaving that person around forever, that motivated them towards marriage.

It’s no wonder so many women are booking their overseas tickets. But ladies, be warned: If you say ta-ta, be prepared to actually leave. Only a fool would bluff in the game of love. Until then, back off, be your amazing self, the person he felt lucky to date in the first place. But to avoid regret, set those stopwatches. And when their time is up, it could mean marriage and mortgages, otherwise, I hear London’s beautiful this time of year.

Central Park


  • 2 oz New Amsterdam Gin
  • 3 drops of vanilla extract
  • 4 oz tomato juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • vanilla bean for garnish
  • cherry tomato for garnish


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