He's not a practical man by any definition of the word. He can't cook, he doesn't clean, it takes him two hours to shower and dress. We have two children, and I can probably count the number of diapers he has changed on one hand. He has no concept of money. Yet I am married to him.

Am I a fool?

Before I met Jared, I was engaged to Scott. Compared to all the girly dreams I held for my future husband, Scott was the one I always wanted. He was smart, funny, responsible, well-educated and came from a good, stable home. And he did laundry, to boot. I met him when I was twenty-two. He was thirty, and already established in his career as a successful software programmer.

Three years passed through this relationship, and I felt it was time to take the next step. Scott seemed oblivious to my desire, so I made it known that, if he were to propose, I would not reject him. I really couldn't have made it any easier for him. But for some reason, he wouldn't acknowledge this with more than a deft joke or a deaf ear.

Was I not pretty enough or smart enough for him? Was there something seriously wrong with me, that made me undesirable as a wife? I think all women are cursed with these self-soubts - I am certainly not above them. But whatever the reason he refused to commit, I was starting to feel that I was wasting my time. I was also starting to feel indignation - who did he think he was, did he really think he could do better than me?

Yet for all the reasons I stated before, I stayed with him. He had all the qualities I wished for in a mate. Sure, he wasn't the most attractive man in the world, but when planning for a lifelong partnership, looks are temporary at best. Besides, as my granfather told me, as long as looking at your husband doesn't hurt your eyes, he's handsome enough.

So, I waited.

Then finally, it happened. And it caught me completely by surprise. We were camping in a remote part of the Sierras and had hiked to a vista - a narrow summit with steep, tall cliffs on either side. he sun was starting to set, and it illuminated distant mountains in that warm, California glow. As we sat with our legs dangling over the cliff, I thought, He could easily push me off this ledge, and no one would even know. A chill ran through me as I peered down the cliff. Yep, I would be dead, and the coyotes and vultures would make any evidence disappear...

Just at this moment, Scott started his nervous preamble. I don't remember the whole thing, but it was basically this: We've known each other for several years, and I have had a wonderful time. I never thought I could be so happy with another person. So this is the reason - this is why - this is why - I want to ask you - well - if you'll - you know - marry me?

This was so unexpected that I asked him to repeat the question. Of course, as promised, I said yes.

The ring purchase bothered me, but not enough to admit even to myself. You see, he didn't buy a ring to propose with - he thought it made more sense if we picked it out together, to make sure I would like it. OK, I can understand that buying a significant piece of jewelry can be too far out on a long, thin limb for many men to climb.

We went to a friend of my mother's. All I wanted was a simple ring, nothing too big or flashy for my skinny fingers and love of gardening - perhaps something with clean, contemporary lines. However,Scott was more for the traditional swirly-looking ring. He tried using Jedi mind tricks, ans I started getting combative. The jeweler stepped in. She helped guide our search by suggesting we first select he center stone, and use two months' salary as a starting point. Scott chuckled nervously and said, "is that pre-tax, or after? Because pre- would be ridiculous."

Haha, very funny, Scott. Asshole.

Even though Scott said he wanted a long engagement, "two years, at least", I thought I should start checking out wedding sites anyway. After all, we could spend two years on a waiting list for one of the more popular venues.

There were about four wineries on my "tour" that Saturday. Scott was at work - I hardly saw him anymore because his projects had become so demanding - and I was enjoying my leisurely drive through the dappled sunlight falling through the live oaks decorated the hood of my car. My mind was empty as I wound up the two-lane road.

Don't worry about this wedding, your next one will be much better.

What?! Where did THAT come from? I pushed this thought - this "voice" - out of my mind, and finished my winery tour.

When I returned home, Scott was still at work.

So, this is embarrassing, but I may as well tell you. Perhaps it will explain some things.

Programmers keep ridiculous hours. It wasn't Scott's fault that he was at work all the time. As projects near completion, the hours grow more and more demanding. This is why the Silicon Valley has so many geeks suffering from career burnout at age twenty-eight. So even in the beginning of our relationship, we only saw each other on weekends. So, let's say that is sex twice a week? Right.

After we returned from the camping trip, Scott took up a side-job with a major graphics company. His hope was that after two or three years of working like a dog, we would make out like bandits and we would be so much closer to the other American Dream: early retirement. So between these two jobs, I saw him just about never. Sex decreased to maybe once every three weeks, sometimes less.

When he was home, Scott was so exhausted that he would just lie around in front of the TV. Even if I tried snuggling up to him and doing all the things women do when they want sex, he would refuse me. Not to be sexist, but as a woman, this was not the reaction I ever expected to get - not as a cute, sexy twenty-five year-old, anyway. It was sad. I missed him sorely, and I felt so rejected..

One night, I was driving home from doing volunteer work. It was past 10PM, and when I spoke to Scott that morning, he was very certain he'd be at home when I returned. I can't even describe to you how happy the very idea of seeing my boyfriend made me. In a way, it was ridiculous how little we saw of each other: we lived together in my townhouse, yet while I worked a normal, 8 to 5 workday, he set his hours from noon to 5AM.

I pulled into the driveway and pressed the button for the garage door opener. As the garage rolled up, his red Acura was absent. Scott was still at work. My heart turned to lead and sank into my gut as I pulled into the garage. I turned off the car, closed the garage door, slumped over the steering wheel and cried my eyes out.