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A Proposal Before Dinner Proved Risky

  • April 13, 2021

When Amit Seth began to propose to Sue Jin Lee in 2019 on a balcony overlooking the ocean in Ischia, an Italian island off the coast of Naples, she walked away, back inside their hotel room. She wasn’t overcome with emotion or opposed to getting engaged. She was hungry, cranky, and she had already moved past trying to anticipate when Mr. Seth was going to ask her to be his wife.

The ballet program he was brandishing, from one of their first dates, didn’t register at first as the prelude to a proposal. “I’m thinking why did you bring that?” said Ms. Lee, the director of partnerships and audience development at Women’s Wear Daily. “I just did not put two and two together.”

This wasn’t the first time that Ms. Lee and Mr. Seth found themselves operating at different tempos. The night they met in 2017 at a crowded bar in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, she initially spurned his advances, then suggested they talk more elsewhere, before announcing, suddenly, that she had to leave their new location for a date.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘My god, I went from getting rejected for a drink to getting dragged to another bar to now being told she’s got to go because she’s late for a drink,” said Mr. Seth, an executive director at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “I’m like, this is a yo-yo.”

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