Anyone else struggling with FEELING engaged while not officially engaged?

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My boyfriend and I frequently talk about getting married — to the point that we have already decided on a wedding date, a venue, bridal parties, guest list, and we've even started research on our honeymoon.

Well, I've started all the research. He has yet to pop the question — based merely on finances and affording the engagement ring we picked out. While I could happily marry this man at the courthouse with a piece of twine on my finger — I suggested it — he'd never go for it. So I'm feeling guilty about being twenty yards ahead, and he feels guilty being twenty yards behind.

I'm struggling with already FEELING engaged while not quite officially being there yet. How do I slow down this crazy wedding train?!

Anybody been there before? -R

In fact, yes, I'M currently there! I call it being engaged to be engaged. My boyfriend and I have already decided on the wedding venue, a rough idea of when we'll get married, I know I'll be getting his Bubbie's ring, and his mother and I are already scheming about details.

And yet… no proposal yet.

And no clue when it's coming.

For control freaks like mahself, that is so damn frustrating.

I mean, exciting! But, yeah, also frustrating.

One of our favorite ways of solving this in-between madness is to just go ahead, take control and propose. But that only works if both parties will feel good about this choice.

If one or both partners have very set ideas on how they want their proposal to play out, then there's no denying the awkward stage of being engaged to be engaged.

Any other in-betweeners out there? How are you sitting in the awkward stage of knowing there will be a wedding, but not being officially engaged yet?

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Comments on Anyone else struggling with FEELING engaged while not officially engaged?

  1. I went through this! My now husband and I had gone ring shopping and picked out a ring. And he purchased the setting for it that day. And then it was like three months before he proposed. So it was three months of limbo where I wanted to move forward. We didn’t have quite the same level of preparedness as you, but I did a lot of research. I made a rad spreadsheet of vendors, pricing, and availability. This was pre-pinterests (thank god, pinterest is the devil) but I had folders on the computer with inspiration images in them titled “winter theme” “victorian theme” “forest theme” as well as “dresses” “hairstyles” etc. I had tentative guest list and knew who I wanted in my bridal party.

    So when he popped the question I was ready to go. We started visiting venues right away and within a few weeks had everything booked from the venue to the dj.

    One thing I will note, I did not actually go and visit or meet face-to-face with any vendors before I was officially engaged. I was pretty sure that would cross my line between type-a preparedness and crazy town.

  2. I am there now, and probably will be for a while. Our finances are preventing even a ring, let alone the wedding itself, but it’s been almost 6 years and I’m beyond ready to take the next step. My partner is ready too, but not as gungho as I am – he’s a much more laid back person.
    At the moment I’m dealing with it by living vicariously through engaged friends, and completely detoxing from any activities dedicated mostly to weddings. I still follow a few of my fave photographers on instagram, and a few of my favourite venues on Facebook – as well as OBB of course – but the only way I can deal with wedding media without going all ‘Type A’ is if it’s diluted into other media I’m already consuming anyway. My borderline obsession with ‘pre-planning’ was driving a wedge between FH and I, and that was the absolute last thing I wanted. I all but quit pinterest, even though I love it, and I stopped using micro-blogging platforms like tumblr (this was part of a larger life decision, but happened around the same time as it had turned into just another platform for wedding porn.)

  3. I have this problem. What do you call the man you are engaged to be engaged to? I hate the terms boyfriend and girlfriend. He isn’t a boy, and I am not a girl! I have a promise ring, so I feel like we are beyond the dating stage, but I have to restrain myself from really laying down plans for our eventual wedding; especially because the date I want is in 2018 which is much too far away to put most wedding details in stone. I asked my cousin to be my matron of honor, and asked her about color schemes. She said it’s too early for me to be thinking about these things, but I can’t help it! I love day dreaming about our wedding and I need to know my color scheme to really visualize things. I just hope all my premature daydreaming won’t jinx anything for my significant other and me.

    • In Puerto Rico we called the preliminary stage with a promise ring “pre-compromiso” which literally means pre-engagement. It’s an actual thing, but I don’t think it has any guidelines, and it unfortunately doesn’t seem to have titles of its own beyond the usual boyfriend/girlfriend. Promise rings are, from what I observed, a very nice way of showing that you take someone seriously even though you’re not otherwise prepared for marriage. I wore mine for 8 years before he finally proposed, but for most of those years we’ve felt and acted pretty much married.

    • My partner and I had the same problem with labels. We dated for nearly 9 years before we could live together, because I choose the slightly insane route of Peace Corps- out of state PhD. We visited each other as often as we could and lived together over summers. It started to feel weird calling him my boyfriend. I worried that my adviser and others wouldn’t take us seriously if I talked about passing up a grant to put in summer time with my boyfriend. He worried that his boss wouldn’t understand that his girlfriend would be his emergency contact etc. Boyfriend/Girlfriend just sounded juvienal. We started calling each other “life partners”. It actually solved a whole bunch of problems and sounded much more serious. 🙂 We’re married now, but still use the term “partner”.

  4. I’m there right now.
    He’s found out my ring size, seen ideas of the kinds of ring I like.

    He even passes comment on dresses and flowers etc. he sees me looking at, despite how discreet I think I’m being. We’ve got a rough date planned but all he keeps saying is “Wait and see!” He knows I’ve been engaged before and that I knew every exact detail of that proposal before it happened. I appreciate that he wants to keep his proposal a complete surprise but it’s making me feel like I’m being crazy putting together ideas already before he’s even bought a ring.

    • Girl, I am right there and I’ve decided we aren’t crazy. We’re ORGANIZED. We’ll be able to get the ball rolling quickly, snatch up our vendors and venue and not have that general moment of sticker shock because we’ve already figured out what we like and what we can actually afford. We’re here, we’re informed and we’re ready to plan a wedding!

    • Girl, I am totally there. Last Year, my boyfriend told Me, that “Baby, I Love You, but I’m. not ready for No Weddings, or Engagements”. Now, that We’ve been Together, for 2 Years, and 9 months, My Boyfriend. is saying,”We’re Not going to the Altar tomorrow, But, We’ll get ther”… My Boyfriend is just Now, able to talk about Wedding Stuff, after being Together, 2 years and 9 months. This will be his 1st Wedding, and My 2nd.
      Anyone else, in the same boat, as I Am???

  5. We went as far as booking the venue before he popped the question. I did feel somewhat self conscious about not really being engaged while looking at wedding venues. He did however, get my grandmother’s ring fixed up for me as a promise ring and a place holder until he actually got to proposing.

    When we finally did get engaged a few months later, I called my dad to tell him the news. His reaction was so lame. He was like, well you were already engaged, so whatever. Thanks Dad!

    • Exactly the same! Have venue and no proposal and paying on dresses colors picked and firm date. No ring! No place holder nothing. I feel crazy doing all this preparation and no real engagement. Kinda sad when people say oh let me see your ring.

  6. I bought myself a ring. No marriage in sight for the next ever. Soooo…
    I’ve also been in the position of knowing that a wedding would happen ~*someday*~ and wanting to get the engagement train rolling. It really took a good, solid talk about why we were in different places for me to calm the eff down–by which I mean stop wringing my hands about it and start just enjoying messing around on wedding websites without guilt or without emotional weirdness.

    • I posted a comment below before I saw yours here – but I definitely had to have a “come-to-Jesus” moment recently about not being in the same place re: future plans. I have since just all but stopped looking at wedding related stuff because it initially made me really sad now that I know we’re not where I thought we were. But I also love your suggestion re: just getting over it and enjoying it for the fun, kind of escapist daydream it is.

      • It definitely requires a change in mindset. For me–and I know this sounds weird–it required thinking about the wedding Pins and ideas completely separate from my partner and more like a hypothetical wedding, maybe like how a wedding planner might look at wedding ideas. Like, WOW FANCE that’s so cool for somebody! I really like that.

        • I do this!
          Sure I have my ideas for my wedding, note I said “my” 😉 of course, my partner and I plan to get engaged and we’ve discussed the basics around the wedding but I like to daydream about them so, for now, my favourite is “my” wedding and not “ours” (that technicality keeps me sane). Also any other ideas I come across I keep in mind for if one of my friends should ask for help one day as I can be handy when organising events 🙂

      • I *wish* I had had this conversation with my ex. We had agreed on a wedding date, but he didn’t propose for another 6 months. It was only in the counsellor’s office, 2 years after we got married and after I had left, that he told me that in his mind, talking about a wedding date still didn’t mean he was definitely going to propose. Of course there were other much bigger problems, but I would have saved myself a lot of heartache and wondering what was going on if we had had the talk.

  7. The idea that the ring or the formal question is what makes your relationship somehow different than it was before has always kind of bothered me — I even had a co-worker tell me that my relationship “wasn’t 100% yet” because, even though my boyfriend had moved to a new state with me when I got a job, we weren’t planning a wedding yet. I was like, “WTF, dude? Who are you to tell me how cemented my relationship is? The lack of wedding planning is not because we’re not 100% committed, it’s because we just don’t want to be planning a wedding yet.”

    As long as you are on the same page, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with planning ahead or starting to make decisions or anything like that. Who cares what constitutes “official”? Your relationship is what you want it to be not what conventions say it is. So if you’ve agreed on the date and venue you want and those things are important to you, then go put a deposit down and consider yourself as engaged as you wanna be. Those things get snatched up quickly and no one is going to check to see that you have a ring before they’ll let you sign the contract.

    If you can’t start making commitments for whatever reason — money or waiting until you’re done with school or whatever — there’s nothing wrong with saving pictures to your Pinterest board and making lists of ideas/priorities (when it is time to pull the trigger you’ll be grateful for the advance research!) Start a wedding fund and make contributions to it if you can, so that it feels like you’re making progress. And know that it’s okay to periodically have a check-in conversation where you say, “This is where I want to be, when do you think we will get there?” If his response is “wait and see!” and you find that frustrating, it’s okay to tell him that you would feel better with a firmer answer.

    In the meantime, I don’t think you should feel bad or describe yourself as crazy because you want to start planning a wedding to a man you know you’re going to marry. All that does is put undue stress on you, and possibly on your partner. Remind yourself that rings don’t make the relationship. If you have friends and family pestering you about when it’s going to happen, politely tell them to step the eff off. The two of you know you are committed, the two of you know it’ll happen one day, and that is the only thing that matters.

    • Jessica~, I totally. agree with you, wholeheartedly.
      We’re not engaged yet, and my boyfriend hasn’t met my parent’s yet. But my parent’s being snoopy, and saw my Wedding Magazines laying around, and my Mom said, Well, there won’t be Any of those”..(Weddings).. I just barely now, reserved My Ministers/Officiant, and when You said, “the Rings don’t make the Relationship, the People do”, I agree with You. My Boyfriend works Overnights, at a Hotel, and Guests that stay at his hotel, have been making “Sexual Passes”, at My Boyfriend. So, I decided to get a ring, to “Solidify” our Relationship..The Ring I got for him, is an actual Wedding Band, and he’s getting anxious to see it, and make sure it fits him.
      People need to “butt-out”, of other’s Relationships, especially if it doesn’t concern them. But when you said, that “People Make the Relationship”, I agree with that.

  8. Wow I have a different experience of this – it’s been over four years, we lived together for two, and sure, I want to get engaged and I’ve planned what sort of dress/ring/venue/music/decor/EVERYTHING I would like in a notebook and on a Pinterest board…but it’s a joint Pinterest board, and every decision has been made with him, and he wants it as much as I do. He would love to propose. The problem? We are ‘millenials’ both working minimum wage part time jobs whilst applying to jobs in the industries we actually want to make careers in (arts and heritage, for which in the uk the funding is cut on a daily basis). We live with our parents several counties apart. It bugs me when people say you can get married on a shoestring if you ‘really want it’: even if we did that, we’d have to live with one set of parents or the other in order to live together, which is what our one set of married friends our age are having to do, and they ain’t happy about it. It’s not worth bankrupting our already shallow bank accounts just to say husband instead of boyfriend. But yep – it feels like limbo, and it sucks.

    • I think a lot of people don’t realise that even a registry office wedding costs as much as a month’s rent, or food, or all your bills combined. And working in arts and heritage… I entirely feel you on that one. Any job that’s not in a national is at risk, and so are most of the nationals.

      • Holy cats! I just did a little googlin’, and I had NO IDEA how much a bare-bones “it’s enough to be legal” wedding/marriage cost in the UK. (The necessary out-of-pocket money for me here, in Oregon, in the US, is $60. You can have a friend officiate if they’re ordained by a registered church from the internet. It doesn’t have to be done anywhere special. That’s it.) Oof.

        • Oregon here! I had a very disappointing conversation with my boyfriend over the course of a few days this week. I have to admit I’m distraught. After summoning up my courage over the course of weeks, I asked if he was still interested in getting married. In an 8 year relationship, this has come up before. What I learned is that, although he is very committed to me and there is no one else for him, he is not sure about getting married. He has been extremely Supportive of me this winter during a very difficult time for me. I felt that committing to each other publicly was a natural next step. There may be financial complications if we marry. We talked about having a ceremony without the legal part. The conclusion at this time is he doesn’t want to be get married until we are getting along better. I am sad.

      • A registry marriage does not have to cost that much at all if you only have 4 guests and can put up with getting married in an office, it costs £45 for the registrar and £35 for each of you when you give notice to be married.
        £115 in total is achievable with a bit of saving, and that is what we are doing.

    • I’m in London and even though many around me are starting to get engaged, my partner and i have no future plans to get married as we barely have enough money for living as it is! We aren’t that fussed about getting married, but i do have wild ideas of my wedding and i hope to be ‘young’ when it happens! I know i want my grannie there’s a time limit there but I think having my own place where I can paint murals on the wall and have a little dog is more important. Yes weddings cost alot in the uk!! My partner’s brother is getting married next month and theyve kept the budget at around £4000, thats considered insanely cheap, it’s taken them 2 years to save for it aswell!

    • Hi Stephy. I Am in the exact same boat, as You. I work, 2 part-time Minimum Wage jobs, and my Boyfriend works Overnights, making over $12/hr. We’re not engaged Yet, but, We already have Our Wedding Colors picked out, and Our Cake, picked out. I’ve been Married before, but My Now boyfriend, has not yet even thought about what My Ring size IS, or has not yet even thought about Ring Shopping. When you said something, about “having to Live with Parents”, that is the Struggle, that My Boyfriend and I havem I Live with My Parents, not by Choice(my Grandparents died. and I live in their house). So, I Live with My Parents, and My Boyfriend lives in Another City, with his Mom. I can totally understand, where you are coming from, with the Part-time jobs, and living with Parents….I Have these, black, red, and Gold Ribbon, but do You have any thoughts, or Ideas, how I could Use it, to Decorate with?,

  9. I had thought I was in this place, but then recently had a conversation with my partner where we discovered we aren’t quite on the same page right now – i.e. that, while he loves me, I’m definitely “further along” than he is/ready to take the next step and he isn’t quite there (yet).

    So I just wanted to put in a quick note for anyone out there who might be thinking they’re in this space but hasn’t had a direct conversation with their partner about it (unlike the post above and most of the commenters): I really recommend having that conversation before you go crazy on Pinterest or reading wedding blogs, etc. I had kind of convinced myself a proposal was somewhat imminent (like within a year) and started Pinning and reading and daydreaming more than I had before (I think a little of that is going to happen regardless). And then it was a real hard come-down when I found out we weren’t where I thought we were and I think it would’ve still been a wake-up call, but not quite the disappointment that it was, had I not been basically planning our future wedding.

    So that’s my perspective and two cents!

    • Really good insight! I’m definitely in the same boat. We’ve been together for 5 years and I’ve BEEN ready. But when I ask about it, he usually says, “well, I wasn’t thinking anytime /soon/”

      While, yeah, it’s disappointing, it’s much better to know where your partner stands, rather than thinking you should be expecting something and waiting and waiting for something that’s not going to happen any time soon.

      • It’s so funny because I was looking for insights and material on this kind of problem and a lot of what I was finding online was kind of “how to sink your hooks into your man and make him marry you!” or “how to get over the fact that he will never want to marry you and move on!” neither of which are interesting, helpful, or what I am going for. Haha.

        But I do want to hear from other women who are in this same position or have similar struggles with their partner and I wish there were more resources for how to handle it when, in an otherwise loving relationship, one partner wants marriage and one doesn’t (or just doesn’t yet). I think it’s way more common than I previously thought!

        • Heyyo, checking in from the same situation! Boyfriend and I had many talks starting with the “is going anywhere”, followed by “I could imagine marrying you in the future”, along with “do you want kids and how many, good our ranges overlap”, and were on the same page for all of them. Only disagreement was he said he wanted to live together before getting engaged, which I was hesitant about (my family is pretty conservative, and he makes a ton more money than I do so I wouldn’t be able to carry the rent alone if something happened), but agreed to for him. So at about a year and half I asked if he was ready to move in together that summer and got a hard NO, and found out he was considering jobs out of state that would force us to do long distance. That sucked, I was really angsty and no fun to be friends with for like a month. Anyway, long story long, he did end up taking a long distance job for about 8 months, it sucked and made him realize he really wanted to be in our current city and with me, we moved in together last August, and I’m dying for a ring. Personally I decided that if he hasn’t proposed within one year of living together, I’m moving out and we’re done. He doesn’t know his DDay is August 1: he knows I have a timeline in my head of when things need to happen by, but doesn’t know the exact timeline. But yeah, I can attest it is hard when you know you want to be with that person forever and they aren’t ready to say the same thing. For me, having a deadline has been really crucial for my sanity. I have known for over a year that he’s the guy I want to be married to: if it’s going to take him more than 4 years to realize the same about me, I don’t want to marry that guy. So my decision making is done, which keeps me calm.
          We’re going to do a premarital counseling book together soon though, so that’s progress! I felt like we had learned all we could from living together, he concurred and added that it was going well, so I said I want to be proactive about moving forward, here’s a suggestion. He agreed, and it only took a single reminder for him to pick one from my list of suggestions. Maybe that’s an idea for any women in limbo out there? Like it’s fine if you say you need more time, but let’s use this time intentionally to get ready for marriage.

          • When we had the conversation where I found out we weren’t in the same place about the relationship, he initially was really hesitant to give me feedback and on how we could work on the relationship, which was very frustrating to me because I felt like “if you’re going to tell me you don’t think we’re ready, you have to tell me why” – but he just didn’t want to seem like he was saying all the problems were me or to pick apart my flaws.

            I did get him to give me a few tidbits and I’ve been working on things since then. A big part of it for me has been realizing that I can only control me – I can only make changes on my end, and there are some things about myself that I can’t change (or don’t want to!). But I can try to be a better partner and recognize where my weaknesses are and work on THOSE.

            I haven’t set a firm timeline, but I just kind of have it in the back of my mind that I am choosing him and choosing to be here every day and I have confidence that if I reach a point where I am DONE I will know it and I can leave then if it comes to that. Right now I am reasonably content to wait for him to feel ready or to feel we are ready, but that was not the case for the first few days after that conversation. I had a real feeling of crisis around what it all meant, but have since come to realize I really do have some things to work on and so have been focusing on that. And the upside is I get to keep that progress on myself as a partner and as a person, even if we don’t end up together (although I very much hope we do).

          • If you want to marry him, why can’t you pop the question and get him a ring? The ball isnt only in his court, if you know what you want, go for it.

  10. I am 1000% here – as in, I know the ring has been ordered and that the shift from “girlfriend” to “fiance” should be within the next month. My boyfriend, bless him, understands that as a serial planner, I hate not knowing a general path for my future. So, to keep me sane, he’s been as open as he can while still holding onto his dream of surprising me with the actual proposal, including giving a general time frame.

    But, while this is sweet as pie, it doesn’t quite keep the excitement quiet. So, I’ve dealt with this a couple of ways – one, my fella and I have discussed it and I can talk about weddings all I want, to a point. Once he hits his limit for that moment, he’s allowed to call for a cease and desist until a later time. Second, I’ve indulged my planning side – after all there is no harm in figuring out what styles you may like, vendors you’d be interested in or dresses you’d like, right? Of course, by that I mean, I have an organized and detailed spreadsheet that maps out a primary and a secondary option with projected budgets and vendors. He knows (and likes) all of the general ideas I’ve pitched, but the actual spreadsheet? That, I smartly have kept to myself for now.

  11. FH and I decided on a timeline for getting married and booked the venues a full 2 1/2 months before he proposed, partially because we knew that’s what we wanted, and partially because you pretty much have to lock those down ASAP in Denver. After that though, he made it clear that there was to be no wedding talk until after the official proposal. I told one or two of my close girlfriends who weren’t local that we had booked venues, so I had an outlet to squee over wedding things for the next couple months without stressing out FH or showing our cards to our whole friend group that THIS IS HAPPENING YOU GUYS. It helped that it was clear that this was the direction we were going, and having the date locked down, even just for event space, allowed me to give FH some space to prepare himself for the wedding planning flurry that we’re in now.

  12. THANK YOU!!! It’s so great to not be the only one going through this. My boyfriend and I have known each other for 15 years and had previously dated so when we got back together that was it. We knew right away that we wanted to get married and at this point are even having a ring made with my 3 generation old family diamond (thanks mom!). I’ve been on the wedding planning bandwagon for months and feeling like I was getting ahead of myself or that I was somehow “jinxing” it. A friend and I even have a running joke code-word for when we talk about it so I don’t have to use the “w-word” before we’re “officially” engaged. I feel like we are, but we aren’t, and it has been weird.
    My mom is coming to town next week so we are going to look at venues, but the ring won’t be done by then and it just feels/felt weird to me to go do that when I’m not engaged, but reading all of this makes me feel better about it. So thanks, ladies!!

  13. I was there. We had decided to get married the following year in the fall and had even booked a venue for our “social” (a wedding fundraising event, where you profit from ticket and liquor sales and raffle prizes in order to pay for some of the wedding. A fabulous tradition specific to Manitoba and some towns in our bordering provinces). I waited 3 months for a ring, and even that took some eventual nudging by appealing to his love of planning, goal setting and having details ironed out. The relief of finally being “officially” engaged was such a huge weight off my shoulders.

    I’ve also been in a relationship where we talked wedding details, but as time went by and it became less of a vague fantasy and more of an expectation, he got skittish and ended the relationship. Which was for the best, as we were a terrible match.

    Lesson being, what’s supposed to happen will happen.

  14. My definition of engagement is very simple: “planning our upcoming wedding together”, regardless of any kind of formal proposal.
    My partner and I made the mutual decision to get married, during an intimate conversation. We then bought rings together and started planning. It was that simple.

    If you have decided on a date, a venue etc., in my book you are engaged. What will a formal proposal change anyway?

    • A friend of mine said her husband never proposed. Rather, they had a conversation where they agreed they wanted to get married, then said, “Well, I guess we’re engaged. Let’s put together a wedding.” So they did!

      On the flip side, driving home after attending a wedding my partner and I had a conversation that started with, “Do you want to start talking about marriage?” Well, is that what you want? “Is what what I want?” To get married. “Yes.” To me. “Yes. Uh, do you want to get married to me?” Yes. “Okay. Well… glad we got that on the table.” — Through further conversation we defined this as not engaged, and we’re not planning anything and have no date or timeline, though we do talk about what we want our marriage to look like. Definitely feels “pre-engaged” and it’s difficult for me as a scheduler and planner to wait. 🙂

  15. Why not ask him to marry you? Done and done.

    I proposed to my fiance. I largely did it because I knew he wanted to marry me and had the sense that he was less sure that I wanted to marry him. We hadn’t planned wedding specifics, but we had talked about it a little (do you want to have a wedding vs. elope, whose hometown should it be in, haha wouldn’t it be fun to play this music or eat that food or drink this beer, etc). So I knew that my proposal wouldn’t be an absolute flop. I also made it a little bit low key unless he wasn’t 100% comfortable with being proposed to, or if he wanted to do some kind of Big Proposal event for me to get the full enwifening experience.

    This is something that might not be for everyone, but if you know your S.O. wants to marry you, I say just do it!

  16. I’m not expecting this to be a popular response, and I mean it in the kindest way possible–Stop. Stop planning. Stop thinking of yourself as engaged.

    Getting caught up in the fun and logistics of planning a wedding is easy. Talking about your theoretical wedding is a nice, comfortable way to fill the time with your partner. But it’s distracting and keeps you focused on the future rather than the present. What I’ve found is that when you’re focused on the future instead of the present, it’s because you’re not enjoying the present. So you focus on something that will make you happy later, and you borrow that happiness to get you through now. By doing so, you’re more likely to end up married to someone who doesn’t make you happy. And when you don’t have the wedding to look forward to anymore, what do you have to keep your happiness and your relationship going? Planning for kids, maybe. Or planning vacations. But you deserve to be happy NOW, not just in the future. If you’re avoiding fights or boredom with your partner by focusing on something fun, then you’re missing the red flags that tell you this may not be your person.

    Calm down, focus on the present, and really live this stage of your relationship. You’ll never get this stage back, and you don’t want to look back and realize that you were so busy looking ahead that you forgot to enjoy yourself and your partner now.

    • So relevant:

      I feel like your comment is going to be totally spot on for some and not for others. For me, it’s pretty close. It’s not that I’m unhappy now, but kind of bored in a sense – so that got me looking toward the future and planning and scheming instead of focusing on “hey, why am I bored?”

      Now, in my situation, it’s more been a revelation about myself and how I have historically expected my partner to be my everything in a kind of unhealthy way and what I’ve come away with is more about how to improve myself and how I am in relationships, rather than actually finding anything wrong with my partner or our relationship as a whole. But it’s still been super helpful to, as you say, “calm down, focus on the present, and really live in this stage”. So I fully endorse your comment.

    • Sorry, I just want to chime in on this 4 years later because I’m having a similar situation and want people to see my reply. I’ve talked to my therapist extensively about how obsessed I am about marrying my partner, who brings marriage up more than I do. He’s been divorced, I haven’t, and I think it makes him nervous. Yet he talks about the date, the food, the venue, the beer…and I never have because I don’t want to be the “nag.” I started obsessing about weddings and my therapist said that is totally okay because I also plan birthdays, anniversaries, reunions…all the time. It’s just who I am. What she DID tell me, however, is I am allowed to have my own power in this agreement. It’s a contract, afterall! So this week I’m planning a “soft proposal” where I am going to have a little cake we eat on our anniversaries and say that I want to look forward to the most exciting idea–marrying him! and will he marry me on Halloween? It’s not going to be a big deal in case he had his own proposal in mind (he asked my ring size six months ago) but it’s an effort to involve myself in a plan that involves the two of us. I don’t think there’s anything wrong about thinking about what happens next as long as YOU have some say in it!

  17. I was totally there! My fiance proposed about five years into our relationship, but we knew we wanted to get married less than a year in. We basically called ourselves “unofficially engaged” while we were getting our acts together. This meant that we were definitely planning to get married, but weren’t in a situation to actually do it yet (living in different states, being broke, getting careers established, etc). Most people were satisfied with, “We’re kind of unofficially engaged. We both know we want to get married, but he’s waiting until [criteria that must be met] to actually propose.”

  18. I can relate, except for the engagement ring and proposal expectation. The concept of an “official engagement” just started to sound sillier and sillier to us as we solidified our plan to get married. After being together for 6 years (living together for 4), we just didn’t feel the need to label ourselves engaged, since that label really meant nothing to us.

    So we started calling it our “non-engagement” and “wedding pending” phase. It was funny to us, but so incredibly hard to explain to friends and family. Like, there was never any official announcement, so we just started randomly telling people that we were getting married, leading to confusion and/or anger (really!) from some people who felt out of the loop (but there was really no loop to begin with, we swear!). Anyway, that’s our story, and we just can’t wait to get married in September so we can move beyond our awkward no-ring quasi-engaged phase!

  19. My partner and I are in a similar situation in a sense, except that I don’t think we actually ever want an engagement/proposal. Kind of. We are planning a secular and government official-free commitment ceremony. Legal marriage is something we plan on doing out of necessity, on our own, separate from the ceremony. We want to be recognized as “married”, but we are doing the legal stuff reluctantly cause we are lefty-weirdos/traditional marriage abolitionists.
    This has led us to decide that a traditional engagement would be weird for us. Rather than one of us popping the question ceremoniously, we are opting to have an ongoing dialogue which has been our version of an engagement. It’s a little weird, we’ve had to make it up as we go along, cause it’s hard for me to track down non-traditional engagements and marriages in this style (Offbeat Bride has been my main source of inspiration and has been so helpful!). There’s no template to follow for what we are doing. So even though we have planned a huge portion of the upcoming ceremony, there’s a guest list, our friends and family know about it, it’s no secret, it still feels kind of unofficial, since there hasn’t been an official engagement or announcement letting everyone we know that we plan to have a big love party. I’m not sure how to say we are engaged for all intents and purposes, but not really, haha.
    Part of me, the part of me that grew up with traditional wedding aspirations foisted on me by family members/The World, makes me feel like we need to be officially and “properly” engaged, but at the same time a bigger part of me feels like that’s not really for me. Anyone have any similar experiences?

    Just to note: totally on board with all kinds of weddings and engagements for other folks, whatever works for you! 🙂

    • YES, completely in the same boat (I wrote the post right above yours)!

      I’m still shocked at how difficult it was to explain my FH’s lack of proposal and my lack of engagement ring to friends and family. In my experience, this deviation from the traditional concept of an engagement was a really difficult concept to grasp for a lot of people. I received so many questions about whether or not I was getting what I wanted (umm, really?), why I don’t have an engagement ring, etc. Why is that in this day and age? Why is there such a strong expectation for couples to announce an official engagement?

  20. My fiance and I decided to get married, i.e. we set the date, about two or three weeks before he actually proposed. He’s had a wedding ring for me for about a year. I am a huge planner and I like to have things set in stone, so the situation made me feel like a crazy person.

    My biggest problem about being-engaged-but-not-“officially”-engaged was that it was awkward trying to make plans and provisions for our wedding when I knew my conservative family would not understand our situation unless we were Officially Engaged with a Ring.

  21. Some of these life milestones, while knowing we want them to happen in the future we aren’t ready for them to happen now. It sounds as though the point when the OP’s other half will be ready is still in the future. Trust that what they is is true and it will happen but they aren’t ready.

    If they aren’t ready, then they aren’t in a position to know what they want from a wedding or committing formally to you.

    My advise is to pull away from planning and understand why you feel like getting everything sorted so early, styles and taste change (I would be annoyed at planning twice). If you are a super planner get a plan of action ready for when it happens, things to book ect. and then put it to one side and leave it there.

    I went through something similar between engagement and marriage, as there was a discrepancy between what I wanted and what could happen. So I pulled away from thinking about it, I was making myself unhappy looking at things that weren’t going to happen, it wasn’t healthy. When I got my head around the underlying feeling of life in limbo, we discussed the entire marriage thing and came to a solution that worked for us both.

  22. This may not be a popular comment, but I feel sad that so many people seem to think their relationship is not ‘valid’ enough unless they are engaged or married. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe in marriage and I would not entertain a relationship unless it was leading to marriage. But so many people seem to define their worth as a partner by their status of girlfriend-fiancee-wife. I consider myself so blessed to be with my partner, I would never think ‘I am just his girlfriend, therefore he does not love me enough to make me more than this’. I know I am exlusively and absolutely loved , regardless of the label society is able to put onto me. We are getting married in 6 months and have everything planned and paid for, without there being a proposal, we just planned it because it made sense. A proposal is not important to me, but he quite fancies the idea, so there may still be a proposal one day. He says he might get round to it after the wedding, or the day before just to make sure, and it is a source of never-ending jokes between us. Yes, it is wonderful to plan a wedding and look forward to the future, but please do not miss the NOW. Your relationship with your partner has to be healthy in the NOW, and if you both know you are heading for marriage then great, and that is all that matters – being with the person you love, whether this is as a girlfriend, fiancee or spouse. Enjoy what you have now, don’t back yourself or your partner into the wedding corner, and do not force a future to happen on your own terms. If your partner is the right person for you, trust in their love and the future will happen naturally.

  23. There right this very second. Over the weekend, post-show (we’re both actors), a slightly tipsy boyfriend confessed that he had MEANT to get a ring last year, but his tax situation didn’t work out. And, which friends had I sent the Etsy link about rings to???
    He spoke with one of those friends at a housewarming on Saturday. I know for a fact he hasn’t done his taxes quite yet, but now I’m wandering around my life twitter-pated, thinking about how he’s going to do this. He has a romantic streak, which added to being actors, means this could get rather theatrical.
    We already know we’re having two ceremonies (Catholic for him, at his home parish – beautiful church, pagan/shamanistic handfasting for me), a sword-fight at the reception, a baseball themed tables and probably invitations, with geeky and theatre-y touches all over. I own a dress (previous engagement), but want to look at new styles… just in case. Somehow, in all this, there will be purple and blue, our favorite colors. And the cake will be chocolate in some form, because that’s my addiction. My father will likely request a live band. (Boyfriend made a bet with me ages ago about trying new foods in exchange for dances at weddings – I’m a picky eater, but I’ve banked several wedding dances, now, and will make sure one of them goes to his mom.)
    I’ve personally made it very clear to any friends who might be in charge of pre-wedding parties that I’d much prefer a co-ed baseball game outing followed by the gendered parties… with NO clubs/revues/nude bodies of people I don’t know. Dinner and fun and games and silliness is much more my style.
    Again, no ring yet. Though very likely soon.

    See? I’m even losing coherency writing this!

  24. The way I define engagement is, you’re engaged when you’ve promised to marry each other. For that reason, when I noticed I and my partner were sliding from the “so what if we get married some day…” towards the “so WHEN we get married…”, I got down on one knee, and they proposed. No ring just then – we ring shopped together later. I was in the middle of cooking and my hands were wet. 😀

    Funny thing was, we had initially thought it would be better to go through all this after we get our PhDs — which are still a couple of years away. But despite the change in schedule, this felt like the genuine thing to do.

  25. YES! We’ve chosen a ring, venue, theme, etc… But whenever I ask him about a proposal, he just says, “Wait and see,” or, “Be patient, you know it’s going to happen!” I’ve been waiting for over a year now, and I’m losing my mind!

  26. I went through this as well. My guy and I had been together for over 4.5 years, had often talked about getting married and he even referred to me as his fiancé to his friends and co-workers. One day I thought about “well, if we’re getting married… when will that happen? Is there a good time for this?” so I brought it up to him, we broke out a calendar and saw that the 6-year anniversary of our first date lands on a Saturday in 2016. Great! We had actually set a date for the wedding!! But he hadn’t proposed yet… He kept feeling pressure to make it some grand gesture (from other people, not me) and never felt like he had the best possible proposal. We also didn’t have a ring.
    So, while he thought about how to propose weeks went by, we told our closest friends and family, explained that “yes, this IS doing things out-of order relationship-wise”, gathered our bridesmaids and groomsmen and starting planning the shindig. It felt rather uncomfortable to be planning a wedding without having been proposed to… We’d always done things out-of-order in our relationship anyway so that bit didn’t bother me. What DID was that I felt like I couldn’t tell anybody except those super close people because I didn’t have a ring. Which is really rather silly in this modern age but the few people I did tell early on immediately looked for a ring! (After I got a ring that’s still the first thing everybody did) I did seriously consider proposing to him instead but, having talked to him about it over the years we’d been together I knew that wasn’t what he wanted.
    My mom decided to donate the stone from her engagement ring and we had it set into a new ring for me which then went to my guy so he’d have it for the proposal. After a few more weeks, shortly before our 5-year anniversary he finally proposed: one day I came home to a ton of balloons in our house – he handed me a pin and said “Have fun!”. The balloons were full of fresh rose petals and little slips of paper that spelled out “Will you marry me” (technically the ‘u’ of you was lost in the balloon-popping mayhem but I got the point anyway) and I really appreciated that he took the time to do something meaningful – I really love books, words and plays on words so having literally “popped the question” still makes me smile. 🙂

    So, all told he probably took 4 months from when we set a date for and started planning the wedding to when he “officially” proposed.

    • I just want to say that this is one of the most adorable ways to propose I’ve come across! ‘Popped the question’ – ingenious!

  27. “Engaged” is short for “engaged to be married” — i.e., you’ve made a commitment with each other to get married. And like, you’re a little further in some aspects of wedding planning than I am, and I’m getting married in June. I would consider you engaged.

    But also, feelings are hard. My brother and his now-wife (who’s Japanese) were planning and booking wedding things (often over a huge distance) before they considered themselves “technically” engaged, because for them, some sort of partial-surprise ring-having proposal was what made the syntactic difference.

    My partner and I opted to exchange non-ring gifts in a mutual proposal under a tree, and then started calling ourselves fiancé(e)s. For us, asking each other for our hands in marriage, and giving each other cool meaningful gifts, was what made it feel “official,” even though we’ve been talking about marriage almost since we started dating. The ritual felt important, even though there were no rings, and we knew we were going to get married beforehand. (We called ourselves “subjunctively engaged” for a while when, long story short, I couldn’t marry him legally yet.)

    As an engaged person with no ring, I will confidently say that you can be engaged with no ring (it seems this is harder in some regions; if that’s the case for you, consider the internet your region — it is fine here). And you can be engaged with no wedding plans yet, for a long time, even. And you can be engaged with one or both of those things.

    As an aside, if it is at all possible for the two of you (any two of you!), get some therapy/counseling. I say this as a person who’s gotten therapy both in the crumbling end of a marriage, and as a really happy not-engaged-yet person: therapy is SO MUCH MORE FUN with someone you’re really into. It’s like happy gardening work, not building demolition work. You have so much more energy to talk about goals & expectations, make space for vulnerability, and practice healthy skills. And you get someone outside your family/friends who can look at things a bit more objectively, someone who has literally gone to school to study how people can be their healthiest and happiest. Being on the same page is not going to get any less important, and the earlier, the better.

  28. Haha so we went from that weird place where we’d been planning a hypothetical wedding for a few months to actually married legally all before we had a ring or a “proposal”. We are now planning our ceremony for friends and family and only a few people know that we are actually married already! But it was definitely weird, being married before even having a ring. I didn’t feel like I could even announce we were engaged with out it, which is simply silly. Tradition be damned! I say plan away! Be engaged! With or without a ring!

  29. We were pretty much engaged once my fiance asked me if I wanted to start looking at rings (at Wal-Mart while his oil was being changed). Once I picked out a ring on etsy and he ordered it, I was doing more serious research than I had before, but still felt a little weird about planning a not-quite-official wedding. One thing that kind of helped was telling our parents that we were getting engaged. We had already planned a visit to his dad after ordering the ring, so we told him while we were there, and called the rest of our parents on the phone.

    They got another phone call a few weeks later when I got my ‘official proposal’. 🙂

  30. Well… we’re getting married in two months but we’re not officially engaged. We’ve been talking about getting married for a long time and last June, FH planned to propose during our Summer Holiday. Unfortunately, there were problems with the ring and he told me so I wouldn’t be disappointed for not getting a proposal. We decided to go ahead and start planning in earnest anyways.
    Fast forward to last December. Still no proposal. X-mas came and went, New Year’s came and went… nothing. And I had no clue why. I was also quite disappointed, because FH wasn’t saying anything. Still, our wedding planning was on track, I just never got the “official” proposal.

    I went out and had a drink with my MoH shortly after New Year and lo and behold – she was wearing a most beautiful engagement ring. She got a proposal during X-mas! While I was happy for her, I was also SO smashed, because I was still there, no ring.
    That night I came home and gave FH hell. Probably not fair, but it was needed that he FINALLY spilled the beans!
    Like I previously said, he planned to propose during our summer vacation in June. Back then, the jeweler sent him the wrong ring – wrong design, wrong size. He went back and they told him that since it was a ring from a collection past, it would take some time for the right one to arrive. Ok, shit happens.
    Fast Forward to late August. They messaged him the ring had arrived. He went to the store to pick it up and…. it was a completely wrong size. As in, it was even too big for his finger! And back it went again.
    Fast Forward to late November. Now the ring was here! He went to pick it up and while the ring was close enough in design, it wasn’t the one he picked. And it had a different price tag, too! That’s when he gave up (understandably, so!) and told them to just forget about it.
    Due to the busy x-mas season he didn’t get around to look somewhere else (he’s not good at such things to start with, so that was really difficult for him). All the while I thought he surely must have the ring hidden away and was waiting for reasons I didn’t understand.
    What do we learn from that? Communication is key! If he’d have told me beforehand I wouldn’t have been hurt so much.
    While I still kind of wish for a proposal, I can laugh about that story now. I highly doubt that I’ll get a proposal before our wedding day in May….

  31. I feel this! My (now) fiance and I live in Iraq, and I knew he was going to propose last summer when were in the States.

    I had spent the previous three months planning- not discretely- and we both knew exactly what sort of wedding we wanted. Within two days of the proposal the wedding was basically planned, because I knew we only had a few days of access to vendors (and wedding dresses that aren’t GIANT).

    Relax- whatever works for you both is exactly what you should be doing!

  32. Last august my boyfriend called me drunk from new york wanting to talk about us talking about getting engaged. That led to 8 months of wedding research, pinterest, venues, caterers, everything. Through that we kept talking about getting married while not being engaged. Last monday I was telling him how I stressing out about details and things for the future, and he got down on a knee and very sweetly proposed, on the spot, no rings or romantic guestures, and it was perfect. I haven’t felt a crzy need for a ring on my finger, and my mom gave us my grandmothers ring which needs to be reset, which i’ll probably use for my engagement/wedding ring.

  33. Thank goodness I’m not the only one! Last Christmas (after 3 years of living together) we had “the talk” about making the commitment. We hashed out a lot of our personal histories, our financial issues, our expectations, etc. Last month he asked if I wanted to be involved in picking out a ring. Said he’d already been shopping around and he’d already told his parents. But not one peep since!

    I just wanna get this done and change my name before I have to renew my passport! 😀

  34. I’m currently in this situation.. My boyfriend and I already set a date as to when we’ll get married. We already planned on having joint accounts and as well discussed on where should we live. But still, although the date we set is a year and a half from now, he’s not proposing yet. He hasn’t even asked me what my ring size is.. Whenever our friends ask him if he’ll propose, he always says No (because we already set our wedding date and there’s no need for proposal) or he would just dodge the question and change the topic.. It’s kind of frustrating most of the times.. And yes.. He hasn’t really asked me yet.. Still hanging..

  35. I’m so happy I happened to click the link to this because this is exactly what I went through the two weeks (or was it a month? I’m not a good judge of time) before my fiance proposed. We’d decided we were ready to get married, for real (it was the first time I’d said it, though he’d been on board for a while), in the car on the way to errands. That moment I remember as significant like when he actually proposed, because it was just as real.

    Those two weeks (or month? whatever) were so exciting it was nerve wreaking. Like an 8 year old before Christmas. He wanted to do the perfect proposal, the perfect ring, etc. I had no desire for a ring, and I wanted to tell the world! Just my mom and soon my sister knew during that time, and even my mom was having a hard time keeping the secret.

    We were both so excited, that he ended up proposing the day he bought the ring- in our messy bedroom after asking me to get in a nice dress while he changed into a suit. It was corny and amazing and never for a second have I wished he had proposed in any other way.

    I’m actually very happy that we had that time. For that time, the engagement was just our own. I didn’t have the best time at all times, because I was worried that he was getting cold feet, but I have to remind myself of that because my memory of the time is a glorious haze of giggles and him enjoying making me blush. I’m happy he took the time to get the ring, because he wanted to ‘do it right’ and I have enjoyed the ring despite my initial lack of desire to get one. After we told people, it wasn’t any more real (though I thought it would be) but it was less private.

    As a kid I always thought proposals were this big surprise, which is why I always hated those movies where the guy asks the girl in front of a big crowd. Now that I’ve been through it and know it is anything but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  36. My partner and I have been talking about getting married for the last few months, but like 2 weeks ago that we (accidentally I might add) picked out my engagement ring. Ever since then I have been in this crazy emotional termoil that comes with life changes and I can’t even tell people what’s wrong because I do not yet have a ring on my finger. I literally was feeling like an awful person (because I was suddenly filled with inexplicable terror of things to do with time, money and other fun uncontrollable things like that) until I started reading articles on how people feel when they’re engaged and realised I was just going through all these emotions without officially being asked anything.
    That has kind of helped and made me feel crazier all at the same time lol. I didn’t realise I was worried about how to be a finance…I mean how could I be with no official proposal? All in all, I think it sucks that we have to go through this relationship status change in our heads before it’s a “public engagement.”
    Reading everyone’s stories on here has really helped me gain some perspective on my situation and get out of my head a little. ?

  37. I am also currently in this situation, though we’ve mostly talked about who would be in our wedding and where we would go on our honeymoon. My SO and I have been together for 5 years and have been living together for 2 years, we started dating when I was 18 and he was 23, we have the ring already……in fact we will have had it for a year next month…and still no question popping. I have definitely hit the depressing state of not being engaged and watching all my friends that have been dating their SO shorter then we have is not making it any better..I try not to get my hopes up anymore (because there have been situations where i thought i was going to get the ring just by the way my SO was talking and then nothing happened)

  38. As a business woman, I run within certain social circles (also other business women) and we have discovered that we don’t have the luxury to be a woman-in-wait any longer. We have to report to shitty supervisors, demanding line managers; make nice with vendors; negotiate pedantic contracts; choose living arrangements, travel overseas for training, and attend domestic conferences. We can be completely off the grid for 16 hours, hopping from plane to plane, continent to continent.

    We strategize our career, our living arrangements, and our finances — why not our love life?

    And if you want kids? Forget about it.

    So, the majority of us have begun the practice of issuing ‘timelines.’ Basically, a candid logically-emotional conversation with our respective serious boyfriends of: “… marriage or nah?”

    We’ve already established the love and the adoration with the relationship, great. But do we want to give it structure and a moral compass and a legal disposition? You do? Great. You don’t: well, thanks for your candor, if you change your mind I’ll be overseas for a few weeks at a conference.

    It works like a charm.

    Presumably, you have brought so much value into his life (of the type that HE recognizes and understands; as his woman that is entirely your duty to figure out just what it is), and you’ve instilled a proper amount of urgency into his being, that he begins to panic that he may just lose you. (I tend to notice that most men operate from a loss-deficit principle. That is, they rationalize what they have to LOSE, not what they have to GAIN).

    So, we had The Talk. A rough timeline was created. Including when we want to live together, engagement (those two are interchangeable), how long to be engaged, and when to be married.

    I think it’s important to have a timeline. It keeps both parties honest and accountable.

    Now, if you’re not a business woman working 12 hour days, across three or four continents or five states (at least not for international business), then try to capture that vibe of dynamism and excitement as if you WERE, and approach the discussion of marriage from a more logical stance, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

  39. I just bumped into this website when I typed in “are we engaged?” ’cause I felt the same way. I’m glad to see that this is a normal feeling for us women who have been in a relationship for quite a while.

    My boyfriend for 6 years told me last year that we should get married on Dec. 2018. Up until now there’s no engagement ring or proposal whatsoever. But I think the main reason I’m feeling this is because I barely hear anything from him when it comes to the wedding plans. I went all crazy with pinterest and I already made invitation envelopes (all are hand made, went crazy with DIY), I have layouts and invitation designs. I looked up for photographers, venue etc. I hear about his plans mostly if I talk about it first.

    I agree that your sanity is at stake if you’ll just keep all your thoughts inside. I was depressed for months because I felt I’m the only one hyped up about it so I asked him if he’s really interested. I told him maybe we’re not yet ready. He then told me that he wants to get married so badly. He said he’ll work hard for me and he promised that we will get there as soon as possible. We may be able to get our desired date, sept. or dec.

    I then realized that we have different outlooks about it so we prepared for it in different ways. Women I think are more in charge of organizing and making timelines while guys think more about the finances.

    I still overthink sometimes but it’s refreshing and stress relieving to hear that your partner wants it just as badly as you do. Finance is just the hardest part of getting married especially for us working at a minimum to medium wage so I suggest contributing with the expenses as much as you can.
    I realize that I don’t need him to propose on bended knee or to give me a ring just to say we’re engaged. He wants it just as badly as i do and he’s the first one to said it last year so I’m okay with it.

    We also need to get some time off social media as it gives us wild expectations about wedding proposals. It’s highly commercialized and publicized.We should stop comparing ourselves with these people. It’s okay to let your friends know about your engagement and to post about it but I also think you should make it as intimate as possible.

    When I look back at the time he told me to get married, I feel that it’s completely genuine. It’s only the two of us, nothing fancy, no surprises (I’m not against with surprises, it’s good too) just directly telling me his plans with me. It’s low-key (which I like) but genuine.

    So I suggest talking to your partner about it. That’s the best you can do. Don’t give hints or anything. Just be precise with your question. “Do you really want to get married?”, “Do you imagine us as husband and wife?”, “Do you want to be with me forever?”. I don’t think those questions would pressure him if he really loves you and is committed with you.
    Just go and ask!

    • I too have been going slightly crazy. My partner and I have discussed marriage and shared pictures of rings I like, talked about prices, talked about when (July 2019). He wants to take a year to plan which is good as we will have time to get things how we want them. Based on that I assume he’s planning to propose within the next few months.
      Only thing is that currently we’re long distance- I will be moving to Canada from New Zealand in June. I think this is when he plans to propose. However we have also both decided we want a New Zealand wedding. Even though I know my mum and future bridesmaids will be happy to do venue hunting for me, I really want to see the venue myself. So I’m hoping like crazy that he proposes in late March when he comes to visit, but since he doesn’t seem that organised in saving/buying the ring (from what I hear) I don’t think this will happen. I want to talk to him about it but can’t think of any way to say anything without dictating the ‘when’ of the proposal and taking out all surprise/putting pressure on him.
      Probably what will happen is he won’t ask until later and I’ll be forced to bring up the question of venue shopping before I leave for Canada and before I have a ring, which feels slightly awkward…

  40. We started talking about getting married probably a year ago. Then our friend who plans fundraising events told us that in NYC you have to book a venue 18 to 24months ahead of time if you want to make sure it’ll be free (if you don’t want to have it in winter), so we started looking at venues in August. We put a deposit down on a venue in September, even though we weren’t officially engaged.

    I would propose to him (we are both feminists), but I had awful, traumatic parents, so being proposed to is important to me because I want to feel chosen into a new family, even if it is just our little family of two. He gets that.

    We agreed to clear some financial/adulting tasks off of our plates before we get engaged, and that was totally okay with me. But I assumed that we would get engaged a few months after we got the venue squared away. Now it is eight months later. I’ve started to get sad whenever I do any wedding planning (not to mention stressed out as the very long, relaxing time I had to plan has been cut by third. The reason that I have gotten saddest because I told myself I wasn’t going to allow myself to *feel* anything until it was official — before it was official it has just felt like logistics, like a business that, a deposit down on a contract for building. I wasn’t going to tell anybody other than my closest friends until we’re officially engaged, so I’ve had to keep this whole thing a secret which is very difficult for me because I’m a very open and public person. And I’m definitely not going to look for a dress before I’m officially engaged because I want to feel happy when I’m doing that.

    I was originally so chill about it all, I really didn’t think I minded being pre-engaged. But that was when it was 1 month, 2 months, 5 months along. now it’s 8 months, the better part of a year, and it just feels very mundane.

    I finally told my partner that I was feeling this way a couple of weeks ago, and he said he understood, and he hadn’t been thinking at all about how to propose and since he knows I want it to be special, he had to think about how to do it. To his credit, he spent some time thinking, and now he apparently has some sort of plan but it won’t happen for another month and a half. At which point it’ll be close to 10 months since we started looking at venues.

    I already struggle with depression so it’s really hard for me because I want to feel really happy about this but it takes big moments for me to feel that giddy thing, and I feel like keeping silent about it for 8 months histone the opposite and made me feel really blah about this.

    I really hope I can get that excited feeling back when we do finally get officially engaged.

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