Can we talk about pre-engagement? You know, to keep those of us who didn’t get engaged over the holidays sane? The posts in the archives are great, but these new Facebook engagement ring timeline posts are killing me (along with the well-intentioned but deranged people who actually say “Oh, so no engagement ring from the holidays?”). My boyfriend and I have been together a year and a half and are pre-engaged and living together, but he’s not ready yet. I read APW daily, but I am not sure how much more wedding joy I can take at the moment. I got my copy of Meg’s book a couple weeks ago, but it’s hidden away until I am ready to read it (emotionally and pre-maritally). Till then, can we chat?
Emotionally Fighting Friends, Relatives, Interlopers, Nottomention Grammy & Self
Dear EFF RINGS,
First, may I remind all of you that when it comes to topics that the APW staff can’t talk about first hand, in the end it falls upon readers to deliver the goods? (Pre-engaged readers, this is me gazing at you in a stern fashion. Unsure that you have anything to say? Read this and get to typin‘.) However, your email struck a chord and I really wanted to respond to what prompted this email in the first place, because I know you are not alone.
As evidenced in our Ring Olympics, Men’s Division post, all of these lovely updates on friends and acquaintances newly-engaged statuses can wreak a little havoc on your psyche. I sincerely doubt that you, or anyone else in your situation, is sitting around and waiting for a proposal. You’re in relationship and that’s awesome and your partner is awesome and life is awesome, thanks for asking. However, there are only so many “OMG!!!!! I SAID YES!!” posts, with accompanying blurry ring shots with cats and dirty laundry in the background, that a body can take before you start getting twitchy. I send hugs and sympathetic head nods your way.
But! While I sympathize, I also need to offer up a gentle kick in the pants. With love, obviously.
First off, start thinking of these posts for what they really are—great news from friends. Just like any other aspect of their personal lives, their news has no reflection on your relationship (hint: remember this when your friends get divorced as well, which will shake a girl up in a different and more horrible way), their engagement has no reflection on your possible future engagement. These posts are a reminder of something that you’d like to have, one day. But as you said, he’s not ready. Hell, you might not even be ready. Your mutual readiness is something that you both need to discuss and decide upon, and not because fourteen people have changed their relationship status on Facebook. Focus on the positive on both sides; your friend is in a very happy place with her relationship and you are happy for her. Focus also on the happiness in your relationship. You’ve got something great and it is not contingent upon a proposal. Keep enjoying that and keep building your relationship together. As someone smart recently told me, “If you’re in it for forever, no real point in rushing forever.” Which is a smart way of saying you should enjoy what you have right now. You don’t need wedding joy when you’ve got everyday joy.
If these announcements are getting you down, it might be time for a short internet detox; if Facebook is giving you fits, stay away for a bit. If someone catches on fire, they probably won’t send an update, so don’t feel like you’ll miss major events. An internet detox is like giving up smoking or soda—tough at first, but eventually you’ll wonder why you thought it was going to be so hard. Think about giving up wedding related blogs, too. Or don’t. You know what you can handle, so take care of yourself.
And while you’re offline, why not plan a few adventures of your own for you and your partner? Getting engaged is often seen as some goal that you need to achieve, a benchmark in adulthood. First, we could spend a week arguing over if that is a totally appropriate benchmark. (And related: If you really need to buy a damn house to be considered a grownup. Or have kids. But I digress.) My point is, if this is a goal you want to achieve (and you do), and it’s not happening right away, that does not mean that the rest of your life is on hold. Decide to learn an awesome new skill, either with your partner or on your own. Vow to reach out more to your community and be more socially active. Plan an affordable trip. (Or an extremely extravagant one, I’m not the boss of you.) It’s terribly hard to be preoccupied by your pre-engagedness when you’re screaming your face off while hang-gliding or studying a new language. Or hang-gliding while studying a new language. I’m just saying.
But hey, if schadenfreude is more your style (because it’s kind of our style—secretly), think about how much hassle these newly-engaged friends will be dealing with over the coming months. Guest lists, bridal party troubles, vendor issues. And while she is agonizing over logistics, you and your partner get to just dress up in hot outfits, drink her booze and enjoy the hell out yourselves all while wishing her joy. But seriously, give yourself about two minutes of schadenfreude and then be a good friend and send her to APW.
And personally, those well-intentioned but deranged friends asking you about your engagement plans can suck it. “Oh, so no engagement ring from the holidays?” Who says that? I’m irritated on your behalf. Actually, we all are. Everyone reading that just got twitchy. Just pretend those people are physically unable to interact socially with any sense of tact and respond neutrally with a “Nope, but I did get _______ from my wonderful partner! How thoughtful, RIGHT?” And don’t worry about thinking ugly thoughts about them. I’m thinking them on your behalf and they are vicious.
PS. And open up Meg’s book already! There is a whole sidebar on p. 11 on “The Proposal,” and a sidebar on p. 13 on “Questions To Ask Before You Get Married” (which you should totally get cracking on).
Alrighty, Team Practical, let’s start 2012 off right! How have you, or did you, deal with the flurry of engagements that seem to happen over the holidays? What did you do to get your mind off of it?
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com or use the submission form here. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). However, don’t let thinking up a sign-off stress you out; we’ll love you regardless. You’re already writing in for advice, don’t you have enough to deal with, sweetie?