As autumn approaches, it seems as though everywhere we turn, there are social media engagement announcements. This is a season of change, after all, and what better time to make a lifelong one than when the leaves are falling beautifully all around you? Yet, though filters and hashtags can make almost anything seem ideal, it’s important to keep your head when these romantic reveals start popping up in your news feed.
Though the idea of an engagement is exciting, before you start talking marriage with your partner, it’s important to know whether or not you’re emotionally ready first. Here are five signs that if he or she pops the question tomorrow, you’ll be able to confidently say “yes.”
1. You’re confident in yourself both within and outside the relationship.
Do you feel like you’re only whole when you’re with your “other half”? That very notion that you are one-half of a person without someone else can be a paralyzing one when placed in the wrong context. Before you get engaged, remember that you are a whole, complete person on your own. Finding someone to share your life with is incredible and exciting, but it shouldn’t take another person to make you feel complete.
It’s important to be confident and secure in yourself as an individual before you make the commitment to be a part of couplehood for the rest of your life. Are you investing in your hobbies, pursuing your interests and nourishing your self-growth? If so, your relationship can’t help but be strengthened in the process, especially if your partner is engaging in these solo pursuits as well. Make sure that you can stand alone without leaning on someone else, or you could be entering into a dependency that cripples you down the road.
2. You know wholeheartedly that you aren’t settling.
Sometimes, we settle for less than we deserve because we truly don’t think we can achieve any better. Though this is a common course that many people take, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If any part of you feels as though you’re settling by getting engaged to your partner, now is the time to put the brakes on any engagement talk. Take the time to consider your relationship from all points of view before moving forward.
Do you find yourself wishing you could change your partner? Sure, it’s rare to not find anything at all that annoys us about our significant others, but getting irritated about nighttime snoring is one thing. Wishing that your partner was kinder, gentler or more considerate is another. When you walk down the aisle, you should feel confidently that this is the perfect match for you and that there is no one better suited for you out there. If you find yourself second-guessing this reality and looking questioningly into your future, you may need some more time.
3. Your life is settled and secure.
Are you in the middle of changing careers, moving to a new state, or going back to school? If so, you’re probably mentally, physically and emotionally tapped out at the moment. While getting engaged might sound like a fun distraction or cure, keep in mind that while a proposal is fun and the attention you get on social media is great, next comes the intense, costly and time-consuming challenge of planning a wedding.
If your life is currently all over the place and you’re finding it difficult to gain your footing, it’s wise to put an engagement on the back burner for now. Instead, let your partner be there to support you and help you through this transition, ring talk aside. You don’t want to accept a proposal as a last resort to gain stability, only to resent and regret the decision a few months down the road when things finally return to normal.
4. You’re sure about what you want in the future.
Do you know where your partner stands with having a family? Equally as important, do you know where you stand? Do you know where you want to live full-time or are you still figuring that out?
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing the answers to these questions, they are big discussions that you and your partner should have before starting a life together. If you have spoken about these issues and are on the same page, then you may be ready to take that next step. After having this kind of talk and feeling comfortable with the answers, you can then discuss more trivial, yet exciting things that involve marriage when you’re ready. From what kind of ring you’d like to how big of a wedding party you want, it’s important that you and your partner agree on these issues as well. If one of you wants a courthouse marriage while the other wants to plan a big fete, these are things you need to know before one of you gets down on one knee!
On the other hand, you don’t want to accept a proposal only to find that you desperately want kids down the road, but your partner is adamantly against it. Understanding where each other stands on these big-ticket issues is key to ensuring a happy and committed future together.
5. You’re genuinely excited about marriage.
There are some brides that have been saving clippings from wedding magazines since they were in middle school. Then, there are some that physically shudder when you mention lifelong commitment. Of course, there are also a ton of people that fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
If you can say with total confidence that you look forward to being married soon, you’re emotionally ready to take that next step. Alternatively, if you crave your independence, alone time and personal space and can’t imagine sharing any of those things with anyone, you may still have some growing to do and that’s completely fine. While you should still be able to hold onto those elements of independence once you’re married, the reality is that you’ll be sharing your life with someone else and you may not get them to the degree you’re currently used to.
If you’re ready to compromise that just a little, it may be time to commit. Yet, if the idea of being betrothed sends chills down your spine and fills you with dread, it’s worth taking a step back and evaluating why you feel that way before accepting a proposal.
At the end of the day, your engagement should be one of the happiest days of your life. You never want to look back on that moment and second-guess whether or not you made the right decision by saying “yes.” Take the time to evaluate your feelings about the relationship, consider where you are in life right now, and what your future would look like when you take that next step. Don’t hesitate to have these important conversations with your partner, either. He or she deserves to be in-the-know about your feelings so that when it is time to make a move, you’ll both know it’s the right one.