When you’re about to get engaged, it’s hard to think about anything but the impending marriage proposal. You might spend a lot of time guessing how and when it will happen, picturing the ring on your finger, and anticipating what your boyfriend will say as he proposes. Of course, your actual proposal will hardly ever be just as you imagined it, and, believe it or not, a lot of the time that’s not the man’s fault at all.
On the contrary, I’ve heard many stories of women who regretted something about the way they behaved as they got engaged – myself included! That’s why I suggest taking some time away from guessing how your boyfriend will propose and start preparing for how you will act as you get engaged. You might know how you’d like to act – surprised, excited, and happy, for starters – but there may be some negative behaviors that sneak up on you in the moment and cause you to regret your reaction in retrospect. Here are five such behaviors you’ll want to avoid while getting engaged.
1. Forgetting to say “yes.” Your man has probably been preparing for this moment for a long time, and all he’s hoping for from you is a big, resounding “Yes!” Unfortunately, many women forget the “yes” because they are so overwhelmed. Try to remind yourself in that exciting moment that you should give your man the satisfaction of actually answering that enormous question he’s asked you, in between the oh-my-goodness and are-you-serious. Don’t just assume it’s common knowledge that you accept his proposal!
2. Snatching the ring. Yes, I’m sure it’s stunning. Yes, I’m sure you’ve been picturing it and waiting for it for months. Yes, it makes sense that you’d want some tactile confirmation that this moment is real. But try to refrain from snatching the ring out of your new fiancé’s hand as he offers it to you. Let your man do the honor of placing the ring on your finger. That’s probably what he’s been fantasizing about all this time, and it symbolizes the commitment he is making to you.
3. Anticipating the details. As I was preparing to get engaged, I did a little snooping and a lot of discrete questioning, and I practically knew down to the finest detail how my proposal was going to go. What was the result? I may have been emotionally prepared for the moment, but I had to try to figure out how to act surprised! If you try to figure out exactly what’s going to happen, you take away the magical element of surprise that your soon-to-be-fiancé has most likely been trying to achieve. Along the same lines, if you have preconceived notions of when you’re going to get engaged – a particular holiday, date, or vacation, for example – that expectation will color your entire experience. If a proposal does happen, you will not be surprised, and if it doesn’t happen, you may feel disappointed or bitter. My advice is not to try to anticipate the details – just trust that it will happen when the time is right, and enjoy the ride.
4. Forcing emotion. When it comes to marriage proposals, everyone reacts differently. While one woman might break down into tears, another may find herself devoid of overt emotion. Both of these reactions are completely normal. If tears don’t naturally come, don’t force them. Placing expectations on yourself to feel a certain way will take away from fully experiencing this one-shot moment.
5. Rushing too quickly to the phone. Take some time to enjoy the moment with your new fiancé before rushing to the phone to share the news with everyone you know. Once you start with the first phone call, you will probably think of a hundred more you need to make, and you will eventually find that you’ve been on the phone so long that you haven’t properly acknowledged this huge, life-changing moment with your future spouse. Take the time to hug, kiss, cuddle, cry, and just let it sink in. Then, when you’re ready, give your mom a call. If you have to pretend you called her immediately, go for it… and if she finds out the truth, you can blame me.
As you prepare for the exciting experience of getting engaged, remember not to get so wrapped up in the “where,” “when,” and “how” of the proposal that you forget about the “why.” The most important thing is that you and the love of your life are about to agree to spend the rest of your lives together. Hopefully, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both of you, as well as a moment you will probably be asked to recount for years to come. To make the most of the experience, allow it to happen naturally, react authentically, consider your new fiancé’s needs, and, above all, enjoy it!
More engagement advice:
Five Things Couples Should Experience Before Getting Engaged
Marriage Proposals: 7 Tips for Keeping It a Surprise
Ten of the Worst Reasons to Get Married