It's exciting when you feel like you've finally found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Regardless of how long the two of you have been dating, it's wise not to make a beeline straight for the altar. Marriage is a lifelong commitment and accepting a proposal will be one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your entire life. So, even if you've spent the last few years or months crossing your fingers and toes that your partner would propose, here are some good reasons to sit back, relax, and take your time.
Whirlwind romance is thrilling.
Remember those crazy butterflies you felt when you first met, went on your first date, or had your first kiss? Few experiences in life are as invigorating and exciting than the beginning stages of falling in love. The problem is that these "fast and furious" love storms have a tendency to unravel as quickly as they came together, reminds April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert. "Slow down and let the whirlwind of romance find its 'baseline normal' over time." She advises couples to spend at least a year truly getting to know each other to avoid making a mistake that could have been avoided with a few more months of dating.
Rebound relationships have a tendency to rush into marriage proposals.
"When people break up, divorce, or are widowed, they often want to replace the missing piece in their life more than they want to find someone compatible for the long run," Masini says. "And they often don't realize this because they're so focused on replacing a missing partner until it's too late." For this reason, it's important to give some time in between relationships so you can grieve, learn how to be alone again, pick yourself back up and get back on the field. Letting yourself get over things naturally will give you a much better chance of a great next relationship," she says.
You want to make sure you're getting married for the right reasons.
First thing first: Make sure that this person, with all of his or her quirks, faults and shortcomings, is the person you truly want to be with day in and day out. "Getting married to the right person impacts every major decision you'll make after that," says Kathy McMahon, psychologist and president of Couples Therapy Inc. "It impacts where you live, whether you'll have children, how happy you'll be, and which problems you're going to be living with for the rest of your life." Word to the wise: Keep superficial reasons, like how much money he or she has or what his or her status in the world is, out of the center focus.
Rushing a proposal intensifies anxiety for the person feeling "rushed."
The entire frame of a "rushed proposal" means someone wants to "hurry it up" for whatever reason, while the other wants to take a longer time to decide, explains Dr. McMahon. "That's why it's important to have a serious conversation with your partner about where you each see this relationship going in the long run." Maybe your partner truly does want to marry you, but was hoping to wait until after med school, or maybe wants to pay off debts before popping the question. Remember that life is long, so, to ensure you're spending it with the right person, take your time.
A proposal isn't going to fix a troubled relationship in the long run.
If you and your partner are experiencing problems in the relationship, it might seem like reaching an exciting milestone together could cover up the trouble. But this couldn't be any farther from the truth. "Proposals that are rushed to avoid relationship problems are only masking the problem for the time being," says Masini. "Whatever it is will crop up again with time and, when it does, there will be more at stake because you'll be engaged or married."
You're afraid to lose your partner to competition.
If you constantly feel threatened by other men or women in your partner's life, you've got bigger problems than your lack of an engaged status. "Competition doesn't go away just because you're married," reminds Masini. In fact, some people even find men and women more tempting or attractive when they're already snatched up. "Slow down and wait until you're confident that your partner wants you as much as you want him or her—then propose."