The Engagement vs. The Proposal

A year ago, Tristan made it clear he was going to marry me. We had both decided that was a step we wanted to take with each other, however it was not an official proposal. Over the course of 2012, he gave me a ring, not THE ring, but a beautiful simple ring to show his commitment. Then last November, his grandmother offered her engagement ring. And we are still not engaged.

At this point I began to unravel. I questioned why, if Tristan really wanted to marry me, he hadn’t proposed. Why it felt taboo to have an open and honest discussion about my anxieties. If I brought up getting engaged, that made me either the “nagging girlfriend” or that I was ruining the surprise. I resented the patriarchal society that didn’t allow me to be a part of this decision that affected me so profoundly.

Finally I exploded. Of course I know Tristan wants to be the one to propose, and that moment belongs to him. I never wanted to take that away from him. But what about my feelings? Maybe my timeline? How can one half of a partnership get no voice in this huge decision?

That’s all it took to restore my sanity. Openness with one another, honesty. Yes, he is just as excited as I am. Yes, my thoughts on engagement count. The Proposal is still his to plan, but The Engagement is for both of us. Making that distinction, involving both parties, that is important. Engagement is a new chapter of a relationship, not just a placeholder for marriage, and it’s a leap that should be taken together.