You’ve probably imagined this moment since you were a little girl playing dress up in your mother’s heels. He gets down on one knee, looks into your eyes, and tells you he can’t live without you—and if that isn’t enough, you get to sport a rock on your left hand for as long as you both shall live.
Of course I’ll marry you!
When you finally meet ‘the one’, the idea of marriage should seem like a no-brainer, and most likely you’ve had conversations leading up to the big proposal. So how do you know when you’re truly ready to settle down? “If you have a sole connection with the person and can be the real you, then you are in the right place,” says Auriela McCarthy, Relationship Expert and author of The Power Of The Possible.
When you’re at a point when you can accept the person’s weakness (we all have them!) and are not going into a marriage with the mindset that either of you are going to change your ways, then you’re ready for the commitment. Just be sure you want to be with him for reasons beyond his performance in the sack or hefty paycheck! Be sure it’s “based on your feelings, thoughts and experiences with that person and that you know them well enough that trust is demonstrated,” says McCarthy. “You need to know how he reacts to different situations and make sure your man can stand on his own (that means no mama’s boys, ladies!) and that he is mature enough to be making this decision as well.”
Are you confident in yourself?
Although age can certainly make a difference in your readiness to take the leap, Relationship Expert Dr. Jenn Berman says a lot is based on how much you’ve learned about yourself and relationships thus far. If you’re fresh out of college and say ‘yes’ to someone after one year of dating, that may lead to some problems down the line. However, if you’re in your thirties and have had time to figure out who you are and what you want in a partner, it can be a great time to say ‘yes’ after only a short period of time. “A lot depends on your life experience and dating experience,” she says.
Getting to know people cannot only help you figure out what you want in a relationship, but what you don’t want as well. If you’ve gotten to meet a variety of personalities and characteristics and figured out what you’re looking for in a partner, you’ll be in a better position to know what’s right for you.
Also, you should truly be able to trust your own feelings. If you’ve made positive decisions in the past and have a good track record for leading yourself in the right direction then you can feel ready to make this choice. Otherwise, McCarthy advises to listen to opinions of those you value—someone who has experienced a good relationship and a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Berman recommends couples date for at least one year before they get engaged. “The first 3-12 months tend to be the honeymoon period,” she says. “You’re so enchanted with the other person that it’s hard to see who they really are because everyone’s on their best behavior.”
So wait until you’ve seen your man in everyday situations and not just for weekend getaways full of wining and dining before you accept to live happily ever after.