How do I get over feeling disappointment in the way that my boyfriend proposed, and just enjoy being engaged? And also, how do I overcome the shame associated with being disappointed?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (88 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I love my boyfriend deeply, and I feel terrible even writing this. He recently proposed to me and I accepted. It was not a surprise that he was going to propose, since we went ring shopping a couple months ago, and he asked my ring size as far back as New Year's. The only thing I didn't know was when and how. We were on vacation, and I had a suspicion that it might happen then. At one point I sensed that it was coming because he was behaving nervously and there were pointed silences. To break the tension, I excused myself and went to the bathroom. When I came out, he was lying on the bed with the ring box open in front of him. Before the toilet was even finished flushing, he asked me to marry him. I said yes. That was that.
I asked him if he had anything else to say, and he asked what I meant. I said, "ya know, like why you're proposing." So, he said he would try again. I took the ring off and he got his knees by the side of the bed, and said some words to the effect of "you make me really happy and I love being with you..." There was all but a "blah, blah, blah" at the end of it. I told him he made me really happy as well, and then I cried a little while he comforted me, but didn't display any emotion. Afterwards, we went to dinner at a restaurant our concierge had recommended on my first night there (I arrived a day before him), but it wasn't very good. Then we wandered around looking for a bar to have a drink in, found one and had a drink. He hadn't planned on any place to take me or anything. The next day we went home.
I expected that there would be a little let-down after all the anticipation, but I didn't expect it to be so acute. I told my boyfriend beforehand that I didn't need some big, public display. But I was still expecting and was excited about a romantic moment. We've been together for a few years and we're both over 30 and have been in serious relationships before (he's divorced), so I knew there wouldn't be a lot of giddiness and that sort of thing. But still. I was hoping that a nice moment would be created. Something that would allow both of us to express our love for one another and our feelings about taking this next step. I feel robbed of something that I had been looking forward to for a long time, but which I didn't know I *needed* until the moment had passed. For the record, I offered to propose back when we first started discussing it, but he insisted on doing it himself and making it a surprise.
After the vacation, we went home and started telling friends and family. Two things happened that stopped my initial disappointment from fading: 1. I noticed that I was doing all of the excited announcing to our friends, or making plans to announce to people we live far from. He told his family, but that was it. I pointed this out to him, and asked him if would email, or help me craft an email to our core group of mutual friends that we live far away from, since it felt like I alone was sharing the news. He said he would, but still hasn't. It compounds my feelings that this just isn't as big a deal to him as it is to me. 2. People keep asking me how he proposed, what he did said and all that. I wasn't expecting that question to come up so often. I don't have anything to say, and try to hide my own disappointment in the lack of romance in the whole thing. I just say he kept things simple and direct and that he seemed nervous. We've gone to a couple of parties since then, and sometimes folks ask us together, but he doesn't say a word or jump in when I'm describing the moment, even though he can see that it's awkward when people are pressing me for details that don't exist.
I have talked with him about all this. When I brought it up, it was not to criticize him, but to get a sense of what was going on in his head, and what he'd planned. It turns out that he'd had the ring for over a month and was always planning to propose on our trip (even though he'd had the ring when we celebrated our anniversary a couple weeks ago). But he'd never thought about what to say, or a special place to take me (though we were in a really beautiful and romantic city), despite having planned on our trip for several weeks. According to him, all the romance was contained in the fact that we were on vacation and so he didn't need to do anything extra. He said to him the important thing is that now we're engaged, and it's hard to argue with that.
It all just feels kind of deflating, flat and unromantic. Yet, I feel like a total selfish and ungrateful ass for not just being happy and excited that I have an awesome life partner. I guess, like I wrote above, I was hoping for something special that we could share and remember fondly, and all I can think about was that a toilet was flushing while I was being proposed to. I know my boyfriend loves me and I believe that he wants to get married, but I feel a bit sad that I didn't inspire him to be more creative and expressive. That something that feels so momentous to me garnered the same inflection as seeing if I wanted a cup of tea.
But the moment is gone, and it isn't coming back. How can I just get past this and move on? Is this something I can work through with him, or should I just deal with my feelings on my own? Am I the only jerk in the world who feels let down by their proposal? If so, please give me the figurative slap in the face that I need, and if not, please share any advice for putting it behind me and focusing on the important things.