If I can't live with her for a couple of days, how will I make until death do us part?
April 5, 2011 8:53 AM   Subscribe

I want to propose to my long-distance girlfriend this weekend, but I have some lingering doubts. The opportunity for a special/romantic proposal is coming soon, so I know that if I don't pop the question then, it will be too late. I don't have a ring, and I'm not sure if I should get one. But I have a few doubts that I would feel better hearing other people's opinions on...

I've been with my girlfriend for almost two years. We live 80 miles from each other, and see each other almost every weekend. We have discussed it, and agree that we want to get married. I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.

This weekend is the annual event we always volunteer at. We knew each other a couple of years before we started dating, but we started dating a couple of weeks after that event. I want to propose at the closing ceremony of this event, where she will be surrounded by people we know and love.

My doubts about this: When we spend extra time with each other on holidays, I sometimes get annoyed after 4 or more days of us constantly being together. I'm used to living by myself most of the time and am not used to having to plan my time off with someone else. It only happens when we have no time apart, and only when it is at my house. We did a week long vacation together, and I never got those feelings.

Is this some sort of male territorial thing? If we're married and living in our space rather than my space, will things be different?

Should it be a show stopper for an engagement? We have agreed we'll have a long engagement, so could this be something I work on during that time?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Everyone needs some space to themselves, and ideally your living arrangements will give each of you some personal space and time. When she's in your house right now, she has no space of her own so she's going to be in the common areas and in "your" space. When she has some space that is just hers and you have some space that is just yours, you should be fine.
That said, I'm a firm believer that people should live together before marriage, to make sure that you can mutually occupy the same space and still be happy. You might want to use your engagement time to try that out.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:56 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, when you're living with someone you don't have to plan your every moment together. I've always had my own bedroom, for example, and kept an autonomous social life. Time together is the planned time; time apart is the default.

At the holidays, you have the stress of the holidays, plus the fact that you tend to spend all your time actually together--none of this "oh, I'm going to the store and then getting coffee with Friend" or Saturdays when you're home and she's out doing something, or routines that really aren't emotionally stressful because they're just "get home, chat about day, read, sleep".

Perhaps think about your expectations for day-to-day togetherness and discuss those with your girlfriend. Do you think you'll be happy living with someone if you have enough alone time and alone space?

I might not propose just yet, myself. Talking about shared expectations for time and space should probably come first, although there's no reason that you can't have a happy marriage and your own turf.

Probably you should talk about having kids, too--having kids really cuts into your time/turf (at least, so I'm told).
posted by Frowner at 8:59 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Engagement is not a time period when you should be ironing things out. If your relationship as it will be when you get married isn't solid, you should not propose just so you can have a "show stopper" engagement. I assume you'll be living together after you get married? If the two of you don't have a plan for that yet, I think engagement should definitely be postponed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:00 AM on April 5, 2011 [30 favorites]

Don't do it unless you are 100% sure. The wedding planning process is no place for doubts.

Also, please, please, please propose with a ring. Even a temporary/fun one. It's just an object, true, but it makes this a real thing, not just a vague "we should get married some day" discussion.

good luck!
posted by smelvis at 9:00 AM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

This is not a male thing. This is just what happens when all your regular habits and rituals are all suddenly mitigated by the constant presence of another person. If she lived there, you'd both have plenty of times when you were doing things separately. Visits are different, you're more likely to be each other constantly, during times when you'd normally be recharging.
posted by hermitosis at 9:01 AM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're planning a long engagement, you can always call the whole thing off if it's not working out (but definitely sort out these issues before getting married). The commitment of getting engaged is an intent to get married: the full commitment doesn't kick in until you ARE married.

If you really think she'll say yes enthusiastically, go for it! Get a ring (need not be diamond, depending on the person). But if she's surrounded by friends and not sure it's a definite yes, hello recipe for extreme awkwardness.
posted by rikschell at 9:03 AM on April 5, 2011

Is there something stopping you from asking her if she wants to live together first? That's really the only way you'll know for sure.
posted by KogeLiz at 9:10 AM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

Personally, I think it's more important to be 100% sure before an engagement than to do it at a super-special moment, but then my husband and I had already started planning the wedding before the whole ring thing, so maybe that's just me.

My now-husband and I were doing the LDR thing for a couple months before we got engaged, and I had the same feelings as you. My husband was definitely a lot more invested in one-on-one time, all the time.

Once we started living together, there was tension at first, but we worked it out (by talking!) He understands that sometimes I need my Me Time, and I understand that sometimes I have to entertain him when he's bored and lonely.
posted by muddgirl at 9:10 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just so you know, not everyone's marriage looks like everyone else's. My husband left four a four day trip on Saturday. It wasn't until Saturday morning that I asked him where he was going and where he was staying. That's because I LOVE my time alone. I am happy to see him when he gets back but I need time by myself.

I get this by generally waking up earlier than him, by having separate spaces in our house, by shoving him out the door to go to things I don't want to go to, by not being glued to his side at social events, and by enjoying the snot out of the times he is away. We also have very different ideas of what makes a nice vacation and have not had a holiday together since we discovered this fact on our honeymoon seven years ago. We travel separately for vacations.

Despite this, we are genuinely one of those annoyingly insular, content and happy couples. Our way works because we're very secure people who are also very secure in our relationship and because we are well-matched in these preferences.

There is no functional definition of marriage. If your girlfriend is the type of person who is comfortable with the kind of married life you see yourself living, you won't have a problem. If she's not, it's going to be an issue.

Having said that, yes, "our space" is different than "my space." But if you have never lived together, you really need to be prepared for how rough the first year of living with someone can be. We have had exactly two serious fights and the first one was in that year, which had moments of being truly, truly difficult for me after living alone for all of my adult life.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2011 [17 favorites]

Came in here to say this:
That said, I'm a firm believer that people should live together before marriage, to make sure that you can mutually occupy the same space and still be happy.

I would suggest moving in (even before the engagement, but def. before marriage). It lets you not only find out which conflicts will popup but also resolve them w/out the added pressure of an impending marriage.
posted by pyro979 at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

ThePinkSuperhero: ""show stopper" engagement."

I think the OP was asking if him wanting "me time" was a show stopper, not that he wanted a "show stopper 'engagement'".
posted by Grither at 9:13 AM on April 5, 2011

I think that this is a sign of an adjustment that you will have to make. I lived 100 miles away from Mrs. gauche for the two years before we got married, and it was sometimes hard to be together on the weekends, even though there's nobody I would rather spend my weekends with. It's okay to need some space. Even in a marriage, sometimes you need space. I don't think this is a dealbreaker.

At the same time, I don't think that a perfect proposal is worth rushing into a decision that you will regret. If the timing's off, if you're not sure you're ready, if you think this could be a dealbreaker for you, if this is a sign of a more major issue, wait.

On the other other hand, I was never as sure, before I proposed, that I was making the right decision as I was after I proposed.

So in conclusion, could go either way. I'm not sure this really helps.
posted by gauche at 9:15 AM on April 5, 2011

Ah yes, I see. The spirit of my comment is still the same, though.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

not sure about the emotional stuff but you HAVE to get a ring!!!!!
posted by katypickle at 9:18 AM on April 5, 2011

My husband and I didn't live together before marriage, and our first year after was a huge adjustment. It is so hard to learn to share your space. But you settle into it. Once you live together there is less pressure to "do stuff together" and you can both go about your own agendas much of the time. For us (not that we are some shining example), we nearly always eat dinner together, then we
might spend a couple of hours in
different rooms, then come together later for conversation or to watch a movie. It's easier when you are
both "home" instead of one person
visiting the other. When you live together, It also ceases to be special time, where you feel you have to make the most of every hour by maximizing the togetherness. If this sounds depressing, it's not. It's wonderful to be together-in-the-house without having to be literally together.
posted by Knowyournuts at 9:18 AM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

I realize this wasn't your question, but unless you've discussed it with her and know that she welcomes a big, public proposal, please don't propose to her at a group event. Many, many women hate the idea of a public proposal, so I'd err against it unless she has actually said to you, "I want to be proposed to in public, in front of my family and friends."

As for your actual question, I think that you shouldn't propose until your doubts are resolved. Yes, live together first. At the very least, live in the same city for a while. Long-distance relationships don't tell you much about what your day-to-day life together will be like, because when you only see each other a few times a month, every date is a special occasion. Find out what you're like together in the day-to-day. It is never "too late" to propose to someone you're dating, but it sounds as though this event may be leading you to propose too soon for your own comfort. Don't let the calendar of this conference dictate your feelings.
posted by decathecting at 9:18 AM on April 5, 2011 [30 favorites]

I was single for about 15 years when my then-girlfriend-now-wife and I decided that we would move in together, in an apartment that we would find together (not one either of us currently lived in) as a prelude to an eventual wedding. Like you, I knew that I wanted to spend my life with this person, so I was all for the idea - until about a week before our move date.

Then, the panic started. Like you, I was used to a certain amount of "girlfriend time" and when that time limit was exceeded, I got antsy. On top of that, I started thinking: what if I want to sit on the couch in my underwear and watch baseball and she wants to clean, or watch a movie, or something? What if she snores? What if her cats pee all over my stuff? All these fears started taking over my head.

Once we moved in together, all that panic went away. You know why? Because we each felt these fears, and as we were unpacking our stuff we talked about it. And once we came to the realization that we were both kinda freaked out by moving in together, it made it a lot easier to assimilate with each other, and within a month it was totally seamless.

Long story short, what you're feeling is 100% normal, and once your life joins up with her life, what you're feeling right now will go away as you see that having someone "in your space" isn't really all that bad. There's no way to prove it to you, you just have to take my word for it - if she's the one (and it sounds like she is), it'll be fine.
posted by pdb at 9:18 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm backing the "live together first" camp.

I know you are thinking about how awesome it would be to do it in this super romantic way in front of all your friends- but right now you don't live anywhere near eachother and haven't had the experence of Daily Stupid Shit. At the very least you and her should give a go to leaving in the same town for a little while.

There is a good chance she doesn't want to see your face 24/7 either- and you can work that out, but there is some working out to be done- and it is sooo not the time to do that in the middle of planning the most complicated stressy party of your lives.
posted by Blisterlips at 9:19 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's actually pretty normal to get tired of someone, even someone you wholeheartedly love, after a few days of constantly being together. When you start living together, you start shifting from the mindset that being together always means doing things together, and you learn to give each other the space you each need. If this is your only reservation, and you don't want to live together before marriage, consider some sort of trial run where you hang out together for a week or weekend but alternate between doing your own things and doing things together. (FWIW, I'm female and have always been protective of my personal space and time. It's a person thing, not a male thing.)

Also: does your girlfriend want a public proposal? Not everyone does - and some people absolutely don't - and you haven't mentioned much about her for us to know. Proposals don't have to be earth-shattering or significant, and some people would prefer something small and quiet and on an unassuming day. The best time to propose isn't an event or holiday or anniversary - it's when you're sure you want to marry someone.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just offering myself as a counterpoint on the ring issue -- never got an engagement ring, never wanted one. I'm probably in the minority here, but we do exist. :-) Hopefully you know your girlfriend well enough to know which camp she falls into.
posted by wyzewoman at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2011 [10 favorites]

It's going to be an adjustment to go from living alone and making all of your own decisions based just on your preferences to living with someone else and having to make decisions with them in mind. No way around that, really.

If you think that she will share your need for some alone time and some separate activities - or whatever you will need to not have the feeling you've had of being annoyed - then you are good! If you think she is going to insist on being together constantly, then you guys need to talk that through.

This weekend is not your last chance to propose. You don't rush into it because you think you have the perfect occasion to propose - you decide to propose, and then find the perfect occasion. That said, I'm not trying to say you have to be 100% sure - maybe it's impossible to be 100% sure, or at least unrealistic - but if you've got big doubts, take the time now to sort through them. You can have a perfectly lovely proposal later.

You need a ring, even if it's just a symbolic ring.
posted by mrs. taters at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2011

Totally live together for some time before you get engaged.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

This ring thing might be turning into a derail (?) but you only need a ring if your girlfriend is the sort of person who would like a ring at the proposal. Some women (hi!) don't want a ring at all, others want to pick out their own ring. Others want a ring at the proposal.

I hope you know your girlfriend well enough to anticipate what she would like.
posted by gaspode at 9:23 AM on April 5, 2011 [7 favorites]

Can you ask her to move in with you (or you with her) at the big event? OK, it's popping a different question, but making the decision to not be 80 miles apart is a big one. And it doesn't require a ring!
posted by kestrel251 at 9:24 AM on April 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

I greatly dislike the idea of a big stunt proposal, and I liked picking out my ring with my now-husband. Everyone needs his/her space and time alone, and you can probably work that out if you move in together.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:26 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Living together is very different from weekend visits during a long-distance relationship. I know this because after college, my now-husband and I lived several states apart for a year.

Those weekends can be fun at times, but are also pretty straining. It's normal after a work week to want to have some downtime to just do what you want to do, and not have to worry about entertaining someone else or spending all your time with them. It's hard to have a normal "living together" type of dynamic when you only stay together on weekends. You both have this pressure to make the most of your time together, but it's often at the neglect of your personal space.

When you live together, you can make your own personal space and personal time. You're always available to each other, so there's less pressure to cram as much "togetherness" in a long weekend as possible.

I always hated using all of my long weekends being a "couple" instead of getting to just relax and be a slob, but I also felt guilty about it. Honestly, it hasn't impacted our living arrangement now at all. I think most couples manage to find a balance of doing stuff together and doing stuff on their own once they're living together.

That said, getting engaged and living together is probably a good step to find this out. Get a symbolic ring for now, but not a huge investment one. I really think living together before you get married is important to make sure that the dynamic will settle into one that is comfortable for you.

But, yeah, long distance arrangements are not typical, and it's really not fair to assume that your future life together would be similar to these high-pressure holiday weekends you have now.
posted by countess duckula at 9:28 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would strongly suggest not proposing marriage until you know you could live together.

At the very least, you should hold off and plan some kind of trip where you spend a few weeks in each others' presence (even if it's using your vacation time to go stay with her, or vice versa).

While it's true that the added stress of holidays and all that forced togetherness might add to the tension at those times, the reality here is that when you are married, the assumption is that you'll spend holidays together for pretty much the rest of your lives. If you can't get through one Christmas/Passover/Holi/Ramadan together, why do you think you could spend your lives together?

Also, you do have a game plan for how to end up in a non-LDR, right?
posted by Sara C. at 9:31 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't think you need to live together before you get married (I didn't, and the transition was perfectly smooth), but I do think you need to live in the same town for a while first. You need time to do things together consistently and casually without the pressures of a short visit. Ideally you should both have your own space, yet be able to see each other lots as well. I think that would be even better (and much less stressful all around) then jumping straight to living together right now as some sort of marriage trial.
posted by Go Banana at 9:32 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I just want to clarify that I'm actually glad my husband and I didn't live together before marriage. Sharing a household was such an adjustment that I probably would have bailed out, and then I wouldn't have the great life with him I have today.

On another note, I agree with the above posters on public engagements. Unless you're sure she would love it, don't take a private moment and make it public. I'm getting nervous and queasy just hearing about it happening to someone else.
posted by Knowyournuts at 9:33 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been married for close to eight years and been living with my guy for fourteen. I love him madly, we have two great kids, he is not the perfect man but he is the perfect man for me.

We have to schedule time apart when we travel because otherwise being all up in each other's business 24/7 drives us CRAZY.

Definitely live with each other before you get married, but I'll be the voice of dissent and tell you to go ahead and propose now. Just plan on a long engagement. Get engaged, pick a date 18+ months from now, and move in together.
posted by KathrynT at 9:34 AM on April 5, 2011

All I can add is if you do propose - do the ring thing, even a temporary one. My husband and I did mood rings. It was nice.
posted by anitanita at 9:42 AM on April 5, 2011

Don't get married until you live together and find out if you are really compatible. Love isn't enough for compatibility. Two years of long distance is not a lot of time actually spent together. If you are serious about getting married, find a way to move in together for a year.
posted by Dasein at 9:46 AM on April 5, 2011

The opportunity for a special/romantic proposal is coming soon,

It's not a unique opportunity. It happens every year!

I've been with my girlfriend for almost two years. We live 80 miles from each other, and see each other almost every weekend. We have discussed it, and agree that we want to get married. I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.

This weekend is the annual event we always volunteer at. ... I want to propose at the closing ceremony of this event, where she will be surrounded by people we know and love.

Wait till the next annual event that happens after you've lived closely enough that you're not doubting whether you want to marry her. Do not get engaged when you're doubtful and at least somewhat "long distance"* just because there's about to be another occurrence of this regular event.

*Some people would say 80 miles isn't very long distance. There's no official definition of "long distance." But it seems to matter for this particular couple.
posted by John Cohen at 9:50 AM on April 5, 2011

IF you think she might be waiting for a proposal at the event (and disappointed if it doesn't happen), then consider (very romantically) asking her to commit to moving in together with you - BEFORE the event.

I agree that a romantic proposal should NOT trump certainty about the content of the proposal!
posted by Salamandrous at 9:57 AM on April 5, 2011

My now wife and I lived together before getting engaged. While we got engaged pretty quickly after moving in together we had enough time to "test" things out in terms of whether or not we could live together. I must admit, when we moved in I was nervous. I knew I was seriously considering marrying this girl, but I also new that I wanted to be 100% sure before making a life long commitment. I figured if things didn't work out with living together, it would be easier to end things at that point then if we got married, moved in together and then realized this isn't going to work. Things definitely change when you live together. Whether it's the frequency of sex, the dates you go on, the "us" time, and the "my own" time. Some people say you shouldn't live together before marriage. Not sure if that's mostly for religious reasons or something else, but for me...living together was a must before marriage. Gotta take it for a test drive. And I'm glad I did. It worked out for the best, but it was an adjustment. You seem like the type of person who really values space. I was the same way. My wife and are lucky in that we both enjoy doing fun stuff together, but we also enjoy and respect our own time. So I would strongly recommend living together before proposing. There will be other romantic opportunities that arise, or you can make your own. At the end of the day how you propose isn't really all that important. Sure...you want it to be special. But as long as both of you are excited, in love, and certain you wanna be married...any proposal will be special. Hope this helps.
posted by ljs30 at 10:20 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a saying that fish & visitors smell in three days. Someone visiting you for more than 3 days is almost always going to be annoying, even if you love them (parents, siblings, lovers, etc.)

I don't think that living together before marriage helps anything. I've lived with guys--didn't marry any of them. The guy I did marry moved in the weekend before our wedding.

The only thing that does matter is your commitment to the marriage and communication. Everything else will work out. If you can talk to your partner--about being annoyed by something they do, about needing some space, about the kinks in your living styles--you can get through anything. My husband and I don't have a perfect marriage or life, but I trust him. I know if he has a problem with me or something I do, he will tell me--and vice versa.

So, can you talk to her?
posted by Kronur at 10:29 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stop, you are doing this backwards! Your relationship and commitment are supposed to drive the symbolic acts like the engagement, ring, and wedding ceremony. The symbolic acts have no meaning in and of themselves. Your doubt here - whether or not you will be happy on a day to day basis living together - goes to the very heart of the matter, because what is marriage other than picking a lifelong roommate? You need to figure this out before you decide to get married. How about if you take your sweetie out to a nice dinner after the annual event coming up, give her some flowers, and tell her that you are ready to take the next step to deepening your relationship by moving to the same town?
posted by yarly at 10:36 AM on April 5, 2011 [13 favorites]

Kronur has it!

As someone who is VERY private, also been married + divorced and now very happily married... the feelings you describe don't fill me with confidence. Kronur's experience is mine (except I married one of the guys I was living with, then divorced him.)

I wouldn't want a proposal from someone who feels as you do right now.

When it's the right person, even if you have doubts, they usually don't translate into multiple experiences of, " I sometimes get annoyed after 4 or more days of us constantly being together."

My relevant experience is that any "annoyance" is naturally mitigated when you are with the right person because it is easy to spend "alone time" together in the same household without too much negotiating of territory and time.

posted by jbenben at 11:12 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

We can't know if you need a ring. You have to decide based on what you know of your girlfriend's tastes and preferences.

What's that? You don't know whether she expects a ring? Well, then, it seems that you're not actually ready to propose, are you?
posted by Citrus at 11:18 AM on April 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

I want to propose to my long-distance girlfriend this weekend, but I have some lingering doubts.

Then do not do it. Really. Marriage is not something anyone should enter into unless they are free of all doubts. And possibly not even then.

Sorry about that last comment; that was just personal bitterness talking. But the rest of my reply is serious. :-)
posted by Decani at 12:10 PM on April 5, 2011

My relevant experience is that any "annoyance" is naturally mitigated when you are with the right person because it is easy to spend "alone time" together in the same household without too much negotiating of territory and time.

My experience is exactly the opposite. My now-wife knows I need some me-time and me-space and once we were living together I had it whenever I chose to get up and walk out of the room. Not that there isn't sometimes a need for me-time that includes the entire house rather than just one room, but the point is that it was easier to get that when we were living together rather than visiting each others spaces.

Now, you could well have a situation where you're NOT gonna get that from your partner; not everyone is wired that way or capable of honoring another person's needs (or their own needs are simply incompatible that way). Only you can suss this out - do you get twitchy with her there because you don't feel free to to sit in the other room and read? Because you feel pressured to cram in all the together time you can even if it's not what you're in the mood for?

Only you can figure out if you're sure enough to go forward. I personally think this idea that you cannot have any doubts is wrong; I'm sure some people are capable of being doubt or fear-free but I don't think that's true of all of us. Maybe that's personality or maybe it's how we describe our mental state to others - what feels like absolute certainty to me might mirror your lingering doubts, or vice versa.

What I do know it that if you don't feel mentally ready then I wouldn't let an external event alter your timeline. Your marriage should be about the two of you, not some calendar event. Getting engaged there might be a fun thing but creating one single memorable day is not more important than creating a life-long working commitment.
posted by phearlez at 12:19 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Alot of great advice here, BTW.
I think you should drop the proposal idea--it's a promise for marriage, and like marriage, it should only be done when you are sure. How will you know? You will know when you know. The fact that you are having doubts like this means you're not ready, that simple. When you know, there may be "mental" doubts but your heart will swallow them and guide you past. But right now you have enough lack of inner-direction to ask the help of internet discussers (though there's nothing wrong with that! :)
You don't want to jump ahead of yourself. Find other ways to explore this relationship further, like living in the same town (within walking distance would be great) or living together.
posted by Thinkmontgolfier at 1:00 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Probably you should talk about having kids, too--having kids really cuts into your time/turf (at least, so I'm told).

Ha, yes, that's really putting it mildly. Kids eat your life.

Seriously make sure you're on the same page - whatever that is - about kids before you marry ANYONE. My first marriage failed miserably because we had diametrically opposed views about kids. It was awful, for everyone. The problem basically came down to the fact that he was on the fence... until he wasn't anymore and decided that he didn't want to have children. And I have *always* wanted kids and was up front about that from day 1. Clearly, someone would have to change their minds and no one could. It sucked. Mightily. Don't put yourself in this situation.

To answer your actual question: there's nothing that says you *have* to propose this weekend. There's absolutely no time limit on getting married, even though I know it can feel like "If we don't do this now, we never will." Absolutely try living together FIRST. And absolutely make a fresh start together: don't have her move in, and don't move in to her place - find a new place that's yours TOGETHER and see how things go. After you've settled in, then you can decide if the two of you are ready to get married or not.
posted by sonika at 4:35 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

When it's the right person, even if you have doubts, they usually don't translate into multiple experiences of, " I sometimes get annoyed after 4 or more days of us constantly being together."

I need to disagree with this. As someone who only ever had a long distance relationship with my husband until over a year after we got married, I can tell you that in my experience:

a) it's actually quite normal to get annoyed because when you're long distance, things are intensified when you actually are together. You spend more time with each other than other couples do, and you cram possibly weeks worth of interactions into a couple of days.

b) when the time comes for you to live together, you will probably find your own 'couple rhythm' - it would be a good idea now to have some idea whether you both need similar amounts of downtime, and whether you even want to live in the same place.

I had never lived with a guy until my husband and when I finally started co-habiting over a year past our wedding, we worked it out. Yes, we had our rocky moments in the beginning, but we figured it out. And as for the comments that an engagement isn't the time to work out the details, in many cultures, that's exactly what it is and is long as you are willing to pull the plug or delay the wedding until they are figured out, you don't have to have it all solved now.

Having said all of that, don't propose now just because the timing is great and you can have a high-impact proposal. Propose because you're ready and you want to, not because it will make a great story later. If you're not ready, wait - there are lots of ways to propose romantically that don't involve a show.
posted by scrute at 7:08 PM on April 5, 2011

when the time comes for you to live together, you will probably find your own 'couple rhythm'

Well, either you will find your own couple rhythm, or you'll break up. And it would suck a lot more to break up after getting married. Which is why you should wait until you have the couple rhythm down pat.
posted by Sara C. at 8:37 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you ever do a public proposal, please keep in mind that it is at least partly for the show, and plan accordingly. You should absolutely have a nice ring for such a circumstance, something in the awful "three months salary" range or the equivalent.

On the day of her proposal, she should not have to explain to an audience that lollipop rings are actually a private joke between you, hahaha. You are opening your relationship up to judgment, and the potential for embarrassment is extreme. Proposing in public in a way that could be perceived as half-assed is an insult to her. A private proposal can be more idiosyncratic, because then it's really just between the two of you.
posted by gentian at 9:15 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

Holy cow, well said, gentian!
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:13 PM on April 7, 2011

Hoping to hear back on what you decided to do, OP!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:09 AM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

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