You have been dating for a while, a few years; maybe more. You get along with your significant other beautifully. You have a warm friendship, you trust each other, you get along with each other's family, and you couldn't imagine your life without your special someone. But are you ready to be married?
What do you do when he pops the question, but you're not ready to commit to marriage? If your first thought is, "Oh no", or "Please don't propose...", you obviously are not ready to commit to being married. The first piece of advice: Listen to Your Heart. If your very first thought was that you aren't ready for marriage, you aren't. If at all possible, do not say yes simply because you don't know what else to do. The only time saying yes, even though you really mean no, not right now, is when your significant other proposes in public. This will save him the embarrassment of being turned down in front of many other people.
So how do you let him down gently?
You love him, and you may accept his proposal if it were a different time or circumstances were different from what they are at the moment; but you just can't say yes right now. Read the following examples as ways to approach your dilemma while taking care not to devastate or embarrass your partner. First and most importantly, realize you are going to break somebody's heart. Tread lightly on how you break the news that your answer is, "No".
● If you were proposed to in public and said yes, because you didn't know what else to do, remove the ring when the two of you are alone and explain your feelings. If he is irate or upset with you, point out that he put you in a very bad position to allow you the chance to say no.
● If you were proposed to in private, and you want to decline the proposal, do it graciously and right away, especially if you want to continue your relationship. Explain that you do not want to end the relationship, but be prepared if he wants to. He may decide that if he's not good enough to marry, he needs to walk away from it.
● Be sure to explain exactly what you mean by "no". Do you mean not right now?, Not ever?, or You are not the one? If you simply need more time, ask for it. However, don't take too much time. Realize you're toying with another human being's emotions, self-confidence, and well-being.
There are hundreds of things to consider before saying yes to a marriage proposal. Most people date, get serious and committed, and then get married. It's the normal progression of things. What if you love the person you're with, but you are afraid of being married, in general. With the divorce rate being as high as it is in today's world, and the fact that almost everybody knows somebody who has committed adultery, you may be scared. Or, maybe you were affected by divorce (your parents, a close friend, you sibling) and never want to go through that in your own life. If you have issues with these things, it may be just that: your issues. It would be helpful for you to seek counseling in order to work through your fears, or at least to talk about them. The staff at Orange County Relationship Center are trained professionals who can help you get past your fear of commitment, marriage, or anything else that is weighing on your mind.
Common (more common than you'd think) issues that can be worked through by speaking with a counselor are:
● Respect - Do you respect your partner and believe in him?
● Peace - Are you at peace with yourself and with what you believe in?
● Trust - Do you trust that you can get through the hard times with your mate?
● Honesty - Do you communicate easily and honestly about everything?
● Acceptance - Do you accept your mate as he is?
Although the above list seems rather deep and impossible for some, for many, the answer to all of those questions is "yes". If you can't easily and quickly say yes to them, you probably shouldn't marry the person proposing to you. In all honestly, you probably shouldn't be in a relationship with him. Love is never easy, but it is always worth it.
If you need to work through issues such as being afraid of commitment or marriage, or if you need to work through issues with respect, trust, or acceptance contact the professional counselors at the Relationship Center Orange County today. Call us at (949) 430-7218 or use our online tool to book your appointment.