By Amy Berrafato, LMFT, CST
It’s OK. You can admit it. You’ve seen romantic comedies, you secretly love them, and you can likely quote a few of your favorites. Personally, I have been waiting for Ryan Gosling to realize we’re meant to be and come find me. Despite our best efforts, rom coms have probably influenced our expectations of romance, proposals, and decision-making in long term relationships. While perfect and everything we could have hoped for in our wildest dreams, they can also set us up for disappointment if unchecked.
For as much as we have moved toward more progressive views of marriage and relationships, there are still a few traditional values we might hold on to for different reasons. Perhaps you want to be in a particular financial state when you get engaged. Maybe you have an idea of your timeline for planning a wedding. You might be waiting for your partner to step up and take action to propose already. It’s difficult to feel so out of control about something so important!
Who’s to say that you can’t talk about your future openly as a couple? You each may have a vision for what you want (moving in together, getting married, having children, going back to school, retirement), and often partners move at a different pace in order to make those things happen. You don’t have to wait for the completely out-of-nowhere surprise of a proposal to begin having these conversations. Be a part of the decision. Set some parameters, talk about your desires, and make them known. This isn’t just about proposals, either; this can be part of any relationship stage, including early dating. Ready for something serious? Say so. Don’t want to have kids? Bring it up. If you don’t assert your needs, your partner can’t meet them, or even try to. Remember, your needs are your needs. Unapologetically own them.
If you’re having trouble knowing how to navigate healthy discussions about your future, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. We can do it together.
I’m right here, Ryan. Ready and waiting!