The dating game can be both fun and frustrating depending on the kind of partners you get to go out with. No wonder then that just as soon as you click with a person and have a great dating life, you start thinking of what it would be like to get committed to him/her or what would make him/her with you stay forever. It is at this juncture that thoughts about engagement enter your head and you begin to agonize about the right time to do so. If you actually find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few thinks to straighten out before you pop the question.
Is he/she the one?
Engagement is a promise to marry your partner and even though it does not entail commitment to such an extent as marriage, it is still about being true to your beloved and the relationship. Therefore take your time while dating and don’t rush into an engagement until you are as sure as it is possible that this is the person you want to be with your whole life. Skeptics might point out that no one can be absolutely hundred percent sure about another person and that even in the most committed of relationships there is always some chance of uncertainty or change. Be that as it may but make sure you ask yourself if you love your partner enough to enter into a relationship which demands far greater commitment and co-operation than just dating.
How long have been seeing each other?
While it is difficult to put an exact time frame to how long should you be dating before you think of engagement, a year is taken as a thumb rule by most relationship experts. Myreah Moore who has been nicknamed America’s dating coach and who has offered advice on several TV talk shows, believes that a couple should be seeing each other for at least nine months for thoughts of engagement to enter their minds. "If it takes nine months to deliver a baby, it should take that long for a relationship to be born and grow," says Moore who has co-authored the book Date Like A Man To Get The Man You Want! with Jodie Gould. This is because a relationship is after all, like a business partnership in which you have to invest time, emotions and effort in order to reap its rewards several times over. Which is why it is not something you would go into with just anyone. Take your time while dating your partner and get to know him or her better over the year. Only after you have seen practically all aspects of this person, you can reach an informed decision whether to make this a permanent thing or not.
Are you comfortable?
One of the biggest signs that you are ready to be engaged to your partner is when you are comfortable with who you are. If you feel incomplete without him/her or depend on this person to fulfill all your needs, whether emotional, financial or physical, then it is best to take a step back and look at what is going on in your life. A person who is not satisfied or content in him/herself can hardly hope to bring positivity and fulfillment into a relationship. On the other hand, if you feel anxious or overwrought in your relationship, it could again be a warning signal. Some people may mistake this kind of strain with the excessive passion which makes you feel perpetually on a high. But love or at least the kind of love which leads to marriage should not feel like a drug but an oasis of calm and pleasure which revives and irradiates your life. Some experts would in fact go further to point out that only when you are OK with being your own best friend and content with yourself, should you go ahead with marriage. This is because you need to feel complete in yourself in order to give of yourself to another person and to enrich a relationship.
Is this a way of declaring your love
While the concept of engagement started as a way of pledging marriage to a partner, now it has increasingly come to mean a declaration of love before family and friends and no more. This kind of stand-alone engagement rarely carries with itself any expectations of a life-long commitment and in many cases a wedding is not necessarily expected to follow it. This practice has in fact been made most popular by celebrities whose engagements are flashed in the media almost every week and which makes for very good publicity, both for the partners involved and whatever movie, TV series or music album they may be promoting. But what about people like you and me who are wondering about the prospect of pledging their troth? If you are thinking on the lines of an engagement, make sure that it is not just another way to declare your love for your partner. The early stages of a romance can be quite heady when you are bursting with passion for your beloved and cannot think of spending a minute apart. And carried away by the sexually charged feelings if this early and exciting stage of a relationship, you feel you can do anything for your partner and that includes getting engaged. However, there are several other ways, each more flamboyant than the other, of expressing your love for your partner and you need not take recourse to an engagement. Even if you believe that an engagement need not have anything to do with marriage, your partner may not think so; he/she may still hold the older notions of an engagement close to his/her heart and thus get a nasty jolt when they realize that thoughts of marriage are nowhere on the horizon.
An engagement is thus much more than a public declaration of love or ‘coming out’ with a relationship in the open. It is actually a way of promising each other commitment for life and which is why couples should enter into it only when they are sure of their feelings for each other and their priorities in life.