By Talia Lakritz
Getting engaged is a big commitment.The INSIDER Summary:
• Getting engaged means you have a shared vision of your lives together.
• It’s important to have a sense of direction when it comes to major decisions.
• Go with your gut, and make sure you know what you’re getting into.
It’s easy to get swept up in the starry-eyed romance of a perfectly-planned proposal, but getting engaged isn’t all surprise scavenger hunts and Pinterest-worthy events. According to relationship expert and bestselling author Susan Winter, it’s a serious commitment that requires communication, compromise, and going with your gut.
Here are five signs that you’re ready to put a ring on it.
Your relationship dynamic feels balanced
Compromise is essential in any relationship, but one side shouldn’t feel like they’re compromising more than the other. “You don’t want to be the one who’s always giving up ground, because eventually you’ll become resentful,” Winter said. “You want it to be a back and forth, and a give and take.”
Knowing how to meet halfway and balance each others’ needs sets you and your partner up for long-term success.
You have a shared sense of direction
Marrying someone means you’re planning to spend your lives together, so you want to make sure your lives are actually heading in the same direction. Where do you both see yourselves in five years? In 10? “You have to have a really clear vision of where the two of you want to go, because now you’re going to be a team,” she said.
You can have uncomfortable discussions
A general idea of where your individual lives are going is just the beginning. Next come the boring, awkward, or unpleasant conversations about the details that will shape your life together. “You’ve got to have the uncomfortable discussions that you didn’t want to have when you were dating, like how do you both view money, how do you view debt, how do you view risk?” said Winter. “You’re going to be yolked financially.”
The ability to talk openly about tricky topics means that you’ve established a baseline of trust and honesty.
You’ve talked through major life decisions
Knowing how your partner feels about future home ownership or having kids before you fuse your lives together means that you’ll avoid unwelcome surprises down the line. “You don’t want to deal with that later,” she said. “I know it’s not sexy, I know it’s not romantic, but getting through that stuff will make you feel comfortable in marriage because you’re really of the same mind in this vision that you want to create together.”
If you’re on the same page about the big stuff, the little things will fall into place.
Your gut tells you to take the plunge
Winter imagines our gut instinct as an “internal accountant” that constantly calculates the costs and benefits of every move we make. Listening to it can be telling of whether you’re ready to move forward with someone.
“It’s the thing that knows things we don’t actually know yet,” she said. “It feels and senses where we are with somebody.”
If you feel deep down that you’re with the right person, you probably are.