A feminist's struggle (and secret loophole) with an impending proposal

Guestpost by abbyrstern on Oct. 10th

The ProposalWhile I consider myself a feminist, I fear that I too have fallen victim to the antiquated societal norm regarding wedding proposals. I tend to try to ignore many societal norms and be a generally progressive person, but traditions associated with proposals and weddings are norms that I have been struggling with lately and cannot get myself to fully disregard.

I have recently found myself waiting with bated breath for a proposal that I know is coming soon. My partner and I are very open about discussing our relationship, so I know that we both want to get married and that he plans to propose soon. We have discussed whether a proposal is even something we want, but we both thought it would be nice and a good story to tell in the future.

Despite this, in order to stick to my liberal foundations, I have decided to secretly propose back to my partner after he proposes to me. I feel that it is important for both people to choose to marry one another, and therefore I would like to ask my partner whether he wants to marry me after he asks me the same thing. I hope that he wants to commit to me as much as I want to commit to him.

This has left me in a very difficult position…

Deciding to officially become engaged to be married is a big choice, and I wonder why we have both decided that he is the only one in the relationship who can fully prepare for this event.

I am prepared to propose back to my partner, and I am even ready with special gift for him when I do, but I have no idea when this will take place. I have left the control still in his hands to orchestrate the time and the place when we will get engaged. I do not want to steal his thunder, but I wonder why I feel stuck within his time frame. Deciding to officially become engaged to be married is a big choice, and I wonder why we have both decided that he is the only one in the relationship who can fully prepare for this event. After becoming engaged, there is a lot of time that must be devoted to speaking to family and friends and getting the first steps of the wedding plans set. Therefore, I find it strange that only one party in the relationship typically knows when this will occur.

One of the ways that I decided to cope with this was to ask for some details about the time frame from him. This will allow me to plan my re-proposal to him and become emotionally prepared. I have asked him to narrow the time frame that I may expect a proposal, and he willingly told me that it would be within a couple of months and that I should expect it soon.

I have also become extremely interested in reading about proposals and wedding preparation on the internet. I find myself on blogs and reading articles about this topic more often than I expected, and sometimes more than I would like.

I have read many articles about not becoming a Bridezilla, how to know if he's "the one," and how to make a marriage successful. I also frequently speak to my mother about places where my partner and I could marry, and I have even started to brainstorm a guest list. While logically I feel that this is acceptable behavior because I know that planning a wedding involves a great deal of preparation and I want to begin to think about the steps (without doing anything formal or committing to anything). But I wonder whether this behavior is emotionally healthy. Regardless, I feel that I have no choice but to prepare for this big life-changing event in my own way since my partner is permitted by society to prepare and plan the specifics of the event.

Since proposals are typically extremely romantic and sometimes even grand gestures, it is hard to want society to evolve enough to eliminate this tradition. However, I feel that in the long run it would be better and healthier for relationships. If the two people in a relationship mutually decided that they were ready to take their relationship to the next level, neither person would have to wonder whether the other one loved them enough to spend the rest of their lives together. Neither person would be forced to choose to commit to their partner forever or risk losing them. Both people would have control in the timing of the progression of their relationship.

However, I still cannot break myself from the desire to fit in with the cultural tradition to excitedly await a sparkling ring. I reluctantly am prepared to accept this tradition, despite my deep reservations about the validity of the premise. Regardless, I will happily say "Yes!"

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About abbyrstern

I am a math nerd (not geek!) who loves sci fi (just not Star Trek). I live in New Jersey, so I'm a Jersey girl, but not trashy like the people on Jersey Shore. My fiance and I have a puppy who I love so much. He is the cutest little thing. I don't know how I have enough love for both my partner and my puppy, but I do!