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Hannah

Coping with a blindsided proposal?

Hannah, on March 17, 2020 at 7:44 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 24
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My younger sister (two years) got engaged over the weekend. We are very very close, and I want to make it known now - I am VERY happy for her.
Background: Her and her boyfriend dated for three years before getting engaged. The first two were long distance, and they have almost lived together for a year. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about two and a half, and have lived together for just shy of two years.
Here is where I am struggling. I’m a planner. I’ve had my venue, dress style, guest list, we have even gone so far to talk about songs. I’ve asked my sister a handful of times if they had talked about marriage, and I always got a “not really” type response. So, it seemed like we still had some time. She was completely surprised when he proposed. Had no clue it was coming - they hadn’t talked about it. She said ‘yes’, of course, but has never had one thought about planning a wedding. I was first taken back because her boyfriend didn’t tell me her was going to propose. When he asked our Dad for permission, he thought that my dad would tell me. Well, there was some miscommunication and I was the only one in the family who had NO idea my little sister was getting married. Someone I talk to Every. Single. Day. Naturally, I was initially hurt that he didn’t share the news with me prior to asking - my sister was upset her nails weren’t done, she didn’t have any make-up on - she was upset her boyfriend didn’t tell me prior to make sure I’d make sure those thing were discreetly done.

Here is the struggle: My boyfriend and I planned to get engaged this year - married next. He is four years older than me, and we have talked about starting a family in three years. He was also very blindsided and as I broke into tears one evening, he pulled me in and apologized for not proposing to me prior. I am not mad at him, I am not mad at anyone. I am struggling with A) I am the oldest, I have always assumed I would be first, B) I am a planner - I am upset with myself that I never once planned for my sister to get engaged before me,C) We were going to get engaged this year, and now I feel we should hold off.
Anyone been through this? Or have thoughts? Should we continue to go on with our life as planned? Should we hold off and wait a few years to get engaged?
Yes, my sister and I are close, and I will talk to her about it. Her and I have completely different excitement levels when talking about planning and marriage and this is a very new and exciting thing for her - I don’t want to make it even slightly about me.




24 Comments

  • Alisha
    Devoted August 2020
    Alisha ·
    • Flag
    I haven't been in a similar situation, but I think it would be ok for you two to go on with your plan. Its your life and you have the right to live it the way you imagined 😊
    • Reply
  • Kristen
    Rockstar November 2020
    Kristen Online ·
    • Flag

    I am sorry to be rude so my apologies in advance but why did he have to tell you he was going to ask your sister? I think it is very respectful (especially in 2020) that he asked your dad but in this day in age I do not think that he needed to forewarn you. I am sorry you are hurting but is this more coming from a place of you would have liked to have been engaged first?

    From one planner to another, it is best not to plan for things until they are set? My FH and I were together for almost 7 years before we officially decided to get married and I never made any plans until we were officially getting married. You know he is going to ask you but it is not a race and I know you are the oldest but that does not mean you should be engaged and married first. I think you need to enjoy your relationship as it is and since you and your FH are doing well it seems and know you both are on the same path to marriage let him ask when he is ready or it won't be as special I feel. My best friend is the youngest and is on her second marriage and has two kids while her older sister is single but there are no hard feelings there. I say just wait until you officially are asked and a date is set then go forth with planning but continue to be support for your sister.

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  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I also think it’d be fine to go with your plan or whatever life leads you. I also think this should be a little lesson for you - that sometimes things don’t go as planned and that it’s ok!!!
    • Reply
  • LB
    Champion November 2016
    LB ·
    • Flag
    I see zero reason to be upset. Literally zero.
    You plan your wedding, she plans hers. You arent even engaged yet (not that you should wait cause of her). It isnt that setious...
    • Reply
  • Chantal
    Expert August 2020
    Chantal ·
    • Flag

    I totally understand this, I can relate to having a younger sibling that accidentally does something you planned on doing first...

    I say get engaged! it might be a really great opportunity to share and plan alongside your sister. You guys can have a built in bride support system. Obviously, it'll get tricky sometimes, when each of you has your own individual wedding stress to plan, but I say do what you guys planned on doing Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    • Flag
    I think you need a few deep breaths and some time to get over the surprise.


    This Does Not Change Anything. Go on with your lives the way you were planning— it is FINE.
    Your sister is surprised too. Her Fiancé didn’t owe you a heads up— that’s kind of weird. If he wanted to make it a surprise, it makes sense that he wouldn’t tell you as that would’ve absolutely somehow led to her senses going up . (Though the concept of a totally surprise engagement to me is still odd — like I didn’t know when mine would happen but I knew that it would because we had discussed marriage and future plans at length). I don’t think it’s dad’s place to share plans either. I would’ve been weirded out if my dad told my brother , and probably actually a little annoyed if he knew before me. I wasn’t even sure if my dad would’ve even told my mom haha, but of course he had to tell *her*. Point being, theres no good reason to feel hurt here — no one did anything to you, life just happened around you. Her bf just made plans that no one else prepared for, he wasn’t thinking about you sure. But there’s not much reason for him to have been— he was thinking about his relationship, and their future. I’m sure he didn’t realize it would make you feel ...anything specific really.

    In my life...I’m younger than my brother, and dated my husband shorter than he had been dating his now wife. They probably dated maybe a year before we started dating ? Maybe less, I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure what his marriage intentions were but I figured they would get there eventually. But, their timeline and MY timeline were unrelated. So , I didn’t consider their relationship as mine developed. Their stuff is between them. My relationship moved at exactly the speed that was right for my husband and me. ...which turned out to be sooner than them. We got engaged and after a few life twists ended up with a year and a half engagement. Probably 6 months after we got engaged— my older brother did. 6 WEEKS after we got married, my brother did. And ... it was fine. It was great. Our engagement was exciting. Their engagement was exciting. Planning weddings at the same time was fun — I got much closer to my SIL bouncing ideas off eachother, sharing progress reports. And I can’t tell you how much I loved our close together weddings. I was in a whirlwind at mine, and got to relax and enjoy at mine, and to visit some of the people I only got quick hellos in with at my own wedding. It was amazing for me. On the flipside, for THEM, our wedding first was also great. They took some notes , realized a few last minute lessons learned, and got to get totally in the mood for celebrating and look even more forward to their own. There was chatter and excitement about their upcoming wedding at my wedding, but it didn’t take away from my day even a little— I was in on the excitement. There is enough of it to go around, I promise !
    • Reply
  • A
    Dedicated May 2020
    Allyson ·
    • Flag

    My sister is three years younger than me. We both had long term boyfriends, she got engaged in June 2018 and I got engaged December 2018. She got married in October 2019 and I was supposed to get married in May but COVID19 pushed it back to April 2021. There has been absolutely no issue. She got engaged first and I respected that, being older doesn't matter. If you wanted to be engaged before her you should have had that discussion with your boyfriend to make it happen.

    • Reply
  • Kathryn
    Rockstar August 2020
    Kathryn ·
    • Flag
    As a sister, and an older sister, I can see where you're coming from a little. We got engaged first, but my sister has been with her boyfriend longer. I think she always thought she would be first. Now my mom let it slip that my sister and her boyfriend picked a ring and are thinking about getting engaged, and I was shocked and hurt for a split second. Just a moment when I was upset about sharing my space, but guess what?



    Corona virus happened. My FH and I had our dream wedding planned, and we were all set to celebrate with our families April 4th. So all of that planning, all of that thought? Poof. His family can't get here, and we couldn't imagine getting married without his parents and his brother. And then courthouses shutdown. We have a license, but there are people who couldn't even do that. I had all these careful plans, and now David's Bridal is holding onto my dress and we're stuck trying to figure out how to get toilet paper.

    So not to be harsh, but to put into perspective. I think everyone who wants to get married should. All of these typical wedding ettiquette rules shouldn't really matter. Don't get married on the same day, but she can have her day and you can have yours....hopefully. you will be so lucky to be able to celebrate your love again- never take simply planning a wedding for credit. Enjoy the time, enjoy being with your love. I hope this is a wakeup call to let that little bit of jealousy go and not let yourself get caught up in petty drama. Becsuse you're lucky to have a wedding.
    • Reply
  • Karla
    Super February 2020
    Karla ·
    • Flag
    There’s no rule out there that you can’t get engaged the same year.


    My younger brother (1 year younger) got engaged 5 months before me. His bride-to-be didn’t care. Actually, it was extra fun being engaged together! I ended up getting married before them (they’re still engaged with plans to marry next year) and my husband’s older sister got engaged a year after we did and is getting married 8 months after us.
    Honestly, my sister-in-laws being engaged the same time as me didn’t take anything away from my wedding. I was just as excited about ALL of our weddings. Even more so because I had people who were dealing with the same crap I was — because let’s face it, my single MOH can only sympathize so much with me when it comes to my “dream” charger plates being completely sold out. Lol
    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith Online ·
    • Flag
    It was actually a great time, having two of my siblings marry the same year I did, and two cousins, and my MOH. Plus people on FI side I did not know. March to October, at least 6 weeks between any two weddings in the family, all within a couple of hours drive of each other. We had only a 5 month engagement Engaged in May, married after others in October. In the midst of this, 3 other sisters and brothers, and 2 of my bridesmaids, and the two cousins who married the year before, had babies. All local to me. No trauma, if was an endlessly happy time. You love each other as sisters. Each of you are happy to take this step as couples. What is there to be unhappy about. You may even both use some of the same neutral stuff, clear glass vases and candle holders and other things that are neutral. Have fun with it. It will be a good thing, if you make it one. You plan what you can afford, and they do the same. And if you are a super planner, don't share details. Because you are bound to both like some of the same things, and if you look at each other's, someone might get territorial. So agree not to. And if you are planning BM, or date, don't choose each other, and promise that whoever finds they want to marry first, the other will pick at least a month away, before or after. Then share the excitement. 🙂Also, I am in my second marriage, widowed first. And my second wedding was the 40th I have been in WP. Quite a few since. And last year on WW was the first time I ever heard of a planned proposal, where someone would go behind the groom's back and tell the prospective bride . I think it horrible that others should know before the bride has been asked, and said yes. I mentioned it at a dinner with lots of young married couples, and one engaged, and everyone was stunned, except one couple had seen it on a TV show. No one would be part of such a thing. Very upsetting for the bride to have others know. Not to mention the humiliation on both sides if she says no. So don't feel you " should have known " . If groom went to parents, they should have kept it to themselves. Doesn't anyone want any privacy in their emotional moments anymore? Just be happy for each other, share good news, and have a blast.
    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    Get engaged this year as planned. Have a Double Wedding Ceremony and Reception, and then you can plan everything for both of you.

    • Reply
  • Maddie
    Devoted October 2020
    Maddie ·
    • Flag
    You are NOT alone. You’re story sounds very similar to mine.
    I am the oldest, I am the planner, I am the girly girl, I even planned what year my now FH and I were gonna get engaged/ married, totally opposite of my litter sister who, take each day as it comes, prefers sweat pants & hoodies and was surprised to even get engaged when she did.
    I actually found out on Facebook that my sister got engaged and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry. Of course I was happy for her but I was also hurt. I was 1) hurt that she never told me before posting it on Facebook & 2) I am the 1st grandchild & oldest daughter, I was ALWAYS the 1st at everything (first to grow up, first to graduate etc). So I felt entitled to be the first to get engaged/ married especially since this was something I have been dreaming about for forever.Since my sister had no idea about weddings & what to expect (even though I was never married before) I had the most knowledge about weddings so she looked to me to help her & to answer her questions. I helped plan her entire surprise bridal shower, made decorations for her reception, helped her find her dress and even did her makeup for her wedding. I am so happy I got over my “hurt feelings” because helping my sister plan her wedding was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I wouldn’t say there is anything wrong with feeling hurt but get over that feeling of hurt & “jealousy” fast because it is just wasted time that you can never get back when you should be using that time celebrating with your sister!Also idk about you & your sister but my sister and I are total opposites so how my sister did her wedding is the total opposite of how I am doing mine, different style, different colors, different month/ year, so even though she was “first” both of us will have/ had our perfect special day 💜
    I wish you the very best 🧡
    • Reply
  • needmorewine
    Expert May 2016
    needmorewine ·
    • Flag

    You say that you don't want to make her engagement and wedding planning about you but that's exactly what you're doing. As some previous posters have already said, there is nothing to be upset about here. Her fiance didn't owe you a heads up prior to proposing since their relationship is only about them and it's completely their call to move things forward at a pace that works for them. The same thing goes for you. If you and your boyfriend feel that getting engaged this year is what works best for your relationship then you should do so. Happiness isn't a finite resource, there's plenty to go around. Everyone is plenty capable of being happy for both couples.

    • Reply
  • L
    Devoted August 2020
    Lauren ·
    • Flag
    I can understand some of your feelings and from my experience it sounds like it's coming from a place of jealousy. Maybe I'm wrong. 2.5 years ago my older brother got engaged (to a horrible person who I hated and ended up cheating on him so they are no longer together, but that's besides the point). And I was so upset because it was unexpected and me and my at the boyfriend (now FH) had been talking about it for over a year but he hadn't proposed. I was jealous and upset with him and myself for being jealous. I've grown a lot as a person and us as a couple since then, so I can say I understand those feelings but that they also are not your sisters fault. Go about your life as planned, you will get to have a dream wedding and she hers.
    • Reply
  • Trisha
    Expert October 2020
    Trisha ·
    • Flag

    Your Emotions Are Completely Valid. Continue With Getting Engaged And Planning Your Wedding As You Were Before. I See No Reason On Waiting Just Because You Sister Is Engaged Too. Use This Time To Bond While Planning Both Your Weddings.

    • Reply
  • Krys
    Dedicated October 2020
    Krys ·
    • Flag

    I am your little sister in this scenario. My sister is 1.5 years older. She's been with her bf for about a year longer and they have a 1 year old. She's been dropping major hints to her bf about getting engaged so once FH proposed, I was worried she would feel the same way; that it should have been her first and that she would be upset. I also get not wanting to share your time with anyone else. I don't want anyone else in my circle to get engaged while we are and take our spotlight. It's human nature to be jealous and want to be selfish here. BUT I also think if my sister gets engaged soon, it would be a fun bonding time for us to be able to do this together. It's hard not letting those feelings get in the way but everyone does things at their own pace. And I totally get being upset you didn't know. If sisters fiance knows you two are that close, it would have made sense to tell you and let you make sure sister was ready (like with having her nails done).

    • Reply
  • Briana
    Beginner October 2021
    Briana ·
    • Flag

    I completely understand feeling upset that you weren't told he was going to propose, and your feelings are valid, especially bc you have a very close bond with her. I think that feeling will eventually subside. I am glad to hear that he apologized to you, who knows how long he even planned the proposal? Maybe he was trying to surprised EVERYONE instead of your father b/c the right thing to do would be to ask for his permission. The thing about getting engaged the same year is..who really cares? There's 12 months in a year....my FH's younger sister got engaged 2 weeks after us and they were dating years longer than us. I'm more on the planning bandwagon whereas his sister needs a little more help to look for things which i've been helping with! It's fun planning and helping each other with one of the biggest events in your lives! As long as you two don't pick out the same dates the same year, who cares? Have fun with it when you're both engaged, and move forward with your engagement!

    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Rockstar October 2019
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    I don't have a sister, so maybe that's why I am missing the issue here? Your sister got engaged before you, and you didn't know about it beforehand, so what? Your sisters fiance didn't need to ask you or tell you his plans.

    You and your boyfriend can continue on with your plans. There is no reason why you and your sister can't be engaged at the same time, plan a wedding at the same time, and get married within a few months of one another. Really, it just sounds like your boyfriend is taking his sweet time proposing and its starting to get to you..?

    Just be happy for your sister and look forward to your (hopefully) upcoming proposal.

    • Reply
  • Angel
    Devoted August 2020
    Angel ·
    • Flag
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    I agree with this. I don't see the problem (and I do have a sister)... I also don't see why you would consider holding off on your engagement, although that's really in your boyfriend's hands as to when he proposes. It's also a little ridiculous that he apologized about not proposing to you first. It's not a race. Everyone can do what they want on their own timeline! Be excited for your sister and she'll be excited when it's your turn!

    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith Online ·
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    People actually get their nails done if they think their honey is going to propose? Seriously? Where I come from, any potential groom who told anyone, anyone at all, that he was proposing, before the bride ( except maybe a jewelry store or florist) would be kicked out on his butt and his ring thrown after him if the bride ever found out. I know couples that broke up for months before getting together again, after a newly engaged B to B found out FI told her mother or dad or sister or friend about it. Or his best friend. It is a violation right up there with sleeping with your sister or girlfriend. Like sex, you don't inform the world of your plans, before your partner.
    Someone I dated a while, very nice guy, smart, interesting to a point , provided he never got on the subject of sports, turned out to be a happy couch potato. A K-1 teacher, I assumed he wanted kids, til he dropped the word never. I had decided it was going nowhere long term, and was planning to breakup that weekend d. My father called said the guy dropped by. Ask my father for my hand in marriage. My father told him, if you are actually asking me for permission, before asking her, then you don't know my daughter well enough to marry her. True. He was all upset, came to see me to tell me he had gone to my Dad, and all my plans for a nice dinner, and a quiet talk about how different we were, and that I was moving, blah blah, let him down gently, disappeared. When he said he had gone behind my back, driven ,300 miles for permission, like I was his property at age 23, I lost it. Of all the sexist, chauvinistic things, in this day and age, to ask someone else, not me, like I was a child or property not an independent person, was just too much to take. And none of my close friends would accept such a thing either. My decision to make, no one else should have anything else to say about it unless asked. I don't come from a culture where the women consider themselves subordinate to men. Or where the parents of adult, grown up children, would overstep their boundaries. Thank heavens.
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