anxious woman

When will it happen? Am I ready? Will I like the ring? What will my friends think? Will my parents approve? Can we afford a wedding? Can’t I just be engaged already? In the months and weeks preceding an imminent proposal, you’ll likely feel excited, but also pretty anxious, with tons of questions and doubts running through your head on constant loop. Having pre-engagement anxiety doesn’t mean you don’t want to get married, it just means you’re human, and about to make a huge life decision!

Still, the constant nagging anxiety can really get in the way of an otherwise joyous occasion, so follow these tips to reduce your pre-engagement anxiety:

Be in the know—kind of.

You can still be surprised by your proposal without having to be totally in the dark about it. If fear of the unknown is what’s fueling your pre-engagement anxiety, chat with your partner to get a few parameters out in the open, explaining that it’ll provide you with some much-needed chill. Knowing something as simple as whether your proposal will occur within the year, or sometime next summer, or during the holidays, for example, will help put a stop to all your wondering and let you simply enjoy the moment when you’re (somewhat) expecting it.

Be open about what you want.

Along with staying (kind of) in the know, you’re also allowed to communicate to your partner about what you want with your proposal, even if you also wish to be surprised. This is not the olden days where your partner holds all the cards and you simply get what you get and you’d better like it! Your engagement is about both of you and you both deserve to have some say in planning it. Knowing that you’ve shared a bit about what you want and that your partner is on board will seriously cut down on pre-engagement jitters, because instead of your proposal happening to you, you’ll have been a part of it all along.

Compare and despair.

You’ll probably hear this a lot in dating, wedding and marriage advice—don’t compare your relationship, wedding, or marriage to anyone else’s! It’ll only lead to pre-engagement anxiety and, yes, despair! If, while you’re waiting for your partner to pop the question, all you’re doing is holding your own relationship up against your friends’ (“Well, they’re all already engaged!”) or couples on Instagram (“How will my proposal measure up to this influencer’s?”). Getting caught up in what other people have and how soon they have it is the easiest way to drive yourself into an anxious meltdown. So every time you catch yourself comparing or feeling jealous, just breathe deep and remind yourself you’re on your own path with your own partner, and you’re designing an experience with them that is completely unique—on your own timeline. Stay focused on your own wonderful love story!

Take it one day at a time.

A lot of pre-engagement anxiety can come from simply feeling anxious about hitting all of life’s milestones. You might be thinking: I need to hurry up and get engaged, so that in a year I can get married, and then two years after that, we can have a baby, so that I’m not 100 years old before I’m a mom! There’s so much pressure from TV and social media and even in keeping up with our social circles to stay one step ahead of these arbitrary timelines. And listen: You’ll get there! Just take it one day at a time. Freaking out about speeding up your life will not speed up your life, and will only make you miss out on the very best parts of it. Every time you find yourself hyperventilating about speeding up your engagement so you can unlock your five-year plan, hit the slo-mo button and take it one day at a time. Don’t stress about your engagement party before you’re even engaged, don’t freak out about paying for a wedding before you’ve even started planning one, don’t worry about how old you’ll be when you start having kids before you’ve even enjoyed a year of married life. Savoring every moment is so much more fun than anxiously speeding through them and worrying about what’s next!

Remember your relationship.  

Becoming engaged is really exciting, and of course, so is getting married! And while crossing these thresholds can bring you and your partner to a new level of closeness, they are really just symbols at the end of the day. Letting yourself get lost in pre-engagement anxiety and pressure can lead you to forget the most important thing of all: You’re already in an amazing relationship with the partner you want to spend the rest of your life with! If you remember that a ring won’t really change your relationship too much, it’ll take a ton of pressure off of the both of you as you approach engagement, and make the occasion be less about racing to some arbitrary milestone and more about what it should be about: Celebrating the amazing love you already have.