To propose, or not to propose this Valentine’s Day

16 February 2016

You’ve been together for a while. It feels like you ‘get’ each other. The sex is great, and people tell you that you make the perfect couple. Everything is going well, and with Valentine’s Day at the weekend you’ve been wondering if now might be the right time to propose.

But how can you be sure you’ve found ‘The One’?

Knowing you’re with someone who you can share your problems with is one of the top signs that you’ve found the right person, according to a Relate survey. When respondents were asked to pick their top three signs of commitment in a relationship, the most commonly identified were exclusivity and getting married.

Sharing problems came out top across all age groups (50 per cent of respondents put it in their top three) – not surprising really, as most of us seek a one-to-oneness that helps us feel loved and special.

The other side to this is that tricky business of accepting that a partner may not be perfect. At one level we know that ‘The One’ may have traits that don’t always suit us. Part of loving someone is accepting this and expecting them to do the same.

But rushing into big decisions like living together, marriage or civil partnership means you’re in deep before you’ve been able to get a clear picture of the other person and what you can actually tolerate.

Our counsellors sometimes find themselves working with couples where the rush to formalise a relationship results in much pain and distress.

Pressure to propose can come from all directions. Family, friends and even the celebrity culture can make us feel that we should be taking certain steps and often doing them in a particular way. But we are better off working out for ourselves what feels right.

Perhaps you aren’t actually that keen to get married but you’re feeling pressure from elsewhere. Marriage is a big commitment so if this is the case you may want to reconsider rather than risk regretting it.

Relationship doubts can be scary. If you’re having them, try focussing on some key points:

• Can you talk to your partner easily?
• Do you both listen to each other and not make assumptions?

So many relationship issues could be sorted if couples could regain a basic curiosity in what their partner is saying to them.

Few things hurt more than talking to the person you thought was closest to you, yet knowing they stopped listening to you years ago.

Of course, the caveat to this is that you may have been saying the same thing in the same way for years too. Good communication needs to work both ways.

If you’d like to talk over these sorts of issues with one of our counsellors, give us a call on 01234 356350.

Or you might like to sign up to one of our workshops where you and your partner, together with other couples, explore their hopes and aspirations before getting together seriously. Take a look at the ‘couples’ workshop in Education and Learning from the Services drop-down on the home page.

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