I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I may have gotten a little obsessed with the impending engagement between the time that I helped pick out the ring and when Bf chose to give it to me.
It wasn't the ring itself that I wanted. I mean, of course I wanted the ring, in its beautiful sparkly gorgeousness... but what I wanted more than anything was to be engaged (and then married) to Bf. We were so close. Sooooo close. And I was SO ready for the next step.
I tried to be a mature, compassionate adult about the whole thing. I convinced myself that I found it sweet that Bf wanted to be traditional about the proposal. He is, after all, a door-opening, coat-taking, heavy-stuff-carrying gentleman. It was nice of him to include me in the ring-picking process, which I enjoyed very much. I would let him do this himself, on his own time.
Growing up, upon finding out about something fun I were going to do in the near future, I used to make myself sick with excitement. I suspect it's the same with many children, but I've never really grown out of it. Instead of a stomach-ache, adult me just gets really, really obsessed with the matter at hand. Say, for example, Bf and I had decided to get a kitten, but we wouldn't get him for a month. I'd spend that whole month reading everything there is to know about kittens, looking at pictures of kittens, visiting kittens in the humane society, talking to kitten-owners about their vets, and buying cute crap for the kitten to play with when it arrived. I'd probably even make color-coded kitten-related charts. I like to be in control, and I like to plan. And when I can't get what I want right now, I want to know when I will get it so that I can prepare. I have no excuse for this; it's a flaw of mine. (And yes, I'm an only child. What gave it away?)
This surprise-engagement thing really bothered me. Again, I wasn't after the ring, but it was symbolic for the next step to come. I was confused as to why Bf didn't want us to be engaged right away. I wondered how long I'd have to wait. I'm generally a "glass-half-empty" person, especially when it comes to matters concerning my character. I wondered what was wrong with me. Was he thinking twice about our future? (I have NO reason to suspect this.) Why wasn't he as excited to get engaged as I was? I kept pushing the subject. I got annoying. I tried to get him to talk about wedding styles. About guest lists. I sent him links to wedding stuff. He was pretty tolerant, but I knew I shouldn't be bugging him so much. I was being dumb. I knew it meant a lot to him to do the proposal his own way, on his own time. But I couldn't let it drop.
I got pushier and pushier as time passed. Valentine's day came and went, but not without me wondering if maybe he had the ring - maybe it was somehow possible. He gave me a beautiful pink marquise ring for my right hand for Valentines' Day (along with other thoughtful gifts).
I started to get angry about the whole situation. I am the first to admit that I have traditional values regarding family. I would love to be a housewife, I love when Bf does manly things for me to help me out (even though I'm quite capable), and I love being 'taken care of' by him. But this proposal thing had my feminist waters boiling. Weren't we supposed to be doing this as equals? As a couple? Why did HE get to see the ring? Why should HE get to choose when to propose? It just made me jealous and mad. I felt like he was stringing me along, teasing me, or maybe even trying to teach me a lesson about patience. It was bringing out the worst in me.
What bothered me the most is that he had admitted that he wasn't thinking about it much at all, most of the time. He was very busy with his job and with many projects for his classes. Rational me thought this was very understandable. But obsessive, anxious me didn't understand why this matter wasn't important enough for him to take some time to think about. And another part of me was envious that he COULD stop thinking about it. I couldn't, and my interest in work and school was paling in comparison to my obsession with the engagement. Then a good friend got engaged and started talking all about dresses and other weddingy stuff. I was so jealous! But also thrilled for her, of course.
Bf eventually had a talk with me. He put it very tactfully, but basically he'd noticed that I was being clingy and weird. If he went somewhere, I wanted to know where, and why, and when he'd be back. If he stayed home, I wanted to know what he was doing/thinking. I really wouldn't leave the poor guy alone. He explained that he really wanted to "do this right". He wanted to put a lot of thought in to the engagement and proposal process. He didn't want to casually toss me the ring - which is what would happen if he was under a time-crunch to propose when he had so much other pressing stuff going on in his life. He wanted time to really think about it - to really figure out what he wanted to do. It was hard for him to get any time to think about us because when he wasn't working on academic or professional problems, he was being bombarded with questions from me.
I knew I was being terribly unfair to him (in my mind and to his face), and I really did want to give him a chance to do this his way. I wanted him to be as excited about it as I was, and he couldn't have that chance unless he was given time to think and plan. I didn't want this to be a sour experience for him. And I didn't want him to remember our engagement as a time when he finally just had to Give The Crazy Lady What She Wanted So She'd Stop Freaking Out Already.
He asked me if I'd be OK with him showing the ring to other people before I saw it. I asked a bunch of questions about that (Who? Why? When?) but he wouldn't budge. Finally I conceded. Although I didn't like that it might "spoil" me being able to show it off to close friends or family, he insisted that this person or people wouldn't be people I'd be rushing to show it to anyway. I figured that maybe he wanted to talk to his dad about it, or maybe he was going to call my dad? (That'd be weird, I thought... and he actually DID call my dad as a matter of fact!) Maybe he wanted to confide in a friend. I chewed on those thoughts and a million others well in to the night, long after he was asleep and our conversation was over.
Finally, I decided to try to let it go. Not just the "who's he going to show it to?" but the whole thing. The whole damn proposal. Just let it go. If he were to propose tomorrow? That'd be great. In a month? Great. Six months? (Well, that's pushing it, I might get a little anxious by then. :-D) I had to stop thinking about it. I had to pretend I didn't know about it. I had to pretend it didn't matter. I had to do this not only for him, but also for me. If we both wanted a special and memorable proposal, I had to stop second-guessing all of his activities, wondering if this could be The Moment, or if he's planning to do it this weekend, or thinking that Now would have been a great time to do it. I didn't want to later be gushing to my girlfriends: "Well, the proposal went like this: I badgered and prodded at him until he finally shouted 'JUST TAKE THE DAMN THING!' and I said 'YAYYY!'"
It's insanely hard to stop thinking about a subject of obsession. My mom has said that she knows when I've got something on my mind because I pretty much stop talking. That's because when I force myself to stop thinking about something, I stop thinking about everything. There's nothing more important than That Which Cannot Be Thought About, so I just kind of clam up. Bf noticed this right away, the morning after our talk. He pointed it out, so I told him I was trying not to think about it anymore. No sense in being dishonest. He told me that if I was not OK with that, then we should be talking about it.
I'd like to say that I was able to successfully lay off and be patient, but I wasn't. I think I got better, but I was still pretty engulfed by the whole process. He proposed within a few days of our talk, partially (I think) because he was tired of seeing me looking sad and withdrawn. His proposal was perfect for me (I got to be engaged to my man!), but I wonder whether it was everything he'd envisioned (if I even gave him a moment to envision anything, that is).
Ladies "in-waiting": listen to me. Don't do this to yourselves. And if you can't help but obsess, don't take it out on your man. Remember who he is and why you want to marry him so badly. Showing him your ugliest, greediest side when he's trying to plan an uber-romantic experience for you both is not the preferred way to get what you want. He wants the best for you both. You probably proudly take care of yourself pretty well in most aspects. Let him have this one thing. I wish I'd done a better job of that.