Sometime between when the advent of Tinder necessitated a new casual relationship category (“Netflix and chill”) and Pinterest made it easy to sneakily plan a wedding while waiting for a ring, a new phase of the relationship emerged. “Pre-Engaged” is a very useful nickname to describe relationships that have passed the vague “we’re dating” stage, but are not entirely appropriate for the world of ring shopping. If you’ve been with your boo for a while, you might find this term liberating. Even if you never say it out loud, just thinking about where you are in your relationship can help calm feelings of uncertainty or anxiety induced by the pressure of marriage.
Table of Contents
Find out if he’s truly committed, learn to enjoy this step, and when you’ll know it’s time to move on in the relationship.
Are we committed in advance?
This can be a nebulous term, so here are some questions you can ask about your relationship to determine if you are no longer dating.
- Do you and your partner live together or do you spend most of our time together? Although many couples have valid reservations about cohabiting before marriage, if you are open to it, having passed this step could be a sign that you are pre-engaged. (If you’re wondering if now is the time, take this quiz to find out!)
- Do we work hard to communicate? This is something that takes a long time in relationships. Whether they are a new couple, pre-engaged, or happily married, they likely always have room for improvement. However, if you are generally satisfied with communication in your relationship, you are probably past the dating phase.
- Have you talked about marriage and future plans? Probably the biggest indicator that you are in this long term with your boyfriend or girlfriend is your willingness to plan ahead with them. If you both have a shared and open understanding that marriage is in your future – just not now – you are definitely pre-engaged.
So what should I expect from the pre-engagement stage?
This part is up to you. If marriage is imminent, this might be the perfect time to be really open about your finances before you set financial goals, like buying a home. If you know that you will want to host a wedding, this financial dig will also help you find a wedding budget in the future. The WeddingWire Cost Guide is a good first step in learning how much wedding venues and related services cost in your area.
Above all, don’t prematurely rush your relationship out of pre-committed territory. In many ways, it’s a perfectly comfortable and happy place to be, as long as it works for both of you. This break between dating and lifelong partnership can be a no-pressure time to build your relationship. Spending quality time with your future in-laws, learning to disagree productively, or even exploring couples therapy can all be things you add to your to-do list before committing.
How will we know that we have exceeded the previous commitment?
When one or both of you are ready to make the marriage certificate official, there will be telltale signs galore. Beyond your friends and family who constantly ask you when you will get married, when you will spend the holidays together, how to adopt a pet together and just talking in terms of “we” are just some of the clues that it is time to plan a proposal .