7 Things I Didn't Expect When I Proposed To My Boyfriend
The Debrief: I asked my boyfriend to marry me and this is what I discovered
When my boyfriend of seven years and I got engaged, the first thing out of everyone’s mouths – after ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Finally!’ – was: ‘Were you expecting it?’ I was, actually. I knew the date, the time, the precise location and what I’d be wearing. I’m not the next Mystic Meg, it’s just that I did the proposing.
A few people have asked why I proposed, and why he didn’t. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. I wasn’t marrying him for a visa (although he is Australian, so it’d be handy), I wasn’t pregnant, I wasn’t fed up of waiting. There wasn’t a special reason other than I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Boring, I know.
Proposing was awesome, and I loved it. However, there were a few surprising things I learnt…
1. I don’t wish he’d asked me
I know some women would hate to do the asking, and, honestly, I was probably one of them. For years, I thought it mattered that Andy did the asking, because I needed to know he wanted to get married. Really wanted it, not just agreed to it. However, as our relationship grew steadier and more honest, I realised it didn't take a question from him to reassure me he wanted to be with me forever.
He’d showed it countless times, whether it was by moving to a new country and changing his whole life for me, or making me Super Noodles and leaving me to watch Grey’s Anatomy all afternoon when I was hungover. The important stuff. Plus, he deserved to know I wanted to spend the rest of my days with him. Really wanted it, not just agreed to it.
2. It didn’t go to plan
Granted, my plan was pretty vague, having only decided a few days before. But I forgot a few elements others might consider non-negotiable.
No rings. I had my nana’s engagement ring waiting for when I got engaged, but as I hadn’t told my family, it’s still at Mum and Dad’s house. I’d meant to get Andy a novelty ring but forgot, so made him one out of string. No expense spared here.
I didn’t get on one knee. I’d kind of planned to (dodgy knee and all) as a blindfolded Andy opened his eyes in front of a pretty little picnic, with some emosh words I’d written, photos of us, and a shitload of bunting reading, ‘Will you marry me?’
Of course, what happened was, he opened his eyes, I got overwhelmed and couldn’t say anything, so pointed at the bunting and burst into tears. Smooth.
3. I’m better at lying than I thought
I’m a terrible liar. I go bright red and stammer a lot. However, the night before I proposed, I went to sleep having lied to Andy about where I’d been (‘out for drinks with netball friends’), lied to the netball friends (‘I had to work late’) and on the morning itself, fibbed to Andy some more (‘I’m going for a run’).
I’d actually enlisted two good friends to be my Proposal Elves to help me set up. When Andy arrived at the park later, I told him to close his eyes as I had a surprise, and he asked hopefully: ‘A puppy?!’ He knew I’d been lying, but hadn’t figured out what about, which – for someone as crap at lying as me – counts as a win.
4. People had a reaction
Everyone’s excited when you get engaged (unless you’re marrying a serial killer or a parking warden). But there were some interesting reactions – all of them positive, but also surprising. The overriding reaction was lots of high-fiving and comments of ‘Girl power!’ Long-lost friends got in touch specifically to say how great it was I’d done the proposing.
But there were people who asked: ‘But why didn’t he ask you? You’re great!’ It also made for hilarious reactions from fearful man-friends who asked: ‘So is this a thing now?!’
I get it though. With recent stats revealing that 65% of men would say no if proposed to by a woman – because ‘it’s a man’s job’ (yes, that’s a real quote) – it’s hardly surprising only 5% of married couples say the woman proposed.
It might run in my family though. My three sisters are all married, and only one was asked by the man. Even my mum admitted: ‘To be honest, I kind of told your dad we should get married and he agreed.’
5. I got to bro down
One of my favourite aspects was talking to Andy’s twin brother Nick a few days beforehand. Not only womb buddies but best friends, having Andy’s brother's blessing was important to me. We went for a long drive where he – having proposed to his now-wife less than a year ago – gave me lots of advice, a big hug and made me feel a lot less nervous about it all.
6. It’s really fun
Proposing is brilliant. I fully recommend it to everyone, boy or girl. You get to plan a fun, romantic or ridiculous event, however you desire. You want white ponies prancing on a moonlit beach while a skywriter spells out your beloved’s name as a brass band plays ‘your’ song and friends perform a flashmob? Go for it!
I wanted something low-key, in a park where we already have lovely memories, and to celebrate with friends and family. It wasn’t all perfect (Andy didn’t get a puppy, my family were 10,000 miles away… and let’s not forget the pointing and the crying), but it was bloody great fun. And you get to drink Champagne all day. All week, really. What’s not to love?
7. It’s all the same anyway
After the initial surprise, everyone forgets. My friends aren’t thinking about the proposal; they want to look at dresses and drink more Champers. I’m not thinking about the proposal; I’m just excited about the getting married bit (and the dresses and the Champers, obvs). Andy’s not thinking about it. Except when I remind him… Because that’s the other brilliant thing about proposing: you get a trump card to play.
I proposed, so he does the washing-up. Forever. That’s how it works, right?
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