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Waiting for a proposal can do more than test your patience. According to Bela Gandhi, relationship expert and founder of Smart Dating Academy, wondering whether your partner will pop the question can temporarily erode your relationship as anxiety builds and tensions run high. With one person tapping their foot for a proposal and the other feeling the pressure, "you have a potential problem," she explains.
To fix that problem, many partners make a push for a proposal, but is that really the right play?
Gandhi says the better move is to establish from the start what you expect from your relationship, and how quickly you each want to meet those goals. When you expect to be engaged, she says, "Is one of the most important issues a couple should discuss within the first six months of dating. You need to know, feel safe, and secure that it's going to happen if that's what you want." Beyond that, she adds, "if you're aligned at the beginning, you can avoid lots of heartbreak, arguments, and disappointment.
Initiate such a conversation early on, with a simple statement about your expectations. Say, "I'd like to be engaged after one year," for example. Then, if you find your partner agrees, promise one another, "we'll make sure that happens or communicate our change in mindset or time frame as soon as it occurs," Gandhi suggests. "If you've had that discussion and your partner is not coming through, then it's OK to nudge him or her or ask the question yourself." But if you skipped this important step, it's best to avoid pushing a proposal in any way that doesn't involve clear and open communication, Gandhi says.
Don't leave non-verbal clues, such as engagement ring pictures, around your house hoping he or she will pick up on your hint. Don't bully or berate your partner into popping the question. Instead, take the time now to explain your expectations and desires so you get on the same page.
Finally, Gandhi says; if your partner has specifically asked you not to nudge him or her because they have a proposal plan in place for a specific date, stay mum. "If that's the case, hold your tongue and wait until it happens," she says. "If the deadline passes then Houston, we've got a problem."