If you feel like you’ve just been through a war and you’re not sure why, you may just be feeling the after-effects of the December through January rush — also known as engagement season. Although Valentine’s Day tends to be one of the most popular days to get engaged, the real heart of the engagement season is in the run-up to Christmas and through the New Year. Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s, New Year’s Day, and even two Saturdays before Christmas (really) always fill up the bulk of the ‘most popular days to get engaged’ lists— so if you felt like you were trapped in an unstoppable onslaught of engagements, you probably were.
That cluster of engagements can be a tricky time — no matter what your relationship status or position is. If you feel a little out of sorts or confused and you’re struggling to cope after engagement season, don’t worry — you’re not alone. These big life events, whether they’re happening to us or just those around us, naturally spark some big-picture thinking and questions about where we’re at and what we want. If you’re struggling to cope, here’s what you should remember — no matter what your current situation.
If you’re single and your friends all got engaged
If you’re flying solo — whether by choice or because you’re still looking — it can be really tough when your friends start to get engaged. The first thing to remember is that even though it feels like everyone has gotten engaged, they haven’t. Ignore what you see on social media and take a look around — you’ll find that you’re not on your own. There are lots of happy single and non-engaged people around, they just tend not to shout as loudly on Facebook and Instagram.
After that, take stock of where you’re at. If you’re single because you love being single, remember that the flurry of engagements is just a phase and that, ultimately, you’re doing what makes you happy. If you’re looking to get into a relationship, then stop and think about what’s going to be the best way to find the relationship you want — more constructive, mindful choices, rather than just going with the flow. Look at what’s worked for your friends, what hasn’t, and take comfort in the honest fact that some of those engagements are the types of relationships you really wouldn’t want to be in. You’re doing you — and that’s never a bad thing.
If you expected a proposal, but didn’t get one
This is perhaps the trickiest position to be in after engagement season. If you were sure that an engagement was coming around the corner — or just hoping it might have been — it can feel not only disappointing, but also a little lost. If you start asking yourself some big questions, that’s totally normal.
If you’re sure that the relationship is right for you and that you’re in it for the long haul, it may be time to ask yourself why you’re waiting for a proposal. If marriage is that important to you, there’s nothing stopping you from going right ahead and popping the question yourself. So if that’s what you really want, you may want to look at why you’re not going for it. But it may be that not getting a proposal makes you feel less sure about the relationship — in which case you may want to decide if this is really the right person for you to be with.
If you did get engaged
Fun fact: You can get exactly what you want and still feel weird about it. Even if you did get caught up in the engagement season rush and put a ring on it yourself, you’re still allowed to feel strange. Getting engaged can make you reconsider everything — your goals, your relationship, even the entire institution of marriage and whether it’s right for you. Give yourself some time to work through those big questions — and remember, feeling a little jittery after you get engaged is totally normal.
If you just feel really effing weird about it all
Even if you can’t put your finger on exactly why you feel weird about all of the engagements that have just happened, that’s OK — sometimes, all of these big changes can just make us feel a little at sea. If that sounds like you, the most important thing you can do is just keep some damn perspective. People got engaged. People will keep getting engaged and married — and, statistically, a whole lot of them will get divorced as well. The world goes round and people move on.
If engagements make you realize that you’re just not where you wanted to be in your life, then that can be a good chance to sit down and have a real think about your priorities and how to get them — whether they’re personal or professional. But if they just make you feel weird, then take a deep breath and put Instagram down. Before social media, this was still happening — we just weren’t faced with it quite so brutally. So stop torturing yourself with scrolling and focus on you. A little perspective is never a bad thing.
It’s totally natural to have a weird reaction to the string of engagements that show up on social media — whether you’re single, in a new relationship, or engaged yourself. Just use it as a reminder to focus on what you want and be sure that you’re taking the steps you need to get there. But when in doubt, put the phone down and try to let it go — once we get past Valentine’s Day, it will all calm down. For this year, at least.
Originally posted on Bellesa Collective