Proposal shaming: When people say you need to do over your proposal

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By: Meme BingeCC BY 2.0

I avoid talking about the “proposal” part of our life because a lot of people don’t understand it. We are in the age of “ommggg look at this YouTube flash dance wedding proposal that went viral and is now being featured on Good Morning America!” Our story just doesn’t fit into that American narrative.

It was simple, I was a part of the conversation, and it was nothing big and romantic. It was more of just us agreeing to make it official, tell our families, and seal it with a bad-ass ring for my hand.

We recently got back from a week in the Bahamas where we chartered a boat and lived on it for a week. There were some crew members we got to know as well and they asked me how my fiancé proposed. I told them, and they made such a big deal about how bad it was. “You need to do over your proposal. Give this babe a proper engagement to remember!”

I know they were doing it more in good fun, but it made me feel so bad for my future husband. He was being ridiculed, and a little bit shamed, and I was being pitied. I tried to defend him by explaining it better, but how do I tell people who I’ve known for a week that we are a couple that does things a little more alternatively, and that I don’t feel like I’m missing something here? You can’t, so I don’t bring that part of getting engaged up unless asked.

Getting engaged and wedding planning has made me more private than ever. Or maybe growing up has made me more private. I don’t want people to know every little thing anymore (this coming from a former Facebook addict who liked to think she perfected the humble brag). It went from that over-share level to not even wanting to post about our engagement on there at all. I think it’s weird when near-strangers ask me questions about my proposal or wedding plans, and I don’t really want to talk about it all the time.

It does my five years of getting to know this man a true disservice when I have to sum it all up in a few sentences about one night of our lives. He gets defined by that one night last summer. (I don’t even remember the date of when we got engaged, that’s how inconsequential that part is. Sometime in August?)

Maybe my new answer to the people who ask will be, “That’s private, just between us.” Then they can imagine wild scenarios for themselves while we continue on in our own understanding of each other and our relationship.

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