You’ve been a good girl.  You’ve been patient, left hints, nagged, and not nagged.  He says it’s coming, but where is it?  You’ve decided he’s waiting for Christmas, and your expectations are high.  You make plans because you want it to be perfect.  You spray tan, get a manicure, and practice your perfect “OMG, Yes!” response.  You let your friends and family know you’re expecting something big for Christmas, and they’ve all convinced you that you’re right.

And then it happens.  The proposal you’ve been waiting for your whole life.  Only it wasn’t the ring you wanted, and it wasn’t a flash mob going viral on YouTube.  He just sort of did it, and of course you love him so you said “yes.” But now you’re disappointed, and kind of embarrassed to tell your engagement story, because it’s not much of a story at all. 

Expectations are the number one killer in romantic relationships.  We all have them, and we all get let down from time-to-time.  The problem with expectations is that they’re usually unspoken, and therefore impossible to meet, because we don’t know they’re even being set.

How To Deal With The Disappointment Of A Bad Or Regular Proposal

Whenever I work with a new couple, I spend the first session getting to know their “story”.  We start with how they met, and work our way forward to the present moment.  I always ask how they got engaged, and it’s very telling how they respond.  It’s not hard to see the disappointment on her face if she’s not happy about sharing this information.  To be honest, I’ve heard over 1,000 engagement stories, and most often, the bride-to-be is let down. 

Does this mean that every engaged woman is a complete diva and can never be satisfied?  No, of course not!  What it means is that women are so overloaded with expectations and “should’s” from the media, magazines, movies, etc. (remember the flash mob I mentioned above), that it’s hard to settle for just a regular proposal.

1.  Adjust Your Expectations & Attitude

It’s done, you can’t change it, and the last thing you want to do is start your new marriage off with resentment and anger over your engagement story.  This is one moment in time, and your partner obviously loves you or he wouldn’t have proposed.  Try to find the good in it, and realize how much pressure he was under!  Reflect on your story, and pull out just one thing that you can focus on that really feels good, and that you can accentuate and share with others. 

2.  Realize Very Few People Have a Phenomenal Engagement Story

Look, I’ve been married 10 years this coming April, and I still watch Say Yes To The Dress and love me some YouTube flash mob proposals (if you couldn’t tell!).  They’re romantic, extremely thoughtful, and unbelievably creative.  But here’s the deal… how many people get that kind of proposal?  Of all the couples getting engaged every month and every year, the fraction of those grandiose proposals is beyond miniscule.

Please take this into account when dealing with your own relationship.  If you’re constantly waiting for your guy to pull out all the stops, you’re going to be disappointed on a regular basis.  Moving forward, if you want something special, tell your partner what it is and why it means something to you.  Don’t invest in the lie that all women tell themselves:  “If I have to ask for it, it doesn’t mean as much.”  Remember, if you want a chance of your expectations being met, your partner has to know what they are!

3.  Empathize With His Position

Do you have any idea how much pressure is on the Proposer?  Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, and think about how scary it would be to get this just right.  Imagine the pressure of making sure you love his idea, the ring, the story.  The worry over whether or not you’ll say “yes”, and if you’ll be as excited as he is after it’s over.

If you’ve been running around like a spoiled brat, pouting about your ho-hum engagement, then it’s time to buck up and start factoring in your fiance’s feelings. 

Just remember that your engagement, and eventual marriage, is a two-way street.  I can promise you this:  You will let him down in the future, and you’ll want to be treated with respect and thoughtfulness when you do.

4.  Realize This Is An Indicator For The Future

As hard as it is to hear, if you’re completely disappointed and can’t seem to get over being let down with a regular proposal, it’s likely a symptom of a bigger relationship problem.

Like it or not, your fiancé isn’t going to change.  Sure, we all make minor adjustments, and may change habits or behaviors over time, but the truth is, people don’t change their inherent personality characteristics.  The way you both are now, is the way you will generally be in the future. 

Listen to your gut, and if you’re just not feeling good about your engagement, or find yourself embarrassed to talk about it, you’ll want to pursue relationship counseling before getting married.

I hope Santa (and your fiancé) brings you everything your heart desires this Christmas.


Adrienne Laursen offers both in-person and online premarital, relationship, and newlywed counseling, and is passionate about helping couples create a beautiful, successful marriage.  Please visit her website at for more information and to contact her directly.