Before I tell you about the proposal (soon, I promise!), I want to give you some more back story.
The fall of 2011 was rough for me. I was taking three graduate classes (one of which was clinical) and working full time. I was tired, I was overwhelmed, and I was quietly miserable. Sparky and I had been together for over four years, we’d watched our good friends get married, and one of my closest friends got engaged to the guy she’d been dating for just over a year. I felt lost.
From a Buzzfeed article “What Grad School Is Really Like”—hilarious, sad, and mostly true
I was jealous and sad. That’s not to say that I wasn’t also extremely happy for my friends (I was), but I was sad for myself. Sparky was staunchly against future conversations, and I desperately needed to know that we were on the same page. I didn’t need a proposal, I just wanted to know we were heading in the same direction. (I know all those waiting bees out there can feel me on that!)
The day of my friend’s engagement I was overwhelmed. I argued with Sparky during the day and went immediately to my married friend’s house after work (Bridesmaid Apple Pie). I talked to her about how I was feeling and my concern that my relationship was going to fall apart. She sympathized. That was October and I decided it was then that I needed to figure some stuff out by January, for myself. I told myself (and Apple Pie) that if I couldn’t find some personal resolution that I probably needed to leave.
I went home and tried to be calm. Sparky was already home and he knew something was going to happen. It wasn’t long before we started arguing again. I just wanted to know where our relationship stood and Sparky did NOT want to talk about it. The argument turned into a fight and it was not fun. I was crying, Sparky was being super mean.* I nearly packed a bag and left.
Finally we were able to calm down and actually talk, but feelings were hurt. No solutions were found but I didn’t bring it up for the rest of the fall. I was sad. I’d always said that I wanted to know where we were going by the time I graduated, but I was nearly certain that the new year would dawn and I would need to figure out a new life for myself. One that might not include Sparky.
That didn’t happen. I spent a lot of time in self-examination (including some therapy for this and other issues) and slowly realized that I loved Sparky, loved our relationship, and wanted to be with him more than I wanted to be married. That distinction was huge for me!
Appropriately titled “Calm After the Storm” by Dark Fear 10 on Deviant Art
I found out later that he’d had already ordered the ring before this fight took place. His rigid and hurtful stance during the big blow-up was entirely meant to disorient me. He did his job well—I had no idea a proposal was coming. I’m not saying I approve of what happened, but I do understand. Sparky told me later that he was really worried I was going to pack a bag and leave, not because he was afraid I was going to break up with him but because he didn’t want to propose over a suitcase. I’m extremely thankful that the proposal didn’t come during that fight.
Once I realized I wanted to be with Sparky no matter how our relationship looked, I was no longer miserable. I was able to relax and appreciate him for the wonderful man that he was (and is).
He had always joked that *if* he were to propose it was going to be when I didn’t expect it. He definitely did that—when it came I had all but given up on it happening.
I suppose it’s a good lesson in patience—good things come to those who wait!
Did you have a hard time waiting? Did you have any nasty arguments like we did?
*His reasoning, I found out later, was that he wanted to throw me off so I didn’t suspect the proposal was coming.