By Kaitlyn Fitzgerald – Millers, MD

As a 26-year-old woman living with her boyfriend, in the house we bought together with our dog, I hear the question all the time:  “So, when are you guys getting engaged?!” The first couple times I found it awful, uncomfortable and incredibly awkward. By the 20th time, and after six years of dating, I found it easiest to just defer to the guy sitting next to me.

I used to set relationship goals for myself, first thinking that if we made it to the three-year mark that meant we were pretty serious. Then, around the five-year mark, people start expecting something to happen, especially once you’ve bought a house together and you’re getting a puppy. I mean, things have to be pretty serious, right?

Kaitlyn and Garrett at her brother’s wedding in 2014.

We’ve had the conversations discussing the what, when and where aspects. He always starts with, “so this is kind of awkward…” to which I respond, “I don’t know why it’s awkward.” Various questions asking about what size ring I wear and what shape diamond I like best. I always encourage him, telling him I’m glad he’s asking me these questions. It confirms he is serious about getting married and he’ll know exactly what I want.

At every wedding we have been invited to for the past two years, I’ve taken detailed notes about venues, caterers, photographers and color schemes. I’ve even started shopping online for wedding venues.

Just last weekend, while having lunch with my girlfriends, I wondered, “Would it be weird to start checking out venues and maybe book something, even though we’re not technically engaged yet?” To which I was adamantly convinced this was completely normal behavior because things “book up very fast.” God bless girlfriends.

Cutting down the first Christmas tree for their new house…could have proposed there…just saying.

When I start to get caught up in the pandemonium and hype of what seems like every girl I know getting engaged, I make myself take a step back and look at the big picture. I’m living with the man of my dreams, we have a beautiful home and own a very adorable, hyperactive beagle puppy.

We know we’ll get around to the engagement, and me not having a ring on my finger at the moment doesn’t change anything. We will get there, eventually, and when we do, it will be forever. Until then, I wouldn’t change a thing.