Dear MKE SEX,
This is more of a relationship sort of question, and less of a sex question. I hope that’s okay. I’ve asked a few of my friends, and they all have different opinions, so I thought I’d ask a professional advice-giver (that’s you) too. I’m super psyched this holiday season because I’m going to ask my girlfriend to marry me. If she says yes, it’s going to be the best Christmas of my life! I have the ring, and I have a big speech planned. I had planned to ask her when we get home from her family’s house on Christmas Eve. I got one of those tiny stockings, and the ring box fits perfectly in it. We’ll be alone. I can make a fire. It’ll be nice and quiet. I thought it would be real sweet and romantic. But then I called my mom and asked her if I could practice my speech with her over the phone. She started crying (she tried to hide it, but I could still tell), and got very emotional. Then she said that I shouldn’t ask her on Christmas Eve, but that I should wait and do it the next day when we’re having dinner with my family. My whole family. My mom said that everyone loves my girlfriend, and they’ll all be so thrilled to be part of it. She even pointed out how exciting it would be when my girlfriend says yes, and then everyone starts cheering and clapping. And I gotta say, that does sound exciting. But I feel nervous giving her that speech in front of my brothers and sisters and cousins and grandparents. I’m going back and forth between the romance of proposing in front of the fire, and the fun of the applause and cheering.
When should I do it? Christmas Eve all alone, or Christmas Day with the whole fam damily?
Public Proposal or Nah
You have put so much planning into this proposal, and I just think that’s so sweet. It shows a lot about your dedication to your girlfriend and your relationship. It’s also really sweet that you called your mom to practice your speech. In addition to helping you, I’m sure it made your mom feel really good, too.
So, when should you do it? I think you need to really think about your girlfriend’s personality and feelings while making this decision. Since the point of asking the big question is to build a life together, her experience needs to top priority.
The first thing to consider—and this is The Most Important Thing—how sure are you that she’s going to say yes? Have the two of you talked about marriage a lot? Are you already making plans for your future, and the proposal is just a technicality? If so, proposing in front of other people is probably okay. If you’re not sure what her answer will be, a private proposal is best. Otherwise, she will be standing there in front of your family, and the pressure will be on her to say yes, regardless of what she really wants. That’s not a great way to enter an engagement—for either of you. And if she does say no, she’s just said it in front of your whole fam damily. Merry Christmas? Or nah?
Second, is your girlfriend a public person? Like, does she enjoy being the center of attention in big groups? How does she feel about a lot of noise in small spaces? Some folks really thrive on those things, while others are uncomfortable or even anxious in situations like that.
Also, and this kind of goes with the previous point, but do you want to immediately share your time with other people after the proposal? If it’s just the two of you at home, you have the rest of the night to talk, and dream, and plan (and do other, more sexy things, too). If you’re with all of the Whos down in Whoville, you will both be swept up into hugs and high fives. Before the ring is even settled all the way on her finger, people will be asking you when you’re getting married, where you want to live, and if and when you’re going to start a family. I’m not exaggerating. The questions start right away, and people don’t always have good boundaries. They just say any old thing that comes into their heads.
Ultimately, you probably know your girlfriend better that almost anyone else. Think about what she’d like, and how the two possible experiences will feel. I have friends who really loved their big, public proposals, and cherish the memories. Personally, I’m a very public person. I spend a lot of time in front of crowds and on stage, and I feed off the energy of the people around me. But for something like a proposal, I would prefer the quiet of Christmas Eve, in front of the fire, with the person I love best.
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