When I think about being engaged, I think about how romantic it will be to sit at my kitchen table with my future spouse and argue over the wording for our Save The Date cards. Truthfully, though, I imagine how fun it will be to go on dates and introduce my partner as my "fiancé" for the short (or, somewhat short — how long does it take to plan a wedding? Has anybody ever measured?) period of time that they are. Being engaged doesn't mean that the dating has to stop, so I gathered the best dating advice for engaged couples. Sure, you might be busy planning a wedding, but don't forget to make time for the two of you to do something romantic once in a while. For the best advice on how to date while engaged, I spoke to a few experts.
It's important to not let wedding planning take over your relationship. "When two people get engaged, the relationship can quickly move from having fun and just being with each other to planning for the wedding," Dating and Relationships Coach Chris Armstrong tells Elite Daily. "Wedding planning is already stressful and should be balanced with the chemistry and allure the two people have for each other." Planning a wedding can be a huge project, but you're still two people in love, so it's important to continue planning dates with each other despite the stress of wedding prep. "Make time to talk, to listen and even just to sit in silence and enjoy each other’s company," TDR Matchmaker Kelsey Lord recommends. One key to dating as an engaged couple is to continue to make time for each other outside of wedding planning.
Anxiety over the wedding can cause tension for engaged couples, and it's critical to work through any stress to keep the romance alive. "Once you become engaged, a lot of sh*t can come up," Author and Love Activist Heather Kristian Strang tells Elite Daily. "This is because you've now activated what is known as the marriage matrix, and all of the limiting beliefs, fears, and traumas for each partner around marriage." Of course, you might not have a negative view of marriage, but that doesn't mean engagement isn't stressful for you. In order to combat anxieties about engagement and marriage while dating, communication is critical. "Dating means communicating, enjoying each other’s company, and doing things that bring joy and meaning to the relationship," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Clinical Psychologist and Host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. Anxiety is normal during an engagement, and keeping the lines of dialogue open means you will be better equipped to date successfully while engaged.
Experts recommend scheduling date night to make sure the relationship still takes priority. "Couples need to check-in and regroup with each other, particularly with the wedding planning and the extra attention they are getting as a result of the engagement," Armstrong says. Strang echoes this advice. "Make sure you plan at least once a week date nights where you are solely focused on enjoying each other — no talking about work or wedding planning." The date night can take on any form you'd like, as long as you're both fully paying attention to each other. "Keep the momentum going, and keep the romance alive," Lord says. "Always make time and keep things new and exciting." So plan something romantic (well, something else romantic, since you're already planning a wedding), and enjoy your partner's company!
It can be helpful to not treat dating differently now that you're engaged, according to experts. "You know what to do — it’s the same things you did before you were engaged," Dr. Klapow says. "It’s important to enjoy what you enjoy. Engagement is a milestone but it doesn’t mean what was important to you for fun, romance, and intimacy before the engagement must change." Engagement is a new territory for couples, but they're the same people, so dating should still reflect their preferences. "Don't let everything become about the wedding, what matters most is the quality of your relationship and creating one of the best marriages ever!" Strang advises. Continue planning dates as you did before you were engaged, and try not to put too much pressure on yourselves to act differently not that there's a wedding on the horizon. Use dating to remember why you wanted to marry your partner in the first place — for the person they are today.
Engagement can take up a lot of time. Whether you're planning a wedding or planning your lives together, it's easy to get caught up in the future rather than staying in the present with your partner. With the expert advice above, you'll be able to continue happily dating your partner as an engaged couple. And congratulations on the engagement — send me a pic of the ring if you have one!