It's engagement season. You'll know because your news feeds will blow up with statuses like, "The obligatory ring picture!" and "He asked, I said yes!" just begging to be liked. I know because I work in the wedding industry, and it's my job to use the term "swoon" daily.
Yet, here I am, sitting in the bed of a guy with whom I have been casually hooking up, as I watch proposal videos and scroll through sparkly engagement rings… all for the sake of research, of course.
Working in the industry of true love certainly has its perks... like free cupcakes and champagne. But, as a single girl, being surrounded by sappy stories of finding "the one" and how he proposed gets to be a tad overwhelming.
On top of that, my Facebook seems to be a never-ending advertisement for couples in love. Seriously, everyone I have ever known got engaged in the same week? This is absurd.
Am I cynical? Eh, maybe. Don't get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoy the freedom of my single life. And, not in the “Oh, she's just saying that because she doesn't have a boyfriend” kind of way. I actually love it.
That doesn't mean, though, that when all my friends take the plunge into the next chapter of their lives, I'm not sitting in my house with my two roommates, binge-watching Netflix and consuming copious amounts of Ben & Jerry's wondering when, if ever, it will be my turn.
Whether it's my friends who have been in five-year relationships with no ring in sight or all of the so-single girls (myself included), we are at that point in our lives when we have to come to terms with the fact that some people are just further along in their relationships. There is no timeline for love.
So, before the save-the-date messages start rolling in and your fridge looks like a shrine to other people's happiness, you'll no doubt go through these seven stages:
Shock and denial
What? No. They got engaged?! I swear they just started dating three months ago. She's probably pregnant. This is unbelievable.
How did the girl who was known for sleeping with the whole football team in high school get engaged before I could even manage to snag a steady hookup?
Pain and guilt
I feel badly. She's probably not pregnant. I'm sure they are so in love and happy. And, I'm sure it wasn't the whole football team... just second string, probably.
Anger and bargaining
This is f*cking ridiculous. I swear if I find a boyfriend tomorrow, I'll learn how to cook and clean. Hell, I might even learn how to use a crockpot.
Also, I promise I will never fight with him and will be the best. girlfriend. ever... if only I can be sure he will propose after exactly one-and-a-half years, after which, we will have the most beautiful wedding and everyone will be super jealous.
Reflection and loneliness
What's wrong with me? There has to be some reason why guys aren't knocking down my door asking for my hand in marriage.
It's probably because I'd rather sit at home, watching sh*tty reality TV and eating Chipotle than go through the awkward torture of a first date.
That's fine. I'll just sit in this dark room sobbing quietly into my burrito bowl. (Beware of Nicholas Sparks movies during this phase.)
The upward turn
Spend time with your single friends; after all, they might not be that way forever. Take those tequila shots. Dance on those tables.
And, forget about those girls who are cozied up by fires with their new fiancés (you know this because of their endless Instagram photos of their socks and mugs). In reality, they are probably bickering about whether or not to invite creepy Uncle Pete to the wedding.
Working through it
This is the point where you realize you're glad to be exactly where you are. You're single; you're happy, and you realize that if you were engaged right now, it would be because you settled for a mediocre relationship that you thought was love.
Some things are worth the wait.
Acceptance and hope
Genuinely be happy for the soon-to-be newlyweds. Comment with heartfelt congratulations on their ring pictures and start dreaming about how awesome the wedding (see: open bar) will be.
That is, until the engagement photos get posted. Then, repeat.