SCARY TRUTH 1: You Start Noticing (and Cringing at) His Little Quirks.
SCARY TRUTH 2: Your Friends Get Flaky ... or Cranky.
The very people who brought you Kleenex and bonbons when you were at your worst hour may seem to turn on you in the afterglow of your engagement, griping about the bridesmaid dresses or forgetting to call you on girls' night out. "Like it or not, your getting engaged is an emotional experience for your friends too," says Sara Bliss, author of The Thoroughly Modern Married Girl. "They're reflecting on where they are in their lives. They might be jealous because they're still single or because they've been dating longer than you, or even angry if they feel like they're losing a friend. And quite frankly, some of them are going to be a pain in the neck.
"By the same token, understand that even your best girlfriends will tire of hearing you go on and on about cake tastings and dress fittings. Make a point of asking about their jobs, families, and love interests. And though your schedule may be jammed, keep a few "friend rituals" in place, like weekly drink dates or window-shopping together. But if some pals clearly aren't supportive of you (you know, the suddenly toxic ones who talk about the skyrocketing divorce rates or how overpriced wedding dresses are), it's okay to let 'em go, along with the sidekicks who were fun to guy-hunt with but can't accept the bonded you. "Getting engaged is the perfect excuse to weed out superficial friends," says Bliss. "You outgrow certain people, and that's okay."
SCARY TRUTH 3: You Turn into the Nag You Swore You'd Never Be.
You silently vowed you'd never evolve into one of those high-strung fiancées. Yet, chances are, you'll find yourself screeching at him at some point because he forgot to call the photographer or griping "I'll do it myself — as usual" whenever he flakes on planning. "You have to realize that he didn't grow up dreaming about his wedding the way you did," says Robbins, "and he might be staying out of the way because he's afraid of screwing up. Don't confuse his laid-back attitude about your wedding with his feelings for the marriage.
"You also have to factor in the outside angst that's making you turn on your fiancé. Suddenly, everyone's making wedding demands on you ("I need a vegetarian entrée!"; "Can I bring along my six cousins?"), not him. So find clever ways to mobilize him into action, suggests Bliss. Entrust him with all the honeymoon details. Give him a guy-friendly to-do list of jobs, like checking out bands, going to the caterer tasting, setting up transportation, and laser-tagging cool gadgets for your registry.
SCARY TRUTH 4: You (Possibly) Feel Tempted to Cheat.
Men aren't the only ones who panic at the thought of sleeping with the same person forever — women can get equally anxious. And it's not because your sex life together is eh. It's that once you're engaged, other men become the forbidden fruit. You start thinking about all the varieties you've never had or can't ever sample again, like the ex whose chemistry rocked your world or the flirty bartender who slips you his number. Along with those thoughts may come mental loopholes like, "It's not so bad if I fool around, because I'm not actually married yet." Take Karen, 26, for example. "My bachelorette party was one of the first official drunken girls' nights out I'd had since the engagement. I was looking around thinking, I could hook up with so many guys here. Later, I felt so guilty for even imagining it."
When you're a bride-to-be, it may seem like a betrayal to be attracted to someone else. But really, it's just part of the program. "You don't lobotomize your libido when you get engaged," says Dale Atkins, PhD, a psychologist in New York City and the advice columnist for WeddingChannel.com. "Wondering if you'll get bored or checking out the UPS guy's rear doesn't mean that you'll be unfaithful or you're not made for each other. It shows you're still a sexual being with desires, and believe me, your fiancé is okay with that." Because for all the lusty daydreams you may have, it's still just in your head, not your heart.
SCARY TRUTH 5: Little Signs "We're Not Meant to Be" Start Cropping Up.
Once you're engaged, insignificant situations have a way of snowballing into major issues. The blender from him that was a testament to your margarita-making skills now seems like a domestic shackle. Your lust life tapers off for a week, and instead of thinking it's from wedding stress, you're convinced it's a forecast of boring marital sex. Habits of his that were charming and hopeful before you got engaged — such as dreamily mentioning that he'd like to open a cigar bar someday or hatching yet another wacky get-rich-quick plan — are just scary now.
"Little things take on huge meaning because your expectations have changed without your realizing it," says Atkins. Getting engaged is really the starting point for building your life together, and you start envisioning the long-term, from what kind of couple you'll be to what your life together will be like. And while it's healthy to wonder about the future, don't over analyze. "Reading too much into his behavior and lumping those so-called red flags together is what makes them seem so overwhelming, so take each little sign for what it really is," says Atkins. (Sometimes a blender is just a blender.) And when it comes to dealing with his out-of-left-field whims, eventually you'll learn what's legit and when he's fantasizing after a crappy day in his cubicle. You'll also feel more secure that you'll make those big decisions as a couple when the time is right.
SCARY TRUTH 6: Cash Becomes a Tricky Topic.
When you're planning a wedding, you'll be faced with making major money decisions together that will reveal things you never knew about each other. You're a budget freak, and he's never balanced a checkbook. You want a big, fat wedding, but he'd rather have a big, fat house. "Everyone thinks that sex is so hard to talk about, but discussing money is more personal in a lot of ways," says Jonathan Rich, PhD, author of The Couple's Guide to Love and Money. But you have to talk Benjamins now.
The three things you need to discuss are how much the wedding will cost, who is contributing (between the two of you and both sets of parents), and how much each is putting in, says Rich. Getting those numbers in black and white will spare you the awkward, possibly ugly confrontation later, but expect to have a few disagreements. "Like most guys, he may have no clue about wedding costs, or he may have other plans for your cash," says Rich. "This is an opportunity to find out his views on money, what kind of lifestyle he envisions, and how the two of you can create a financially and emotionally stable life together."
SCARY TRUTH 7: Both of You Begin to Change.
Of course marriage gives you a new outlook on life, but changes really start when you get the ring. You go from being spontaneous, self-sufficient Me to a more cautious, settled, future-oriented We overnight. It's easy to get spooked by the subtle shift in your personality, but it's really a rite of passage. "You're in the process of letting go a part of your identity as a single woman, and it's perfectly natural to be a little sad or upset when you recognize those changes," says Atkins. But the truth is, the new, almost-married you is still ... you. You're simply evolving, the same way you did at every major turn of events in your life, from losing your virginity to going to college to starting your first job. The only difference is, when you're engaged, you're not alone in the transition. "I know my fiancé is giving up some of his bachelor freedom too," says Tyler, 28. "We talk about how weird it is, but because we're both experiencing it, I don't feel like I'm losing anything. We're slowly morphing into a true couple."
For the record, am not getting those scary thoughts just yet. Not yet! :)
Me and Sharul have been so busy that we haven't really sat down and discussed on our engagement. It's less than two months from now on though ... InsyaAllah. All will be fine :)