At 38 years old, I was focused on climbing the corporate ladder instead of finding lasting love. I never thought that love would come for me and definitely didn't think it would happen in such a short period of time -- only nine weeks -- but it did. Three years prior, I had gone out on one date with my now-husband, and he just wasn't my type. He called me the next day to say that he had a good time, but I never called him back. He found me online and asked me out again. I decided to go out with him just to see if anything had changed. After all, I recalled that he was a very nice guy.
Our second (first) date ended up being the last time I would ever go on a first date. After a whirlwind courtship that lasted only nine weeks, he proposed during a romantic trip to Los Cabos. We have now been married for six years and have two beautiful daughters, ages three and five. As crazy as my story may sound, I know I'm not the only one -- plenty of couples fall in love and get hitched quickly. With that thought in mind, I asked some of the top relationship experts to weigh in on what it takes to transition from single to engaged.
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1. Change your mindset. First and foremost, you must adjust your attitude. "You're no longer the selfish single person who does exactly what you want when you want," says life coach, relationship expert and author Marie Dubuque. "And that can take some adapting." One way to ease into this transition is by making plans with your significant other in mind. Instead of going out with your girlfriends twice a week, go out with them once and spend the other night with your fiancé. "Remember that marriage is about compromise, not control."
2. Don't worry so much about what it means to "be engaged." If you focus too much on that sparkly ring on your finger, the engagement will mean more than your relationship. "You should continue to treat each other the same as before, demonstrating that your love can be sustained long-term despite inevitable highs and lows," believes interpersonal communication expert Anastacia Kurylo, Ph.D.
3. Communicate with each other. No matter the phase of your relationship, strong communication is the most important quality for any successful couple. "Both parties must want to make this transition and take this next step. They must be interested in what to do and how it works," shares licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Bahar. "That understanding comes from communication of needs and willingness to do what's best for the relationship."
4. Rethink your timeline. Since most relationships are on a longer trajectory, you must change your dating strategy if you think a whirlwind romance is in your future. Eden Adele, relationship communication trainer, maps out a new plan for you. "Spend the first four-and-a-half weeks dating. See each other in your usual environments as you go about your normal routine. Make sure you have substantive discussions about what you want your life to look like as a couple. If your visions are compatible, then proceed to the next steps," she says. "Get background checks and discuss the results. Attend counseling together to ensure that you're truly the right match." If everything goes smoothly, then move forward with your engagement and enjoy your marriage.
5. Trust your instinct. "Many long-term couples will say that they knew early on that their relationship had wings, so if you feel it, stay with it," explains psychologist and author Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Just ignore the number: Sure, nine weeks may not seem like enough time to find a life partner, but if you know, you know. Don't question yourself.Lori Bizzoco is the Executive Editor of CupidsPulse.com, a first-of-its-kind website that takes the latest celebrity news and repackages it to help singles and couples navigate their love lives. She is a sought after relationship and entertainment expert who has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Chicago-Tribune, Working Mother, Woman's Day, Redbook, Parenting, and on Fox News, The Suze Orman Show, WebMD, Match.com, JDate, YourTango, and more. She's appeared in two books, 'No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power' by feminist icon Gloria Feldt and 'Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)' by Andrea Syrtash. Today, CupidsPulse.com has more than one million unique visitors per month.