Your bond with your partner might shift, but it's almost always for the better.

By Jenn Sinrich
February 28, 2020
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While you know that becoming engaged certainly makes your relationship more official—after all, you'll soon be pronounced husband and wife!—but "putting a ring on it" can also change the dynamic between you and your partner, and that's true whether you've already been together several years or just a handful of months. "Getting engaged, in the healthiest scenario, represents a crossing over from a strong and powerful love-bond to a strong and powerful love-bond with a new and profound surcharge called commitment," says Lily Rosenblatt, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a private practitioner. And when you agree to marry someone, you're agreeing to taking on an entirely new role. But what is the fiancé role, and what does it change for your relationship? Here are some shifts you might see now that you're engaged.

You might experience a deeper sense of security.

When couples become engaged, they shift psychologically into a cognitive and emotional state that can be summed up by the phrases, 'I choose you,' and 'You chose me,'" explains Lisa Marie Bobby, Ph.D., L.M.F.T., dating coach, founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching, author of Exaholics and host of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. "This security allows people to feel emotionally safe with each other, leading to greater authenticity, vulnerability and mutual understanding."

You might use the term "we" more.

Even though you and your significant other were serious before you got engaged, you've now graduated from a couple who's dating to a couple who's about to get married—that's a big leap! This can shift the emotional dynamics of a relationship from those of two competing individuals to a shared mindset of being in the same boat, explains Dr. Bobby. "People can become more generous with each other as their sense of being together through thick and thin grows."

You might argue and bicker more—or less

Thankfully, you'll no longer argue over when to get engaged since you finally are, and you may just experience fewer fights overall in your relationship. On the flip side, Rosenblatt points out that the transition to engagement can suddenly expose any unresolved issues accompanying you on this new trip. "Crossing this commitment line can cause its spillage and perhaps create bouts of discomfort and confusion," she says. In these circumstances, couples counseling can help enhance the lines of communication between a couple.

You'll have more responsibilities

With the two of you progressing from simply having fun together, going out to dinner and drinks with friends, to now sharing big responsibilities (like all those bills piled up from your big day), you can certainly expect your dynamic to change, even ever-so-slightly. "The business of planning a wedding, a household, a joint life and possibly a family in the future becomes a focus," says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, relationship expert and author of Dating from the Inside Out. Rosenblatt suggests negotiating this change with lots of deep breaths and pauses, checking in and respectful collaborative conversations.


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