You thought tonight was the night. You wore the blue dress he loves, curled your hair the right way not the quick way, and most importantly, you painted your fingernails your favorite shade that sparkles when it catches the light. The candles were lit, and your song was playing on the stereo in the background.

“Will you…” (Yes of course I will marry you and have your five children and raise the cattle on your farm…)

“… pass the salt?”

Not quite the way you thought the evening would go, right? You thought he would ask you the big question, ask you to spend the rest of your life with him. You expected the roses and the mushy gushy speech about how he can’t live or breathe without you…. It’s totally okay and valid to feel disappointed and upset about things not turning out the way you desperately wanted them to. It can feel impossible to understand why he hasn’t offered a ring yet, and our first instinct is always to blame ourselves. What could we have done better? What does he feel like he’s missing? Will he feel trapped if he marries me?

Let’s try to ease some of those anxieties. First, remember who your guy is. Not all boyfriends work the same way, which is why we love them. Some are quick to make big choices without questioning and some take a while of quieter introspection so that they can proceed with confidence. You know him better than anyone, and it’s important not to overshadow who you know him to be with how you want him to be in the moment. Whatever type of guy you have, the most important thing is communication. Don’t be afraid to voice concerns because if you live the whole relationship in secret fear, it won’t be enjoyable for either of you.

50% of men told a survey conducted by Laguna Pearl that choosing the right ring was the biggest source of stress for them. This can be alleviated by shopping together and compromising on what you love and what you can afford. It can be really stressful to have to choose the perfect thing that you will wear for the rest of your life, so don’t put all that stress on your partner. Look at pictures of what you like, describe your dreams to him. It’s never a bad idea to communicate what you want so he’s not left in the dark.

Guys are always thinking about a multitude of things when they consider marriage – some of the top things to think about for guys are length of relationship (most want to commit even though it doesn’t always seem like it), the quality of lifestyle and health of the relationship and their partner, and finances.

Whatever you decide, make sure you tell your partner what will help the relationship function the best it can. Nothing is worse than getting the silent treatment without knowing why, so be open and allow the other person to receive your feelings and your care. Remember why you’re in the relationship – it’s not for the ring, and if it is, you both might need to re-examine things. Fall in love all over again by letting each other be who you really are.