Most of the time, when you get the marriage proposal that you have been waiting for, it’s a time for relief and celebration. It should be one of the most exciting times of your life. Unfortunately, this can all be negated if you fear that you got the proposal because your significant other has cheated on you and is trying to show his remorse and commitment by asking you to marry him. This is usually not the way that you wanted it and you are not sure how to proceed from here.
Someone might say: “I’ve been hoping to get married to this man for quite some time. But he always had a reason why the timing wasn’t right. Last week, I found out that he’d been cheating on me with an old girlfriend. When I caught them, he immediately left her and went running after me. He promised that he would never see or communicate with her again. I told him I wasn’t sure if this was going to be enough for me. I told him that I wasn’t sure that our relationship could work with this type of damage. A couple of days later, he showed up at my place with an engagement ring. He said that he was so sorry that he messed things up in the way that he did. And this whole thing has made him realize that it is me that he loves and that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I would have loved to have heard this two weeks ago. But now it is tainted. Now I feel like he’s just doing this because I caught him cheating. At the same time, I sort of want to accept the proposal because I’ve wanted to marry him from the first moment I saw him. I don’t understand how he can possibly be proposing now and I told him I couldn’t make a decision right away.”
I know that this must be very confusing for you. And it’s awful that you can not have the excitement that you deserve. And I think that this should be a red flag that now is not the ideal time to proceed with an engagement or marriage. You likely already know this which is why you’re not feeling the elation that a woman would typically feel just after she has been proposed to. That’s why you were right to delay an answer.
Potential Reasons For The Proposal: As to why he proposed, he is probably being truthful when he says this made him realize that he loves you and doesn’t want to lose you. This is often the genuine response that people have. But it is also sometimes a way (even if it is not a conscious thought) to have the affair “go away” and to speed up the whole “moving on” part. He figures that if he gives you what you both know that you want, you’ll be more forgiving toward him and more willing to move on quickly. The problem is that if you do this, you gloss over the issues and you are therefore vulnerable to this coming up again in the future.
Using The Potential Marriage As Motivation To Heal First: Because you want your marriage to be lasting and healthy, perhaps you could use this event as motivation for him to do what needs to be done toward healing.
You might try something like: “you know that I would love to marry you. But things have changed now because of the infidelity. We can’t start out a marriage before we have healed this. I’d like to see if we can do that, but I need your cooperation. I’d like to have a counselor help us to heal. If this works, then I would not be opposed to getting married. But I want to start our marriage with the confidence that we have moved past this and have worked through the issues that lead to this. It’s bad enough to deal with infidelity when you are not yet married. I do not want to deal with it as a married couple. So will you go to counseling with me? Let’s take it one step at a time. Let’s think about healing first and then if that all works out well, we can think about marriage further down the line once we are able to move past this.”
I know that part of you probably wishes that you could quiet those doubts in your mind, get married, and move on. But I can tell you from experience that those voices may haunt you until you do the work to heal. Truly, for me, healing was the only thing that gave me confidence in my marriage and in my husband again. I don’t believe that you can truly have the confidence until you do the work.
No one is saying that you have to take marriage off the table forever. But it makes sense to wait until the relationship has healed. Because getting married should be a wonderful, happy time. You don’t want to have to worry if he’s going to cheat again. So it makes sense to heal and then remove those doubts so that when you go get married, there is nothing else to think about other than just enjoying, and fully experiencing, that day with an open-heart and a clear-mind.