12 signs you're ready to get engaged

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By Jules Filsell, relationship advice expert at eHarmony.

Engaged couple
Met the man of your dreams and dreaming of the big day? Here are 12 signs you're ready to move things onto the next level.

Sign 1: The ordinary is extraordinary

You find food shopping, doing the washing up or tidying the living room with your partner exciting and fun. Exotic holidays, or doing up a new home together are obviously great, but you know they're not the bread and butter of everyday life and you're absolutely fine with that.

Sign 2: You're ready for 'forever'

The phrase 'til death do us part' doesn't scare you. It's not just that you're resigned to being with the same person for the rest of your life; you relish the idea of getting old and wrinkly together.

Sign 3: You bring out the best in each other

You make each other the best possible people you can be, whether you're together or apart. Corny, but incredibly important.

Sign 4: You can compromise

You want Thai takeaway, he wants Chinese. He's had a tough day at work, so you back down and call your local Chinese restaurant. Compromise doesn't always mean meeting half way - sometimes it can mean simply letting your partner have their way because you know it means more to them. It's about thinking as a 'we' rather than a 'me'.

Sign 5: Honesty is the only option

When something goes wrong your partner is the first person you tell and he might also be the only person you tell. You know you won't be judged (and you can get his favourite t-shirt wet with your tears). If you're sharing your life with someone you need to be able to let them know what's getting to you.

Sign 6: You cheer each other on

You know he's going to be one of the first people to say good luck before a job interview, or well done when you complete a half-marathon. And vice versa.

Sign 7: You argue well

There's nothing wrong with arguments - in fact, they can be very healthy. As long as you argue with purpose and resolution, whilst respecting each others' opinion, that's what matters.

Sign 8: It's not just you who's happy for you

Your family thinks he's wonderful and your friends think he's a great laugh, taking you aside to say things like 'He's perfect for you, I'm so pleased!'. If the people who matter to you most love the guy in your life, you know you're on track.

Sign 9: You have similar values

You both want the same things from life. Maybe that's to have three children and move to a quaint suburb, or perhaps it's to travel around India selling hand-woven quilts. It doesn't matter as long as your values and dreams match up.

Sign 10: You're thinking about the future

Perhaps you've both started saving for a place together - whatever it is, if you're thinking about next year rather than next week, you're probably ready for engagement.

Sign 11: It's not about the Big Day

You'd be happy to elope if you had to, rather than spending months obsessing over wedding favours and menu choices. The wedding is just one day, but marriage is for the rest of your lives.

Sign 12: You're happy

Perhaps you're thinking 'well, duh', but plenty of women think a trip down the aisle will sort out their relationship problems. The fact is, in the first year of marriage, you'll probably encounter new challenges you've not dealt with before. Being happy at the start of that journey is the only way to be.
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