If your Facebook feed looks anything like mine, then every friend or acquaintance you’ve ever had is engaged or newly married.
As we enter our mid-20s and early 30s, this big relationship step becomes the thing to do, and it seems like all it takes is one getting or giving of a ring to start off the chain reaction of 500 different engagement parties, wedding showers, bachelorette parties, and ceremonies in Pinterest-worthy locales.
But not every relationship or individual has that end goal in mind, or is at the point where getting married would be a happy, healthy choice.
Some people prefer to be single forever, while some like the idea of being committed forever but without a legal document forcing that commitment.
Some of us are finding new love in our mid-20s, or are in the midst of major life changes that have put marriage out of the question for the time being.
Whatever the reason, we’re not all there.
One thing that pretty much remains constant for all of us non-engaged, single folks is that the more people we see tying the knot, the harder it becomes to not feel the intense amount of pressure to do the same.
It’s even more difficult to deal with these feelings when it’s our closest friends and family members settling down. But marriage and engagement should not be something that’s done because we feel pressured to do it, or something that brings any sort of negative feeling with it.
So here are some tips for remaining calm, how to enjoy where your relationship is now, and how to buck that pressure.
#1. Have “the talk” with your S.O.
If you’re feeling pressure to take your relationship to the next level, that’s something your partner deserves to know.
Whether you mean for it to or not, that pressure will affect the way your relationship works, even if you aren’t entirely sure if you want to be married right now either!
When something like that is in the back of your mind, you tend to become stressed about your current status, resentful of your significant other and more harsh in the way you treat and judge them. So as difficult as it may be, you need to share those feelings.
It doesn’t have to become a fight or an ultimatum, and all you need to say is, “This is how I’ve been feeling, and I need you to know so that it doesn’t affect us. How do you feel about that?”
This can also be a great time to clear the air with your partner, and to make sure that you are both on the same page about what you want out of a relationship ultimately and where you see the one you share going.
#2. Be more selective with your friends.
When all of your friends are getting engaged and married, and every hangout session turns into a wedding planning one, the pressure to feel included by following suit can only rise.
One easy way to keep this at bay is to seek out more time with friends who are at a similar place in their life as you.
That definitely doesn’t mean ditching your engaged and married friends, because keeping those relationships strong is still just as important as ever.
But be intentional about spending time with friends who are at the same stage as you can make you feel stronger, more secure, and more encouraged about your own status.
These friendships will allow you to enjoy where you are in your relationship, because the constant comparison will cease.
#3. Be more intentional with your time.
This might be the hardest commandment of all, but stay off of social media.
If Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the main culprits that are bringing on the wedding pressure, then it’s time to cut them off.
Fill the time you usually devote to those apps with the real world, with real people, doing things that make you feel excited about your life. The less you feed that animal, the less power it will have over you.
So spend more time in the moment, and less worrying about the moment you haven’t had yet and watch that pressure fly away!