Is it possible to wait TOO LONG to get married? #Relationship Advice#engagement#relationships Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Feb 9 2011) Ariel arielmstallings Thanks to Philly's Allebach Photography for submitting this to the Offbeat Bride Flickr pool Andreas and I were together for over six years before we got married, and living together for five of those. We'd already survived several rounds of unemployment, interstate moves, college graduations, and holidays spent with each other's families. At a certain point (maybe around four years in?), the questions from friends and family shifted from, "So, are you two getting married?" to "Why bother? If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That was the point at which I realized maybe we'd waited a little tooooo long. Wait, did I just say we waited too long to get married? Is that even possible? It may indeed be possible. At that four year point, it felt like people started assuming if we hadn't gotten married yet, it was because we didn't want to — not just that we hadn't gotten around to it. I've seen this with other long-term unmarried het couples, too: People start to assume maybe you're using your relationship to protest marriage inequality. Or they assume you're not interested in marriage at all. I even had some friends assume we weren't married yet because we hated the idea of marriage — you know, like they did. Ah, yes. Projections! I had strange conversations that revealed a lot about people's fears of marriage: "Yeah, who needs to get married? You'll just stop having sex and bicker all the time! If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Yikes. I suppose these fears aren't completely unjustified. There is that weird phenomenon of long-standing relationships falling apart after making it legal. Is that evidence of people waiting too long? How does all this relate to the phenomenon of the epic, half-decade engagements? You can definitely run into unique challenges if you have an engagement that stretches many years. I've seen it too many times to count on the Offbeat Bride Tribe: if the engagement is longer than three years, plans shift so many times en route to the wedding date that you might as well be getting a four-year bachelor's degree in Wedding Planning Purgatory And Hellish Studies. Brides purchase a dress, and then a different one a year later, and then a third a few months before the actual wedding. You put a deposit down on a caterer, and they go out of business the next year. You pick a theme. Then another one. Then a third. Then decided fuck it and just elope. I've definitely seen times when a four-month engagement has been easier on couples than a four-year engagement. Sometimes the challenges aren't based on how long you've been together — but how long you're planning the wedding. Related Post Transitioning our relationship into a marriage with pre-marital counseling When my fiancée and I got engaged one of the first things we agreed on was that we wanted to go to pre-marital therapy. I... Read more But did we wait too long to get engaged? I'm going to go with no, we didn't wait too long — the slow-moving timeline we were on worked for both of us. It continues to work for both of us: we'd been together over ten years before we had a child (although half of that was not by choice). We only just combined our bank accounts last year. We're both pretty fiercely independent, and clearly, moving slowly has worked well for us as a couple. At this point, we've been married as long as we were unmarried — Dre's and my 2004 wedding marks the half-way point of our relationship. I have no regrets about not having been married sooner. Really, the only true too long is if partners are mismatched in their timeline and expectations. Then, and only then, you've waited too long. Then again, if you're sick of waiting — maybe it's time to propose. Ariel Author of three editions of the Offbeat Bride book and the brand-new From Shitshow To Afterglow, Ariel Meadow Stallings acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. To follow her latest work, join join The Afterglow, for exclusive access to essays, videos, online courses, and more. PREVIOUS Beca & Martin's classy-as-fuck tea party wedding NEXT Urszula & Peter's crazy metal party wedding Show/Hide comments [ 104 ] LOVE THIS! We were together 6 years before my partner proposed and are getting married on our 7 year anniversary. Although, I think a lot of people assumed we didn't get married because we were broke as hell. I did, however, get more than one inquiry about whether I was pregnant or not. As if that's the only reason for getting married. Reply Haha. As we were the first non-shotgun first wedding in my hubs family, we were pretty sure that EVERYONE thought I was pregnant at first. 🙂 Reply When my fiance and I told everyone we were getting married, the first question asked was if I was pregnant… Like really?? Reply My boyfriend and I have lived together for 10+years and I had all but given up on getting married. However, this Christmas he proposed to me. Some people are genuinely afraid that their relationship will end in divorce (like their parents did) and it takes them a little longer to come around. To note, my boyfriend proposed once the pressure was off. We have already stood the test of time (10 years) but making it official is so special. BTW we're eloping… Reply my husband and I had been together for almost 5 years when he proposed, & we had been best friends for 2 years before we started dating. His parents got married very quickly after meeting and were miserable their entire 18 years of marriage (they stayed together until he graduated). This scared him off of the idea of being able to have a happy marriage (& those are his words, not mine!) we had a 15 month engagement, which was almost too long? We ended up having a different wedding than we had originally planned but i think that was due in part to having too much time to plan and change our (my) minds. We hit our "First" anniversary a few weeks ago (although we've been together for 7 years, living together for 6 & 1/2 of those) & i think we're in a good place 🙂 everyone asked "how's married life?" & my answer is always "The same as it was before, i just have a longer last name." I think it depends on the couple- & if you're in this boat, talk to your partner- if you are like me, & wanted to get married before the other was ready, it's important to have an honest conversation with them: honesty kept us together & strong & will continue to do so! Reply My story is very similar, 5years till engagement. He was scared of marraige and i wanted to get married sooner but at 4 years i broke down as the future i saw for myself (Marraige, children and a house with him) was slipping further away.. Turns out he was planning on asking soon.. hehe I was honest and told him that its what i wanted from the beginning. Ours is a 3.5yr (42month) engagement with 23months to go. Reply Thank god ! Ur story Actually gives me hope. We have a 6 year ok who attends Christian academy and I soooo thought her father would have popped the question to me by now, but nope! He still hasn't !!!! Kinda scared I'm just wasting time ….& just playing house :/ Reply I decided to propose to my OH (and will do in two weeks! eeep!) and the one question people Ive told so far have asked is "Is it because your pregnant?" As you say that's the only reason to get married…. 😉 Reply We've been engaged 7 years and are happy as ever! Life shouldn't be a plan or a set of tasks to achieve..at least for us it never as been. It should be as it comes, the good, the bad..day to day. Reply We definitely had so many people go on "Why I don't need to get married!" rants when we told them we were getting married. It's a little weird, but I chalked it up to projection. We were together 5 years (almost exactly) when we got married and had lived together for 4. I can't imagine getting married earlier in our relationship — by that time we had worked out a lot of stuff and gone through a bunch of things together that just proved to us that we made sense. Reply I got one of these diatribes a couple weeks after we tied the knot, which was a little obnoxious. "I mean, academics just don't get married," she said. Except, my husband is an academic (that's how we met this other couple), and many of his other academic friends are … married. Um …? Reply My partner and I have a long-term long distance relationship, and currently live 3 hours apart. We're celebrating our 7th anniversary next week, and planning a September wedding. While no one (or very few) people were rushing us to get married, we're both in graduate school and anticipate a few more years of living apart, given the current state of academic jobs. This is the part that our families just don't understand. The wedding felt perfect timing-wise, we'll just have to wait a little longer before the combining household part happens. Reply I get it, i thought i was the only one out there. we have been living together for 7 years and i'm in college, and i want to finish my chemical engineering degree in three years. my family thinks that our relationship is bad and something is wrong i'm not telling them but i'm happy and in love. Reply We're reaching 10 years in July. We're still in our mid 20s but have 2 kids, house, etc. I would marry him if he asked (I won't) but it's become irrelevant. My own parents have been together 30 years and are not married. Reply I can definitely appreciate this. My fiance an I have been together for about 8 years now, and I find that when I tell people we're getting married, I don't get much of the excitement or energy that I was hoping for. The funny bit is, we started dating as teenagers, and at that point in our relationship, if we brought up marriage, everybody would tell us we was far too young to think about it. Hahah, I'm just rolling with the punches. Since our familes aren't super excited about the wedding, that means they're not trying to force their plans into mine, so I get more freedom this way. And I know, come the day of, they'll be happy for us. Reply Carolyn – I've experienced the exact same thing. When we got engaged (at my parents house), my parents asked us what we wanted for breakfast after we broke the news rather than saying congrats. lol Like you, I'm just going with it. I know they are happy for us but I've come to terms with the fact that I don't need their excitement to fuel my wedding energy. Reply I hear you! Me and mine started dating when we were 16/17 … nobody wanted us married, then. Then we did the college thing. Then graduate school. Actually, he's still in school, but we're getting married anyway — the day after our 10th anniversary (dating). I'll be 26. Seems perfect to me! Then I only have to add ten to the weddingversary to figure out how long I've loved him. Reply I'm with you here (though a few years behind). We were 16 and 19 when we met, and everyone would have tried to stop us if we had said we were getting married then, and it wouldn't have been good for us. I'm 21, he's 24, and we're approaching a point where it seems less crazy. We've been talking about getting married someday for years, and we've reached a point where emotionally, we both are ready to get married, but my parents are (generously) putting me through nursing school, 4 years of which I just started. So we'll be 2-4 years away I think. That said, in the past year or so, it's been a transition from "you are way to young to decide that you are getting married someday" to my mom keeps accidentally calling him my husband. (At first she would freak out about it, now she doesn't). My step-dad keeps calling him his "son-in-law". I feel like we're gradually slipping into this point where people treat him like my common-law husband. Which is ok with me, since that's how I view him. I want a wedding to celebrate with family and, even more importantly to me, to ritualize our marriage, but I'm good with being treated as common-law spouses for now. Reply I've had a family that's been harassing us about marriage since we graduated from college. (More than three years ago.) Cute at first, really annoying the last year and a half. We've been together seven years and finally got engaged a few months ago, but I did nearly get to the point in the few months before we got engaged of "is this really working" and "do we really want the same things." I was honest with my now fiance about my feelings and told him I wasn't sure if we were on the same page, however I also had a lot to think about because in general our relationship was otherwise great. I just knew I wanted to be married to him. Now we're both happy with our timeline and our long engagement (we're getting married Oct. 2012) and we're excited. The problem now is my family. Again. They keep asking why we're waiting so long. Are you paying for it grandma?! No. Neither are our parents, so we'll have the wedding when we can afford it. Anyway, great post. This one really hits home for me. Reply Ugh, thank you!!! I'm tired of people asking us why we're "waiting so long" to get married… He is in the midst of graduate school, and we are both still financially dependent on our parents. Marriage is not feasible for another 2 years, when we both have stable jobs- and, oh yeah, don't live five thousand miles apart! Why can't people just be happy that we've decided to make a commitment to each other, rather than why it isn't happening OMG RIGHT NOW ASAP! Reply Wow. This comment is mine from two and a half years ago. So nutty. Nearly seven years together before getting engaged, two year engagement, now we've been married for one year. I still fully, absolutely believe that this worked for us and was right for us. We met 10 years ago in September and in March we will have been together for an official 10 years. I stand by this: do what works for you. Don't let your family pressure you into anything. ANYTHING. (The children question keeps coming up these days. We don't want any and we'll stick to our guns.) Reply My fiance and I have been together just over 4 years on Dec 18th, he proposed on Christmas eve. Everyone is now saying things like "it's about time!" To us, four years doesn't seem long at all though we've had several life changes along the way. We're just as happy together now, if not more than we were four years ago. I'm still debating on whether or not to have a wedding or just elope. Reply We eloped after the stress of wedding planning got to us. We're still having a wedding in April, but for now we're "secret" husband and wife and it's working well for us. A huge load of stress rolled off our backs. A lot of people assumed we'd never get married, so the fact that we finally are doing it is enough to appease the wedding gods 😛 Reply OMG yes, my fiance and I have been engaged for 2.5 years now and although I know my family is just waiting for us to be married, I think if we just went and eloped, they wouldn't be suprised. My fiance thinks that elopement won't work, but we're both decision-phobes and I think eventually when we eventually get around to planning an actual "wedding" he'll realize that elopement is more our style anyways… Reply I really enjoyed this post and often get the same questions as my partner and I have been together for over 8 years and are now getting around to the marriage part of our relationship. To be honest, any earlier could have broken our relationship. We've grown together and apart and back together and are stronger than ever. Having those 8 years to grow and learn about one another have prepared us for the long road ahead of us. Timing really varies from couple to couple and where they are in their lives. Some couples know from day one where they are headed… in my case I was taking it day by day until a year ago when we finally discussed the "future" and what we wanted 🙂 Also, as a side note… I hope all the long-term couples out there don't discredit their pre-marriage years. My to-be hubs and I will be at 9 years when we get married, so when we hit our "1 year anniversary" we will also be celebrating 10 years together. Reply Totally! (see my comment, a few down) Also, how cute is your 10 year anniversary? Awesome. Reply Yes! We got married on our 7th Anniversary. So our anniversary party invitations tend to be along the lines of 9th/2nd Anniversary Party "Because two years ago we got married – and nine years ago we made out on a sofa." Reply We don't really celebrate our wedding anniversary — but our "hook-up-iversary" is a HUGE one for us. 🙂 Reply Oh thank you. We've considered pushing our wedding back a year to save more money, but I'm like, "Please don't keep me in this hell of wedding planning any longer I'mgoingtogocrazyandshootsomething….." at which point we back down from the ledge and work harder at planning the wedding. Reply I agree that people can wait too long. I think the reason our long engagement doesn't feel weird to people (it will be a two year engagement) is just because we're in college. It would be really stupid for us to get married before we graduate, and then keep living in dorms! However, I do really like the fact that we have been together nearly 4 years and that our wedding will be our 5 year anniversary. I do think the long engagement is making people less excited about our wedding, though – when I try to talk to my parents about wedding planning, they don't really seem interesting in actually going out and helping me do anything (like scope venues.) I can't tell if it's because our engagement is too long,they're too busy, or they really think we're stupid for getting married. Reply My aunt was engaged for eight years, dating for ten! She and her hubby are happily ten years married this year! They are very good together too. It's all relative, and just like being offbeat, about YOU and your needs as a couple! Reply YES. We were together 5 years when we were engaged, married a year later, and now are approaching our 2 anniversary with 8 total years together. We were still pretty young when we married – 24 – so I was glad we'd waited that long. That, and we went through a LOT of growing pains together – things that might have seemed even harder if we'd felt locked in. Reply Great article and comments! I was one of those "I don't want to get married" people for several reasons, family divorce all the way back to great-grandparents, seeing my moms heartache over my dad and stepdad and most important of all, I don't need a ceremony/paperwork/ring to show my love. After being with my now finace for 5 years I finaly felt like I was ready to get married but didn't think he wanted to get married. When we finaly talked about it we found out we each thought the other never wanted to get married. We have now been engaged since April 2010. Our wedding will be on July 29th 2011 which is 6 months after our current anniversary of January 29th (since 2005!) so this way we get 2 anniversaries a year! The years before marriage and long engagement don't bother me, in fact it seems a little short. Especialy since my grandma dated her current husband for 20 years before they got married, but they have been together since 92 so I supose she was just making sure. At the same time I want it to be over and to be married to my love already. As for friend/family reactions it's mostly "it's about time!" Reply I'm in a simlar situation. My parents got divorced when I was in my early 20s, my Dad quickly remarried and my Mom is still upset about it, so for a long time my mantra was â€œmarriage is just a piece of paper that makes it harder to get break-upâ€. Then a few months ago-out of nowhere, something just clicked and I decided that I was ready to get married. Iâ€™ve been friends with my BF for 10 years, lived with him for 5 Â½ , and been â€œdatingâ€ for 4 Â½ . Now I just have to find the right time to tell him….so by the way, remember how I told you I donâ€™t want to get married? Yeeeaaaah…….not so much the case anymore. Reply I never planned on getting married because I'd never had an example of a good marriage so i thought why bother? But now….2 kids and four and a half years later, I'm making plans to get married and I couldn't be more excited! BUT I wasn't even thinking about it (it'd happen eventually right?) until a family aunt asked us about a month before our second child was born: Are you guys ever gonna get married?!? You could do a nice backyard wedding and………….at which point I had to stop her and explain we haven't gotten married yet because we want it to be OUR wedding. Not something put together all quick just for the sake of getting married but because we want to celebrate US….o and PARTAY!!! At the same time, after living with FH for over 4 years, there is no doubt in my mind that I can live with him forever without being annoyed ALL the time ;)so relating to my personal fear of marriage…this 'long engagement' has made me confident that not all marriages fail 🙂 On the flip side, ever since we first started living together, it's been like we've been married the whole time anyways. Our friends even joked with us that we were their 'favorite little married couple'. The ceremony just makes it legal 😉 Reply We're finally getting married in June. 10 years and 6 months after we started dating, 7 years since we got engaged. At the time I was in college, then he went back, and we just sort of never really had the money. On top of that, we were still pretty young and I feel like we worked through a lot of pressures between our engagement and now that would have been worse if we had gotten married right away. We still needed some time to grow. I also find now as things are getting closer, people are getting more excited for us. We had actually made half-assed attempts a few times, and eventually people stopped believing us that we would get to it. So when we finally did, it took time for people to take us seriously, and we understood. I think there are somethings that you can't do after you've waited so long. My mom asked when we would have an engagement party, I told her I didn't think it was appropriate since that sort of celebrates when the engagement is new, which we are clearly not. Otherwise, I don't think waiting really hurts things. Reply I think you can definitely wait too long. I got engaged shortly after my first year anniversary (and four years of flirting on and off). It's perfect for us. If we had waited longer, it would have ruined it for us. We live on our own, are financially independent from our parents, own a house, etc. I don't want to spend years acting married without actually being married. Been, there, done that, biggest disappointment of my life. Reply We were together for three years, which didn't seem too long to me. I was definitely getting "the itch" though, and wanted to get married. I was prepared to give him whatever time he needed (he's younger, wanted to make sure he was ready). Our engagement was about 11 months from proposal to wedding, and it felt comfortable. It gave us plenty of time to get things done but wasn't so long that I felt like I was in planning purgatory. But then, I didn't change my mind much, either. I picked what I wanted for one thing and moved on to the next project. Indecision and changing the plan repeatedly can account for why so many brides are completely overwhelmed at the end of the journey. Even I had to rush a couple of things, but it could have been so much worse if I was still flip flopping on things right up to the date. Reply I have a lot of comments for this one! First of all, my man and I got engaged within a few weeks of meeting. But then we were engaged for four years… however, our wedding planning only lasted 8 months, after we had for sure nailed down a wedding date. I know some people wait to get engaged for when they know they can have a wedding right away, but I figure if engagement is a commitment to get married, then why not? We were committed, so why not express that through engagement? So that is the personal note. My overall opinion though? Yes there is such thing is too long… when someone in the relationship wants to get married, and the other one doesn't. In a situation like that, wait a few months, if opinions don't change, get out! I have seen both men and women who stayed with someone who didn't want to marry them for years, in the hopes that maybe, "one day" things would change. The only thing that changed was either they ended up getting married because the other person was tired of being nagged (and promptly ended in divorce) or they broke up. Wasted years. That said, I think every relationship should have a goal in mind, even if that goal is just having some casual fun. Both/All participants in the relationship have to be on the same page or else someone ends up getting hurt. Reply My husband and I got engaged after two weeks of dating (officially after a month), but then we were engaged for two years. I think it was good timing for us. I probably would have dragged the engagement out longer, but he wanted to get married pretty much immediately after we got engaged. It all just depends on the couple. Reply For me, the longer our engagement ran, the more I began to realize how many times I had been forced to put my foot down and make decisions if anything was to happen. We'd been dating for nearly nine years and engaged for over a year when I realized that, yaknow what, I wasn't going to drag my groom to the altar. And I wasn't going to drag him through life. For me, yes. It was possible to wait too long. Reply Perhaps you actually waited just long enough. Not to make light of what was surely a bad situation, but it seems like that long engagement demonstrated something that would have otherwise undermined your marriage. Reply We had been together for 5 years, living together for 2 when we decided to get married. we both came into the relationship with a lot of emotional baggage and trust issues, and it took us awhile to work them out and learn to just be comfortable together. Natually, when we annouced our engagement, everyone followed up with "oh! when are you due?" I'm not even kidding, the only person who didn't just assume I was pregnant was my mother. They all later said it was because I didn't have a ring yet , so clearly my boy wasn't planning on asking me and preggers was the only logical assumption (but that's a whole 'nuther can of worms). My people are new to the "offbeat" concept. Reply I didn't think about it before, but that's probably why people thought I was pregnant! We got our rings custom-made, so my guy didn't have any when he proposed. I got so annoyed at people asking about the ring that I bought one for a $1 until the real ones were done. Reply I met my fiance in 1995. I told my mom my whole life I wasn't interested in marriage. And then I turned 29, and all my friends were getting married…or divorced. And I decided that I wanted to get married after all, because really, I never thought I'd find someone as awesome as the guy I am marrying, so maybe it was ok to change my mind. My fiance said he would have married me a long time ago if I'd wanted to. HA! But you know, now it's right. We have jobs we like, live in a neighborhood we like, have a life we like. Marriage wouldn't have made it happen, so it's nice to have marriage now, because it only ADDS to our happiness. My one regret is that my fiance's father passed away 4 years ago and isn't here to see how happy we are, but I believe that he knew all along that we'd be happy. And that makes me feel good. So yeah, I met my fiance when I was 15, and I am marrying him next month when I am 31 and he's 33. We've lived together since 2002. It's what works for us. Reply Yes! Similar story to yours! Married for 2 1/2 yrs now and expecting our first baby next month. I am so happy we waited til we were ready and settled (I moved To Europe for graduate school a couple yrs ago, then after that we found jobs, a house, etc and got married). All the best to you! Reply We are getting married on our 10 year anniversary! My mother and grandmother have been trying to guilt me into marriage for years (i.e. I hope I am still alive when you finally get married). The great thing about getting married this long into the relationship is that I know we will work. We have been through so much and it is so awesome to know that we are pledging to be together on the day that we decided to be together 10 years ago. Another thing is that most of his friends got ultimatums of some sort before they proposed. My guy waited until we were both ready and now we are both really excited to be married and to live together. It is NEVER too long to wait. Reply I was in a 12 year long relationship, engaged for 5 years. I realized with him that he had no intention of getting married- it was some fantasy date so far in the future that he couldn't even picture it. I had to put my foot down to get engaged and… I just couldn't imagine marrying him. I broke up with him in stages starting in May, 2009 and finally ending it in November. I met my husband online in January 2010, started dating in February, realized I loved him in March, got engaged in August, got married in December, got pregnant in December and in spite of the whirlwind that was, I'm much happier with the way things worked out. Reply My fiance and I have been together for three years (just about). He popped the question about three months into the relationship.. and I said yes. So now, I have this ring, we live together, but there is no wedding date in sight. At all. No plans. I dislike being constantly asked "So, when are you getting married?" Around here (Mormonville)(no offense to anyone) engagements last maybe a few months, if that. This 3 year engagement is apparently outrageous to my entire family. My mother pressures me because I only have one living grandparent, and she thinks I need to get married before he "kicks it." I mean, really… I am fine with how things are. I feel that there would be no difference when/if we get married. Reply "if the engagement is longer than three years, plans shift so many times en route to the wedding date that you might as well be getting a four-year bachelor's degree in Wedding Planning Purgatory And Hellish Studies." Umm that is SO my engagement. We've been engaged for two years and have another 16 months to go. I've planned three full weddings. Luckily I only bought one thing. Reply Sounds like me. We've been engaged for almost three years and have no date set for the wedding. I've been trying not to be wishy washy about themes and ideas and whatnot, but I've had so much time to think about it and I keep finding things I like more. Also it's tiring having to answer questions and fend off jokes all the time. I love my fiance terribly and I know we'll get married when we're emotionally and financially ready, and the wedding itself shouldn't really be that big of a deal…but dammit, it's a big deal to me! 🙁 Reply I love OBB!!! I am part of a gamer's circle and we have several couples in our group. We're all getting married now but without exception it's not a matter of promising in front of family or any meaningful thing. It's a matter of shutting the family up and moving on. We believe, and I firmly agree with this, that the deaths you deal with, the periods of unemployment, the times of sickness – this make you a family. This makes you married. I'm glad I'm not the only one to see it as a celebration of something that already exists, and has existed for sometime. Reply I have been with my fiance for 14 years (!). We started dating when I was a senior in High School. We have broken up twice and survived MANY ups and downs in just about every situation possible. We have gotten through the passing of 3 grandparents, and his mother. My one regret is that she was not able to be there on our wedding day, which will be this June. Other than that I don't think we have waited too long. It took me 7 years to finish college and I'm finally in what I consider a stable job with good benefits. I feel like we can finally afford this wedding festival. We have seen so many people get together and get divorced in the time that we have been together that it has made us stronger. I think everyone has their own timeline and you can't just say everyone must get engaged within 5 years and married within 1 year of engagement. Love is not a cookie cutter kind of thing 🙂 Reply I also forgot to say that we heard the "When are you getting married" spiel from just about everyone we know three times, but we would just say we will when we are ready. and leave it at that! Reply The day we get married will be 15 years and 1 day from our first date. We were 17 on our first date and then went on through college, break ups, no money, separations, evolutions as people, grad school for me, living on our own, finding our own way as people and I know for a fact that if we'd married much more than maybe a year or two ago, it would have been a huge mistake and I wouldn't be walking down the aisle with the ultimate best friend of my life. We've both wanted to be married, but weren't ready till more recently (me a tad before him though ha ha). Marriage just would have make us feel like we couldnt change and now we do know how to change together, we know it can be done and we respect our individuality. And I really don't think anything is going to change when we get married except that every time i think about him I'm just a little more excited and feel a bit more in love. I don't expect marriage to dissolve our little spats, or make me less bitchy, or him more likely to mop the floor. Is it too long? I think it completely depends on the couple and the people in the couple. For us, thirteen plus years of dating and one year and 3 months of an engagement will be just perfect. Just one more example of how we don't fit in with the norm but don't really care 🙂 Reply During my undergraduate degree (Social Policy) that statistically, if a couple has lived together for more than five years, they are more likely to divorce. I have seen this played out anectdotaly amongst my friends many times over to be ready to dispute it. BUT I think there's something to be said for carefully considering the reasons you have for getting wed, whether it's after 5 months or 5 years. Friends of mine who've divorced relatively soon after getting married having been in the relationship for many years previously have ALL said, in their own words (which I am summarising) that the relationship was already on its way out, that getting married was more of a last ditch attempt to save the relationship. One of my friends even went so far as to say that getting married was the cowardly thing to do. She knew they'd been stalling for some time and weren't really committed to each other. From my own experience, I don't know. My fiancÃ© proposed after we'd been together six and a half months and we're getting married in just over two months. We've done the marriage preparation classes our church offers and we both feel that we're committing ourselves to each other and to building a base which enriches us as indiviuals and strengthens us to nurture our children. But I don't KNOW what will happen any more than my friends who've split up soon after marriage knew what was going to happen. Reply The divorce after living common-law thing doesn't have anything to do with the actual living together part though, right? People that live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced because they are the types of people that believe in pre-marital cohabitation AND divorce. Those who don't get divorced don't do it because of their own moral or religious convictions which also prevent them from living common-law. Reply I read somewhere that the reason behind the divorce-cohabitation link was that people who cohabitation before married WITH the intention of getting married before moving in together turned out fine. It was the couples that moved in together to "test things out" and ended up getting married for whatever reason (giving in to pressure, surprise baby arrival, etc) that end up getting divorced. Anecdotally, it makes sense to me given the people I have known. Reply That's kind of what I've heard. That it's not about being the kind of people who "beleive in" divorce and pre-marital co-habitation, it is about moving in together because hey, look, we pay less rent this way, or to test things out, and then it's so expensive to move into two apartments even if it isn't quite right, and then everyone starts saying "hey, when are you getting married", and then folks say, the heck with it, lets. Which I think actually happens a lot. Reply We got married after 5 years, and we did the whole "fuck it-let's just elope!" afterwards his grandmother said "i didn't realise you were ever planning to get married" We'd been engaged for 7 months, isn't that what getting engaged means? We also had many people questioning whether i was pregnant, everyone is still on baby bump watch and it's been 4 months! No, we just decided that it was the right time, there was no rush! Reply Great article and comments. My husband and I got together when we were in high school. We knew he was leaving for the Army, and felt that we were too young to get married so we held off. We were apart the entire four years of his enlistment/my matriculation in college. I had moments of weakness in college where all I wanted to do was get married and move on post to be with him, but thankfully he's a lot more level-headed than I am and we always came to the decision that it just wasn't the right thing to do. I regret that sometimes I was a little immature about it, I think because I was aching so much to be with him. I would get frustrated that he wouldn't at least ask me to get married with the realization that we wouldn't get married for a few years. Not proud of all of this, btw 🙂 Eventually once he returned from Iraq he admitted that he didn't want to ask before he went in case he…you know, didn't come back. In fact he had a friend that took the same approach with his girlfriend, and he was killed a few months before they were set to come home. If I had known that reason I would've shut my big fat mouth…but hindsight is always 20/20. Anyway he waited until '09, when we'd been together for 6 years and he'd been out for 1, to propose. I'm so happy, looking back, that we waited as long as we did because we were able to have the wedding we wanted and in our timeframe (not the Army's). I guess it really depends on the couple and where you both are. Thanks again for this article. 🙂 Reply My boyfriends parents are always on us about getting married. We had our daughter when we were 18 and not even two months later they were asking us about getting married! Four years later and we're about there I think. But its been a long rode and I'm glad that we didnt let his parents talk us into a ceremony in their back yard. Reply Yet another great article! My fiance and I were together 8 years before he proposed last year. We haven't made any set-in-stone plans yet and probably won't for awhile, for a number of reasons: He was hurt at work, can't walk without assistance and wants to be able to walk at our wedding. We're both considerably older than the traditional bride and groom (40 & 45 right now) so there is no hurry-up-and-have-babies rush. We've raised his sons from his first marriage and are both more concerned with getting them into college than hosting some expensive party. Most importantly, while we're both excited about our wedding and reception, our actual marriage is something that we're already living day to day. By the time we're legally married, we'll likely have been engaged for at least five years. Is that too long? Not for us and I'm not really concerned if it's too long for anyone else. Reply My partner and I have been together for 7 years, and we're not getting married for at least a few more years (until we're both done with graduate school). The most frustrating comments I've gotten imply that we aren't engaged because we aren't actually *that* committed to each other. Reply Most people who have asked have been quite content with our reasoning for only getting married in 2015 (we've been together for four years at this point). When we explain that we first want to get rid of our mountain of debt so we can start saving to have the over-the-top party we'd like; that we're geeks and Pi Day means a lot to us; that we see no point in rushing into a wedding that won't fit our personalities; and, most importantly, that it's another way of committing ourselves to a long life together, especially since both our families are extremely long-lived – people nod, shrug and accept it. If someone does push, or says things like it's such a long time to wait that we may not even be together then, I tell them as politely as I can that I don't allow anyone except those in my relationship, to make any decisions about it. Unless you're the man I plan to marry, it's none of your business. My family's reticence may be because I've been married before and they don't want to push me; his family is accepting of the fact that, as far as they're concerned, we're just weird. That's okay, as long as it keeps them all off our backs. I know of a couple who've been together for 30 years – and long-distance between Germany and South Africa at that – with no intention of getting married; they only did so two years ago because of some law in Germany that would have affected him inheriting anything. I don't think there's such a thing as 'too long' if you're both committed to spending the rest of your lives together, in whatever form it may take. It's only 'too long' if one person wants the commitment and the other doesn't. Reply My mother's cousin got engaged when she was 16 (yikes!) but didn't marry her husband until 22 years later. They had one child by this time and seven sad miscarriages in between. I think that put the wedding off for a long time and it wasn't until her father died that she told her husband to start planning a wedding. They've been married for 12 happy years now 🙂 Reply I had a different issue. I just got engaged this past Christmas and have been with my guy for 6 years. High school and our 4 years of college. We move out together the summer after we graduated high school. Everyone was in awe that we were always doing things together and always in a good mood. We never fought and were unbelievable well matched. We knew we wanted to wait to get engaged until after we both got our BAs, and married sometime while I am working on my MA or PhD. Depended on finances. Friends who were getting engaged an married within a year or two of meeting their spouses were giving us serious beef. Apparently he and I must be having some secret issues or problem because we weren't getting married. We, ehem, were strapped for money high school and then college student. What's wrong about waiting to have a career or a life path set? I don't think you can wait to long to get married. If you are meant to be together, you will be. And if marriage is important to you, then you will get there with your loved one. If you don't? Maybe it's best that you don't need to go through a messy divorce. Reply we just celebrated our 13 year non-wedded anniversary, and i still don't feel like GETTING married. it's not that i don't wnat to BE married – it's that the idea of a wedding isn't my cup of tea (no matter how offbeat or simple – even just a courthouse wedding gives me creepy feelings). so i'm waiting until i WANT a wedding. until then….why bother? as to whether we have waited too long? if we did it now would some of the butterflies and excitement be gone? would people just be like….DUH! and not excited for us? i have no idea. i've never even thought about it. Reply Thank you for this post! So TRUE! My BF and I are not engaged, we have been together for almost 6 years and have been living together in our house for just over 5 years. We have two little girls who are 2 and 3 and I often hear people comment that we will never get married or that if we do that I now would have to settle for a little wedding or elope etc. I didn't realize that if I chose to have children first that i was foregoing my right to a giant and fabulous wedding. Reply Oh, no, you don't :))) We had our baby first…In fact, we were first engaged in April and planning a wedding for October, then I got pregnant in July and decided that I don't want to be a pregnant bride and we would get married after the baby was born…So instead of 6 month engagement, I had an almost 2 years engagement. I wanted a small wedding, not because of the baby, but because I love small weddings, it just feels so intimate. But my husband wanted a big wedding, with all the stuff, white puffy dress, big cake, dancing all night and so on 😀 So we had 2 weddings – one small and one bigger. So, no, you don't have deny yourself from a giant wedding, you can have even 2 if you want!!:)))) Good luck! Reply My fiance and I have been together for 8 years, 9 in June, when we're getting married. We've been together since we were 15 and just enjoyed being with each other. I've always been fiercely independent, college and career driven and vowed I would never marry. Not sure how, we decided to finally do it. When I broke the news to my family, they cried! I couldn't believe it! I was expecting some shrugs and picking dates/times for the courthouse meeting. But, family checks and support came and suddenly I'm having a formal June wedding. I'm really still surprised, my family never made any comments to me about them wanting to see me married, they probably knew better. My fiance is happy, he's always been a romantic and wanted a wedding. Reply I'm a bit lucky, as my fiance and I are engaged at 21, and really only a few friends know about it, as well as why we aren't rushing to get married (jobs, student loans, etc.). Also factor in that both sides of our family (even though 1 side knows already) don't expect up to get married any time soon. So we can ride this engagement boat for a few more years and get things ready. Reply Yes/no. If the question is how long to wait after getting engaged -I got engaged pretty quick and had a long freaking planning process to give me time to double sure. I hate the planning process but I don't regret the time. Its nice to figure out the hard stuff before you lose the option to breakup. Now that we are happy as pie and getting married, I'm happy with that choice. My aunt was terrified her marriage would end up in divorce so she dated her man for 20 years. yep 20 years. They met when they were 13 so she was 33 but still. She said the day she got married, she thought it was the coolest thing ever and has asked herself every day of the last 25 years why they didn't get married sooner. Feel your feelings ladies. Talk about it with your spouse. Don't wait and mull. Throw about the convo a bit and figure out where everybody stands. If your offbeat spouse says I want to wait longer and you don't, you still get to talk about it. You still have a decision. Waiting for a proposal is an action, not passive. He may be worth every second you wait and othertimes he may convince you not to get married. But thats what makes us strong as trees, right ladies? I digress… Reply When we get married this summer, my man and I will have been together almost 12 years. I completely understand all the comments of people getting tired hearing: "Are you two EVER getting married?" This was a phrase I heard more and more over the years. The worse part for me was the assumption everyone seemed to have that I was just sitting around, anxiously waiting for his proposal. It never occurred to anyone that maybe NEITHER of us were in a place in our lives where we felt we were ready to be anyone's husband/wife. Over the length of our relationship, my future husband and I have been to many weddings that have since ended in divorce. Waiting longer to get married was our way of making sure that we would be able to last in the long run. In the end, you can't be concerned with when other people think you should get married. The only people who know when it's the right time are the two of you! Reply My fiance and I have been together almost 14 years now, since we were 18 years old. We finally got engaged, and nobody seems to care at all! Amazing! A few years ago, we were always getting pressure about getting married, and now that we finally are, neither of our families are excited about it. My father has told me he will not help pay for the wedding, saying that I waited too long, and now I'm all grown up and can take care of it myself. Wha?!? We also got the initial round of "ooh, are you pregnant?" from everyone. *sigh* I wanted the whole congratulations-let's go dress shopping-so happy for you-what are your plans-can't wait to see you all dolled up experience, but it just ain't happening. Apparently everyone else thinks we waited too long. Reply I've been with my boyfriend for 4 and a half years, and we just got engaged, and by the time we get married, it will be 5 or 6 years of being together. I'd be 25 almost. Waiting worked for us. I just heard about two people that are 70 something and 90 something, and they have been dating for 50 years, they didn't even live together that whole time. They just got married two years ago. So whatever works for you, I say! Reply re: living together & divorce. I think it matters at lot the way you go into it. I was one of those people who thought, 'why not?' when people asked us when we'd get married and then ended up divorced. I met my first husband when I was 17 and in my first year of college, and we moved in together when the spring semester ended, because I didn't want to move back home for the summer and couldn't afford my own place. When we'd been together a year, he wanted to change schools and move across the country. I tagged along. But when we got there, we found ourselves more dependent on each other than we'd realized we'd be. We began to fight bitterly, but without each other, we'd be alone. Our parents started asking us when we'd marry, and saying things like, "getting married isn't anything different than what you're already doing." So we decided to make it official. We got married 3 1/2 years after we'd met, with a year long engagement. The marriage fell apart after 3 years. It was awful, and unexpected, but when I was ready to be honest about it with myself, I realized we never should have married at all. When I met my partner, it was very different. We talked from the start about what we wanted in a partner, about marriage, about money and children and how we'd raise them. We moved in together with the intention of marriage from the start. We would both like to marry sooner- but we're waiting until our 5th anniversary, so that we can afford the wedding we'd like debt-free. Reply Every couple is different. For me and my fiance, yes, it was possible to wait too long to get married. It was important to us to make the public declaration of our lifelong commitment at the beginning of our life together. If we had waited much longer, the wedding would have been just an event and not really commemorating the beginning of our commitment. We would have been just as committed to each other but not recognized as such, which is important to us. But every couple has different philosophies of what marriage means, and what a wedding should be. We both knew within two months of meeting that we would definitely get married. We were long-distance at the time, moved to the same city (and started living together) 9 months after we started dating, and got engaged 4 months later. We had a 5-month engagement. A lot of people thought we moved way too quickly, but when you're absolutely sure, there's no reason to adhere to anyone else's timeline. Reply Great story! My fiance and I have been "engaged" for 11 years! I always have to deal with peoples smart remarks such as "If he hasn't married you yet, he's not going to", and "are y'll EVER gonna get married"? It sucks trying to defend our relationship all the time, but we know we were meant for each other and we're not going anywhere. We have 3 kids, have lived together for the past 10 years, we have to pay for our own wedding and just haven't had the spare money! So, we'll get married one day (mostly because I want the same last name as my children), until then, we are happy as we are!! Reply Love the article, especially the last paragraph. It made me think… My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 9 years, engaged for 8 years, 3 kids and a flat that we bought together. No plans for a wedding yet, whenever I mention it……. Hmmm…. Sometimes i wonder if he thinks that the engagement is just an 'upgrade' from 'girlfriend', and that's where it stays? Reply I have been with my fiance for 7 1/2 years. I was wondering when is the right time to get married. At first, I was not wanting to get married until my three children were grown up and out of the house. My fiance had 2 children at home. After 7 years and 3 months we moved in together with only my two boys, his are older now and out of the house. My daughter has been out of my house for 3 years. Both of our parents have been married for over 45 years. We never wanted to combined our children, since we both never had to go through that situation. I am ready now, I do not think he is. When people asks us when are we getting married, we say… we are working on it, maybe next year, my ex is a nut and it might stir up issues ect… I am ready now, however I feel he is not. Wanting feedback and to do the right for my fiance and children. Sincerely, DP. Reply Read more comments 1 2 › Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. 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