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Just Engaged and Proposals

Too Soon?

I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 8 months, and I am extremely excited! However, as we've started telling friends and family members, I'm starting to get the feeling that people think we're rushing into marriage too quickly. Personally, I have no doubts about my fiance and I - we've known each other for 5 years before we starting dating, we fell deeply in love, and we first started talking about marriage very soon after we started dating, so it feels completely natural and not too soon at all for us. It didn't just happen on a whim; we've discussed it a good bit and we both feel fully prepared to take that step. We could have waited longer to be engaged just so it would seem like an "appropriate" amount of time, but we're both so happy and in love that we didn't see the point in waiting around.

So anyway, I was wondering what your opinions are on how long a couple should be in a relationship before getting engaged. I don't need advice on my situation, but I was just curious as to what most people think. Is there a certain amount of time you should wait, or should you just go with what feels right?
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Re: Too Soon?

  • My fiance and I were friends for five years before we started dating, we have been dating for about two and a half years. In my opinion though its each to their own, what works for one couple wouldn't work at all for others.  CONGRATS!!!
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  • For myself, personally, I wouldn't have said "yes" to a proposal any earlier than a year. But that's just my own comfort level.

    I might raise my eyebrows at anyone who's only dated for six months or so, but it's not my place to judge or tell others how to live their lives. When you've only been dating for three, four, or five months.. that seems like a little bit of a bad idea in my humble opinion, because I think most people are still in their "good behavior" phase.

    If you decide to get engaged a bit earlier than others, I'd plan for a long engagement.. It's important you REALLY know the person (for good and for ugly) before you say "I do!" =)
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  • I mean, I think two years or until the butterflies go away/honeymoon period ends, whichever comes first, is a pretty good rule, but I'm not really sure that applies to a situation when you were friends before you started dating, you know?  The trick is just to make sure you're past that initial rush of crazy joy hormones and actually still work well together when it wears off.
  • Congratulations on your engagement.  If you both think that it is not too soon, then it isn't too soon.  My FI and I had been dating (and known each other) for 13 months before we got engaged.  If you both are happy and comfortable with the situation then don't stress about it.  Enjoy your engagement and planning your wedding.  
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  • Every situation is different, but a professor gave a lecture on relationship progression a while ago, and I guess divorce becomes more likely if the couple dates for less than eight months, or more than three years.  Also, having lived together is a plus. 

    I've also heard that getting engaged before a year and a half is a bad idea, because you're still all full of happy hormones making every annoying thing your partner does oh-so-adorable. 
  • edited March 2012
    In Response to Re: Too Soon?:
    [QUOTE]I think that there are a few factors that go into deciding whether or not it's too soon: 1. Your ages 2. Your stage of life (in high school, in college, starting career, established, etc.) 3. How long you've known each other (whether dating or not dating) 4. Your goals 
    Posted by LucyHC[/QUOTE]

    This. and of course there are others... morals, kids, money talk, etc... But overall everyone is different. My husband and I knew 2-3months in that we were going to end up together... but we weren't in a huge rush. We wanted to 1. live together for at least a year2. Go through at least one deployment (he's military.. but I think it's important that most couples go through a "long distance" period because it's a different way to view your communication skills) 3. combine finances and see how well we work as a team regarding such. 4. talk about eeeverything from family health history to personal goals, to politics. Not because we have to be on the exact page, but we wanted to know how respectful we could be of each other's views, histories, and understand where that may put us in the future. 
    The lovey "feeling" will come and go when you're with someone forever... but the TEAMWORK has to be solid or you will crumble. If you think you have that, then no one's opinions should matter... Although if you respect his family and your family, and all your friends in between.. and THEY think you are rushing.. maybe you need to take a step back and try to see what they are seeing. You are together... a piece of paper just seals the deal, but it doesn't make anything DIFFERENT. There shouldn't be a rush.  :) 
  • In Response to Re: Too Soon?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Too Soon? : This.  and of course there are others... morals, kids, money talk, etc... But overall everyone is different.  My husband and I knew 2-3months in that we were going to end up together... but we weren't in a huge rush. We wanted to  1. live together for at least a year 2. Go through at least one deployment (he's military.. but I think it's important that most couples go through a "long distance" period because it's a different way to view your communication skills)  3. combine finances and see how well we work as a team regarding such.  4. talk about eeeverything from family health history to personal goals, to politics. Not because we have to be on the exact page, but we wanted to know how respectful we could be of each other's views, histories, and understand where that may put us in the future.  The lovey "feeling" will come and go when you're with someone forever... but the TEAMWORK has to be solid or you will crumble.  If you think you have that, then no one's opinions should matter... Although if you respect his family and your family, and all your friends in between.. and THEY think you are rushing.. maybe you need to take a step back and try to see what they are seeing. You are together... a piece of paper just seals the deal, but it doesn't make anything DIFFERENT. There shouldn't be a rush.  :) 
    Posted by firsttimersluck[/QUOTE]


    This.
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  • I think it depends on the couple. My FI and I were "engaged" about 4 months after we started dating, but we decided on a longer engagement. Almost 2 years and we have no problem with the decisions we made. I love him more than ever and I know that he is the one for me. So I think it depends on the couple, but you may want to consider a longer engagement, at least that would ease everyone's minds so they will think you gave it some time.
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  • Congrats on your engagement.
  • Congrats!  It completely depends on the couple as to when the "right time" is.  My fiance and I had dated for about 4 months when he asked me.  But then again we're having a long engagement.  Our families are really supportive too, and that will help you a lot.  Granted there will always be people who talk, or who have negative comments.  I mean when I first got engaged, some of my sorority sisters started a rumor saying I only got engaged because I was pregnant.  Um no.  Not pregnant.

    Give yourself time in your engagement to see how you work through things.  Find out if you can handle the good parts of life and the bad parts of life together.  

    Also, I highly recommend premarital counseling for everyone, regardless of how long you've been together before getting engaged.  It can't hurt.
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  • Congrats! I would agree with PPs, it defeinitely depends on you guys. My FI asked me to marry him after only 6 months, but we've been best friends for about 3 years, so it's not like I don't know him or anything. But we are also having a long engagement because we got engaged so soon into the relationship. 

    That would be my best advice to you. Have a long enagement to make sure you really know the person you're with, and that it will work out between you two. It will also give your family peace of mind.
  • Well, we are young - I'm 20 and he's 23. But we're both mature for our ages (yeah I know, everyone likes to think that), we've lived together for 3 months now, and we're financially stable. We never had what I would consider a "honeymoon period," because there's never been a period where we've both been on our best behavior - in fact, our relationship began as a result of a very ugly fight. Even though our relationship so far has been short, we have already struggled through a lot of hardships. He's seen me at my worst, and I believe I've seen him at his worst, but we've developed an amazing open, honest communication and it's gotten us through everything. So at the risk of sounding like an infatuated teenager, I do truly believe we know each other well enough to be married.

    So because of my experiences, I firmly believe in measuring a relationship's progress in terms of content, rather than time. I'm not naive, however - I know there are a huge amount of factors. Every couple is different. But I think the bottom line is - if you and your partner feel you are fully prepared for marriage and have the resources to do it, you shouldn't have to wait just for the sake of waiting. Thanks for the replies though! I definitely understand some of the concerns people might have, and we've already planned on a long engagement so that will probably appease some people, but at the same time I don't plan on waiting for everyone I know to be 100% ecstatic about my decisions. Right now we're just excited to be engaged and hopefully everything else will fall into place as time goes by!
  • In Response to Re: Too Soon?:
    [QUOTE]I think that there are a few factors that go into deciding whether or not it's too soon: 1. Your ages 2. Your stage of life (in high school, in college, starting career, established, etc.) 3. How long you've known each other (whether dating or not dating) 4. Your goals If you've known each other for 5 years before dating, and have now been dating for 8 months, that's a great start.  But if you add in that you're both only 16 years old, or that you're 16 and your fiance is 32 (totally random examples; I have no idea how old you are), then I'd say you're rushing it.
    Posted by LucyHC[/QUOTE]

    This.

    Congrats!

    I was with my FI for 6 years before we got engaged (and no, we weren't highschool sweethearts). Our engagement will total 16 months by the time we get married. If you were a friend of mine, or a family member, I'd probably say "omg, that's so fast!" but I think b/c, relative to my situation, it is. That being said, however, when I step back from the situation...I can be a little more objective.

    20 year olds range in maturity from being over-grown teenagers to being pretty sophisticated women. Based on your posts, you seem to be toward the latter end of that. Read through some threads on this website and you can pick out the immature bride-to-bes. How long will your engagement be?

    As a rule of thumb, for me anyway, I think a couple should be together for over a year (preferably more like 2 or more) before they get married. So, if you have a decent engagement period of planning your wedding, etc, or, if you got engaged b/c you just know you want to be together forever but don't have a set date in mind, then you'd fall into my little "good to go"  category. That's not saying if you want to get married next month I'd judge you! Its just that a lot changes as the years go by,  and I think its good that a couple go through ups and downs, trials and tribulations before they get married so they know how to get through them together and whether or something big (or small) could ruin their little bubble of love.

    You are the best person to decide if this is right for you, not anyone else. A lot of the people who might be saying these things to you are either a)relatives/friends who care about you and have legitimate concerns about whether you are ready to make such a huge decision or b)those who are jealous!

    Best of luck to you!
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  • Based on the fact that you're 20, I would say yes, it's too soon - unless you're planning on having a very long engagement.  

    I met, got engaged to, and married my husband in 11 months.  However, we were 38 and 41.
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  • My personal comfort level rules are:

    1. Old enough to have your life together as an independent (this varies from person to person depending on someone's goals and circumstances, but for me that meant finishing my degree and starting on my career). OH, and FI should have his shiit together too.

    2. Being together at least 2+ years.  Any less I believe that you are in the honeymoon stage where everything is great. Let the glory of the relationship wear off. I cringe when I hear people say something to the effect of, "I knew he/she was right for me because there is nothing I don't like about him/her..." It makes me want to say, "Then you cleary haven't been together long enough." Go through some hardships.

    3. Living together. FI and I lived together for about two years before we got engaged. We were able to staighten out any kinks in what our expectations of each other were, successfully commingle our finances without conflict, live as a team, go through some cycles of crazy family holiday madness, etc.  It made me feel confident saying yes because I knew what I'd be getting myself into... I feel that you don't really know someone until you live with them.

    I realize my rules are not everybody's cup of tea, but since you asked, those are my standards for myself. What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.  And it's not like anyone's particular standards are the golden key to marital success.

    OP, congrats on your engagement! I like when you said, "I don't plan on waiting for everyone I know to be 100% ecstatic about my decisions." What a great attitude to have towards anything in life. :-)
  • It really depends on where you two are in your lives, BUT I also think it has a lot to do with where your family and friends are too! My fiance and I will be 26 and 27 when we get married, which is not that young compared to many, but because none of our friends are even close to marriage, we also got the "You're so young!" reaction! The most important thing - regardless of age - is a shared vision for your life together. Do you want to get married because it's exciting and it's a logical next step? Or do you want to build a partnership with someone for the rest of your lives, regardless of what happens? Do you agree on whether or not you want to have children? What about finances? Are you both aware of any financial difficulties the other has had/is having? Have you met each other's families? Do you have a plan for when the relationship might not be so great - ie, counseling, etc.? It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders - and you're absolutely right, this is YOUR life, nobody else's! Those people reacting may just be worried about you. Once you've demonstrated that you and your FI have agreed on things like those mentioned above, marriage will seem like logical next step to everybody else, too! And congratulations!!
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  • Remembering that what everyone writes on here is their own opinion. The fact that you are 20 and he is 23, I say yes, its too fast. I personally feel that people don't really even know themselves until their mid-20's. My little brother is 24, and his gf is 19, I am constantly telling them that they shouldn't even consider marriage until they are both done with school, and able to support themselves.
    If you plan on a long engagement, then that seems more reasonable. With the divorce rate as it is these days, getting married before the age of 25, statistically is fifty percent higher than the national average, which is already fifty percent.

    Like I said, its just an opinion. You are really the only one that needs to be sure.
  • lkknight85lkknight85 member
    Fourth Anniversary First Comment
    edited March 2012
    I'd say 3 years after the couple met and started dating/being good friends is the best time to get engaged.  It's enough time for the rose colored glasses to come off, but not so long it seems like someone isn't 'sure' about the other.

    But seeing your age makes me think this is not such a great idea.  I'm sure you are a good fit for each other now, but people grow and change SOOOO much in the early 20s... you are your fiance are not going to be the same people 5 years from now, no doubt about it. Will you still be a good fit then?
  • I'm going to go from the perspective of if you were a close friend or sister, and only 20 years old and only been together for 8 months, then yes, I'd probably not be too supportive of it either.  I personally feel that there are very, very few reasons why you can't wait at least a year to get engaged, and even less of a reason to get married before you can even legally drink and are done with college.  Sometimes it can work, but the odds are against you at that age, so I'd always err on the side of caution and take my time.

    I was 21 when I met my H, and we knew after only a few months of dating that we'd end up getting married (I moved in with him after only 7 months).  But we still waited two years to get engaged and then had a 14 month engagement on top of that because we wanted to give ourselves the best chance for success and have the full support of our families.

    All that being said, there are always exceptions to the rule, but you should never count on it.  Obviously, you aren't doubting your engagement or your age, which is actually a good sign IMO, but if having the support of your family is important to you and they are a little unsure at this time, I think a long engagement might be a good idea.

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  • My FI and I got engaged after only dating 6 months but we aren't exactly spring chickens.  I am 31, he is 42.  We have both been married in the far past, he has practically grown children.  In all my life I never thought I'd be engaged to someone I'd only known 6 months but here I am.  I guess when you meet the one sometimes you do know. 

    That being said we are having a long engagement (14 months from time of engagement, still 12 months away) but we are only doing that so that we can have the wedding we want and not have to go into debt to do it.  And we already live together and have somewhat merged our finances and lives together so that the marriage part won't be any big shocker as far as getting used to each other goes. 

    I think it just depends person to person.  It seems like I read somewhere that the "average" amount of time a couple knows each other before getting engaged was somewhere between 6 and 8 months. 

    If you feel its right for you then don't let anyone influence that.  Sometimes "older" people (I mean even people my age - - which isn't really "old") hand out advice like napkins at a picnic.  So take it with a grain of salt
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  • I got engaged after being together a little over a year but we are having a long engagement ( a year and a half) so I could finish up school. I think it all depends on what you are comfortable with and what you feel is right.
  • My fiance and I just got engaged on Saturday but only dated 9 months. We met 2 months before we started dating. I fell in love. I don't think time matters. When you know, you know.

    Congrats. :)
  • Congrats...
    As long as you don't have a quick engagement I don't see a problem with it since you've known each other beforehand.
    However dating life is different so i'd still be engaged for a year before tying the knot.

    I've been with my fiance for 3 1/2 years but to be honest if he asked after a month i would have said yes. I've known he was the one after only a few days and we've always talked about marriage. We just decided to start building our lives together before tying the knot. To each his own.
  • Well, I'm 21 and my FI is 23. We're getting married this June. Not many people in my family agree with this. I have come to the conclusion that me and my fi need to do what makes up happy. We have been together for almost 5 years. Dating only 8 months is a short time, but considering you have known each other much longer i think that makes the difference. Everyone is different and only you know when you are ready for marriage.
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  • My Fi and I grew up in the same church. I knew his sister ( she is a year younger thatn me). He is four years older than me. We dated for ten months before we got engaged. Most people gravated to us. When you know you know...

    Congratulations
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  • edited March 2012
    To be honest i completely understand why your friends and family are a bit shocked. My best friend was in a similar situation. She started dating a friend we had known since we were teenagers and at 22 they met again and started dating. I think they had only been together about 8-9 months when he asked her to marry him. They both felt it was right but most of us were shocked. I was like "whoa! whats the rush?!" at that time i had been dating my now fiance for 2.5 years and wasnt engaged, so it seemed super fast to me. However they knew it was right for them and got married after a 1 year engagement. Now they have been married for going on 3 years and have a beautiful daughter and are incredibly happy. I dont think waiting to get married would have changed that....
    So i say your friends and family may be skeptical now but one day they'll realize you knew what you were doing :-)
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  • I wouldn't necessarily say it's too fast, but I'd maybe ask your family and friends what they see about your relationship itself (not its length or your ages) that makes them concerned.  

    I probably wouldn't have felt comfortable marrying FI at your age, even though we'd also known each other for 5 years when I was 20 and had been dating for 3 of those 5, but that's just me.  I didn't think we'd experienced enough together at that point.  It seems like you're a few steps ahead though. 

    Personally, I get the "wow you're so young!" comments a lot more than I thought I would, although from strangers and never from friends or family.  I'm 23 and will be 24 when we get married, and FI is 24 will be 25.  Where we're from (MO), we're on the old side of normal for getting married, but where we live now (NYC) most people don't get married until their mid-30s.  Honestly though, we've been together 6.5 years, have stable, great careers that we love, have lived together for 2+ years with combined finances, and have talked about all the big things.  We've been a solid team for a long time now and most people who've ever met us know that.  

    What I usually say to the random strangers is that if this isn't what a relationship made to last is supposed to be like, then clearly I'm misunderstanding what marriage is.  Most people hush when they see you're confident in your decision.  
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  • congrats!
    I say to each his/her own when it comes to marriage. like many others have said each situation is different. Ii would however recommend an extended engagement as things do change over the course of a relationship (i'm not saying bad things but the butterflies do go away)

    I'm 23 (just) and FI is 24 and we are getting married in october...yes we are "young" but we will have been together for over 8 years by the time we get married in october and will have been engaged over 4 years (i was 19 when he proposed). We also have a 10 month old son together. i didn't think i could bear children due to medical problems but i was fortunately blessed with my beautiful baby :)

    best of luck to you and welcome to the boards!
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  • mbillianmbillian member
    First Comment
    edited March 2012
    its hard to really put a time on what is too soon. it depends on the relationship, and it sounds like you both are ready. i said yes after 11 months of ating, and 4 years of being best friends. now, going on 2 years of being together, we are getting married in 6 months. my whole issue, is everyone feeling i am too young, but i feel being 21 is not too young at all. if you feel it is right, then whos to judge you and your happiness!! congrats :]

  • I agree with PPs that each situation is different, and with you planning a long engagement if you feel that you are ready then it is ok.

    My FI and I have known each other/been together for over 4 years.  The day after we met we decided to date (we lived 1.5 hours apart so most of our relationship was talking on the phone, but I think that helped us become best friends in the first part of our relationship), and we have never broken up (or seriously consider breaking up) since then (that isn't to say that we are better than couples who have broken up and gotten back together).  We dated for 2 years, then lived together for almost 2 years before we got engaged, and I learned so many things about him that I didn't know living separate (and it made us stronger).  We went through financial struggles, and he saw me at my VERY worst when my best friend was killed in a car accident (and totally stood by my side to support me, and continues to help me deal with that friends death since I am still struggling with it). We will have been engaged for 10 months when we get married, so will have been together for almost 5 years. 

    That being said, I know people who have met and married within a year (did I think they were rushing a bit? YES! But it was their decision to make, and THEY are the ones responsible for their own decisions). 

    Congratulations on your engagement, I am happy that you are having a longer engagement (because PPs are right, you do change within your early 20s), but you do seem to have a good head on your shoulders and that is a HUGE part of a relationship.  Good luck and welcome to the Knot boards!! :)
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