General Question

antimatter's avatar

How long should we date before proposing?

Asked by antimatter (4266 points ) May 7th, 2014

It’s not like me to ask relationship based questions, but a friend of mine started dating six months ago and is thinking of proposing to his girlfriend.
I told him that after dating six months may be a bit too sudden. He seems to be very happy with his girlfriend.

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14 Answers

seekingwolf's avatar

It depends on the ages, I think. I’ve noticed that older folks (30+) tend to get engaged way sooner than someone my age (early 20s) would. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over 3.5 years and we have no plans to get engaged/married at the moment, while others have dated for all of 1 year and are planning marriage.

It really depends on the couple. I am with you, I think 6 months is too soon if he didn’t know the girl as a friend for a while PRIOR to dating. I just think 6 months is not enough time to really get to know someone. 1+ year? That may be okay, if the people are older, independent, know what they want, and feel comfortable with each other and the relationship.

6 months though, I would be worried that he’s doing it out of infatuation, and that he doesn’t know enough about her yet to make an informed choice.

Again, there’s no real “set standard” but those are my thoughts.

janbb's avatar

I was with my Ex for 18 months before we got engaged; my son got engaged to his wife after five months of dating. No set rules.

antimatter's avatar

I am a bit concerned about it @seekingwolf it’s true what you’re saying.

janbb's avatar

How old are they?

seekingwolf's avatar

@antimatter

What is concerning to you? I mean, yes I’d be a little concerned at the 6 month thing, but also if there were signs of trouble. Is she pushy for marriage at all? Is your friend the sort to be a little impulsive and job into things too early?

I’m also curious as to how old they are. That can certainly tell a lot.

Judi's avatar

I thing this is really individual to the people involved.
Some people are really careful and calculating and wouldn’t even use the “L” word until they had been dating six months and not consider marriage for a few years. Some people have an instant connection and know in the first few weeks that they will be together forever. You can’t get in the middle of their relationship and can’t know what’s going on in their hearts and minds. If he’s ready to propose that’s his business and her business but really none of yours.

marinelife's avatar

Sometimes you just know. Have they talked about marriage? Do they have shared values?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I had a friend propose to his Girlfriend after a month. They got married a few weeks after that and divorced a year later.

I proposed to my wife after five years.

dabbler's avatar

In my experience, it’s more fruitful to set the decision on a set of criteria instead of a timeline.

Personally I’d suggest they live together for a year before considering marriage.
When just dating you can’t see some of the pressures you might feel when you spend ALL your free time with that other person. And find out how much you like sharing a bathroom with that person, and a bed, and the kitchen, and probably some bills.

dappled_leaves's avatar

If one or both have not had a serious, long-term relationship before, I’d say it is too soon. If both have, then maybe they just know. It happens.

Crazydawg's avatar

Only they can answer this. Outsiders are often not privy to dynamics and intimacy that brings these two close enough to warrant a proposal and should step back and let the couple decide this matter for themselves and be happy for them if and when.

antimatter's avatar

@seekingwolf my friend turned forty and his girlfriend is thirty seven. He have no kids and his girlfriend have two kids from from her previous marriage. What concerns me about my friend is that he have no experience with kids and he gets on quite well with her kids and it seems to me that her kids likes him to. Another thing that concerns me about my friend is that he is still busy with a law suit against his ex wife. I feel he should have first finished his lawsuit before he even considered proposing to his girlfriend. I had a little talk to his girlfriend and somehow I think it’s my friend who wanted to propose. However she admitted that they talked about it a few times. My friend asked me for my opinion and I gave it to him, I personally feel their relationship should first grow a bit longer.

Kardamom's avatar

I think your friend needs to be completely over and done with with his ex wife before he even considers proposing to his current girlfriend. Then, he should live with her (the new girlfriend) at least 2 years, to see if they are really compatible (or whether the new girl is just a sweet safety net for him). Then they should go to couples counseling (religious or secular, depending upon their own beliefs) no matter what, to determine if they are a good match and on the same page. Six months is still within the “honeymoon” faze of a new relationship, especially if there are un resolved problems with an ex. He needs to solve his other relationships before he engages in anything new. Even then, he needs to get to know (for real, the everyday, down and dirty situation) with his potentially new partner.

All this being said, I doubt that he will consider any advice from you or anyone else. He’ll probably marry this woman and divorce her, immediately, before you can say Jack Frost.

elle_silverwolf's avatar

Live and let love… I feel that it is really up to them and that only they can really know if their relationship is close enough to warrant marriage. Analytically it’s important to think of everything in terms of how their lives will mesh together, however this is their responsibility not anyone else’s and all you can really do if asked for advice is tell them what you would do if presented with a similar situation. This doesn’t mean that your opinion will be the right one for them in the long run though. It’s important to release this situation and allow it to unfold harmoniously.

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