Okay, so, I was in a relationship for someone, for two years - with a break in the middle, of roughly 6 weeks, maybe two months. Anyways, during that whole relation, she'd talk about getting married, and having children with me one day. It never crossed my mind, I really couldn't see it, I know it's bad, but I'd just shrug it off, give her a peck on the head and say "One day".
We broke up, just after New Years Eve, my heart just wasn't in it, and I'd met someone before that, about two or three months before the break, that I immediatly developed heavy feelings for - and thankfulyl, she felt the same way about me.
So all my life, I've not really wanted marrage, or kids - I pictured my older years as one man, one flat in the city somewhere, and his dog - kinda thing. Never saw myself a family man, but since being with my new partner - I want that, incredibly bad - it's nothing anyones said to me, it's just a feeling of "This is the one, I want children, I want marrage with this woman."
And so, a couple of nights ago, we were out with friends, and 'our song' came on, so I took her up to dance, and during, told her how I felt, I said "I can see that future, it's so real, I just know I want this with you." and emotionally blabbered on further, but it's not relevant.
Turns out. She really wants everything I do. Brilliant! And I quote, "If you were to ask me tomorrow, Matt. I'd say yes."
But I just wanted some outside opinions, is it never too early? I was going to ask her on her birthday, this year, October 15th - which'd make us together around nine months?
But it would be nice to find some external opinions, maybe some stories from married couples, how long were you together before you got engaged/married?
How about getting "unofficially" engaged (no ring yet) and agree that within the next few months, you two go ring shopping, then have a long engagement (say, a year)? I mean, is it the amount of time that bothers you (only 9 months) or is it that someone told you 9 months is too soon?
I think you need at least another year to really get to know one another and find out if you're truly compatible for a life-long commitment. That's why I advise the "unofficial" engagement, because if you two become "officially" engaged, it's way too easy to get caught up in the wedding preparations and lose sight of the fact that you two aren't just having a wedding but a MARRIAGE...not the same thing.
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." - Erica Jong
My husband and I were together nine months before we got engaged, too.
We've been married 30 years now :-) I still think that the timing was perfect.
I'm happy for you, that you found love. Enjoy.
I too think it's good you found love, but I can't help but feel for your poor ex girlfriend who loved you and who believed you when you told her "someday." I hope she's been able to move on and find someone who loves and respects her, and I hope your happy news won't be a knife through her heart. I don't know why men insist on using women and wasting their time instead of just being honest and letting them know the real truth regarding where their hearts are, or aren't, and letting the chips fall where they may. I don't mean to judge you or come down on you, but I'm just hoping that other young men who might read this will understand that this is not cool. It just needs to be said.
But be that as it may, I think a lot of things go into being "ready" to settle down. Are you both where you want to be in your careers? ARe you both pretty satisfied with where you both are in life? i.e. money, goals, friends, etc. What kind of plans have you made as far as what kind of house you both want, where you'll live, how many kids you'll have, how you'll raise them, with strict discipline or with more liberal rules, how they will be schooled, general values, world view, etc. How old you both are will play a part as well, which you don't mention. If you're both in your mid 20s, then you've got time. If you're in your mid 30s and want kids, then you're going to have to get cracking pretty soon.
It also depends on what kind of wedding you want. A big one with all the trimings can take up to a year to plan, so you can have a year long engagement. But if you're having a very small, simple one, then the pressure's off a little bit. You can make up your own rules as you go as well. Give her a promise ring, or propose but not give her a ring yet until you both are ready to announce it officially, or whatever you need to. But someone once said that marriage really shouldn't be a big deal. The wedding is just a symbol of what's already taken place between two people. that makes sense to me. I think when you're there, you'll know it.
I think it could work to propose on your one year anniversary, and then spend about a year planning the wedding. I know happy couples this has worked for.
Before doing this, however, make sure you are both on the same page. Buy a few of those "questions to discuss before you get married" books (there are a lot out there) and go through them together, question by question.
If your answers are compatible, and you are sure you're together for the right reasons (not just because of how being with her makes you feel, but also because you want the same things in the future at the same time) then go for it!
How do you know when it's "Right?" It's when you can know that if something really serious were to happen to her: say she was in a car accident and lost an arm, or she became blind, or something along these lines, and you would just want to be there by her side and your love for her wouldn't change, then that's the person you should marry.
Can you see loving her just as much when someday she has wrinkles and gray hair? If she gains a lot of weight? Just be sure you're in touch with the reality of a life together.
If you only want to marry her should things stay approximately the way they are, then you should not be getting engaged.
And oh yes, if your ex is going to be hurt by the news, be nice and wait awhile before proposing to your new girlfriend. Give it enough time that your ex won't take it personally, because it really was cruel of you to lead her on.
My hubby and I tied the knot 5 months after we met. We knew right away that we were 'the one' for each other. Even as the years have passed, we only have eyes for each other. We knew that this is unconventional, but didn't care. Hardly anyone supported our marriage and said comments like "It won't last", "Reality will kick in once the lust wears off", etc. The test of time has shut the mouths of all those people.
Don't live your life in accordance to other people's 'standards'. There's no "marriage or engagement manual". There is no specific timeline for this, it differs from each individual to the next. It's simple really; If you're in love with this woman and she's also in love with you, then marry her. Just make sure your lives are in order, you're where you want to be, and so forth.
Just to add though, I do realize that cases like Bravehearts and mine are more of the exception rather than the rule.
I'm not going to defend myself on the point of I should have been honest with my ex, as I said in the original post. I am ashamed of it, we've spoken a few times since the break up, at the current minute the situation is that she's found old friends again, and now has a good group of close friends who're there for her, which is reassuring for me knowing she's got them there for her, to help her get onto meeting the right fella, which I hope she does do, she's a lovely lady, and she'll find the right guy one day, and I'd be happy to even attend the wedding! And also, she does know about my current partner, and the fact that me and my partner are going to be living together soon (yes, I should have mentioned that earlier!), and she's okay with it, but I will hold off telling her I intend to take our relationship "all the way" in the future, I don't want to hit any nerves.
As for the one year anniversary, that is a bloody good idea, and then to spend a year planning the wedding, I like that idea a lot. I've decided to sit down with her tonight and just talk about it again in more detail, and also, I sat with her Dad the othernight and spoke to him confidently about the future. Which was nice =]
Once again, thanks for all the advice there guys! Really appreciated! Hopefully in a while you'll see a "I'm getting engaged!!" post from me.