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One of the most common themes among the letters I receive is about relationship milestones and whether one’s relationship is moving too slowly (or too quickly). “It’s been four months and he hasn’t said ‘I love you’ yet! Should I MOA?” And: “It’s been three years and he still hasn’t proposed! Does that mean he never will?” Or: “We’ve been dating for six months. Is it too soon to move in together?” And while I don’t believe in hard and fast rules about relationship timetables, I do think it’s healthy to think about your long-term goals — keeping in mind if/when you might want children, an issue that’s more pertinent, of course, for women in their 30s and up — and whether your relationship is moving at a pace that feels right for you. And if it isn’t? It’s time to have a discussion with your significant other and consider moving on if it’s clear you’re nowhere near being on the same page.
That said, most people can’t resist playing comparisons — thinking about how their relationships “measure up” to those of their peers or to what society considers “normal.” To help with that, a recent article has outlined a general time frame for major relationship milestones (based on current trends among modern couples). After the jump, see how your own relationship compares to what’s considered “normal” (if you dare).
1. Mentioning a Future Together
Between 4 and 9 months. These tend to be casual talks about how each couple envisions at least a short-term future together — planning a vacation a few months down the line, talking about spending the holidays together, making plans to introduce each other to their respective families.
2. Having a Serious Talk About Marriage
Between 6 and 18 months.
“Where couples fell within this range was closely tied to age. Younger couples, either in school or early in the career building stages of their lives leaned towards the 18 month range, while couples in their late twenties and beyond tended to have these discussions in the 6 to 12 month range. The definition for a “serious” marriage discussion was that it touched on points to determine whether or not the relationship was headed towards marriage. Topics included: general feelings about marriage, whether they saw children in their future, and possible timing for marriage.”
3. Getting Engaged
Between 14 months and 3 years. “Again, younger couples got engaged further into their relationships, while older couples got engaged sooner.”
4. Marriage Discussions Start to Feel Like Nagging
Between 2 1/2 and 5 years. “This was the point where women started to feel that they wanted marriage way more than the man in their lives.” And, this is the point when they begin writing to advice columnists asking how to handle the situation…
5. Losing Hope for the Relationship to Turn into Marriage
2 years plus. “Many women didn’t lose hope of their boyfriend marrying them until 5 years or more. But, we did find that many who were already living together starting to lose hope around 2 years if no solid marriage plans were being made.” Coincidentally, this is also the point that many women begin losing faith in mankind in general. To this, I say: MOA. If what you want is a longterm commitment and the person you’re with won’t give it, quit wastin’ your time (and losing your mind) and move on, especially if you want children. Them eggs ain’t gonna last forever, ladies.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with this very general relationship timetable? Does reading something like this make you feel more or less confident about where you are in your own relationship? A big milestone that was left off the list was when to say “I love you.” Any thoughts about what’s “normal” in that regard?
[via Your Modern Living]