Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How Long Did You Date Before Getting Engaged?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s discussion, I’m curious, those of you have been engaged: How long did you date your significant other first? And how long was your engagement before the wedding? (Or, if you didn’t make it that far, how long was the engagement before it was called off?) Here’s my story:

Drew and I dated about a year and a half before I moved from Chicago to NYC to be with him. That was the last weekend of September, 2007. We got engaged about sixteen months after that, in February 2009, so nearly three years after we started long-distance dating. (I think we would have gotten engaged a little sooner had we started out living in the same city.) We were married in July, 2009, after a quick, five-month engagement (and I seriously couldn’t imagine doing it another way, unless it were to make it an even faster engagement, followed, perhaps, by an elopement).

48 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TheHizzy July 25, 2017, 1:38 pm

    I had two previous boyfriends ask me (I declined both). One was after 3 years of dating and one was 1 year after dating.

    Current boyfriend and I started discussing early on because of the distance and it’d be a major move to know if marriage wasn’t in the cards. We started those discussion at about 6 months. Still not engaged but I figure it’ll come eventually. Only been just over a year, and he’s only lived with me for about 2 months

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    • avatar

      MissDre July 25, 2017, 1:51 pm

      I am actually quite curious as to when I should start talking to my boyfriend about this. He actually broached the topic not long ago, basically saying “You know one of us has to move, right?” and I told him that I wasn’t ready to have the moving discussion, but that I do hope this will be a forever thing so yes, I’m aware that a move is in the cards. I’m wondering if I should bring this up next time I’m there and what I should say and ask if he sees marriage/engagement as part of the plan?

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      • avatar

        Kate July 25, 2017, 2:17 pm

        Do you feel like you’re at a point where you want to get engaged to him? Like, if *he* were to ask *you* if you see marriage as part of the plan, could you say that yet, with confidence? It seems like it might be a little soon to know? But maybe not.

        When he said “one of us has to move,” he must have meant you, right? Because didn’t you say he could never move back there? You could wait and see if he brings it up again with any specificity, or you could bring up the moving conversation again next time you see him. Like, “hey, you were saying one of us will need to move in order for this to work. I’m curious about your thoughts on that… tell me more.” And see if he’s got any ideas about who moves and in what kind of timeframe. Are you set on being engaged *before* you would move?

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        MissDre July 25, 2017, 2:31 pm

        @Kate no I’m not ready to get engaged yet. My HOPE is that marriage is where this is headed, but I feel like it’s too soon to start making definitive plans.

        He’s talked hypothetically about me moving there. He’s mentioned stuff about me getting a job there, he’s said I could rent out my condo, etc. He has not asked me to move yet, he just said that we need to be working toward a proper objective (I took “objective” to mean ending the distance).

        So I told him that they way things are right now, I hope very much that we’ll have a future together. That I don’t want to rush anything I want to us to really know each other but that I do hope this will be a forever thing so yes, I’m aware that a move is in the cards. And I told him that I am open to the possibility of moving there, but whenever we start to have that discussion I want to know that we’ve both equally considered moving.

        And he said he understands and that was the end of it.

        If I do choose to make the move, yes I would want to be engaged beforehand. I would need that level of commitment before moving to a new country to be with someone. I’m just not really sure yet what is a realistic timeline to start talking about getting engaged. And by talking I mean like… all the discussions that Wendy writes lists about. Things to discuss before you get engaged, things to discuss before you move for love, etc.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 25, 2017, 2:41 pm

        Maybe you could re-open the discussion about what a proper objective looks like, after a little more time has passed. It sounds like for now, you’ve covered what you can really address at this point in your relationship.

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 25, 2017, 2:52 pm

        Yeah I feel like Christmas will probably be a good time to bring it up. I’m sure there will be some sort of hypothetical comments made while I’m there in September, but maybe Christmas we can start discussing it seriously.

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      • avatar

        TheHizzy July 25, 2017, 3:12 pm

        There was a sense of relief of him moving here knowing we weren’t engaged so there wasn’t as much pressure to force it to work. It just happened to workout for us overall. But! He wasn’t moving to another country, just about 1000 miles away. We had our conversations early on because I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. It also came up very naturally anytime we discussed it. If I were you, I would for sure wait until you’re visiting and face to face. Just make sure you bring it up with ease and an idea of what YOU want.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 25, 2017, 1:48 pm

    1st time around:
    Dated a little over two years. Called off the engagement about six months in.

    2nd time around:
    First date mid-July 2015
    Drunkenly/faked proposed while at cousin’s bachelorette in Charleston via text April 2016
    Engaged for real late-October 2016
    Moved in together/bought condo May 2017
    Married September 3, 2017 (i hope)!

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  • avatar

    girltuesday July 25, 2017, 1:48 pm

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years now. No ring yet. We put a general timeline of 3-5 years together. We had a nice talk about finances and where we want to be in the next 6 months, so I feel like it’s heading that way in the next year or so.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine July 25, 2017, 2:11 pm

    First serious boyfriend asked me after a month; I declined and in retrospect should have run in the opposite direction. My husband and I got engaged on our two year anniversary but started talking about it before moving in together at about 9 months. ❤️

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  • Lianne

    Lianne July 25, 2017, 2:13 pm

    I always say we were on the fast track haha…I also had known him for years since he’s my best friend’s cousin.

    Started dating in late July 2012
    Moved in together June 2013
    Got engaged May 2014
    Married December 2014

    We started dating when we were already in our mid-thirties and just knew. I think we said “I love yous” about 2 months in. We also knew we wanted kids and he wanted to be married first, so that was also a factor. We actually just hit the 5 year mark and often say that it feels simultaneously like we’ve been together forever and also that we can’t believe it’s already been 5 years!

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    • redessa

      redessa July 25, 2017, 3:06 pm

      I got you beat. 😉

      Dated 3 mo
      Engaged 5mo
      Married 22 yrs (so far).

      Also, I was only 19. He was 22 when we met, 23 when we married.

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  • avatar

    csp July 25, 2017, 2:22 pm

    I was also fast. I met my husband in June 2005 we were engaged August 2006 and married July 2007. We have been married for 10 years so that is kind of crazy.

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  • Portia

    Portia July 25, 2017, 2:31 pm

    I am for sure an outlier, but 9 years to engagement, got married about 10 months after that. There were a lot of factors: we started dating young, we both went to grad school (mine took longer than his), we did long distance for a few years, we had some of the benefits of marriage through registering a domestic partnership, and I’m sure there were more. We might have taken “don’t rush things” to an extreme, but I’m ultimately glad we took the time we needed.

    I also think it’s funny that between starting to date to our wedding day, my sister in law started dating her husband, got married, and had 3 kids. Everyone has their own schedule for these things.

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    • avatar

      Kate B. July 25, 2017, 4:19 pm

      Totally with you, Portia. Just got engaged a few weeks ago after dating for 8 years. My fiancé is basically just a little old fashioned, thinking that he needed to be able to “support me financially” before proposing. He’s a jazz musician; it’s probably going to be a while before that happens, if ever! And I’m fine with that. So I proposed to him. 🙂

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    • avatar

      _s_ July 25, 2017, 8:49 pm

      I’m with you – a little over 6 years dating, then engaged for a little under a year before the wedding, so 7 years total from starting dating to getting married.

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    • Portia

      Portia July 26, 2017, 7:16 am

      Internet high fives!

      I used to get some grief about it, no one cares anymore and it’s been almost 2 years since the wedding. Also it was so funny when people would call us newlyweds – we were, but we’d been together for 10 years when we got married!

      To be fair, in the last year or two, it was me dragging my feet. I was almost done with my grad degree and there was no way I was going to add the stress of planning a wedding/answering a million questions about it to my already stressed self. So I told him he couldn’t propose until I was done. He got the ring 2 weeks after I deposited my dissertation and proposed a month after that.

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  • avatar

    Holly July 25, 2017, 2:35 pm

    I know our timeline looks a little fast, but here’s what we have:

    January 2016 – started dating
    February 2016 – became official
    August 2016 – moved in together
    June 2017 – got engaged
    March(?) 2019 – will be married

    This is the easiest and happiest relationship I’ve ever had, though, so I feel comfortable with it being maybe faster-than-normal.

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  • avatar

    TeacherNerd July 25, 2017, 2:58 pm

    Apparently my husband and I did things fast. Met and dated for 8 months, and were engaged for 10 months before getting married.

    I’ll add that because we’re practicing Catholics, the church to which we belong had a let-the-priest-know-at-least-6-months-before-you-get-married minded, so it’s very rare for engagement periods to be less than six months if you wish to get married in a Catholic church. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but in the cases I’ve seen, churches in our particular denomination want you to be engaged for a certain amount of time – I’ve seen that period range from four months to a year, if it’s a big parish like in NYC – so you can go through pre-marital counseling, etc. We were also a bit older when we met – in our mid-30s – which might affect the “speediness” of dating/engagement period; we had a very good sense of self that talked about finances, children, jobs, money, retirement, living situations, religion, family history, health, travel and other priorities, before we even got engaged.

    (Yes, yes, you can certainly know yourself very well when you’re younger than we were, or you can be older than we were and just not go especially quickly. We also live in Utah, where, because of marriage being a Mormon commandment, people tend to marry a lot younger, and in many cases have a MUCH shorter engagement, say, less than 3 months. It’s not uncommon for folks to meet and marry within 6 months although I have no data on that, just what I see as a high school and college teacher.)

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  • avatar

    Fyodor July 25, 2017, 2:59 pm

    We were formally engaged about eighteen months after we met, though there we had basically decided to get married before that. Ten years later I still get grief about not proposing earlier.

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  • avatar

    FannyBrice July 25, 2017, 3:25 pm

    We dated for 3 years before moving in together, got engaged about 4 months after moving in, married a little over a year after that. Perfect timing for us, waaaay too long a wait for our families. (When we got engaged my SIL’s daughter said, “Finally!” She was 6).

    My parents, on the other hand, dated for 6 weeks before getting engaged, planned a wedding in under a month, and have been married 48 years.

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  • Roxy_84

    Roxy_84 July 25, 2017, 3:38 pm

    We started dating Jan 2015, moved in together Dec 2015. Started planning our elopement seriously/booking things around May/June 2016. Engaged…??? I’d say when we started actively planning our wedding, although he gave me a ring/proposed March 2017. We didn’t tell anyone though so there was no official engagement. We got married last month, so about 2.5 years of dating.

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    • Pamplemousse Rose

      Pamplemousse Rose July 26, 2017, 3:43 pm

      Congratulations Roxy! I’m so happy for you 🙂

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      • Roxy_84

        Roxy_84 July 26, 2017, 9:11 pm

        Thanks Pamplemousse! 😀

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  • avatar

    Katie85 July 25, 2017, 4:48 pm

    I dated my husband twice – so technically:
    Dated first time: 10/2008 (broke up after 3 months)
    Dated 2nd time: 02/2010
    Moved in together (and his 4 roommates lol) : 05/2011
    Engaged: 11/2013
    Married: 11/2014

    I would have probably dragged my feet and never gotten married. My husband actually pushed the conversation, he knew I wouldn’t plan a wedding (or if I did, I would drag it out) so he suggested that we elope! We planned our trip and were married 2 weeks later. I loved that it was just us, and since we went during the week of Thanksgiving, Vegas was empty! I have gotten ALOT of backlash from family on how we got married, but he’s great about sticking up for me (still gets brought up haha)
    I wouldn’t change a thing about how long we waited, I get pretty shocked looks when they find out how long we have been together (but only married 3yrs). People that don’t know us think I must have given him an ultimatum (and one ex girlfriend who spread a rumor that I was pregnant) – but the truth is, he pushed for us to get married, and I told him no twice. I asked him recently why he didn’t bail on me when I said “no” so many times, and all he said was that he knew I loved him, that I wanted to be with only him forever, I just hadn’t caught up to him. Said I was worth the wait (and the headache lol)

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  • avatar

    Ange July 25, 2017, 6:11 pm

    We met each other at the start of 2011, started dating Dec 2011. We basically lived together from the get go, my house was just a place I kept my stuff. We officially moved in once I got back from the London games so…. September 2012ish. Engaged November 2012 (I think? or maybe December) and married Oct 2013. So 2 years more or less from start to married. It seems fast in retrospect but we fit well from the start and I tend to be a ‘give it a go and if it doesn’t work at least you tried’ type of person so I was lucky it really did work.

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  • avatar

    Jen July 25, 2017, 8:48 pm

    1) dated 2 years, engaged 2 years, married for 14 yrs (we were tpp young early 20s!)

    2) met, dated, engaged and married in 29 months (had short engagement of 2 months then eloped)

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  • avatar

    mertlej July 25, 2017, 9:27 pm

    We dated for 8 years before getting engaged, were engaged for 14 months, and have been married for a little over 5 years. We lived together for 4 years before getting engaged (moved in together after jointly moving across the country).

    Believe me, there were many MANY jokes at our wedding about how long we had been dating. But, we were young, and there was no rush!

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  • avatar

    Hannanas July 26, 2017, 2:37 am

    We always got jokes about how we were moving too fast. And we kinda did really. Moved in together at 6 months, engaged 3 months later and had a 2 year engagement. We celebrated our 4 year anniversary a few months ago, as well as our wonderful daughter’s 2nd birthday.
    We met in our late twenties – both with a couple of relationships under our belts – and just figured that when you know, you know.

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  • Jill

    Jill July 26, 2017, 6:34 am

    Definitely faster than normal, but dated long distance from Sept 2010 to Dec 2011, got engaged, and then married within two weeks. We actually had the wedding planned before the engagement since we were travelling, and I kept joking that he’d better actually propose before we got married!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 26, 2017, 6:53 am

    Engaged after 16 months.
    Married 8 months later.
    =Total of 2 years from meeting until married.

    Next month is our 30th anniversary.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 26, 2017, 7:48 am

      Congrats on nearly 30 years!

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  • avatar

    MsParks July 26, 2017, 6:59 am

    We were super fast, I suppose. Met in December of 2011. Moved in together officially in March of 2012, but he had practically been living at my place since January of 2012. Engaged in April of 2013 and eloped August of 2013.

    We were both in our late 20s. I knew early on he was it. I had always been a bit of a commitment-phobe and never even entertained living together with anyone prior to him. So- the fact that all of that happened and I was totally fine and happy was a sign to me that he was it!

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  • avatar

    Dalben July 26, 2017, 7:01 am

    A year and a couple months, but she’s my ex-fiance now so it may not be the best example.

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  • avatar

    Elin July 26, 2017, 7:31 am

    We started dating in September and closed on our house the following September. We got engaged that December and married the following New Year’s Eve.

    At face value it seems extremely fast but we had been friends for six years before that and knew each other very well. My ex used to joke about how my now-husband and I would “end up together” and he even bet me $20 at one point during our relationship. When I got engaged, my ex texted me “Congrats, where’s my $20?”

    I can see how people would judge us and assume we won’t last. But knowing it’s right comes from being mature and experienced enough to understand what a relationship actually takes and really should be. Timing is secondary to that.

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  • avatar

    Bree July 26, 2017, 7:51 am

    Ex (I was in my early 20s):
    Moved in together at 1 year
    Engaged at 2.5 years. I kept trying to plan a wedding, but he never wanted to talk about it.
    Broke up at 4 years (my choice). No wedding, and therefore no divorce (which would have absolutely happened if we got married). Bullet dodged.

    Spent 3 years single and really worked on myself.

    Husband (late 20s/early 30s):
    Started dating September 2013
    Moved in together December 2013
    Engaged August 2014
    Married August 2015
    Things definitely progressed faster with my husband and I. We were older, knew what we wanted, and were both ready to settle down. We’ll be celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary in a couple weeks and are expecting our first child in January.

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  • avatar

    Heidi P. July 26, 2017, 7:56 am

    Hubby and I went to college together, but never dated. Technically we’ve known each other for 25 years. We started dating two years after I graduated (four years after he did), dated for 8 months, moved in together, bought a condo together, then got engaged. Our engagement lasted 10 months (I wanted to get married sooner but our mothers had other plans. Big floofy wedding was NOT in my plans, but I lost that battle). Married almost 16 years now.

    My parents, on the other hand, met in May 1971 and got married in October of 1971. They were married 44 years before my mom died.

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  • avatar

    Gen July 26, 2017, 8:09 am

    We dated for 9.5 years before we got married. We started dating when I was 21 and he was 22 so it took us a while before we were ready for marriage. We moved in together after 6.5 years of dating. We never really got officially engaged, but were planning on getting married soon when we found out we were pregnant with our daughter so we just went to the court house and got married! Been married for a year now!

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  • othy

    othy July 26, 2017, 8:43 am

    We started dating when I was 16. We got married when I was 21. We dated for 4 years, some of it long distance, before we got engaged. I moved home and we lived together for a year before we got hitched. Considering how young I was at the time, i’m so glad we lived together before getting married.

    We’ve been happily married for 11 years now.

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  • avatar

    alsofreckly July 26, 2017, 9:07 am

    started hanging out – november 2003 (ages 22 and 26)
    ‘officially dating’ – february 2004
    engaged – august 2006
    married – august 2007
    still married – now! (+ kids in 2010 and 2013)

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  • avatar

    va-in-ny July 26, 2017, 10:02 am

    My husband and I dated 6 years before we got engaged. We were engaged for 14 months (May 2015 – July 2016). We’re both over 30.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo July 26, 2017, 10:02 am

    Friends first, 6-7 mos. Dating, 1.25 years. Then, shacked up for 2.5 years. Then, engaged for 9 mos. Despite everything, our marriage has lasted 24 years so far. Not bad for a first try, and I know I have learned from my mistakes and could repeat them exactly. “Despite everything” is our sarcastic motto, and we have each given the other sentimental items engraved with these words.

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  • Pheebers

    Phoebe July 26, 2017, 10:11 am

    Dec 1991 started dating
    Dec 1991 (1 week later) talked marriage, but didn’t tell anyone because we knew we were irrational and insane
    Feb 1993 officially became engaged
    Oct 1993 got married. I was 23, he was 24 at the time

    July 2017 — still married, almost a quarter century later.

    By the time I met him, I’d been in a few long-term relationships and knew what I wanted (and didn’t want). I was probably too young, but we were very stable and ready, so haven’t really had problems.

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  • Miel

    Miel July 26, 2017, 3:57 pm

    All of the people having really fast timelines are making me so jealous! =(
    I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years now (we met July 30th 2011, so exactly six years this weekend!) and it’s been long distance this whole time.

    We have been talking for a while about getting engaged once we move in together, and because of me finishing my PhD soon (like 8-9 more months), we are probably going to get engaged in about a year from now. I want a short engagement and I want us to live together before getting married, which is the main reason we haven’t gotten engaged like… 4-5 years ago.

    It’s just crazy to think that after all this time, we could finally put an end to the distance in a couple of months from now. We started talking about marriage about 3 months into the relationship, but we might have to wait until our SEVEN YEARS of relationship before living in the same time zone!

    I can’t wait!!

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  • Pamplemousse Rose

    Pamplemousse Rose July 26, 2017, 4:21 pm

    January 2011 – Started dating
    June 2011 – My 2nd favourite hockey team beat his favourite team to win the Stanley Cup (we’re Canadian – this was a significant relationship milestone to get through)
    December 2011 – Moved in together
    August 2012 – Bought a house together
    September 2012 – Got engaged
    April 2013 – Got married

    August 2017 – We are about to embark on major kitchen and bathroom renovations with 2 toddlers, so if we’re still married after that, we can get through anything

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  • avatar

    Preet Sandhu July 26, 2017, 5:34 pm

    Knew each other for 15 months. Immigration issues came up– officially started dating, engaged, married, moved in together all within a month. It’s worked out so far.

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  • avatar

    Another Jen July 26, 2017, 7:10 pm

    My guy and I dated a year and one month before officially getting engaged, though we pretty much decided we’d be getting married after a couple of weeks. We’ve been engaged coming up on a year now and will be getting married in June.

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  • avatar

    inkyboots July 28, 2017, 3:19 pm

    July 2010 – Husband asked me out. I turned him down.
    July 2013 – Asked me out again. This time I accepted.
    December 2013 – Got engaged
    October 2014 – Married!

    About to hit three years of being married and still going strong. His parents (35 years married) and older sister (22 years married) moved fast in their relationships too, so no one was surprised there.

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