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When does the honeymoon end?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 4, 2009 11:42 PM

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This one goes out to all of the folks who ask for happy letters.

Q: Hi Mere,

The question here would be: how soon is too soon?

I am 27 years old and have been dating my girlfriend for 18 months. She is the one!! She is smart, funny, beautiful … and I could go on and on. We have the same interests and the goals in life. She is my lover and by best friend. Since our one year anniversary I have been thinking more and more about proposing.

At the moment there are two main reasons we are not engaged:
1. I am waiting for the honeymoon to be over. We have not had any fights, only little arguments that have always been resolved quickly, and even those are rare. I know this period of bliss can’t last for ever and I want to see what the relationship is like once it’s over.
2. I once asked her how long she would expect to date someone before becoming engaged and she said three years. Since she thought three years was a reasonable time, I was willing to wait. I am in no rush.

The issue is that over the last month both of my reasons have disappeared. Last weekend was her birthday and I had planed a “special surprise.” She had mentioned there was a show in town she wanted to see. I bought tickets then took her out to a nice dinner and the show. Early the next morning, her two best friends called, they wanted to know if she was engaged. I was a little confused since she had said that she would expect to date for longer. It turns out she said three years so as not to rush me, but she made it clear that she is ready when I am ready.

Reason #1 disappeared when I was talking to my father; he said that waiting for the honeymoon to be over is a terrible idea. He said if had waited for the honeymoon to be over before marrying my mother they would still be dating. He also mentioned that he was married to my mother for about five years before they had a serious argument. He was not telling me to propose -- he just let it be known that waiting for the honeymoon to be over was a bad idea and it could take much longer than I expected.

If I know that she is the one is it dumb to wait just for the sake of waiting? My new plan is to buy the ring in the next six months and propose soon after.

– Waiting without reason in Brighton MA

A: WWRIB, the honeymoon phase is sort of a made up thing. I mean, there’s a weird blissful phase in most new relationships -- but there’s no way to tell when it will end. Your dad’s right – if you’re waiting to find out what your relationship will be like once you get sick of your girlfriend, you could be waiting a long time.

If you want to marry her, and she wants to marry you, and you’re both just afraid to upset each other with a proposal … well, yeah, it seems silly to put this off.

For your parents, it took five years. Some couples fight twice a day because that’s the way they communicate. Some couples don’t have problems until after they have children. Some couples are smitten from start to finish. Who knows how your relationship will work out?

No one can predict how love will feel in the future. When people commit (marriage or otherwise), all they’re really doing is pledging to take a journey with someone. They’re not supposed to know how they’ll feel in five years – they’re just promising to experience those feelings with a partner.

I don’t know what your background is – whether there’s a reason you want to be married sooner than later. And I do worry about anyone who says “She’s the one!!” with such innocence. But I think you should do what you want. If you’re waiting for absolute answers first, I’m here to tell you that you’re not going to get them.

But as my readers will tell you, I file single on my taxes. Married readers – when does the honeymoon end? How long should people wait before they make this commitment? Do you really know a person after 18 months? Thoughts? Share.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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