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And chat at 1.
Q: I'd like to start by saying that I love my boyfriend. (I'll call him John.) More than I could ever put into words. We've been together for almost three years, and about two of those three have been spent long distance. We started dating at the end of high school and went to different colleges. We're still in college and are able to see each other every three to five weeks. When we're at home, we're always together, hiking, challenging each other to games of Mario Kart, cooking, you name it. We have so much fun together.
Starting at the beginning of this semester, John's been saying that he wants to live together once we hit grad school. I'm all for it, don't get me wrong, but what's with the timing? Then, in the last two weeks, he's brought up engagement. I told him that I was speechless and thrilled, but that I thought it would be best for the actual asking bit to wait for a few more years. He looked completely crestfallen. Completely unromantic, I know, to be putting a time table on his spontaneity. His said his reasoning was this: if we're already this close and talking about futures, why wait?
My reasoning is that I want to mature with him, together, before we make a commitment as big as this. I want to pursue my studies further, not that I wouldn't be able to do that if we were engaged, but I just want more time to be a "normal" student. I guess that's the best way of describing it.
It depends on the individual couple, but what and when is a good time? This is a touchy enough subject, how do I go about talking to John without stepping on his toes further?
– Confused in Love, Boston
A: Why wait? How about money. Sanity. Distance. The list goes on.
I know that engagements are about romance, but marriages -- which are a bigger deal, right? -- are about love and practicality. You're allowed to step on his toes. You're allowed to say, "Honey, I love you, but stop rushing this for no good reason." Somebody has to be the realist.
You mentioned distance at the beginning of your letter. You could have omitted that detail but you didn't. The distance concerns me, and it obviously concerns you. I'm not saying that you don't have potential as a couple because you only see each other every few weeks, but I am saying that it's a good idea to put off all big promises until you know what it's like to be sick of each other.
You're worried about spoiling the magic. I get that. But you're offering him something better than magic -- an engagement based on legitimate, adult awesomeness. You're instincts are right. Don't rush. Be loving but honest. It sounds like he'll follow your lead even if he's frowning as he does it.
In the meantime, play Mario Kart and enjoy your youth.
Readers? If they both know they've met their mate, is there a reason to wait? Is he rushing? Should she embrace his enthusiasm? Discuss.
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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.