In general, comparing notes can be helpful. In the business world, it’s always good to know what the average compensation rate is for your particular field. In the athletic world, you need to know what your competitors are doing in order to stay in the game. As parents, it is incredibly helpful to know what other families have done in certain common situations, so that you can learn from each other. Even in dating, it is helpful to know what others have struggled with or found useful in order to better gauge your expectations– but just beware that sometimes comparisons can be detrimental in relationships.
I know a couple that got married after 3 months of dating, and they’ve been together for over 45 years; I also know another couple that dated for 9 years before getting married, and they then called it quits after 20 years. I’ve heard it all over the last 14 years while counseling people through a divorce or drafting the right prenup, and the one thing that is very clear is that there is no magic formula as to how long it should take a couple to commit- and no guarantees that it will last.
We all have our own demons to battle, and depending on where we are in our own personal journey when love finds us, it may take us a while to truly fall in love, while others may find love at first sight. I do think that those of us that have been burned by a failed first marriage, need to give ourselves time to heal. We also need to re-evaluate our priorities. The second time around will not be like the first. Some say it’s better, some say it’s ten times more complicated– each couple will experience it differently based on their own set of circumstances.
What has become abundantly clear to me is that what works in one relationship may not work for another. Some people are fine with a long distance relationship and maintaining separate households indefinitely. Some will never, ever merge their money and keep everything separate. What may be motivating one couple to get married, may not be the same for a different pair. Bottom line is that love doesn’t work on a concrete timeline that can be applied to everyone, so stop with the comparisons and do whatever works best for you.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.