Post # 1
I was having this discussion this morning with a friend and thought this would make a perfect topic of discussion for Wedding Bee. We know of four different couples who have gone through a divorce in the past year (all married less than 5 years), and all of them were together less than 2 years before getting married. My husband thinks for two of the couples in particular, it was simply a case of incompatiblity and the couples not knowing each other well enough before they get engaged.
If you have been married before, do you think that was an issue going into your marriage? Obviously other things can happen to lead to divorce (infidelity, financial problems, etc.), so I’m not suggesting this is always the case.
If you’ve been married before: how long were you together before you got engaged? And, how long were you married before you realized there were problems? Any advice for soon-to-be-weds or newlyweds based on your experience?
If you haven’t been divorced before, but you have a close friend, sibling, etc. who has been divorced recently, do you think the length of time they were together had any effect on the stability of their marriage?
Post # 3
My parents were married within a year of meeting. 16 years later divorced
Post # 4
Oh crap. I voted before reading your post and thought you meant how long DH and I were together before getting engaged.
ExH and I were together less than one year before we pretty much knew we were getting married. I was the one that proposed, and that was a few months later and past our one year anniversary. We didn’t actually get married until our fourth anniversary. I’m not sure how that plays out in terms of this conversation, but there it all is.
Sadly, I realized there were problems pretty much right after the wedding. We were LDR for three of the four pre-marriage years, and I think that it made us smooth over a lot of rough edges that we should have tackled. That one year was split into two six-month chunks of near the beginning and right before getting married, so I don’t think it fully counts as living together. Also, we blamed a lot of our issues on being apart and thought that finally being together geographically would fix things. I don’t mean in a magical “now it’s all better” kind of way but that being in the same place would give us the opportunity to actually work through stuff. Unfortunately, our issues ended up being like icebergs with so much more below the surface than we realized.
Would living together for a longer period of time have helped us? No. It boiled down to attitudes, conflict techniques, etc. that would not have changed based on more time together. I also do not think that we would have broken up or anything before getting married as a potential consequence of living together longer. We genuinely and seriously believed that we could weather any storm and all that by the time we were married. Some of the worst issues didn’t even come up until after being married a couple of years anyway.
Post # 5
@HisMoon: I think LDRs do complicate things a bit. Like you said, not living in the same city allows you to ignore some of the more pressing issues that really need to be addressed. The majority of time DH and I were dating, we actually lived in different cities (4 years out of the 7 we were together prior to walking down the aisle). However, we spent summers together and we knew we had similar values, goals, etc. Not being on the same page from the start really makes things difficult.
Post # 6
@MrsEdamame: The thing that particularly angers me about ExH and I falling apart is that we supposedly did everything the “right” way. We made sure that we were super compatible, shared all of the big and important values, had all of the important conversations multiple times, etc. In a really weird way it would be almost comforting if we had gotten married without doing any of that because there would be an answer to the why of it. I don’t mean the actual reasons for the divorce but the why/how of the process of falling apart. I look back and am so angry and confused as to how it happened when we did everything “right”! I know, totally irrational and childish reaction, but yeah.
Post # 7
To be honest, I’ve never actually been engaged but I have been married before and I have been proposed to! But not liking engagement rings on me I’ve never assumed the formal engaged status although I suppose I was.
However, to answer your question, my ex-husband and I were together for 4 years before we married. 6 months after our relationship began we started to live together. Three and a half years later we decided to get married and did so about 6 months later. So I guess I was “engaged” for 6 months. But then we’d already been together for a good while.
Once we got married, things rather mysteriously started to go downhill. I thought I knew him inside and out but he genuinely changed within a day or so of getting married. Nothing dramatic but his attitude seemed to suggest “I don’t need to bother any more” and he didn’t. We did manage to have 2 children and remain together for 10 years though but without the children I doubt that the marriage would have lasted that long.
Post # 8
I read the poll wrong : My first husband and I were together for a month before getting engaged and had an engagement for over a year. We were married for over 10 years and have 2 kids. In hindsight, I think I got married for the sake of getting married. He can be a decent guy, but he’s got a drinking problem that I didn’t have the maturity to recognize right away. And I never felt for him the depth of what I feel for my current fiance. I would have left him much sooner if it hadn’t been for the kids. I think I had doubts even before the wedding but I brushed them aside. I did try to work it out, but he wasn’t willing to try until I had already gotten to the point where I was done and past the point of no return. We separated for a year before we actually got the official divorce, only because it was expensive to do. We remain friendly, probably more friendly than my fiance would like, but I do it for the kids.
My current fiance and I have been together for almost 7 years, and only got engaged last year. We have been engaged for over a year and are getting married in 54 days (woot!) We probably would have gotten married sooner if we hadn’t been long distance the whole time. We knew after 2 years we wanted to be together, but the long distance created some hurdles to overcome with visas and whatnot. But I do think that having to go through these hurdles together and being forced to communicate with each other has made us super strong. We got to know each other before the physical attraction set in, so that made a difference I think. I have no doubts at all about marrying him- everything about this relationship is just more real and mature than anything I’ve felt before.
Post # 9
@ErisInChaos: Thanks for letting me know about the poll — I’ve re-worded the poll to hopefully make it clearer
Post # 10
DH was married before. They moved in together after 6 months, got engaged after 6 years and married 1 year later. (They were in their late 20’s- mid 30’s). Less than a year into marriage, he realized his mistake and they separated and 6 months later (had to wait because of state law) they were divorced.
He says he got married because it was the thing to do after being together for so long and being in his mid-30’s. She was a nice and they got along, so why not. (also feelings of “I cant do better”) But once the reality of talking about starting to TTC soon happened, he realized she wasnt the one for him.
So knowing someone for a long time doesnt stop you from getting divorced…
Post # 11
We dated 3 years before we got married. Married 10 years when we got divorced. He cheated.
Post # 12
My ex and I were together for 4 years when we got engaged. More time wouldn’t have helped. The only reason I walked down that stupid aisle was because I felt like I was too far gone to back out. Adding more years to that wouldn’t have made a difference. Sometimes, you don’t know how bad things are until you look back on it through more mature eyes (and I was 25 when I was engaged the first time, so it’s not like I was a doe eyed 18 year old who didn’t know better yet).
Post # 13
I think there is sweet spot where you’ve been together long enough that you have all the information you need to make a good decision, but not together so long that you are getting married because “its time”, or “it’s easier than breaking up”.
It’s difficult to put hard number on that because what is a short time when you are early to mid 20’s might be just right when you are in your late 30’s. DH and I were engaged at 15 months and married at 22 months. Which seems short but we were 39/40. If I was 25-30, no way I would have been married that quickly.
And there are always outliers- people who meet and get married in 6 weeks and are married for 40 years.
Post # 14
My ex and I were together less than a year before we got married. If I had been with him longer and lived with him before we were married I definetely would not have married him. I knew when we had been married for roughly 6 months it was not going to work because that is when he started becoming abusive. We were divorced a month before our 6 year anniversary. The only good thing that came of my marriage was our son.
I know many bees won’t agree, but I am a big believer in living with someone before marriage because of that reason.
Post # 15
One of my cousins dated her ex husband for 8 years before they got married, then they divorced 2 years later.
My other cousin dated her ex husband for 7 years, then divorced after 3 years of marriage.