- Wedding: November 2019 - Baton Rouge, LA
Yeah, no. I get that there are cases of people waiting around for a proposal that will never happen; most of that is incompatibility. Still, blanket statements (however well-intentioned) don’t really serve much purpose except to offend. Life is messy, and people don’t fit into nice, neat little boxes.
Let me tell you my story. My first marriage, I didn’t live with him beforehand. We were young (I was about your age when we got married), religious, and made the choice to move in together after marriage. We did pre-Cana, were friends first, dated about a year before getting engaged, and then were engaged about a year before getting married (all the ‘typical’ premarital advice that ‘should have’ resulted in wedded bliss. It did for many, but all bets are off when abuse is involved). It was an unmitigated disaster. The mask dropped and the abuse began once we were married because he thought he had ‘control’. It took me three years, but I left, divorced him, and didn’t look back.
Fast forward eight years, and I’m happily engaged. We moved in together after about a year. It took him about five years to talk me into even considering marriage, and another year of seriously discussing it before I was comfortable enough to actually do the damn thing and get engaged. We just bought our first home, and we’re getting married this fall. He’d elope tomorrow if I didn’t want a fall wedding (albeit a tiny one).
After my first marriage, I didn’t think I’d ever get married again. I had no doubt I wanted to spend my life with my fiance (that realization came pretty quick). Being legally tied to someone again freaked me the hell out. It took time and a lot of healing before I was comfortable with that (PTSD is a bitch). Fortunately, my fiance is patient and was willing to take things painfully slow. I can tell you for sure that there is no way in hell I would have ever gotten engaged without living with my fiance first.
I have friends who married young (before I did), waited to live together, and are still deliriously happy twelve years later. It didn’t work out for me (again, all bets are off when abuse is in the picture), but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t and won’t work for others. What has worked for me may not work for others. Seven years together with no ring in one’s mid-twenties and early thirties might make some people walk. I needed that time for reasons that had nothing to do with compatibility or my fiance. It had to do with working through the rotten onion layers that are PTSD before I was willing to legally tie myself to another person again.
All of this novel to say, everyone and every situation is different. People are messy, which is why blanket statements (especially on such a nuanced topic) don’t work well.