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Couple Holding HandsI recently came across this question while reading another blog. It was answered from a young man’s perspective where he stated that if you were north of your late 20’s, dating longer than 2 years probably was not a good idea. This implies that you shouldn’t be dating someone without an end goal in mind after a certain age. I definitely agree if your end goal is marriage, but be aware, life doesn’t always present us with a set and clear path to getting there.

Most of my 20’s were spent in a long term, on and off type relationship. Looking back what should have promptly ended in college, lingered on until it met a sad, mellow dramatic and long over due demise. I enjoyed dating in my 30’s but I have to admit, I dated while being on the hunt for a boyfriend.  I was a monogamous dater, one guy at a time, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I realized I didn’t just want another boyfriend, I wanted a future husband.

dating-couple laughing

When my perceptive changed my dating habits changed. I started dating more stable, serious minded men. Before long I met the guy who would become the one. Yet we have been together for six and a half years and are only now planning marriage. Why did we wait so long to make the leap? As the saying goes, shit happens. In an ideal world, when that two year mark came in your relationship, you would both wake up on that day knowing that you were ready to commit the rest of your lives together, until death did you part, or until you grew tired of teach other and got divorced.

5 yr engagement

As a woman north of her 20’s and 30’s I can tell you life doesn’t happen that way. People come together and may be compatible but are on totally different points in their careers and personal development. One movie that addresses this brilliantly is The Five Year Engagement. The premise of the film involves two people who are clearly made for each other and madly in love but can’t seem to get married because their careers are going in opposite directions. I can relate. People would often say to me, wow you guys have been together a long time, why haven’t you gotten married? My reply; we just aren’t ready yet.

Now let me be clear, while we were not ready for marriage, we were never in doubt that we were in a serious and committed relationship. We lived together, shared household expenses, were entrenched in each others families and friends. We were not dating just to be dating. And there lies the difference. When you know what you want, dating gets easier. When you know who you want to be with and why you are with them, being in a relationship gets easier. The path to your future is evident. But first, you have to get clear.

Silhouette of Couple on Beach

If you want to be serious with someone, you have to start by getting serious with yourself. If you know you want to date someone with the purpose of getting beyond just dating at any point in the relationship, then get prepared. Date people who are going to be compatible with your life’s goals. Date people with similar values and financial interests. Date people who want to be in a real relationship. When you set yourself up to be in a serious relationship, you won’t have to ask the question– when should we get serious?– because the relationship will provide the answer.