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I'm a level-headed, mature, just-short-of-21 year old female in a very committed relationship. I've never been a person to play around, I'm not a party-goer, nor a drinker, and I don't like to play games when it comes to life. I've been with my current boyfriend for about 18 months now and we've been living together for about that long. I'm a full-time college student and have a part-time job to help pay for bills and he has a full-time job that pays for everything I can't and then some. I've always had a very close relationship with my parents as well, and they pay for my college tuition and help with anything important that comes up (car problems, doctor bills, etc) and will continue to do so while I'm in college and keeping my grades up.

And as aforementioned, we're a very committed couple. He's not only my boyfriend but nowadays my best friend, my companion in everything I do and a supporter of all my interests, and I'm the same for him. Literally all our time outside of work/classes is spent together either in the outdoors, in front of a tv, grocery shopping, at every attraction we can afford the gas to get too, just about everything. I wouldn't call it obsession (I don't have a panic attack whenever he leaves for work XD) but time spent together is always time well spent. He doesn't have too many friends outside of the people he works with and my friends are all through college, and if I ever hang out with them, he's usually around too. So no, there's nothing like uncertainty or going behind each others backs or any of that nonsense.

In honesty, I think we're prettymuch the standard definition of what a happy couple should/would be. Along with that, we're financially stable, we both love and regularly visit each others families and have their support with everything, and we've already done "married couple" things for a long time. We even have a shared bank account so that when I'm out of college, we'll have enough for a down payment on a house. And we're open to each other about everything, from complex topics such as sex and simple topics such as which goldfish do you think would look cuter in our fishtank. There's nothing we don't talk about and both of us are very supportive of the idea of talking things outs and reasoning rather than arguing or fighting.

That being said, it's already well established that we're going to be together as long as life and health permits. Even our friends and family are very aware of that. But my question for you all is, when is an appropriate time to get engaged? We've been together for about 18 months, I'm just short of 21 years old, he's just short of 24 years old. I'm a college student and, if I stay at my current college for my Masters as I plan to do, I'll be in college for about 3.5 more years. Obviously, marriage, kids, a house, and all that good stuff won't happen until I'm done with college and can settle into a career. But.... when is a good time to get engaged?

I'm just trying to mentally balance the idea. I know my boyfriend and I are mature enough and committed, and I know I'd have the support of everyone I know and love. I also have nothing against a long engagement and even when we get married, there's not going to be a wedding. Just a casual stop at the courthouse and then a personal party with family so it's not like I'd be in a rush to try to plan a wedding. But at the same time, I guess this is one of the first things in my life where I almost wonder if I'll be "judged" by others for it. Nowadays, early 20s doesn't seem too young at all to commit to someone, but I still have to wonder if my parents might think "Hmmmmm.... we support her but she's still sort of young....." or if my friends (most of which are my age, college students, and are also all level-headed but don't have partners themselves) are going to think I'm getting myself into something big too soon. Again, I know I'd have their support, but I just feel like I'm on the borderline age of them questioning whether or not we're making the right decision. Or if others might think 18 months just isn't long enough to know each other before committing or something similar.

As for when I personally want to get engaged.... whenever. I feel like I've already been married to this guy for over a year anyway so anytime would be nice. We've even jokingly been "engaged to be engaged" for about a year. It's just getting to a point where we're so close in everything they don't that it doesn't feel right or mature when I'm talking to someone and mention my "boyfriend." I'd like to call him what he is, the man I will marry one day, my fiance.

Now all this being said, my boyfriend and I joke about getting engaged all the time, but I'm leaving him with the final decision about when, where, and how to propose. He's kind of a fruitcake about those sorts of things though, meaning I'll probably never be able to predict when it's going to happen anyway. Might happen tomorrow, might happen several years from now, that's all up to him. So everything above is hypothetically speaking, I'd just like your opinions.
 

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It's a big mistake to live with your boyfriend at this age.
It's a big mistake to marry anyone at this age.
It's a big mistake to marry anyone before you experience life as an adult with working and supporting yourself.

The statistical probablility of divorce based on these three factors is quite high.
 

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But my question for you all is, when is an appropriate time to get engaged? We've been together for about 18 months, I'm just short of 21 years old, he's just short of 24 years old. I'm a college student and, if I stay at my current college for my Masters as I plan to do, I'll be in college for about 3.5 more years. Obviously, marriage, kids, a house, and all that good stuff won't happen until I'm done with college and can settle into a career. But.... when is a good time to get engaged?
When he possibly proposes to you. And do not mention engagement, wedding, kids to him. Let it be his idea. You're already living together, spend all your time together, etc. You're both VERY young and have alot of life ahead of you.

Get through school first - all of it. Find a job after school and then these other things will fall into place. You're young - take your time and enjoy these years before they are gone. After that, it's career, house, husband, kids, busy lives and schedules tearing you in different directions, finances, stress.

No need to worry about this now; you have enough on your plate for your age. ;)

Keep up the good work in school!! :)
 

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I'd say take your time :) You both are young, why not enjoy life a little bit before getting married?

My dad always advised me to wait. At least 2 years before getting engaged so you have a better idea of the person you're with. With my current boyfriend, certain issues didn't surface until over a year or so into the relationship.

If you guys are meant to be, then waiting a few years certainly won't hurt. After all, what's a few years when you're going to be married for the rest of your life?
 

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Personally, I think you are moving too fast. You've been dating for about 18 months and been living together for about the same amount of time. You've become an instant couple without really dating and taking your time to get to know one another before rushing to make things serious. People tend to miss red flags and other incompatibility issues when they do this. Why not take a back step and just let things progress slowly? You don't need to always rush to the next step. Don't push him for a proposal like you are now by "joking about being engaged". Just keep dating your boyfriend and focus on school and work. I also think it is a bad idea to live with your boyfriend, but in the end that is your decision. Right now, you are playing house, so married life won't be too much different, so why rush it?
 

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I got engaged at 25 - eloped a few months later and honestly it was too soon. We only dated for 18 months and we were also living together. I wish I would have waited longer. I wasn't ready and neither was he despite the fact that we were playing 'house'.

I have no regrets now (we've been married 21 years) but let me tell you those first years were ROUGH and we were in love. Sigh. Nobody can quite prepare you for what happens when life comes your way while married. Right now it's smooth sailing but it won't always be that way. Stuff happens.

If I had it to do over again I would have waited until I was AT LEAST 28. You'll change a lot the closer you get to 30. In fact adults don't fully mature until about 32. I know my husband and I both changed a lot by then and dare I say it I don't know if I would have married him had I waited. And I know he wouldn't have married me. LOL

Ah but youth is wasted on the young. LOL You're young and in love. You assume it will always be that way so you're anxious to make it all official.

I wish you well with whatever you decide. Just remember you were warned. :)
 

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Hi - I have a daughter your age in college.

You said you are financially independent but you are not. Your parents are paying some of your bills (tuition, car repairs, doctor bills) just like I am for my daughter.

She also has a wonderful boyfriend just like you do. However, they do not live together & she is planning to start her career after getting her BA at age 22, not spending another year in school getting her Masters.

My advice to my daughter is - finish school, get a good job, become financially independent & not dependent on any other person (parents, boyfriend) for a couple of years, then think about getting married.
 

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we've already done "married couple" things for a long time.

I feel like I've already been married to this guy for over a year anyway so anytime would be nice.
I've been right where you are. I've been twenty and living with someone, claiming I already felt married anyway. But I wasn't - and neither are you.

I understand that you're planning a future together, but living together isn't the same as being married. It's not the same financially or emotionally. I say this as someone who's had two years-long, live-in relationships before meeting my husband. Cohabitation pales in comparison to marriage's more solid commitment and work.

I'm not saying you won't get married to him. You both sound like you're working on building a great future together. But I think you're too young yet to appreciate just what hard work marriage really is.

Too, you're not a financially independent couple. It's a whole different ballgame when you've got to generate your own income, and worry about electric bills, car payments, mortgages, and the like. It takes its toll on a relationship in a way it doesn't sound like you've experienced yet.

Summing it up: I'd wait on engagement until you're out of school and gaining financial independence. And I really do wish you all the best!
 

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Well, as my divorce attorney from my first marriage (I was 24 she was 23 when we married) said to me. Men shouldn't marry before 30. 95% of his divorces are because people married too young and the men didn't know who they were yet.
 

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I don't really have much to add that hasn't already been said by other posters. Although I do agree that 2 years living together is a good timeline for how the future will be. But you said something in your post that stood out to me and that was that your boyfriend does not have a lot of friends; if any. This is actually a red flag for me. It may be wonderful now spending all your time together but I promise you that that will get old pretty fast. He needs to have a personal life outside of you. It is a vital and healthy part of any relationship that you have independent interests otherwise you are just looking at a life of codependency. And that is not good for either one of you. I'm not saying he needs to find a group of partiers that drink all night long but even just a group of guys to play golf with, shoot pool with, works on cars with, etc.

Your boyfriend sounds like a wonderful person but sometimes too much of a good thing can be...... too much!
 

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I think it's rare that people who marry young actually make it to their golden years still married.It is possible but rare.

My favorite "marriage rule" is the one about waiting til you're 25-30.

I think you should stop focusing so much on titles and stop trying to force your way into the next phase in life.Be happy with being young and having a boyfriend who loves you:)
 

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My POV

- Dont get married until you are at least 25 (female- i cant speak for men)
- Do not get married before you have been together for at least 3 years (ideally longer!)

I am very similar to you. Have been with my guy since i was 18 (now 27), best frend, great relationship yadda yadda yadda. But i always said that i wouldnt get married until i was mid 20's, because in my eyes you do SO much growing/changing during your late teens early 20s.

If you are going to be together forever, why the rush?
 

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If I had it to do over again I would have waited until I was AT LEAST 28. You'll change a lot the closer you get to 30. In fact adults don't fully mature until about 32. I know my husband and I both changed a lot by then
I never heard that about 32 before, but sounds right. I think I was too young, 24, when I got married. It helped that Mrs P was 30 and had a lot more relationship experience. We only dated for 15 months but had been friends and coworkers for about 5 years. I brought this up recently (we just celebrated 20 years) and she denied I was immature, I guess with her help I faked well most of the time. I know early on I did take her and the marriage for granted, I blame that on youth.
 

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I got married at 25, met exH when I was 22/23 and I can honestly say, I was not mature enough/ready to be married yet. I do not think I understood properly that kind of commitment yet. Even at 25. I thought it was too fast at the time and it was. We were only engaged for a month and a half before getting married. I had reservations about getting married and should have listened to my gut.

But you know what the kids say: YOLO. :p

You live, you learn.



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