Can You Be Engaged Too Long?

Okay, so you’ve got the man, the ring, wedding date. When should you get hitched? Experts say there’s a sweet spot that will help you and your guy get to happily ever after.

We keep cracking up over the trailer for The Five-Year Engagement. In the flick, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel play a couple who have what seems like a never-ending engagement.

The movie looks hilarious (it’s produced by Judd Apatow of Bridesmaids fame), but it made us wonder…how long is too long to be engaged? Sure, sometimes things happen, like one of you goes away to school, moves for work, or has to go on a military tour of duty, but what about if you’re not facing one of those hurdles?

“You want to set a date within 18 months after getting engaged,” says Barton Goldsmith, PhD, author of Emotional Fitness for Intimacy. “Research shows that the likelihood that you’ll actually get married drops after that.”

Relationship expert Paul Coleman, PsyD, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Intimacy, says that the longer an engagement stretches out, the more questions you should be asking—are there really practical reasons getting in the way (you’re finishing school, your guy’s work schedule is insane for the next year) or is there more going on underneath, like one of you has doubts?

If you find that you or your guy is hesitant to set a date, it’s important to be honest with yourself and each other about what you want for the future. Sit down together over a glass of wine and talk about where you’re headed as a couple. Still not sure what the hold-up is? Seeing a pre-marital counselor might help.

That said, Goldsmith says you shouldn’t rush a wedding either. He recommends you be engaged for a minimum of six months before you get hitched to give yourself time to get settled into the idea of happily ever after—and to make sure your guy doesn’t turn into a groom zilla.

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