Dear Wendy: “Couples Are Moving Way Too Fast These Days”

I am 24 and my boyfriend is 29 and we have been together for two years. We are very in love. (Sick, I know!). He is my best friend, and we spend almost all of our time with each other, but we don’t live together. Why do people get a strange look on their face when they find out we don’t live together? What has the dating world come to when two 20-somethings can’t just be in a relationship with each other? Why do we have to combine space, belongings, finances and lives even more than we already do when we start dating someone? I would love a reassessment of how a “normal” courtship is supposed to go. I know that we are doing what’s right for us—not rushing into anything, not taking the step that so many have, only to see it blow up miserably. (My sister is a great example of this and even worse my boyfriend, who was married for two years when he was not even older than I am now!) What’s normal these days might not be right! — Appalled by Modern Times

OMG, what has the dating world come to when people don’t understand that you and your boyfriend are in love, and not fake in love, or, like, “in love for now,” or stupid in love like practically everyone else your age who just rush into things like living together after only two years or, worse, getting married!!! God! Don’t they know only people who are really, truly in love like you and your boyfriend are (sick, I know), have the power to make it last and not see it all just spontaneously blow up in their faces?

What has the dating world come to when people don’t realize there’s only one right way to do things and that’s your way?! It’s simply appalling how other couples run around conducting their private lives in any which way they see fit instead of doing everything your way, which is totally the right way for everyone, of course! I don’t get it; I simply don’t get it. Maybe you and your boyfriend should get T-shirts made. Yours could say, “Doing it OUR way,” and his could say, “Because YOUR way is wrong.” That oughta get your point across! And if it doesn’t? Just wait two years until every other couple you know has broken up because they’re not doing things the right way and you and your boyfriend will still be together because you’re smarter and better and more in love than everyone else. Totally.

I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of two months. I know it seems too short of a time before getting engaged, but it works for us. Shortly after this, I moved into a new apartment with three other girls. I spent a lot of time with my fiance during the first month of living in my new apartment before I realized I didn’t know my roommates. Now I’m struggling to balance my life with my fiance and my friends/new roommates and I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel so guilty when I would rather spend time with my fiance than with my roommates or friends. I cry a lot now and I’m super stressed out, especially because I don’t feel comfortable in my own apartment. Do you have any advice, especially when my roommates don’t relate to or even really like my fiance? — Conflicted and Super Emotional

Are you “conflicted and super emotional” because you feel like you don’t know your roommates very well, or because you don’t know your fiance very well? Two months is a very, very short time to know someone before agreeing to marry him, and I suspect the speed at which it’s unfolding might be freaking you out a little. Ordinarily, I’d say “to each her own,” and if you feel good about your decision regarding your personal life, that’s all that matters. I mean, you certainly wouldn’t need an advice columnist, or a judgmental know-it-all (see letter above) stepping in and telling you you’re doing it wrong. But! The fact that you’ve even written to an advice columnist and that you’re admittedly “super stressed out” and crying a lot indicates that perhaps you aren’t feeling as good about your decision as you say you are.

Most adults who are confident and happy in their relationships don’t feel guilty for spending more time with their significant others whom they’re engaged to than roommates they barely know. Sounds to me you’re actually conflicted and stressed about your engagement and looking for another source to place the blame. After all, why even mention in your letter how quickly you and your fiance got engaged? What does it have to do with not knowing your roommates very well? You could have just as easily—and more succinctly—said you recently got engaged and then shortly after moved in with some new roommates, etc., and the question would have been the same. The fact that you made a point of mentioning the two-months part shows it’s something you feel is part of the problem—the problem being how stressed out, conflicted and super emotional you are.

Take a breather, step back, and reassess. If it seems like things are moving too quickly for your comfort, slow down. Take time to get to know your boyfriend and don’t feel guilty about spending time with him if he’s who you want to be with. But if getting to know your roommates would make you feel more comfortable in your apartment, why don’t you organize a weekly house dinner or weekend brunch when you all agree to cook and eat together (without your boyfriend!). Keep a regular weekly or bi-weekly date with your close friends, making sure to stay up on their lives as much as you keep them up on yours. Staying connected to the people we love who know us the best helps us feel grounded and centered and reminds us of who we are when we start to feel a little lost to ourselves. Sounds like you could use a good dose of that.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]