You found the man of your dreams, but you’re wondering how long to date before marriage in your 40s. Are you afraid of rushing into your first marriage? Worried about making a mistake in your second marriage? Perhaps you want to know if your partner is taking too long to pop the question?
You know your reasons? Good! Then you’re in the right state of mind to take in the advice we’ll share with you here.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU DATE BEFORE MARRIAGE AFTER 40?
When you ask this question, a lot of people will simply tell you: “It depends,” “There are no rules” or “When you know it, you know it.” Even though it’s true that every love story is different and nothing’s written in stone, dating experts often don’t hesitate to give you much more specific advice when you ask them how long to date before marriage.
Dr. Dave Currie recommends dating for at least one year before getting married. This advice is based on the core principle: “You need to date somebody through the four seasons of one year at a minimum.”
Dr. Currie adds that his personal recommendation is two years of dating before you get married and explains that the idea of the four seasons means that you see your partner over a period of time in a variety of circumstances that will show you who he really is and what he’s really like.
Even though Dr. Currie admits that if you’re older, you’re more experienced and maybe you’re ready to move a little faster, he doesn’t recommend violating the core principle.
This advice is widely shared among experts. Dr. Ian Kerner, licensed psychotherapist and couple’s therapist, also emphasizes the importance of going through different life cycle issues together before getting married. “Generally, that can happen in a year,” he says, but adds that it’s more about the types of experiences that couples share over a certain period than about the amount of time.
DOES IT MATTER HOW LONG YOU DATE BEFORE MARRIAGE?
Whether you’re in your 20s or in your 40s, the length of the dating period does not guarantee your future happiness as a couple. There are people who rushed into the marriage after a few weeks of dating and have been happily married for decades and there are couples who dated for many years before getting married and divorced a few months later.
But even though there is no magic formula for answering the question how long to date before marriage in your 40s, on average there is a correlation between the length of dating and marriage success.
Researchers at Emory University surveyed over 3,000 currently and previously married people in the United States.
They found that couples who had dated between one and two years before getting married were 20% less likely to divorce compared to those who had dated for less than a year. The risk of divorcing decreased by 50% among those who had been in a relationship for three or more years before tying the knot.
BEING IN YOUR 40s CAN BE YOUR STRENGTH
We often hear that after 40 we’ve experienced so much in life that we become more rigid in our expectations from others: we raise our standards and are less likely to compromise. Many people make this sound like a bad thing, something that reduces our chances of getting married. But the truth is that when it comes to the question how long to date before marriage, being in our 40s can play out in our favor.
Natasha Adamo, a dating coach, recognizes that the number one symptom of standard-setting is loneliness. “There won’t be as many people that you connect with but the people that you do connect with… those connections will flush out the pseudo importance of quantity,” she notes.
The impact of the length of dating period on the success of your marriage is not about the amount of time you spent with someone but about how much you shared with them and how well you got to know them. And what’s crucial for getting to know someone else? Knowing yourself in the first place! Now that’s something we definitely get better at with age.
“I think one of the best things about being over 40 is how well I know myself now. I know what I like and what I don’t like, what irritates me and what makes me happy. I know where I’m weak and where I’m strong,” says Wendy Miller, post-divorce coach. This self-knowledge usually translates into a better understanding and management of our interactions with others. “The only room there is in your life for relationships is for good ones. Relationships that bring value to your life, that make you happy, inspired, loved, and satisfied. After 40, you learn to evaluate all your relationships by those standards and if they don’t measure up, you get rid of them,” Miller observes.
Dr. Brandy Engler, relationship therapist, makes an important point: “In my experience, most relationship skills are developed in longer-term relationships.” She argues that the pre-marriage years can set people up for success because they teach them to be great at self-defining so that they can walk into a marriage knowing what they want and how to ask for it.
If you’re not sure how long to date before marriage in your 40s, all these insights suggest that your previous experiences make you better equipped to draw boundaries and, as a result, to develop deeper and more meaningful connections. This means that you may need less time to acknowledge any important incompatibility issues between you and your partner than when you were younger.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A MAN TO KNOW HE WANTS TO MARRY YOU?
A survey conducted for the Jewelers Mutual Insurance group, based on responses from 2,000 engaged and married American men, reveals that the average American man knows after 7 months of dating that his partner is “the one”.
A research team from the University of Chicago reached similar results in a study that involved both men and women. They found that it takes just 172 days to decide if someone is marriage material.
The American entertainer and host, Steve Harvey agrees: “A man knows in 6 months if you’re the one. We’re not gonna tell you this but in 6 months we know.”