16 Women Explain Why They Chose to Have Short Engagements

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When dating leads to getting engaged, then married, everyone’s timelines are different; while some people date for years before getting engaged, or decide to stay together but not ever get married, others meet, fall in love, and are engaged seemingly overnight. So if you’re wondering when to get engaged, there’s no perfect answer. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful relationships, as what works for one couple could be disastrous for another,” Dr. Jess, host of the Drive Your Lover Wild video courses and Sex & Relationship Expert PhD, tells Bustle. “I moved in with my husband five days after we met eighteen years ago — and we’re still going strong!” On the other hand, she says that some people wait years before moving in together or getting engaged, and that works for them.

Dr. Jess says the more important factor is not the length of time a couple has been together, but instead, their motivations for wanting to get married and the quality of their relationship. “Sometimes, we get engaged and marry quickly because we feel pressure related to society, family, pregnancy, or personal timelines,” she says. “I tell all engaged couples to forget about napkin colors and DJs and focus on the relationship; in short, stop planning your marriage and start planning your relationship.”

Dr. Jess adds that compatibility is the key. “It’s not defined by sameness, but by a willingness to put in a similar amount of work to make the relationship last and thrive,” she says. “If you’re committed to the relationship and you’re willing to put in the effort to meet one another’s needs, you can make a relationship work after a month of dating or after ten years of dating.” That said, the women below are primary examples of getting engaged sooner rather than later — and they’re all still with their partners today.