I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years and we are in this for the long haul. We are not in a rush, but we are at the age where many of our friends are walking down the aisle, so marriage has been discussed. However, we have one fundamental difference on the subject. I would prefer not to live together before we were engaged, and he thinks we should. My reasoning is that he is not the type to get anything done unless he has a strong incentive. I don’t want to move in with him and find us unmarried 10 years later, which is what I envision happening. Our apartments are a few blocks away, so we practically live together anyway. How do I tell him how I feel without making it sound like I am pressuring him?

Letter from Dear Prudence on 2/5/2016

Dear Ms. Pressure,

I hate to break it to you, but the situation you’re afraid of happening is already happening. It’s been four years, which is more than enough time to know whether you want to marry someone.  Still no ring.  You’ve talked about marriage, which is a tiny baby step toward it, but where’s the ring?  Where’s the planning?  What goals are the two of you working towards?  You’re worried about “pressuring him” but it’s been four years!  That’s like the opposite of pressuring someone! At this point, whether you move in with him now or not, it won’t make a difference.  The outcome will be the same.

If you want marriage, you must tell him so.  Don’t be afraid.  He must be on the same page with you though.  If he’s not ready for marriage, then you just have to accept that. You can’t make him want it. If he wants to get married then, set goals to move the two of you closer to walking down the aisle.  Make sure these goals are clear and concise.  Set actual dates.  If your boyfriend wants to get married, he will make an effort to meet these goals.  You’ll know he is serious about getting married or not by the amount of effort he puts into meeting the goals.

However… if he does not want to get married, you have a big decision to make. You can leave him and find a guy with similar relationship goals.  Or… you can give up on your dreams of holy matrimony and shack up.  Choose wisely.

~Jana Leigh

So Readers, what do you think?  Is four years enough time to know whether you want to marry someone?  Should you move in together before engagement?

**Photo credit: theguardian.com