Q: Nine weeks and one day ago, the man I thought was the love of my life dumped me rather unceremoniously. He and I had been together for six years, and everyone thought we were it. We had some issues (obviously,) but I was smitten and thought if I could just fix all my problems, he would come around and be the guy he was in the beginning of the relationship. But that didn’t happen.

Nine weeks ago (aka one day after being dumped) I met Steve at a West Coast Swing dance, and we chatted, and he’s frankly wonderful. And then I ended up hospitalized with the flu and exhaustion and severe depression, and I sent a picture of the IV in my arm to Steve, and his reaction was “What can I do to help?”

Long story short, Steve is the kind of guy that makes me believe in fairy tales all over again. And it’s only been two months, and I know exactly how crazy this is, but we are already planning engagement/wedding and house hunting. (And yes, before you ask, he is thoroughly vetted and has gone through extensive and intrusive questioning by me and my friends, and I have stalked every social media platform he’s ever been on, and everything more than checks out. He is who he says he is.) I was not ready to jump into another relationship—I was planning on buying my own house and enjoying my big bed filled with my three cats and electric blanket, thank you very much. But wily ducks, you know?

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There have been a handful of moments in my life where I just knew. The first night at my college. The third time my ex-husband got fired. The first interview at my workplace. Now. And the day that Steve told me he would wait as long as I needed to get my head into a safer and more comfortable space. And I fell in love with him, head over heels.

Both of us are close to forty. Both of us have been married and divorced and faced several heartbreaks along the way. And both of us are convinced that we found our forever person, by a weird stroke of luck that brought us to the same place at the same time. My therapist is even on board and thinks he’s great for me! Even my mother is giving the green light! (And she has never really liked any of the men I’ve been with!)

So we don’t want to waste any more time. We are shopping for rings, venues, and a house. But how do we explain this to all of the people who love and care about us, but just over two months ago expected me to end up with my ex? How do we convince them of this confidence Steve and I have in each other? Is there anyone else out there who has met, engaged, and married quickly that can give advice for navigating the certain disapproval and confusion that will come from those who love us? (And any stories of successful marriages that came out of quick engagements are also welcome!)

—Lightning McEngaged

A:  Dear LM,

To answer the question you’re asking: you don’t. You don’t explain yourself. You don’t worry about convincing them. Qualifying and explaining and rationalizing your relationship won’t convince anyone. If anything, that’ll be the thing that throws up the red flags. If you’re confident in each other, as you say you are, that’s all you need.

But since you’re here already, have a seat for a minute.

I believe every single word of what you say. I’m sure he’s awesome, a terrific fit. I’ve definitely been in that spot where a terrible situation only opens your eyes to what you really need. Then to be fortunate enough to have that fall into your lap! That’s amazing! I’m thrilled for you that you guys click into place so easily.

But giving yourself more time to get to know your partner isn’t just about background checks and Google searches. (Though let’s have a PSA moment about how important that actually is.) It’s not just to make sure he doesn’t have another family in a different state or a membership in a cult. It’s also to get a feel for all the perfectly normal ways that wonderful people are flawed. Two months is a perfect amount of time to find all the ways he’s just right for you. But is it enough time to sort out all the ways you’re all wrong for each other, and to suss out if you’re okay with that? Put differently: even the best relationships have the same handful of arguments they repeat regularly. Do you know what those will be? A solid relationship is made up of so many of the things you mentioned, that he’s there for you and wants to help you, that he communicates with you and supports you. But a solid relationship is also made up of a dozen teeny little irritations and figuring out how you’ll cope with them.

I’ll take what you’re saying at face value and assume all the big stuff lines up, there are no worries about being on the rebound, no concerns that he’s somehow defrauding you. Assuming that you’re one hundred percent correct, maybe it’s still worth waiting a bit, yeah? If he’s the right person, he’ll still be the right person in another six months. There is no reason to rush.

Ultimately, you don’t need to convince me, or anyone else! But give yourself a gut-check. Have you convinced yourself?

—Liz Moorhead


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