There comes a moment in every fairy’s life when long nights of swilling Moet and getting blisters on the dance floor at the coolest bar just doesn’t cut it anymore. For some of us, it’s a subtle tilt in priorities that happen over many months; and for others, it’s like a breaking a zipper on your Hervé Léger dress – quick, rough and painful.
It’s difficult to pinpoint whether it’s time to take your relationship to the next step, or start looking for Mr. Right (and not Mr. Right-Now), but we’ve enlisted the help of relationship guru, Dr. Nikki Goldstein.
Firstly, ‘settling down’ means something completely different today than it meant to our parents or grandparents.
“Once-upon-a-time girls simply had to settle, whereas now we can choose to focus on ourselves and our career before thinking about marriage and babies,” Dr. Nikki says.
“These days, couples don’t usually settle down as soon as they reach the altar, because they’ve generally already been living together for years; marriage is simply a certificate or way to make the commitment official,” she adds.
So how do we know it’s time to commit? Well, Dr. Nikki explains it’s all about understanding what marriage means to you.
“The first sign it’s time to commit is when you have a frank discussion with your partner and you both have similar values when it comes to marriage. If you aren’t on the same page, it’s not the right time to take the relationship to the next level.”
Dr. Nikki claims that another sign that you’re ready to settle down could be in you and your partner’s shared assets.
“If you and your partner have already made a commitment to purchase a house or have a shared pet, you’re already tied together financially and emotionally and have probably tested the relationship by settling disagreements through compromise,” she says.
“The ability to disagree and navigate your relationship through tough times – especially financial – is another sign it’s time to commit.”
If you’re considering starting a family with your beau, it’s also a key sign you’re ready to make a commitment of the marital-kind.
“Wanting to have a child with your partner is another sign it’s time to step things up with the relationship. What could be a bigger commitment than bringing a baby into the world together?” Dr. Nikki says.
Sometimes you and your partner might be ready for marriage, but circumstance means that you might not be able to afford your dream wedding. Dr. Nikki recommends postponing it for a year or two.
“If you can’t afford a wedding, don’t be ashamed to wait until you can. Whether you’ve just started your own business or you’re trying to invest in a house, you should understand that marriage can wait a year or two.”
“Weddings place stress on a relationship; you’re choosing colour schemes, ensuring both of your parents are happy with the ceremony and deciding whether your second cousins make it on the guest list, adding on the pressure of a huge budget when you can’t afford it can be too much.”
“Your financial situation will probably change over the next few years, but your love for each other won’t; so why not wait it out?” Dr. Nikki says.
The blanket rule in all of these cases is that if you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with your partner and happy to make a vow in front of friends and family, then it’s probably a sign you’re ready to settle down.
We had a chat around the Wedded Wonderland office to come up with a few other signs it might be time to settle down; however we can’t guarantee these ones are ‘relationship expert’ approved…
“When all your friends are getting married and having babies and you still count a block of Cadbury and glass of wine as a well-balanced meal”
“Whenever you see your girlfriends, the first thing they do is list off all the eligible bachelors they’ve met since your last catch-up”
“When you have a screenshot of celebrity engagement rings on your phone and try to subtly show your boyfriend by pointing out their ah-mazing nail polish colour”
“When 90% of your Instagram feed is wedding related”
“When your mum starts mentioning how much she misses the pitter-patter of little feet around the house”
“When your back-up plan hubby (the male best-friend from high school who you made a pact to marry if you’re both single by 30) starts looking like the best option”
Dr Nikki Goldstein is Australia’s modern day expert on all things relating to sex, relationships and EVERYTHING in between. Her unique ability to normalise the subjects of sex and relationships and her fresh, balanced and candid views make her instantly relatable and approachable. Voted Australia’s Best Sex Educator for the last two years running, she’s young, bright, honest and already has a credible background many peers would envy.