Ask a Very Smart Brotha: 22 Years Old and Ready for a Ring?

June 1, 2011  |  

Dear Very Smart Brotha,

I am a 22-year-old female that recently graduated college, and I dream of settling down with my 23-year-old boyfriend. We’ve been together for three years and I am truly happy with this man. We live together and I do things that most wives do such as cooking, cleaning, etc. My close friends and family tell me that I need to stop shacking up because it will not lead to marriage. I understand what they’re saying, but I feel like if I move out it would be a step backwards in our relationship. Moving out after living together for so long is similar to breaking up. We’ve talked about marriage before and he said he plans on in it within the next couple of years. It is hard to tell if he means it or if he’s just saying that so I wouldn’t move out. My first question is would you guys eventually marry a girl you’ve been living with for so long? and my second question is should I move out and move on or stay for a couple more years to see where things go? I know we’re both still young so I’m not asking him to marry me now. I would just like to be engaged so I know that the relationship is headed towards commitment in the future.


Waiting & Wondering

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  • weethomas

    I think we’d advocate fornication after marriage too.

  • weethomas

    There are people her age not getting engaged and married too. Or is it that most people are getting played because otherwise everyone 22 and up would be married?

  • weethomas

    So how is she getting played? At what age does your “if a man knows he found the person . . . excuse stop him” adage become true? 18? 20? 22? From what she has described, he’s being completely upfront with her. 

  • 123

    Pretty bad advice for letter #2. I met my husband when I was 23 and he 24. We were both out of wollege, we moved in together after 3 months and now, 7 years later, we have had a mature, healthy marriage for 3 years. Just because you’re “young,” it doesn’t mean you aren’t ready for a serious relationship. 

    • weethomas

      No, just like just because the odds are against you, doesn’t mean that you won’t win the lottery.

  • Awesome response!

  • Miss Jane

    My advice to you? Move out. Why? Well, um…you just need to f*cking move out and be a 22 year old.

    *enough said*

    LOVE IT!

  • Ash

    Age is nothing but a number. Mooving out could result to you and your partner falling apart and also it might send out the wrong message to him. Rushing or giving him an ultimatum will only push him away.
    Who says you can't be a married 22 year old and still have fun and live life?

  • Shy

    i'm sorry but what the hell was all the talking about in the first half of the damn reply? it was like get to the point UGH!

  • Young&Educated

    I agree with most of the comments…22 is young & you need to establish yourself first! At 22 I was focused on grad school & my new career. I had a boyfriend of 2 years (exclusively)… although we were not exclusive during the beginning of undergrad. My boyfriend and I moved in together when I was 24 and he was 26… 16 months later he proposed…it's been a great experience so far & I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN READY AT 22… due to the simple fact that I was still so focused on ME & MY LIFE…

  • SoChi

    How is Damon from PA when he talkin bout chicken wangs from harolds? LMAO he obviuosly spent time in the Chi!

  • SayCheese

    I say stay living together and get married. I don't her to be 30 then looking for a husband. That's just way to late. I married my husband when I was 22 and he was 23. That's the best age to get married. I don't know why people wait until their older. By the time reach 33 all the good people are taken or married already. I met my husband in college. We planning to have kids now. They way to find a mate is in college. Don't wait after college. I have friends that looking for someone now and most of the are in their 30's.

    • Shy

      you went to college? did they teach proof reading? #justathought

    • Akua Joseph

      Are you sure you went to college? People, check your post before you send it.

  • Ivey

    not to sound like a science nerd but it think what everyone is saying makes perfect even proves it. We have a frontal lobe in our brains and the function of it is mainly for judgement. Relationship choices are based on what? Judgement. Any person who has taken an anatomy course in college can tell you that the frontal lobe doesnt mature until after 25 years of age..Its also been proven that marriages that typically begin before the age of 25 have a higher rate of ending in divorce..the point is if you're not done growing, how much do you really know yourself. And if you dont know yourself well, what can you possibly know about the woes and hardships of a serious relationship..get back in the oven and allow yourself to "cook" a little more before you put it all on the table.. Marriage is beautiful but it is not for the feeble..good day people.

    • weethomas

      I took the course. . .and I couldn’t tell you that.

  • Nameless for Now

    LOL, commented on the wrong week!
    I love it when you do advice — I like to try to guess the answer before I read it!! I think you hit it dead on when you said that she needs to move out just so she can live life! I even think you have it right when you say if he's gonna marry you, he's gonna marry you regardless of (lol!) whether you bake him a chicken. But I think the question here might be more in the way of odds/probability…if you keep meeting all his needs when y'all aren't married, is it less likely he'll feel a need to put a ring on it?

  • Dcool

    I'm 48 …. lived with a beautiful woman for 2 years ……. we got married and stayed married for 8 years and ended up divorcing. To me it doesn't matter if you live with someone before marriage or not. I've known people who live together for over 20 years and they're not married and very happy vs someone who never lived together …. got married…. and divorced within a couple of years. The question should be. Can you live with the same person till you die ? Honestly in my opinion "NO". The way society is these days. That phrase " Till Death Do You Part" is a fantasy. Look at all the divorces out there. Not to mention people who are in marriages cheating ….. living in pain or some type of crazy arrangement. You don't even hear about those marriages at all. You've got to be a fool being 22 thinking about marriage in the first place. That says you have no window into your future. Marriage should be the last thing a person should think about. Get your education…. go thru experiences…. visit other parts of the world. Make sure you're a whole person before you think about locking yourself with another.

    • weethomas

      So you are saying that people can actually live together before marriage? Or you are saying it’s impossible, but you should have some life experiences before entering into a soul crushing arrangement that you know is doomed to failure.

  • t_04

    LOL @ "you just need to f*cking move out and be a 22 year old", but I agree. I got married in my early 20s. To me, getting married at 22 is too young. There was so much that we didn't know about running a household with another person, having those difficult discussions, compromising, money matters, etc.

  • Dianna

    I agree. I definitely think she should move out. My bf and I tried living together for a while and it didn’t work out. I like the excitement of him actually coming over and not just being home when I get there. Twenty-two is young. Take your time and have fun with life before settling down. You never know, he might not even be “the one”.

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  • homie

    I'm not washing a man's underwear without the ring. If you can sleep next to me every night, cook your dinner ect without a ring you are telling me exactly how you feel about me.

  • Just another guy

    Settling down at 22, I am 21 and no where near ready for marriage, that is like the furthest thing from my mind. It may also be the furthest thing from his mind even though he is with you. Success—–> Play the field——–>than settle down at 26 or 27. That is just my game plan!

  • lively09

    I agree, she needs to move out. I was in a similiar situation, but I was much younger like 20, and after 4 years together he wanted to get married, but I felt like my youth was wasted on being in such a serious relationship, so I moved out, and have never lived with anyone since. Be a young person, travel, enjoy your youth, attend college, work, hangout with friends, but being a wife before the ring is not a benefit in my opinion for the women.


    @ ughh

    the white chicks i know (up here yonder in da BIG CITY) get their BAs, MFAs, build their careers, their credit & bank enough 'F-You' money stashed away in the bank, all while volunteering, traveling and building important friendships before settling down with a man or getting married. getting hitched in your late 20s or 30s doesn't make you an almost spinster.

  • We are smarter at twelve than we are at 20 because at least a twelve year old listens. An engagement is not a guarantee of marriage. This chick needs to chill out and enjoy life. let go a little and let the relationship grow into what it will be, if anything. The duration of a relationship has no bearing on whether or not it should lead to marriage. Geesh!

  • msgonzo10

    Great advice and I appreciated that "The Champ" focused on doing what's best for HER separate and apart from getting married. EVERY man and woman should live on their own before they live with a significant other because that's part of growing and figuring out who you are as an adult. They've been together since she was 19, and while I'm not saying she should break up with him just because but most women in their late 20s and older can attest to the fact that what we viewed as the "right" man @ 19 is not the same as what's the right man @ 25, 28, etc. particularly once reality truly starts to set in about what it takes to maintain a relationship and certain lifestyle for your family.
    Hopefully she will take the advice offered and move out to focus on her and as was mentioned, she just might realize that marriage is not what SHE wants right now.

  • Of COURSE the advice is to not be looking for marriage. Even though she's going to be considered past her prime for the middle 50% of the most eligible males worth marrying by time she gets to 30! 8 years is not that long. She is right to get her life in order dating around when what you have in front of you is working is the downfall of the U.S. relationship scene. What I don't agree with is shacking up in the first place. You want to be roommates and have your own rooms and be responsible for your own dishes fine. Making him such a big priority when he hasn't made you feel like a priority in the way you can appreciate…eh. Bad idea. Move out yes, let him take care of his own place. If you want to get married and a year more goes by and he's not on the same page…move on. People will say the PC thing but he is not the only compatible man out there and it doesn't take half your most eligible dating years for a man to decide if you're the one for him or not. Many a woman wasted too many of her best years with the wrong man. Most of who I know that got married, they got married in their TWENTIES. Somewhere between 25 and 30.

  • "Move out. Why? Well, um…you just need to f*cking move out and be a 22 year old. It seems like you’re in a happy relationship, and I don’t want you to end it. But, I do think you should get your own place just so you can finally have some breathing room." – I think this is good, stand alone advice for young people who don't have a lot of life experience, in general.

    On the other hand, I also think that if the couple are both growing in the same direction, that they'd have a better chance of staying married and raising healthy, well adjusted children in a two-parent, two-income home, than if they end up getting pregnant, getting married and feeling like they had no choice but to "do the right thing", resenting each other and getting divorced.

    SN: There was a time in the not too distant past when young women went to college to get your AA, BA, AS, BS and their MRS degrees, too!

    • newlywed

      I think it depends on the couple. My husband and I were dating for two years when we decided to move in with each other. We were living with each other on and off for four years prior to our engagement. Now, after six years of being with each other, we are now husband and wife.

      We were living with each other on and off for four years not because we were feuding. Rather, I had the opportunity to travel within the US for my internships. Fortunately, my spouse (boyfriend/fiance at the time) was very supportive of me leaving our place in favor of pursuing my goals.

      But, we moved in with each other for two reasons: We knew we wanted to marry each other but didn't want to rush into it at age 22/23. Another reason was economical- it didn't make sense for us to pay rent at two different apartments when we were sharing the cost of food, like most college couples typically do.

      I always felt that you can learn A LOT from someone by living with them…. And I am still learning new things about my husband everyday!

      • newlywed

        *Not only cost of food, but cable, electricity, etc.

    • weethomas

      Why would you get an AA and a BA or AS and a BS? MRS isn’t any degree I’ve ever heard of.

  • I'm 28, and marriage was the farthest thing from my mind at 22. I agree with Damon, you are much to young to be living with someone and thinking about marriage. I think you have to learn how to live with yourself before you can live with someone else. Clearly he isn't ready for marriage, yet. And like Ashley said, I've had friends that dated through out college broke up for a while and got back together and are married now. Don't rush into things, just live life you have a lot of it ahead of you.

    • weethomas

      How is that clear? Or what do you mean by “ready for marriage”? Based on what she said, neither of them want to be married now or even a year from now.

  • NM817

    I'm glad you told her to move out, 22 is young, but you didn't mention the moral aspect of the situation. On top of that studies have proven that the majority of couples who live together prior to marriage end in divorce. You should definitely check out: Why Shacking Up is a Curse to Marriage..

    • KikuyuDread

      You have to be careful with how you read statistics. 

      Let’s say you have 10 couples that live together before marriage. 5 couples break up and move out. The other 5 get married. If 3 of the couples get divorced, people will say, “60% of couples who live together before marriage get divorced,” when in reality, it’s actually 30%. If these studies aren’t taking non-married couples who live together and break up into account, then they are not valid. 

  • Ashley S.C. Walls

    I lived with my boyfriend for a while and moved out and now we live together again. Things are fine and we had our ups and downs but honestly, it takes YEARS (way more than 3) to get to know someone. Not that people should not get engaged before unless they have known each other for years, but I PROMISE you that some major things will change about you between 22 and 25 (him as well) and you will be happy that you all waited a little while. I would defintely say if you move out dont do it because you are worried that he wont marry you but because you NEVER want to look back and regret not having the experience (you dont want him to regret it either). And know, its not permanent. You can move out for 6 months and move back in. Be easy about it.

  • chrissy

    I'm 21 i have similar problem and this article helped. 🙂

    • Cuba

      these guys vsb always write in the funniest their articles…
      …my girl & I going on vacation…air line gave away $1000 Gift card for anywhere in world..just for giving them our puttin the fam on it..