How long should you wait for someone to commit?

Many women find themselves waiting five years, if not more, for their partner to pop the question.

Men can face a similar quandary, where the woman they're dating continually claims she's not ready to take things to the next level.

This can leave these individuals feeling dejected and doubtful as to whether they have a future with their perpetually hesitant partners.

So how long should you wait for someone to commit?

That really depends on you. There's no hard-and-fast rule to go by. The amount of time people are willing to wait varies by person.

I didn't propose to my wife until we had been together for seven years.

Why did I wait that long, you ask?

For one, I wanted to make sure I was financially secure before taking the leap, and my wife -- who never once pressured me -- understood that. As you well know, engagement rings, wedding receptions, and honeymoons are anything but cheap these days.

But I know other women would not have been as patient. In fact, one of my female friends told me pointedly that if she were in my wife's shoes, she would have kicked me to the curb if she didn't have a ring after three years.

You want to get some sense of your partner's "deadline" in the early stages of dating. Try to casually get an answer out them without asking outright, which may seem forward that early into the relationship.

For example, you can point out that a celebrity waited x number of months to propose to his girlfriend and gauge her reaction. You might also glean clues from a friend or relative, though you don't want to give the impression that you're ready to pop the question right now.

This is the kind of thing that's a dealbreaker in many a relationship, much like discussing whether both people want to have kids.

The earlier you can find out whether your future goals mesh well with your partner's, the earlier you can move on if you find you're not on the same page.

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