Everyone is getting married

Dear Meredith,

Longtime reader. Background on me: I am a female, 28-year-old teacher who is a worrier and also has bad anxiety (panic attacks at school, taking medication, goes to yoga, monthly massages etc. to try to help the anxiety). I have been in a few relationships, but I wouldn't call them "long-term" because they only lasted a year or two. Every time I go on Facebook, someone I know from some point in my life is either getting engaged, married, pregnant or a combination of those things. Most of my friends are teachers, are older than me (by five to 10 years), and are all married.

I very recently went back on eHarmony and found someone I truly like. It has only been a handful of dates so far, but I do feel something special about the connection. Now, I know some people will say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket, don't rush, don't assume, take your time," etc. but my question is: How are SO many people I know all going to the altar at the same time? I am concerned I will be alone (my family lives hours away).

My other question is: How do you know you are with the one? Some people say "you just know," but how? As I said earlier, I do feel something special for the man I am seeing, but things can change so quickly. I am trying to navigate my twenty-something years by being positive and not feeling anxious, but I can't help but wonder, how do I know when I have Mr. Right? When can I stop being on the merry-go-round? And how is everyone else doing it so quickly?! I am ready for the commenters to say what they will! I appreciate the honesty. Thank you for your time, Meredith and fellow commenters!

- Worried in the MetroWest


"I can't help but wonder …" That is "Sex and the City" talk, my friend. I'll forgive it.

Let's start with the merry-go-round. We are all on the merry-go-round forever, whether we're married, single, or in between. Even if you get married, you'll be on that merry-go-round trying to figure out how to keep the ride fun and wondering, on occasion, whether other people like it more than you do. Don't let Facebook fool you; getting married doesn't mean you have it all figured out.

You ask why so many people get married at 28. The answer is: That's just when a lot of people do it. Last I checked, 28 was the median age for marriage for women in Massachusetts. Lots of people meet in their 20s, want families, and start the process. It makes sense to me.

Instead of focusing on those married people and attempting to decode their life choices, try to accept that everyone's experience is unique. All that matters is what you're doing now. You like a guy and want more of him. That's all you need to know. Maybe your gut will tell you that want to marry him in a year, or maybe you'll decide after a few more dates that he's not worth your time. Stop looking for a final answer, because there isn't one.

As you keep dating, know that you're a smart person who does have experience. A two-year relationship is long-term. You've been capable of getting to know someone, committing, and moving on when it didn't work out. I'm sure there are a lot of people who look at your Facebook page and think, "How does she do it?"

Readers? Marriages at 28? Merry-go-round?

– Meredith