I want to take the next steps … now

Have a lunch break today? I'll be at the newly reopened Trident Books & Cafe on Newbury Street signing stock at 1 p.m. Feel free to say hello, find some gifts, etc. Come tell me the name of your favorite commenter.

I met my boyfriend more than two years ago. We could only see each other a couple of days a month because of the distance (we lived in different countries while I was still in college). However, this year I graduated and we moved in together just like we planned. We love each other very much – there's no doubt about that. Long-distance wasn't easy, but we made it.

Now that we're together, I want to move to the next stage. I want to get married and have kids. I am ready and I know he's the one because I've never thought about these things with anyone else. I was almost against marriage before I met him. Now everything has changed and I can't see it otherwise.

The problem is that he's been married before – twice, actually. I had a hard time dealing with that, but I guess I'm over it. The first time he was hurt, but the second time he realized that he married for the wrong reasons. Now, I understand that he doesn't want to rush into marrying me, especially since we moved in together only a couple of months ago, but it kills me to wait. We both want the same things; he wants to marry me, have kids, and so on. But I am very impatient. Every now and then I feel like this isn't going to happen (even though I don't have real reason to believe so). I'm also afraid that he might change his mind eventually. I, myself, have my own baggage; I come from a family that betrayed me, never had a father around, never trusted men, and most of the men I met were awful. I have trust issues. I just don't want my issues to interfere with us now. I don't like giving ultimatums, but at the same time I don't want to stick around only to be hurt later. I hope this makes sense and that you can advise.

– Impatient

Getting married right now does not magically protect you from getting hurt later. It does not mean that all questions have been answered and that Happily Ever After has been achieved. I understand that you want some sort of guarantee that this relationship is going to last forever, but there's no such thing.

My advice is to get some therapy – because you need to process these desires and what they’re really about. I'd also focus on other plans you can make with your boyfriend. You're jumping to marriage and kids, but there are other goals to consider. Now that you're in the same place, can you plan trips? Visits friends? Can you talk about a five-year plan for your finances? There are so many ways to show your commitment. Sometimes those other steps can feel even more meaningful.

You want to get married because you're afraid he'll change his mind, but the best time to make that kind of promise is when you're confident he won't. Get used to living with him before you demand next steps. You're finally in the same place and can enjoy each other's company. If you hit fast forward on the relationship, you'll miss some of the best parts.

– Meredith

Readers? What other plans can this LW make with the boyfriend? When should marriage be on the table?