From a completely different perspective, marriage is something my boyfriend and I are happily discussing. At the time of writing this comment, he and I have been together 7.5 months. To a lot of people, the fact that we discuss this topic “so early” might be alarming. However, we established very early in the relationship, via a very forward and open communication policy, that we wouldn’t be interested in pursuing a relationship if we didn’t see it going somewhere — that somewhere being marriage. Now, his religious background makes our future engagement/marriage/moving in plans differ from your situation. Still, it doesn’t deter us from crafting plans and strategies for how we can approach the topic when it does come along.
Now, my small-town minded extended family likes to remind me of the ticking clock; to which I respond with a polite smile and a “thank you for your input”. For my relationship, children are not in the future, but I do often consider my approaching thirties. I have to remember that society has these “rules” that, quite frankly, are outdated and ridiculous. Do you.
This translates to outside pressure. Not four months into dating, I had several unrelated people inform me that my relationship already seemed like that of an old married couple. Everyone asks how quickly we are going to be making things formal. Hell, I’ve even let some of that pressure rattle around in my anxious mind.
It’s during these times that I give myself some space away from my thoughts and from these societal “norms”. Every relationship is built on unique terms. There is no “one-size-fits-all” formula for exactly when all of this is going to feel right. My advice would be knowing yourself, your partner, and your relationship, and building a framework that fits you. That might look different than what you hoped at one point, but you should know that who you were back then did not have the experience, knowledge, and understanding that you have now. Things are always changing which means you should be flexible and adapt.
Best of luck and thank you for sharing!