How long should you date?

“We have been dating for three years, and I think things are starting to get boring.” an agitated Sylvia Nasakka, out rightly tells off her boyfriend during a dare game at a get together with friends.

Time does play a part in strengthening or breaking the bond of a relationship. For Nasakka, Timothy Kibuuka seems to have taken a little too long to pop the “Will You Marry Me” question.

“I had no idea she felt this way,” Kibuuka disclosed later, “We have been going steady for years I just thought a little more time would prove whether we are compatible. I don’t want to rush into marriage. I have seen several marriages faulting because of lack of ample time during dating,” he confessed.

So, is long-term dating only a delaying tactic by partners who are contemplating marriage or is it simply the right thing to do? While many argue that a relationship needs time to grow, and rushing marriage would end in a short- lived relationship, others think, there is no need to date for too long when you can learn things about someone in a few months.

How long is long?
“Dating should take an average period of six months. If there are things you cannot know about a person in a few years, then you are living under pretence.

In the first month you can know so much about who they are, that the second month you know whether they are who you want and then you start examining if they truly are what they seem” says Patrick Muhire, an Information Technology Specialist at Uganda Tourism Board.

Muhire resounds the argument of many that if you have been dating a person for two years with no thought of a proposal, what are you doing? Those don’t know what they want. You hear them say, “I am not yet sure, I still want to examine them,” he says.

The eventual result of this courtship is that it ceases to be dating, because the pair moves in together, start mating along with the dating that goes beyond the “getting to know each other into really ‘knowing each other’”. Frankly put, they begin having sex, then babies, then before you know it- never a wedding (but they are still dating).
“You should get married as soon as you start dating. There can never be a time limit anyway, it is majorly after you have seen all they have to offer both the good and bad- but the time within which you see that depends on the transparency of the person.

Some might remain pretentious until you put a ring on their finger,” argues Kenbert Kaganzi, concluding that if you are dating that long then you are delaying the gestation period for marriage.

Yet, despite this indicative support for dating a few months, Muhire is of the view that those who date for a short time- “like one week” end up “getting problems after the wedding.”

They begin making complaints such as. “I didn’t know this guy could do this or that.” Using the analogy of a church girl who meets a brother at church, they wed, but he returns to old drinking, partying and smoking habits which he conceals in the week of dating.”

Does the time matter?
Look at reality Tv family, the Kardashians, and their short term dating-quick marriage mishaps. Chloe Kardashian and football star Lamar Odom, how did that end? Not too well if I remember- the marriage lasted only a few years.
And well, not much can be said about the sister Kim whose wedding to Kris Humphries ended as soon as it had started (filing divorce only 72 days later), followed by a dramatic meltdown from embarrassment. But yet again, how long was it before she married Kanye West?

Unlike Timothy Kibuuka, Samuel Ssebowa started dating his sweetheart a year after he left university. It is the second year now but plans to get married are already underway.

“I know she is the one, and waiting for five years longer is like discerning that feeling. We should be married in the third year of our relationship, she has completed school and it feels like the perfect timing,” he said. The couple is in their early 20’s.

At 41, Fatuma Abdulahi, a Somali who lived in exile for more than 20 years is not married. She disclosed during an interview with Josephine Karungi on NTV’s Women and Power feature saying that “I don’t believe people should marry because there is a deadline…” So, is there no need to rush marriage? Or should we get married as fast as possible? Maybe one should date long enough to achieve better compatibility results? Perhaps dating is simply a delaying tactic?

Expert’s take : Agatha Kisakye Kabugo, Counsellor

Psychologist and counsellor, Agatha Kisakye Kabugo, believes cohabiting is wrong in whatsoever form. “Why delay the marriage for three more years when by the second year you are certain she or he is the one?” she wonders.
“There are parents who got married only after one to two years of dating and these relationships have lasted more than 25 years. So there is no assurance that dating for six years will create the right companion.” She rejoins her thoughts with Ssebowa and Muhire who also view that the longer you date, the more married you seem to those watching especially if you start cohabiting. And thus prescribes that couples should not wait for time, years simply stall what could be meant to be.


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