There is no way to short-cut from a relationship to a happy marriage just because one partner is ready, and it’s the “next logical step.” In a western culture it’s common (and mistaken) to think that given enough time any committed exclusive sexual relationship eventually leads to marriage. This is not true because the way men and women arrive at a point in their lives when they’re ready to marry a specific partner is different enough to cause issues for those unaware of how this actually happens.

If you’ve ever known a couple that has been together for years, eventually got married only to divorce a year later, the information below will explain why that happens and how to avoid this situation all together. First, let’s address the difference between when men and women are ready to get married and how they go about deciding if their current partner is right.

There is a very big misconception that once a man meets a great girl, he will settle down with her. In reality, men don’t settle down because they’ve found the right woman. Men settle down when they’re ready and mature first. After some time of looking around and dating different girls, a man will find a suitable woman to date and if that’s the woman they’re still dating when the marriage bug bites – it’s only then that a man will marry her. Whatever woman they’re dating when they are ready is the woman they settle down with. Not the best woman, not the prettiest, but the woman they were dating when the time was right. Note that the fact that a man is ready to get married isn’t based on the woman he’s with at the time or if he’s even in a committed relationship at all.

This often baffles women who find a great guy and he’s not yet ready for marriage so he either leaves on his own when given an ultimatum or the girl simply comes across a man who is already open to marriage, drops the boyfriend and pursues this new guy. Then, a few years later, they are surprised that their ex is happily married to another woman very similar to herself. The issue wasn’t that the original girlfriend was a bad match (quite the opposite), it’s just that the man wasn’t ready to get married yet and the woman moved on to someone with a more aligned timeline.

The women marry in the similar fashion, but with a subtle difference. Until a woman decides that she is ready to get married, her criteria for dates and boyfriends is based on her need for companionship and “fun.” A woman that is not quite ready to get married will still be very open to dating questionable long-term matches. Women decide that the time is right and they want to get married, just like men, but it’s only then that they begin the relentless search for the best match on paper. Whether the man is ready or not, once a woman is ready to get married and has decided that the man she’s dating currently is a good match, he will be relentlessly pursued (and often outright pressured) into a marriage even before he is ready.

Note the subtle but very important difference between how men and women choose the person they will ultimately marry: men date women they get along with, and when they’re ready whoever they’re dating at the time gets the ring. Women on the other hand, date men they get along with, but once they’ve decided to get married they sometimes marry their boyfriend at the time (if he’s on the same schedule and has his stuff together) or what is most often the case, they drop their long-term boyfriend and go on a quest to find the “marriage material” man who is also ready to get married.

This baffles men who after being exclusive with a woman for a while, in many cases already living together for a year or more, find that their girlfriend declares that they’re now not “on the same page,” starts dating other people and is married 6 months later to a guy completely different in type to her past 5 ex boyfriends.

With a better understanding of how men and women decide the right time and partner to get married to, it’s now easier to see that two of the most common ways to get oneself in to a marriage with the wrong partner is possible via the following ways:

1) For a man who is ready to settle down to continue spending time with women of questionable compatibility with him, and marrying the wrong one because that’s the one they’re dating at the time a man either decides he’s ready for marriage or a woman decides and corners a man in to a marriage.

2) For women to select men based on objective attributes which exclude said men’s ripeness for marriage. Many a woman mistakenly assumes that if a man is motivated enough to be sexually exclusive, that is all the indication required that he is willing and ready for marriage after being together for a given period of time. In reality there is no connection between the two. Cornering a man in to a marriage is a guaranteed way to end up unhappy and divorced just a few short months or years later.

The conclusion from all of the above is that from a man’s perspective it’s important to only choose sane and stable partners to have relationships with, so that when the time comes getting married is natural and effortless as opposed to nerve-wracking and “a lot of issues to clear up” at best and idiotic at worst. For women the task of getting married to a great guy is less on “taking the time to select just the right guy on paper” and more on already dating a great guy at the right time when he is finally ready.

And although there are differences in how men and women go about finding a spouse, once you understand how this process actually takes place, you will understand that it’s based on timing and location a lot more than on perfect compatibility on paper or length of a relationship prior to marriage. Continuing to live out a romantic notion of what marriage is and how it comes about means that a lot of people, instead of accepting the “it’s not romantic, but it’s true,” throw caution to the wind and depend on pure luck for one of the most important decisions that will affect their day-to-day lives and their happiness long-term.