"We'd talked about commitment before he came." Two months later, Lewis asked permission of Jamison's parents to propose to her.
They gave him their blessing and her grandmother's engagement ring.
So cohabitation gives a man all the benefits of companionship without the risks of marriage.
"Obviously, some people have sex very early in relationships—that's a personal decision," says Van Epp.
"But the fact is, we're all on our best behavior when we're trying to woo someone.
"A woman would come in and gush that she'd been at a party and met the love of her life, or a man would tell me that he was at a bar and found a woman who completes him," Van Epp says.
"What they found were people they were very attracted to but who they don't know at all. If his relatives are nuts, does he know they're nuts?
The partner who doesn't want to become more committed should examine her motives.
Is she trying to gather more information about the relationship and her partner?Once upon a time, falling in love was a remarkably straightforward process. If he wanted to date her exclusively, he asked her to go steady.If he was in college and the steady thing was going well, he gave her his fraternity pin—a symbol, if she chose to wear it, to all the world that they cared very much about each other. It's not that romance didn't involve moments of heartache and anxiety, but it proceeded along a recognized, accepted, and very clear trajectory that had a powerful momentum toward commitment.One of the problems with contemporary romance, says psychologist Scott Stanley, Ph D, cofounder of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) and author of The Power of Commitment, is the absence of those instantly recognizable and often public markers of commitment.It's not that he thinks women today should get pinned, exactly, but without the traditional signposts, couples tend to slide into relationships they haven't thought much about and they each value differently. Stanley says he's seen some version of that story countless times during the 25 years he's spent studying relationships.So how can couples know if they're doing that inevitable waltz to marriage or if they're in separate romantic universes?