My husband and I dated for 9 years before getting married. I recommend it to those with anxiety.

Kate Oczypok and her husband getting married
  • My husband and I dated for eight years before he proposed. 
  • While his procrastination initially annoyed me a bit, I now am grateful that we got so much time to know each other. 
  • As someone with anxiety, it is hard for me to feel comfortable around new people. 

I first met Brad in April 2012. A woman who worked at the front desk of my former apartment building was good friends with one of Brad’s coworkers who lived in my building. The two decided that Brad and I would be great together and ended up slipping a Starbucks gift card underneath my door, encouraging us to get coffee on a blind date.

We did end up getting coffee, with me thinking, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, I can at least write about it.” Little did I know, nine years later I would be writing about it working out.

Brad and I spent eight years together before we got engaged on October 1, 2020. We married a year later. Yes, Brad took, as many said, “his good old time” asking me to marry him.

As someone who is often impatient and loves to plan out everything to the last detail, I did not like waiting to plan our future together at first. Brad is a self-professed procrastinator, waiting and deliberating on every decision he makes.

Now that we have been married for a few months, I look back with gratitude that Brad and I waited nearly a decade to get married. We were able to spend our years dating getting to really understand one another. 

We endured many rough times before marriage

While we dated, we endured the loss of three of our grandparents, a job loss of mine, my anxiety ebbing and flowing and Brad’s retinitis pigmentosa worsening, which causes vision loss. We both take time to open our vulnerabilities to others, and I know Brad and I are glad we did take so much time to wed.

We also were able to appreciate our differences and acknowledge them. I am an extrovert with generalized anxiety disorder. Brad is more introverted and prefers hobbies like sports card collecting that are more of a singular passion. When I get anxious or tired of being around people, Brad is there to remind me it’s okay to retreat by myself for a while to recharge.

There are benefits to putting marriage on hold

According to a 2017 study, researchers at Emory University found that when compared against couples who have been dating for one year, those who dated one to two years had a 20% lower chance of divorcing. When those couples were studied against those who dated for three or more years, their likelihood of divorcing was decreased by a whopping 50%.

Also, it turns out Brad and I aren’t in the minority. Another study reported the average time couples wait to marry is five years. 

This all makes sense, especially for Brad and me. With parents married for 37 years and 55 years respectively, we have some amazing role models. Growing up, both Brad and I could see the amount of serious commitment and work it takes to have a successful, multi-decade marriage.

When you know, you know

Personally, I do recommend the type of extended courtship Brad and I had. I think dating for a long time is a great way to go into marriage. While I was impatient as the years were passing by, and there was the ongoing joke among my friends about how long Brad and I took to marry, I am truly grateful we had the time to really get to know each other and our deepest thoughts. I am 100% comfortable with Brad and as someone with anxiety, I feel comfortable knowing we spent enough time together before we married.