Is Ariana Grande going too fast? Experts weigh in on quickie engagements – and if they can work out in the end

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The singer shared the news of her engagement to fiancé Dalton Gomez on Sunday. CREDIT: Instagram / @arianagrande
The singer shared the news of her engagement to fiancé Dalton Gomez on Sunday. CREDIT: Instagram / @arianagrande

When Ariana Grande announced she’s engaged again there were more than a few raised eyebrows.

Feels like just the other day the singer and Dalton Gomez started dating and now they’re getting ready to say I do. 

The 27-year-old shared the news of her engagement to fiancé Dalton on Sunday with a series of images on Instagram that included a photo of her new diamond engagement ring.

"Forever N then some," she captioned the post.

Dalton, a real estate agent, was born and raised in southern California, and according to his bio on the Aaron Kirman Group website, he's worked in luxury real estate for five years. 

Although the pair are rumoured to have been dating for just less than a year, things became internet official when the 25-year-old made a cameo appearance in the music video for Ariana and Justin Bieber's hit duet, Stuck with U, which included clips of fans and celebrities practising social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The star’s mom, Joan (63) – whom insiders say is ‘thrilled’ about the news – took to Twitter to celebrate her daughter's engagement on Sunday. 

"I am so excited to welcome Dalton Gomez into our family! Ariana, I love you and Dalton so much!!!! Here’s to happily ever after! YAY! xoxoxo," she wrote, giving her stamp of approval.

This is Ariana’s first public romance since she ended her highly publicised engagement to Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson (27) in 2018.

But does she stand a chance to be lucky in love this time, seeing as she seems to be moving just as fast?

Ariana's relationship with Dalton is her first pub
Ariana's relationship with Dalton is her first public romance since she ended her highly-publicised engagement to Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson (27) in 2018. CREDIT: Getty Images / Gallo Images

YES . . . AND NO

Quickie engagements aren’t always destined to end in tears, says relationship expert Jane Greer. It all depends on the couple and the effort they’re willing to put into building a solid partnership.

“They can work but really require a certain amount of time and effort for the relationship to solidify and for the couple to really learn how to work things out with each other,” she says.“They’ll need to move beyond their instant attraction. They must ‘sober up’, so to speak, and deal with life as it is, as opposed to the exhilaration they might be feeling in the beginning.”

Joburg counselling psychologist Patty Sabbagh suggests holding off on the engagement until you’re well past the initial attraction so you can be sure what you feel is not just lust.

“My advice is to wait two years,” she says. “Relationships go through stages, and the first stage – the romantic stage – can last anything from a few to 18 months. In this stage your brain releases oxytocin, making you feel as if you’re on a high and causing you to view the world, and especially your partner, through rose-tinted glasses.”

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, USA, surveyed 3 000 couples a few years ago and found that those who’d dated for between one and two years before getting married had significantly lower divorce rates than those who’d been together for less than a year. And those who’d waited three years had even lower divorce rates.

This isn’t to say that those who choose to marry early are all doomed to fail. In fact, marrying in your mid-20s is best for marital happiness, whereas marrying in your late twenties or early 30s is best for stability, according to a study by American think-tank the Urban Institute in 2014.

“Waiting somewhat translates into stability,” explains Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project. “But those who wait longer tend to be less happy, perhaps because they have more baggage from past relationships.”

UK-based relationship expert Ben Edwards says a relationship timeline is always unique to a couple.

“A few generations ago there was a set expectation for men, and particularly women, to meet their partner young, marry, start a family and ultimately stay together for the rest of their life.“Now that there are other options and fewer limitations, social norms are being challenged.”

Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist Chevon Cawood says there isn’t a magical period of time a couple should date before getting engaged, or should spend engaged before tying the knot.It’s not the amount of time spent engaged that counts, but rather how couples spend that time, she says.

“These days it seems a lot of couples focus on the wedding ceremony without much thought about the marriage itself or what happens after the wedding.”

Cawood advises couples to have the right conversations.

“Talk to your partner about why it’s important for you to get married. What are your expectations of each other when you get married, or of being married?”

Sabbagh warns against throwing yourself headlong into marriage simply because everyone else is doing it.

“Often visible social media behaviour around relationships, such as amazing marriage proposals and engagement rings either among our friends or our favourite celebrities, can trigger insecurities in ourselves and give us unrealistic expectations for what should be happening in our own relationships,” she says.

Research has found divorce can be “contagious” and, it seems, quickie engagements can be too, especially among celebs.

Greer points out that celebrities lead a vastly different lifestyle, which encourages them to prioritise their instincts over conventional relationship rules.

“They’re often away on shoots where there’s a certain opportunity for romance outside the life of laundry and dishes. It’s all about the high.”

“The danger of celebrity behaviour is that it can normalise less-than-optimal behaviour,” says California- based clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula.

“If a celebrity can get engaged in a month, why can’t the rest of us?” 

Sabbagh advises couples who are considering engagement to attend premarital counselling sessions.

“The real focus should be on what’s actually happening in your relationship and not on the public image you and your partner present on social media or to your friends.”


Justin Bieber (26) and model Hailey Baldwin (24) caused shockwaves when they announced their surprise engagement two years ago. They’d dated for a few months in 2015 and split up, but reignited their romance in 2018, and within a few weeks they were engaged, then married a few months later.

Chris Pratt (41) surprised author Katherine Schwarzenegger (31) with a ring after seven months of dating – and a mere three months after his divorce from Mom actress Anna Faris (44) was finalised.

Nick Jonas (28) and Priyanka Chopra (38) also don’t believe in wasting time – within two months of hooking up they were reportedly already making wedding plans and by the end of 2018 they were man and wife. 

CREDIT: Getty Images / Gallo Images
CREDIT: Getty Images / Gallo Images

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