Before getting married, it's 100 percent necessary to sit down with your SO and talk about what you both want for the future. But, that doesn't mean you can't do a little sneaky info gathering first. If your relationship feels like the real deal, there are definitely some subtle ways to figure out if you should marry your partner.
Depending on what you want out of life, you might want to pepper in questions and comments about kids. Or moving. Or buying a house. Questions like these can be a part of everyday normal conversation, and often reveal whether or not you two are heading in the same direction.
If marriage starts to sound like a good idea, then it's time to have the real convo. "Even if you or your partner want to surprise one another with a proposal, it is best to take time to discuss marriage," Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and founder of The Dating Lounge Dating App, tells Bustle. "This should occur once you are both serious about the relationship and relatively stable with your lives. If you feel you are ready for marriage and you think your partner is too, do not be afraid to broach the subject." Read one for some subtle questions to ask, before you get heading in that direction.
1. "Would you ever buy a house?"
In order to gauge the future of your relationship, it can help to ask questions about big life choices, like whether or not to buy a house. "This question is subtle enough that it will not come across as too probing. Yet it will also help you to determine when and where your partner stands on settling down geographically," says Daniels. If you both have similar wants/desires, this thing might just work.
2. "What was your brother's wedding like?"
If you're curious about where your partner stands on the subject of marriage, go ahead and subtly bring it up. "If your partner has a sibling who got married, ask this question to find out more about what your partner thought about the wedding," Daniels says. Did they find it fun? Did they think it was totally stupid? Their answer will be all sorts of revealing.
3. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
This classic question is fun to ask anyone, but it's always especially interesting when directed towards a long-term partner. "This question will help you understand what your partner wants to do in the future and how he or she envisions life down the road," Daniels says. "If your love has a clear outline of the next five years, that is a good sign that he or she is ready for marriage."
4. "Why do you think they cheated?"
The next time you're watching a movie about an affair, or know someone going through a similar issue, go ahead and bring it up. As couples therapist and marriage counselor Julienne B. Derichs, LCPC says, "The answers you get from this conversation will give you important information about if you and your SO are ready for marriage." It may be tough, but it'll be worth if it monogamy is important to you.
5. "How did your parents meet?"
Asking questions about your partner's parents can reveal how they feel about marriage. So ask a cute question like "how did they meet?" As Derichs says, "How you and your SO respond to this question can really be an indicator of how ready you both are for marriage." If your SO clearly hasn't thought much about it, take it as a sign.
6. "Will you help babysit my niece?"
If you see yourself having kids someday, you can gauge whether or not your SO wants the same thing by bringing up the topic of kids. Does he or she like kids? Have they thought about what kind of parent they'd be? "If your partner has ideas about children/raising them ... it is a sign he is ready for marriage as he has given these important topics thought," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Bustle. "If he hasn't thought about them but is willing to talk them out with you, it is another sign he is open to the idea of marriage."
7. "How do you feel about your student debt?"
Not many people on this planet are debt-free, so you shouldn't run for the hills just because your partner has a few loans. You do, however, want to figure out if they have a financial plan. As Chicago-based matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran tells me, you should ask about their student loans and/or credit card card, as well as their plan to pay it all off. If it sounds like they've got everything under control, consider it one more positive trait that makes them super marry-able.
8. "Have you ever been to therapy?"
Relationships are tough and divorces happen quite often, so you should only go into a long-term relationship with someone who is willing to put in the work. As marital counselor Marc Fernandez, LMFT says, "It isn't necessary for all couples to be in couple therapy to overcome relationship issues, but it is good to know that your partner is open to the idea if need be."
9. "What in life makes you feel happy?"
While you obviously want your partner to have a full life outside the relationship, it's a good sign if you're still high on their priority list. As Derichs says, "If spending time with you doing nothing in particular helps your SO feel happy, this is a great indicator you ... could be ready for marriage."
10. "Has anyone ever betrayed your trust?"
It can be tough to be in a relationship once the trust is gone, so go ahead and figure out now if your partner has the stuff to fix things should they break. As Derichs says, "Your SO may be more ready for marriage if they are willing to repair trust once it has been knocked around a bit." It shows maturity, as well as a desire to stick with it.
11. "What are your deal breakers?"
OK, so maybe this question isn't the most subtle. But if this is about creating a mature long-term relationship, go ahead and ask it anyway. "People have widely different thresholds for what they can tolerate in a relationship and what they cannot," Derichs says. If it sounds like you two are on the same page when it comes to deal breakers, you may have found a good match.
Keep in mind, however, that none of these questions are cut and dry. Maybe your partner doesn't want kids now, but they'd like to talk about it in the future. Or maybe they don't like the idea of therapy, but would be OK with it once they learned more. Keep asking questions, and you'll hopefully know with time.
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