If you see a future with your significant other, you may be on the lookout for signs your partner wants to get married, or commit to being together long-term. You might feel a rush of excitement when you meet their family, or when you guys talk about moving in together. But what if these relationship-defining moments never come?
While there are plenty of reasonable explanations for why your partner may not want to talk about the future yet — and it may even be a phase you can work through, together — it's always a good idea to stay true to what you want in a relationship. If your partner seems like they aren't taking things seriously, you owe it to yourself to figure that why ASAP.
"Usually a person’s views about long-term relationships will come out naturally. You might get a general sense of this person’s willingness to commit quite early," certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "If, however, you can’t figure out what your partner thinks, it never hurts to ask ... If a marriage is important to you, then you should definitely discuss it early in the relationship. There’s no sense wasting time and emotional energy on someone who doesn’t share such an important goal." Read on for a few signs experts say may indicate your partner doesn't want to get married, so you can make sure you're both on the same page.
1They Always Introduce You Without A Title
Let's say you're out on the town and run into someone your partner knows. If they introduce you by name, and leave out any sort of title, it could be a sign they aren't yet thinking towards the future.
Because even though it may not seem like a big deal, titles really do mean something. "When you are given a title you identify within a certain category," marriage and family therapist Dr. Saudia L. Twine, Ph.D., NCC, LLPC, LLMFT tells Bustle. . "If you move from friend to [partner] it shows you are special and requires separation from others."
If this seems to be happening more often than not, make sure your partner knows that taking things to the next level is important to you. If they are serious about you and the relationship, they'll be more than happy to get serious about titles, too.
2They Leave You Out Of Family Events
While you might not expect to be invited along to holiday parties or family reunions early on the relationship, there should come a time when you start attending these things as a couple. So take note if you're consistently left behind, without a reasonable explanation, as it may have a deeper meaning.
"People who think long-term look forward to introducing you to their family," says Twine. "They want their family and loved ones to get a sense of who you are and if you are right for them."
If it's bothering you or you're worried, be sure to speak up and ask what gives. You might also consider inviting them along to your own family events, introducing them to your friends, and making them a part of your extended circle. Once they see that you're committed it can ease up the pressure, and they might follow suit.
3They Don't Snag The Chance To Move In With You
After you've been together for a while, you might start to think about moving in with your partner. But instead of snagging the chance to combine your lives, your significant other balks at the chance. "[Their] lease is up and [they move] in with a roommate instead of you," Bonnie Winston, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Or [they take] an apartment alone."
While this can certainly leave you worrying about the future of your relationship, it may simply be due to a lack of communication. Have you chatted about moving in together, or told your partner that it would mean a lot to you? If not, there's a chance they just didn't think about it. But since this can also be a sign someone isn't taking a relationship seriously, it's definitely something you should talk about ASAP.
4They Keep Missing The Perfect Opportunities To Commit
People can propose to their partners any day of the year. But "if you have been with your partner a number of years and they know you want to get married, but they do not give you a ring for your birthday, Valentine’s Day, or New Year’s, which is often the time someone might propose, it is a good chance that they are not going to ask you to marry them," spiritual counselor and psychic Davida Rappaport tells Bustle.
It may seem silly, but when you want someone to commit to a long-term relationship, watching these dates fly by without any sign of their undying love can be all sorts of painful. But try to keep in mind that proposals don't need to be a surprise. If you're committed to your partner and would like to make things official, tell them that. And if they can't get on board, it's perfectly OK to move on and find someone else.
5When You Ask About The Future, They Make Excuses
Let's assume again that you've had a heart-to-heart, and your partner knows you want to be together long-term. But when it comes to committing to each other, moving in, or getting married, they still make all sorts of excuses.
If they always have a reason for why they can't take things to the next level, there's a good chance you guys aren't on the same page. "If your partner has a lot of reasons why they do not want to get married — I don’t have enough money, I am focusing on my career, or I don’t have job stability, etc. — some of those reasons, which may be logically sound, can be just an excuse because their fears are getting the better of them," Rappaport says.
It can help to remind them it's possible to do both — such as having a career and getting married. And it can help to give them space and time to figure themselves out. But if you don't want to wait for that, you certainly don't have to.
6They Flirt With Everyone They See
While it's common to check out other people, or have an innocent work crush, it's not cool if your partner is constantly flirting with other people. If they're the type of person who is always talking to someone else — or they've cheated in the past — it could be a sign they aren't going to "settle down" any time soon.
"Someone who can't decide to focus on one partner once they are 'in a relationship' and repeatedly strays is unlikely to commit long-term," counselor Kim Leatherdale, LPC, ATR-BC, DCC, NCC tells Bustle. "This attitude may be obvious in comments like 'I like to keep my options open' when you talk about deepening or tightening the relationship. If you are OK with this, then fine, but don't expect commitment."
7They Don't Want To Go On Vacation
Take note if your partner can't commit to any future plans, like that vacation you were thinking about going on six months from now. "If your partner is non-committal about major future plans with you, [they aren't] likely to 'pop the question' anytime soon," says Bennett. "People who intend to propose will want to have general plans, discussions, and ideas about your shared future."
And same goes for simply committing to a long-term relationship, too. If your partner isn't seeing this thing lasting beyond a couple of months, it's not likely they'll sign on for any distant holidays or vacations.
8They Make Fun Of Weddings & Marriage
While not everyone's down for the traditional idea of weddings and/or marriage — and that's totally OK — someone who isn't thinking about getting married may go out of their way to make fun of marriage or point out the negatives.
As Leatherdale says, you might hear your partner "making fun of married people, disrespecting the idea of marriage, being negative when someone gets married," etc. That can be their indirect way of showing you they aren't the type to tie the knot. So if marriage is important to you, be sure to ask them to clarify, and get out early if you no longer feel comfortable.
9When You Bring Up The Future, They Change The Subject
If you do try to discuss marriage, it'll be a pretty obvious sign if your partner runs for the hills, or quickly changes the subject. "They run away literally or figuratively from any discussion in any forum of the topic," Leatherdale says. "This may even be seen in avoidance like claiming they are 'too stressed' by work or family concerns to even consider the topic at this point."
But being able to talk about these things is a sign of someone who's mature, and someone who's willing to commit. So try to get to the bottom of why they're acting so squeamish. If they just aren't ready or haven't thought that far ahead yet, that's obviously OK. But you owe it to yourself to know.
10They Do Whatever They Can To Keep Your Lives Separate
Apartments aside, you also might notice that your partner shies away from other shared activities, whether it's splitting bills, buying a car together, or adopting a pet. As Bennett says, "If your partner always wants to to keep your lives separate (living arrangements, not sharing responsibilities, etc.), it’s a sign your partner won’t be proposing. [They aren't] laying the groundwork for a shared life together."
11They Told You So Early On
Often, in the early days of dating, this topic of conversation will come up. And it's not uncommon for someone to say they just aren't down for marriage, but end up in a long-term relationship anyway. While these relationships can exist as-is, and each partner can be quite happy without ever tying the knot, don't let yourself settle for something that isn't on par with what you envisioned.
"If your partner tells you from the beginning of your dating that they do not want to get married and/or have children, believe them," Rappaport says. It's unlikely they'll magically change, just because you've been together for years. "Rather than keep your fantasy or dreams alive when you know your partner tells you no, you need to believe them," she says. There's always the chance someone will mature, or come around, or change their old ideas. But don't hang your hat on that, if a long-term commitment is important to you.
Plenty of relationships go through ups and downs, and many couples survive them. But if you aren't on the same page, it's more than OK to move on.