After dating your significant other for a few months or years, you may be hoping to settle down and get married one day. However, your partner may have other plans. He or she may be content with just spending time with you and have no intentions of tying the knot.
Here are some telltale signs your partner is just sticking around until someone better comes along.
1. Discussions about marriage are avoided
If discussions about making your relationship more permanent are shut down before you can even get started, this is a red flag. A partner who just wants to have a casual relationship will not want to discuss the possibility of getting married or even talk about other people’s upcoming nuptials.
As Lisa C. DeLuca, a psychotherapist, writes:
Love and commitment are two different things. If [your partner] won’t talk about sharing a future with you, the only thing you can conclude is that you are in a relationship without a long-term commitment. Whether [your partner] loves you or not is a different kind of question. Love does not always lead to commitment, so an important thing for you to consider is how you feel about being in a just-for-right-now relationship and how long you wish to stay there.
2. You’re not in the future
If your partner talks about the future but you’re never mentioned in his or her plans, there’s a problem. Someone who is excited about your relationship and desires to spend a lifetime with you will make these intentions clear. Vague or nonexistent references to a future together are not a good sign if you have hopes of getting hitched. Relationship expert Evan Marc Katz says waiting too long for a commitment is just wasting time. There comes a point where you need to make a decision to stay or call it quits:
The only leverage you have is to walk away from [your partner] and see if [he or she] follows. Sure, you can wait for another year. Sure, you can move in together. … But this doesn’t give you what you’re looking for. This is just moving deck chairs around the Titanic, spinning wheels, making noise. These are just things that you might do to avoid breaking up, but they don’t ensure that you’ll be together forever.
3. Your partner runs hot and cold
If things are hot and spicy one minute and then ice cold the next, your partner could be playing games with you. If you never know quite where you stand when it comes to a long-term commitment, your significant other could be buying time or just having fun until someone else enters the picture.
Susan Winter, relationship expert, provides some insight to The Huffington Post as to why some partners run hot and cold. She writes:
Games are an ego default when being “real” feels too scary. Authenticity takes tremendous courage. Being open and honest is a gift that’s born of inner confidence and self-worth. Here’s where the tables turn in your favor. Once you recognize this pattern, you’ve already gained your freedom from the automatic response instigated by your partner’s game.
4. You want different things
Do you want children but your partner doesn’t? Are you dead set on monogamy but your partner prefers polyamory? This is a big indicator that you are not going to be walking down the aisle any time soon. Your best bet is to find someone who is compatible and has goals that more closely align with yours.
5. Your partner downplays your relationship in public
Feeling distant from your partner around their friends and family? This may be a sign marriage is not in your future. And if you haven’t even met their family yet, this is absolutely a warning. Matchmaker Siggy Flicker tells Today, “If your partner has not introduced you to his family and you have been dating for over 6 months, something is wrong.” Make sure you’re dating someone who’s proud to be with you, not someone who will keep you out of the spotlight.
6. Your partner tells you
The most obvious sign? Your partner tells you that marriage just isn’t in the cards. No matter what you do or say, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to change this decision. If you’re satisfied with dating indefinitely, then just accept it. However, if you know you’d like to settle down, this is your cue to move on.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo
Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler.