Signs the Person You Are Dating Wants to Get Married
During the dating phase of a relationship, you get to see all aspects of the other person’s personality.1 One of the things you’ll notice is how eager your partner is to get married. For people who are not ready to get married or make a long-term commitment, this eagerness may be a turn off. For those looking for a lifelong mate, a high interest in marriage could be encouraging.
When it comes to dating and relationships, everyone has different expectations. Some people want to see where the relationship goes, while others enter a relationship with the sole purpose of making a trip to the altar. Others may have no intention of ever getting married.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you need to be upfront and honest about your intentions, especially if your partner shows signs of wanting to get married and you have no desire ever to tie the knot.
Regardless of your intentions, marriage is not something you should ever rush into. Always proceed with caution when the person you’re dating is pressuring you to get married before you’re ready.
This article discusses some of the signs that your partner wants to get married and how you can handle them. It also explores what to do if you’re not ready for marriage.
Signs Your Partner Wants to Get Married
Sometimes it is obvious when a partner is eager to get married. They talk about your future together as a couple openly and honestly. They set deadlines and are direct about their expectations.
But other times, this eagerness is less evident. And if you are unable to connect the dots, missing the clues can lead to heartache for both partners. Here are some signs your partner probably has marriage on their mind.
They Talk About Their Parent’s Happy Marriage
When partners frequently bring up their parents’ happy marriage and mention how they were already married by this age, you might be dealing with someone who is overly eager to get married, or at the very least, worried about the fact that they are not married yet.
Having parents who model happy, satisfied marriages can help bolster the desire to marry as an adult. Evidence suggests that people raised by happily married parents tend to have a more positive view of marriage and commitment.2
When someone wants to get married sooner rather than later, they may constantly talk about all of the happily married couples they know and how they want that too. When these hints are dropped, it is best to have a straightforward conversation about your marriage goals.
They Are Planning Your Life Together
If your partner has marriage on their mind, they mind spend time planning your life together—including the home they hope to eventually share.
If you and your partner are not living together, but you frequently browse furniture and home decor stores, one of two things could be taking place. First, your partner may just really enjoy decorating and truly have no ulterior motives. Or, the furniture store trips could be a subtle way of getting you to think about making a home together, especially if your partner asks you which items you prefer.
When these trips happen a lot, instead of doing other fun things together, this could be your partner’s way of hinting at marriage. Rather than making assumptions, ask your partner why they enjoy this type of shopping.
They’ve Been Engaged Before
If your partner has been engaged at least once but has never made it to the altar, they may like the idea of marriage and engagement and just be afraid of commitment. Or your partner could have realized that the person they were engaged to was not a good fit.
If your partner has had a string of engagements, this is a warning sign. Either your partner has a habit of pressuring others to get married before they are ready, or your partner is not ready for marriage either. Ask about the previous engagements to determine what went wrong and why your partner never married.
They Want Unprotected Sex
People who are in long-term relationships may be more likely to skip birth control, especially if the relationship is committed and monogamous. However, this is not a step you should take lightly.
Research suggests that couples in longer romantic relationships are less likely to use condoms because they trust their partners more. Some participants in the study suggested that unprotected sex symbolized greater commitment.3
For instance, your partner may welcome an unexpected pregnancy and see it as a path to marriage. If you are not ready for a baby or marriage, use contraception every time. Pregnancy requires discussion and should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision.
If your partner is pressuring you to skip protection, it is time for a serious discussion about what this might mean in terms of your relationship and future plans.
They Talk About Their Wedding Plans
If your partner already knows where the wedding venue should be and what they plan to wear, then they are looking to get married at some point and have given it a lot of thought. Plenty of people daydream about their future wedding, but talking about it as if it is happening soon might hint that your partner wants to walk down the aisle with you.
However, it can be a red flag if you feel like you are just a commodity to help your partner reach their marriage goal. When this happens, eager partners are often more interested in the idea of marriage than in you.
They Want You to Meet the Family
Being introduced to an entire family early in a relationship can often be awkward and uncomfortable, depending on the situation. It can often create a lot of pressure at the outset of the relationship, and many people may take it as a sign that the person is expecting a long-term commitment.
In many cases, you may still be getting to know one another and have no idea where your relationship is headed. Getting family members involved makes it difficult for you to relax and take things slow.
If you express your reluctance to meet the parents and your partner gets upset, this may be a red flag that your partner wants things to move quickly. It’s best to have an honest conversation about your goals and expectations.
What to Do If Your Partner Wants to Get Married
If the person you are dating exhibits any of the above signs, it’s likely that they want to get married quickly. However, marriage is not something you want to rush into no matter how much you might like the other person. Your partner should be just as discriminant as you are about making a lifelong commitment.4
Taking your time when you first meet someone is important. The dating relationship is the perfect time to learn all you can about someone. If you suspect your partner is eager to get married, be upfront about your goals to avoid too many hurt feelings or accusations down the road.
Ask About Your Partner’s Future Goals
The best way to determine your partner’s intentions is to ask. While the above signs can provide clues, they are not definitive explanations for your partner’s behaviors and motives. Healthy communication is one of the most important elements of a successful relationship. So start things off right by asking your partner about expectations, thoughts, and goals.
Be Honest About What You Want
When your partner talks, it is important that you not only listen and try to understand, but that you also are open and honest. If you are only interested in casually dating your partner, you need to be upfront about that, especially if your partner wants to get married someday.
It is unfair to tie someone to a relationship with you if you have no desire to ever get married. You will be much happier in a relationship with someone with similar goals, and so will your partner.
Agree to a Timeline
If you know your partner wants to eventually get married, but you only want a casual relationship right now, you need to let your partner know. If your partner is willing to wait on you, you could agree to a timeline.
For instance, you could agree to date for six months and then talk about where you see the relationship going. If at that time you are still unsure of what you want, while your partner is ready for the next step, you may decide that it is time for you both to move on.
Set Appropriate Boundaries
If your partner is relentless about the idea of marriage or is pressuring you into things you are not comfortable with, like unprotected sex or meeting the entire extended family, then you need to set some boundaries. For instance, ask that marriage discussions be delayed for at least three to six months. Or, tell your partner that unprotected sex is not an option for you.
If your partner will not respect these boundaries, even though you have asked that they be put in place, this is a red flag. Clearly, your partner is unable to respect your wishes. If your partner is disregarding or dismissing your wishes early in a relationship, it will only get worse as the relationship progresses.
Whatever you do, ensure that you have a clear, thoughtful discussion about what happens next in your relationship. One study found that such discussions predicted how satisfied people ultimately feel about their relationship—whether they were dating, living together, or married.5
What to Do If You Aren’t Ready for Marriage
If you feel like you’re not ready for marriage yet, there are things you can do to deal with pressure from a partner who does want to marry:
Be Honest With Your Partner
Don’t withhold your feelings because you fear your partner might decide to end the relationship instead of waiting for you to be ready. Talking about your feelings and plans now can ensure that you both have a say in what happens.
Talk About Your Goals
Discuss how you imagine your life in the coming years. What are your expectations? Do you see yourself having children, starting a business, moving, or traveling?
Talking about these plans can help you and your partner determine if you have the same vision for the future and whether that involves eventually getting married.
Consider Why You’re Not Ready
The reasons you don’t want to marry yet might stem from your own attitudes about marriage or a fear of commitment. Or it might have something to do with how you feel about your partner and relationship.
You might not feel connected or committed enough to your partner to settle down yet, or you might even feel like you don’t have enough in common to stay together in the long term. Recognizing these issues now can help prevent future problems and heartbreak.
If you’re not ready to get married, have a serious discussion with your partner. Talking about your plans can help ensure that you are your partner are on the same page.
When two people are open and honest about their future marriage goals, there is less likely to be misunderstandings and accusations if the relationship ends. Be sure you and your partner are having these discussions early on. Your dating relationship will be much less stressful if you do.