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.
If you never settle down and grow old with that special someone, don’t despair. A Pew Research report found more Americans are likely to remain single throughout their lifetime. This is partly because society is placing less importance on the value of marriage. It’s no longer unusual to forgo a trip down the aisle, so it’s unwise to assume your partner wants to embark on that journey.
Here are some tell-tale 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.
“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 significant other] 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,” said psychotherapist Lisa C. DeLuca.
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 [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.
“Some [partners] lie about what they really feel for you and what their real plans are. They can break up with you at any given time, going from hot to cold in an instant. [They’ll] take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride and will make your love life a living hell,” said relationship expert Brian Nox.
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 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.