If you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship and get married, it can feel frustrating and alienating if you’re unsure about how your partner feels about the future.
If your boyfriend is hesitant to discuss marriage, it could be because he isn’t “quite there” yet. But what are the signs that he’ll never “get there” and you’re wasting your time in a dead-end relationship? Keep reading to find out.
1. He Still Talks About His Ex
If your boyfriend still talks about his ex frequently, it’s a solid sign that he’s not over his past relationship — and this means that he’s not going to propose anytime soon.
Worst-case scenario? He might still be hoping that things work out with his ex-girlfriend, and you’re either a placeholder until that happens…or he’s using you to make her jealous. Is your boyfriend still talking with his ex-girlfriend? Or worse… is he talking to his ex-girlfriend secretly and trying to hide it from you? Did you know you can use Instant Checkmate to run a public record search on him or his ex-girlfriend too and see if they have secret social media profiles where they may still be talking?
If your boyfriend casually mentions his ex-girlfriend in passing, it’s probably not a big deal. But if he’s actively talking to her, or looking her up online or on social media, it’s a big glaring sign that he’s not ready for a relationship — let alone marriage.
2. You Haven’t Met His Family
Not every relationship follows a traditional timeline, but if you’re getting really serious about someone, meeting the family is a natural progression in a relationship as the commitment becomes more serious.
Meeting someone’s family is a huge step forward in any relationship. After all, no-one knows your significant other better than those who raised him or grew up with him! Getting married is essentially merging two families together, and it’s expected that you’ll have to win over the approval of the mother and father before the engagement ring is bought. Of course, sometimes a family can be disapproving and many people still get married in spite of this. But in those situations, it’s common to at least meet the family — even if they end up disapproving of your union.
If your boyfriend is reluctant to introduce you to your family — or completely shoots down the possibility altogether — it’s often a sign that something is rotten in Denmark. Of course, some people have deep family issues or estranged relationships with their parents. If this is the case, and your boyfriend doesn’t visit or talk with his family, it’s possible that some other element is at play that you don’t yet understand. But if your boyfriend is close with his family and you haven’t met them? That’s a big red flashing sign that he’s not totally serious about your relationship yet. If it’s only been a couple of months, then it’s way too soon to be thinking about marriage. But if you’ve been together for a couple of years and you still haven’t met his family, something is off.
3. You Don’t Live Together (Or Have Plans To)
Getting a key or sharing an apartment is a stepping stone most couples take before getting engaged. Living together is a trial run at marriage, and there are many reasons this is a good idea.
Living together can help you figure out what someone is really like 24/7 — think of it as a trial run at marriage. Anyone can seem perfect on paper when you only have to deal with them for a few hours at a time. It’s when you spend time together around the clock that you really begin to understand if you can make a life together work. Perhaps they’re a total slob and you’re a neat freak. Or maybe you have conflicting ideas about how to unwind after work. One of the most important reasons to live together before marriage is to understand whether you can work through the inevitable issues that arrive…or if you’re just incompatible.
For some people, there may be a legitimate reason why they don’t want to live together before marriage — like religious reasons. If that’s the case, then this sign doesn’t really apply. But if your boyfriend has no reason to not want to live together, but breaks out in a cold sweat whenever you mention it, it’s possible that he’s not really ready for a commitment. And if he’s not ready to commit to a shared lease, it’s highly unlikely that he’s ready to commit to a life-long marriage.
4. He’s Immature
Despite their age, some men prefer to spend a long time as boys — and that means that marriage and commitment are at the very back of their minds. If his idea of a perfect Friday night is going out with his friends or playing video games all night, he might not be thinking about shopping for a ring.
But don’t disregard someone who enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing video games all night if he’s serious in other areas. Couples often grow together, and over time these behaviors fade away and are replaced by a desire to settle down and get serious about a relationship. But the key word here is “over time.” If your boyfriend doesn’t seem ready for the next step in your relationship, but still seems interested and attentive in you, then it just means you need to be more patient.
So when is immaturity a red flag? Age is a big giveaway. If you’re dating a fourty year old who still lives in his mom’s basement and dresses like the lost member of Sum 41, then the chances are that he’s not really interested in shopping for engagement rings or planning a long-term commitment to someone.
5. He’s Still Figuring Out Who He Is
If your boyfriend wants to travel the world, experiment with his career, or explore a dream that he hasn’t yet fulfilled, he might not be looking to set down permanent roots. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t change in the future, but it’s always wise to let someone be their own person before they make a lifelong commitment like marriage. As the old saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. If they return, they are yours for life.