Romantic relationships almost always face two outcomes—either you break up or you get married. Most of us, whether in the near future or down the line, are aiming for the latter. According to the Pew Research Center, marriage is a life goal that most Americans hope to achieve, with around 61 percent of unmarried men and women saying they want to get married at some point in their lives. But is your partner prepared to take that next step? Talking to relationship experts, we identified the clear signs that your partner just isn't ready for marriage right now. Read on to find out how you can tell if you'll be tying the knot, or calling it quits.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Relationship Red Flags Everyone Misses, Experts Warn.
They change the subject whenever marriage comes up.
Most people are eager to talk about the things they're excited about. On the other hand, they tend to avoid topics that make them uncomfortable. Sandra Myers, a certified matchmaker and president of Select Date Society, says that many partners will work hard to change the subject anytime marriage comes up if it's not a step they want to take in the near future.
"When your partner can't have an open conversation about marriage, they are not ready," Myers tells Best Life. "Many people make the mistake of thinking that their partner is just nervous about the subject when in reality, they are not ready. Don't ignore this red flag."
You should be directly asking your partner what they think about your future together and what that looks like to them, according to Jaida Pervis, a certified matchmaker and relationship expert with over a decade of experience. "If you are met with an awkward silence or a quick subject change, that's a sign your partner is not comfortable with the topic," she warns.
They make negative comments about marriage in general.
Some people are more forthcoming with their disdain for marriage, even in a more general sense. According to Pervis, you can gauge how your partner feels about marriage by listening to how they respond anytime the topic arises. "If they make negative comments when the topic of marriage comes up with friends or even family, pay attention to what is being said," she advises.
Don't try to brush what they say off either, as anti-marriage talk is usually a clear indicator of how they actually feel about the concept, according to Myers. "If your partner always comments on how horrible marriage seems or talks about how all of the married people they know are unhappy, it's a sign that they are not rushing to the altar," she explains. "Don't ignore these comments. Instead, talk about your partner's concerns and look for positive marriage example."
Their mood shifts when marriage is brought up.
It's not only about what they're saying either. According to Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, subtle shifts in their mood can make it all-too-apparent how your partner feels about potential nuptials. Trombetti tells Best Life that if their emotions sour anytime marriage is brought up, it's not a good sign in regards to taking that next step.
"Your partner isn't ready for marriage if they seem to be in a bad mood when you do talk about it," she says, adding that if they seem excited about your relationship in other ways, it's likely that this shift in their emotions is directed specifically at marriage. "They like the relationship as is, and they might even be a great partner. They just aren't ready," Trombetti explains.
They avoid conversations about the future.
You can also determine if your partner is ready for marriage through other conversations. According to Trombetti, someone who is not ready to walk down the aisle is likely to avoid in-depth conversations about the future in general. "They delay the next steps in the relationship like discussing a new place for you both to live, or anything that has to do with merging your lives together," she says. "These steps get you closer and closer to marriage, and they don't want that yet."
And if they are having conversations about the future, Pervis advises you to pay attention to the specific words they use. "When someone is truly invested in being with you, not only do they show that through actions, but typically having an open dialogue about a future together takes place. This includes career, living decisions, family planning, and marriage," she says. "Listen closely, and if the conversation is always about 'I' instead of 'we,' chances are there may not be a future and marriage is just not on the radar."
For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
They tell you directly.
Sometimes we end up ignoring the clearest signs of all. According to Myers, plenty of people will simply tell their significant other that they're not ready for marriage. "Many people are so set on moving towards marriage that they do not take their partner seriously and listen to them when they express the desire to slow down," she tells Best Life. "It's important to listen to your partner and understand their perspective. If you bulldoze forward or start giving ultimatums, your relationship is doomed to fail."
At the end of the day, a lack of interest in marriage in the near future doesn't have to mean your relationship has to come to an end. "If they are not ready right now, that does not mean at some point they will not be in the future," Pervis says. "Every relationship is different, and it is important before deeming that a 'red flag' to reassess and uncover why. Talk to your partner about what needs to be done before they are ready for marriage."