Most women in long-term relationships are ready for marriage long before the men in their lives, suggests John Molloy, author of “Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others.” Molly also notes that 90 percent of college-graduated men start to consider marriage between the ages of 26 and 33. But maybe your college grad honey is over 33 -- and you’re starting to wonder when he might pop the question. If you’re ready for marriage, but you’re not sure how your boyfriend feels about it, you can watch to see if he’s sending any signals.
Assess how serious he is about money and career. A great number of women underestimate how vital it is for men to put their career and finances in order before proposing, writes relationship expert Jenn Clark, author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About)." If he’s taking his career and financial life seriously, then he may be thinking seriously about a future with you in it. If you’ve noticed that he’s been saving more money lately, that could also be a sign that he’s planning to buy a ring.
Bring him as a plus-one to your friend's wedding and watch how he behaves. If he gets romantic and starts holding you closer, makes it clear how serious he is about you and makes positive comments about marriage in general, chances are good you're headed in that direction eventually. However, if he makes negative comments about two people tying the knot and seems much more interested in the cash bar than in making doe-eyes at you, he's probably not thinking about proposing any time soon.
Consider how close you are with his siblings and parents, whether you feel comfortable with his family and how much time you spend with them. When a man makes sure that you spend time with the important people in his life, he likely thinks you’re worth showing off. If you spend a significant amount of time with his family, it may be a sign that matrimony is on the horizon, suggests Clark. He should be spending a good deal of time with your close family members and friends, too.
Make long-term plans together. If he buys plane tickets for a vacation with you several months down the road without hesitation and speaks about your future using “we” instead of “me,” it likely means he’s not going anywhere. A man who includes you in thinking about his future may be ready to settle down with you. You can even bring up longer-term plans, such as "Someday I want to travel to Italy together because it's so romantic" or "Someday we'll be able to afford a house like that," and see how he reacts. If he reacts positively and seems comfortable with your assumption that you'll be together for a very long time, he's probably on the same page.
Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.
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