If he runs every time you mention the subject, he may not be marriage-minded.

How to Know a Man Won't Ever Propose

by Beverly Bird

If you and your guy have been together for a while, you may feel ready to settle down, tie the knot, and make it official. But whenever you mention it, he suddenly realizes that he needs to walk the dog. So what gives? Is he commitment phobic, or does he just have a pet with a weak bladder? It may depend on whether he's throwing off other signs that marriage really isn't his thing.

He's Told You So

Has your man ever said anything about marriage? He may not necessarily have been referring to the two of you, but to the institution in general. If he's never mentioned it one way or the other, this may not necessarily mean that he's anti-marriage. Maybe the subject just isn't foremost in his mind. If he's indicated that marriage isn't for him, however, this may be a signal that he won't ever propose. He might be perfectly happy with your relationship, but he has no desire to change the status quo.

You've Never Met His Friends

According to Larry Cappel, a marriage and family therapist and relationship coach, commitment-phobic men tend to place certain aspects of their lives into separate, impenetrable compartments. You may have minimal or even no contact with his family and friends – as his girlfriend, you're in a compartment all your own. When you marry someone, all aspects of your lives become intertwined, and this prospect may make your guy feel uncomfortable. Take honest stock of the occasions when you've gone out recently, and who – if anyone – joined you. He may also avoid contact with your family and friends.

He Always Calls at the Last Minute

Planning is a form of commitment, albeit short term. If your man can't commit to weekend activities several days in advance – much less a holiday that's a month away – he may have an aversion to thinking as far into the future as getting married would entail. If he hates being locked into plans, often leaving his options open until the last minute, this might mean that he just doesn't manage his time well, or it could mean that he's not ready or willing to make this mother of all commitments.

He Doesn't Have To

Another possibility is that your guy hasn't proposed because he has no reason to do so. If you're already living together, why rock the boat? You may have already settled into a comfortable life together, sharing everything from paychecks to that dog he always wants to walk, and changing that simply hasn't occurred to him. If this is the case, you might have to put the idea in his head with a few gentle hints, then give him a little time to think about it.

What to Do?

Ultimately, only you know how important marriage is to you. If it's something you really need in your life, you may have no choice but to tackle the situation head on. This may be particularly true if you've been together for a while, or if his behavior indicates that such a long-term commitment makes him squeamish. If you bring the subject up and he doesn't immediately and emphatically embrace the idea, this doesn't mean all is lost. Maybe you just took him by surprise. If he tells you that marriage is absolutely not in his future plans, the ball is in your court. You can live it with, or you can move on. This doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. He's the one with cold-feet issues.

About the Author

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

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