You never talk about the future
It’s great to live in the moment, but if you don’t make plans for what's next, your relationship could end up being short-term.
“Making future plans is a healthy ingredient for a growing relationship,” says Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure. “It’s also an indicator of the commitment you have to each other.”
He’s told you that he’s not the marrying kind
This seem like an obvious barrier to a serious relationship, but many women ignore it when men say this, thinking they can change him. It's time to start taking him at face value.
“Men repeatedly tell women they are simple beings,” says Levine. “If he shows you or tells you who he is, then believe him. It will save you a ton of time and energy. Wake up! You’re Mrs. Right Now, not the future Mrs. [insert his last name here].”
You’re keeping other guys on the back burner
Don’t expect a commitment until you take the plunge and jump in with both feet!
“Having other men in the periphery is often an indication that you know the main guy isn’t the best match for you,” says Levine. “Or that you’re scared to take the leap of faith into intimacy.”
You have nothing in common except sex
If all you have in common is what happens between the sheets it may be hard to achieve the level of intimacy you really desire.
“Hot sex is more than satisfying and can give you a perpetual glow, but it’s not enough to make for a healthy balanced relationship,” says Levine.
You have lots in common, but no sex life
If you’re missing this one important ingredient in your relationship, it’s likely there will be no next level.
“You don’t need another friend or a future roommate,” says Levine. “A solid relationship usually encompasses a best friend and lover.”
You live together
If you’re already doing all the stuff that goes with married life without the formal commitment, there may be no motivation to move things to the next level.
“The old saying ‘why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?’ says a lot,” according to Levine. “Thinking of us as cows is degrading, but the overall meaning makes sense. Men are more likely to hold off from moving a relationship forward when they’re content and already getting what they want.”
His parents are divorced
Sometimes parents can give us a negative idea of what marriage is or instill a lack of trust in us through their actions. “Our relationship role models are often our blueprint,” says Levine. “It may be all he knows.”
If your man feels this way, it’s important to talk through his issues and help him understand that your relationship is something totally different.
None of his friends are married
If his pals aren’t in serious relationships, he may be less motivated to take the leap.
“If his friends all have a bachelor mentality, there is a good chance it can rub off on him, too,” says Levine. “Who we surround ourselves with often explains our behaviors.”
You’re both acting like you’re single
Even though you’re coupled you’re still staying out ’til all hours, hanging out with friends more than each. If you want a more serious relationship, you both need to approach the relationship with an “us” instead of “me” mentality.
“If you’re enjoying other people’s company in groups more than the two of you being alone, you’re likely not content with what you have together,” says Levine.
You don’t make time for the relationship
If one or both of you is putting work, family or friends first, it’s time to get your priorities straight if you want stay together.
“If your relationship isn’t your priority, then your relationship is likely not being nourished, which can create resentment and distance,” says Levine.
You haven’t made your desires clear
If he doesn’t know how you really feel, he may not understand that moving things forward is important to you. So tell him!
“You should always make what you want clear from the very beginning,” says matchmaker Siggy Flicker. “You don’t want to waste your time and not be true to yourself. You shouldn’t stay with a man if you’re afraid of telling him what you need and want.”
You keep things casual
Because you’re afraid of scaring him off, you’ve given him the idea that you could take him or leave him. This relationship will go nowhere fast until you come clean.
“Being scared means that you are now giving that person too much credit and power that he doesn’t deserve,” says Flicker. “You have to lead with your true self from the very beginning and if he doesn’t like you for who you are, then tell them to go 'to the left!'” (Shout out to Beyonce).
You know he’s not the one, but you’re keeping him around as a backup plan. But this is one plan that will never lead to a happy ending.
“This is an act of desperation that will only lead to depression,” says Flicker. “You are now setting yourself up to fail. I would rather be home with a green mask on my face than with a partner I had no chemistry with or desire to be with in life.”
You’ve skipped over traditional 'steps'
If you’ve missed important milestones such as calling each other boyfriend/girlfriend or saying I love you, then you may be way off the path toward the next level of your relationship. Start making up for lost time now—even if it means going on your first date again!
There are many reasons couples skip over the traditional steps. Maybe you're in a long distance relationship, or you got off to a whirlwind start and threw caution to the wind. In any case, missing these 'checkpoints' means you both lose the chance to assess the relationship and look at your partnership in a more serious light.
“Anything that happens too fast, ends just as fast,” says Flicker.
You haven’t traveled together
Traveling together forces you to navigate new territory and experience exciting and unfamiliar situations as a couple. It can be an essential step in really getting to know your partner.
“Traveling is the best form of therapy and when you travel with a partner you learn a lot about that person’s habits and character,” says Flicker. “Then you can make a decision on whether or not you can live with that person’s habits.” So get up and go somewhere—exotic destination not required.
You don’t have your own life
If you’re always waiting around for him, he has no incentive to get more serious. You don’t need to make him feel like he could lose you, but make sure he knows you have a life. “
You are a needy and that is a complete turnoff,” says Flicker. “A man loves confidence and a woman who is confident is a busy body always planning, attending and living life. If you are not confident then act ‘as if’ because at least that is more attractive than being available and needy!”
Your relationship exists online
It’s fine to meet your partner online, but if you don’t take the next step and meet IRL (in real life) taking another step forward will be even more unlikely to happen.
“Get out of your room, log off your computer and step outside—there’s a whole world out there!” says Flicker. “Meet real people and actually face them. Look into someone’s eyes and smile at him instead of at your computer screen.”
You haven’t brought him into your world
If you’ve shied away from introducing him to friends and family (or he hasn’t brought you around to his) you probably won't be a part of each other’s futures.
“If you partner has not introduced you to his family and you have been dating for over 6 months, something is wrong,” says Flicker. “He’s not sure about the relationship and this would be the time to say 'take the L outta lover—it's over!'"
You avoid fights
If you never express your true feelings or discuss real issues, your relationship will forever be on that polite plane usually reserved for acquaintances.
“Fighting is essential and healthy in any relationship,” says Flicker. “If you are not fighting then you are not loving. Stop living in a glass bubble and actually feel some emotions because in the end it will only bring you both closer together. And if it doesn’t, then it was not meant to be!”
He’s not financially stable
If a man doesn’t have his act together it can be hard for you to commit to him or for him to feel comfortable bringing your deeper into his life. Have a frank discussion with yourself (and with him) to decide if you’re in it for the long haul.
“If he is not financially stable, it is going to be tough, but love conquers all, and no one promised us that life was going to be easy,” says Flicker. “All one needs is ambition, drive and determination. Money will follow. How much money? Ask the man above!”
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.