Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

10 Signs He’s Not Ready for Marriage

Thanks to reader Karen for sending me this link from iVillage called “4 Signs That a Man’s Ready for Marriage — and 4 That He’s Not.” Considering how many women waste years of their lives waiting for a man who has no interested in getting married β€” at least not to them β€” to propose, I thought the list of signs he isn’t ready for marriage could have been a bit longer. So, to help everyone out, here are 10 more signs he’s not ready to get hitched (to you, anyway).


1. He refuses to go to your friend’s wedding with you because weddings “make him nervous.”

2. When you start pointing out rings that you like, he breaks out into hives.

3. He hasn’t signed his divorce papers yet.

4. He gets bummed out when any of his buddies get married.

5. He’s 43, but his online dating profile specifies that he’s looking for women “under 25.”

6. He’s never asked you to travel with him.

7. He won’t get rid of his neon beer sign.

8. He balked when you asked him to clear a drawer at his place for your stuff.

9. When you ask him about the future, he says he still hasn’t decided what to eat for dinner.

10.He lives with his parents and he likes it that way.

What am I missing?



67 comments… add one
  • RMM0278 January 20, 2012, 3:02 pm

    I have to say my ex never displayed any of these signs and he still broke off the engagement because he “wasn’t ready.” He also displayed all the appropriate signs in the iVillage article too. My point is that even if he walks the walk, talks the talk, swears up and down…it doesn’t matter. Until he shows up on the wedding day, you’ll never really know. People can hide deep, dark secrets for a long time. These lists are meaningless anyway.

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    • Addie Pray January 20, 2012, 3:05 pm

      Probably true. But I still wish there were a buzz kill button.

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    • amber January 20, 2012, 3:08 pm

      While I understand what you’re saying I think if your SO is doing anything in the list above the likelihood of them wanting to get married any time soon is pretty slim.

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    • ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 3:27 pm

      Well when you throw in the fact that most girls avoid BLATANTLY obvious signs all on their own accord everyone really is just shit out of luck. It’s like wedding singer all over again.

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      • ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 3:44 pm

        In case anyone was wondering i’m not dropping it. Apparently i’m going to be thinking and making comments about it for like at least another 48 hours.

  • EscapeHatches January 20, 2012, 3:16 pm

    My husband has a neon beer sign… but it’s for a craft beer. πŸ˜€

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    • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 3:21 pm

      Get a lawyer! He’s probably divorce you.

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      • EscapeHatches January 20, 2012, 4:26 pm

        Eh, I’m the second round trophy wife as is (according to her, at least, since I’m 10 years younger than she, “ethnically exotic”, etc.)…


      • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 4:32 pm

        HA! That made my day. Good for you!

      • Addie Pray January 20, 2012, 7:08 pm

        Man, I’d kill to be a second round exotic trophy wife! Especially if it meant I didn’t have to work. πŸ™‚ But I’d have to move to Norway or Sweden – you know, somewhere where non-blonde, non-tall, non-skinny (in general, non-perfect) women are considered exotic (or at least unique).

    • Matcha January 20, 2012, 3:24 pm

      That’s a keeper right there! πŸ˜€

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      • EscapeHatches January 20, 2012, 4:27 pm

        Totally. It’s a New Belgium Fat Tire bicycle sign. It matches well with the local microbrewery tin placard we have too!

    • cporoski January 20, 2012, 3:53 pm

      Mine has a dale earnhart clock with a little car that drives around the edge…and it talks. That is what the man cave is for.

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      • EscapeHatches January 20, 2012, 4:26 pm

        No man cave at our place, but it is in the garage. Ironically, I’m the one that organizes a beer tasting for charity 2x a year, which is where the sign came from.

  • pho_sho January 20, 2012, 3:20 pm

    You also have to watch out for guys who think they’re ready for marriage, but don’t actually understand what it takes. To them, marriage is something to obtain, or a goal to fulfill. They don’t see it as something you have to build and maintain. These guys tend to:

    -Talk about marriage early on in the relationship, and continue to bring it up even when asked not to.
    -Admit that they’ve thought they were going to marry all of their serious girlfriends.
    -Completely shut down in any serious discussion or arguments related to the relationship.
    -Tend to be self-centered in their thoughts/actions.
    -Tend to move on quickly after serious relationships because they’re looking for somebody to fulfill a role in their lives.

    I think these guys are almost worse than these non-committal types because those guys tend to “out” themselves, whether they readily admit they aren’t ready for marriage or display the signs in the article. The marriage-as-a-goal guys tend to talk the talk, and put on a good show, but in the end their idea of marriage is shallow and self-centered, and their self-centered actions are what really give them away.

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    • kittyk January 20, 2012, 3:36 pm

      Eww this is so true!

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    • evanscr05 January 23, 2012, 9:46 am

      Ugh, this is my ex to a tee. What sucks, though, is when you’re in the middle of dating a guy like this, it’s so hard to recognize the signs that are right in your face. You want so badly for everything they say to be true. And then one day it isn’t and you’re left with a broken heart. In retrospect, I’m am so glad, and so grateful, it was quick to fizzle out, even if at the time I was completely heartbroken. I never knew how shitty he was until I met my husband who ACTUALLY loved me and married me for all the right reasons. Being in a solid relationship makes me really question what the hell I was thinking way back when.

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      • pho_sho January 23, 2012, 10:02 am

        I totally feel you. I was in a relationship with a guy like this, and it was so difficult when I realized that all his talk really amounted to nothing. I ended up breaking up with him when I admitted to myself that a life with him would be full of disappointment and his excuses. Still, it’s hard getting over him because, as is typical for these guys, he moved on quickly, and I’m left wondering if I was the unreasonable one. I hope there’s a guy in my near future like your husband, who will help me see how much more is out there.

    • thyme January 23, 2012, 12:03 pm

      Oh God, yes, I dated one of these.

      He was all butt-hurt that I wasn’t anywhere near ready to get engaged a few months in (we were 21!), and he had NO idea what it means to be married. He was appalled when his friend was going through a divorce and he learned that marriage means that everything you own is legally community property. He said that he wanted to get married, but I wouldn’t be allowed to touch his TV… and he wanted to have his own room, for that TV and his PS3, etc. Oh yeah, sign me up for that!

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed January 20, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Also beware…the guys who propose to you when you are in the middle of breaking up with them.

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    • slamy January 20, 2012, 3:58 pm


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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed January 20, 2012, 4:01 pm

        This isn’t a joke…this ACTUALLY happened to me…WHEN I WAS 18!

      • Ally January 20, 2012, 5:51 pm


    • Skyblossom January 20, 2012, 4:53 pm

      I had been broken up with a guy for several years and he showed up at my door and wanted to elope because he felt like he was losing me.

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  • amber January 20, 2012, 3:39 pm

    i like the addition of ‘to you, anyway’ at the end of the article wendy. i think that is often so true. i think sometimes it’s the combination of wrong person/poor timing. i’ve seen a few acquaintances go through this, they were together 3+ or more years broke up and then bam one of them is engaged after dating someone for 9 months. and often they ignored some signs you mention above or others that they just didn’t want to be true.

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  • Ktfran January 20, 2012, 3:45 pm

    I want to see this list reversed. Only because I called off my wedding and I’m sitting here trying to rack my brains for blatent signs. I couldn’t think of any. I finally realized he wasn’t right for me. Is that different than not being ready? Because ever since I called it off 4 years ago, I’m terrified of being engaged. Now, I imagine myself pulling a Kurt Russel/Goldie Hawn thing.

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    • cporoski January 20, 2012, 3:58 pm

      I wouldn’t be terrified. IT was the wrong guy. The guy you want to marry is someone you see your long life together. babies with at, family gatherings, traveling when you are retired. You have to see them in your dreams of the future…not the dreams expected of you.

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    • amber January 20, 2012, 4:00 pm

      yeah i agree with cporoski, it’s about the person in your case not marriage itself. when it’s the right person i’m sure while you may have some moments of panic over the idea, it will still feel right to be with them.

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      • Ktfran January 20, 2012, 4:32 pm

        I think the two of you are probably right. I’m hoping when I know, I’ll know.

        I still wouldn’t mind seeing this list reversed. Were there signs I missed? Maybe our relationship wouldn’t have gotten as far as it had if I were paying more attention.

        However, I have heard, and slightly agree with, the sentiment that men find the right person when they are ready to settle down and women are ready to settle down when they meet the right person. Not to add fuel to the gender debate going on this week or anything.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 4:56 pm

        And I think that is what hurts the most. When a relationship ends, and you look back at the time and wonder where you went wrong. You start asking yourself, did I stay in it too long? Was I staying in it because I thought it was what I tried to do? However, I would think that kind of thinking wouldn’t be healthy, unless you were trying to gain some perspective. I would think doing that long term would drive you crazy.

      • Ktfran January 20, 2012, 5:17 pm

        Thank goodness I rarely think about it. And I know I absolutely made the right decision.

        Articles like this do make me think about it though. I also know I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I guess it’s good I’m cognizant of it though. And I guess what I’m doing is trying to gain perspective, like you mentioned.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:28 pm

        I’ll share an example from earlier this week on DW and how I was coming off as “bitter” and frustrated. I had went on a really good date last week. We talked a lot for 2 or 3 days, went on a great date, and kept talking the next day. That 5th day, the conversation fell to nothing. Nothing was said to make the conversation just stop either. At that point, I didn’t think much about it, since I wasn’t going to get bent out of shape on a Saturday night.

        I go out with some friends and run into another group of friends I hung out and knew from the first relationship I had and the last true love I feel I’ve had. To give some perspective, we broke up three years ago. Anyways, we were talking and they were asking if I knew she got married and I said yes. We kept chatting for a few minutes and then one guy said that the guy she married was a douchebag. The next guy chimed in with a more pronounced douchebag.

        I’m happy that she’s married and found someone that is a better match for her. I hope the same for myself someday. It did sting a tiny bit knowing that these people think her husband is a douchebag and if I would have put in just a little more effort, we would probably still be happy together.

        And with dating, I feel my life over the last 5 or 6 years has been in reverse from the norm. Usually you go on a bunch of bad dates and finally meet the one and know you have the one. I ended up getting the one, really not knowing what to do with it, and now I have shitty dates to look forward too.

        My education, career, and lifestyle are right where I want them to be, but I can do without the backwards dating fate I have allowed to fall upon myself! haha

      • *HmC* January 20, 2012, 6:55 pm

        “I ended up getting the one, really not knowing what to do with it, and now I have shitty dates to look forward too.”

        If she was YOUR “one”, you’d have ended up with her. That’s part of what defines someone as “the one”. I know that sounds trite, but if you think of it like that, it will help open your eyes to the real “one” that’s still out there looking for you.

      • *HmC* January 20, 2012, 6:57 pm

        p.s. I mean, would YOU want to get serious with someone only to find out that they felt that their real “one” had already gotten away? Buck up. The idea that every person only has one single other soul that they could have a very happy and fulfilling life with is simply ridiculous and entirely illogical.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 7:50 pm

        And you are right. Just had me thinking a little bit. I’m no longer frustrated about it. I was kinda trying to show how quickly you can be going pretty good and happy and everything can change in a matter of two actions.

        Every day is a new day, so that’s how I keep from being in funks and such. I have a day or two every now and then that is crappy, which happens to everyone, but I can’t sit back and dwell on it!

        This year I sprung for hi definition cable and I’m thoroughly enjoying that! The picture really is leaps and bounds better.

  • Budj January 20, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Two things:

    1) I’m genuinely happy for my friends that get married off…but relationships tend to change a little bit when you are still single and your friends are a married couple. So I am sad to see my social circle dwindling.

    2) My brother who is not looking to get married yet let his gf have a drawer….and that turned into her monopolizing the entire dresser.

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    • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 4:31 pm

      First its a toothbrush, then a drawer, tomorrow your poor brother will be left with his own drawer and that’s it!

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    • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:01 pm

      This is true. My buddies fiance was upset today because we don’t come over to hang out with them much anymore. Hard part is they each have a child of their own and a puppy. I love kids and puppies, but not everytime I go over there. They are in a lifestyle and groove that I understand, but am not ready for. So, in the end, the dynamic of our friendship changes and instead of playing video games and chatting; our relationship turned to going to lunch every other week.

      Just like, he’s not that comfortable going out and having a beer anymore. For him, he can drink at home and he can’t afford to be out drinking since he’s on call often. I’m single so sitting around with pseudo married friends on a weekend is not going to allow me to meet anyone either.

      The dynamics of a friendship are constantly changing and we have to learn to adapt to keep the friendship alive, or it dies.

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      • Budj January 20, 2012, 5:06 pm

        Exactly. Social preferences change a little bit when that happens. I too maintain the friendships, but have to change how we interact. Hopefully they can last long enough for me to get in the same place they are.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:11 pm

        We’ve adapted to just going and eating lunch. If they have a group over, I’ll go and hang out then where the kids and puppy can be spread around 10 people, instead of just myself.

        Also, I have a single group of friends and we hang out often on the weekends, since we luckily don’t work weekends, and we have ample amounts of free time. To add to this point, once you cross a certain age point a lot of the times, I’m assuming the norm is 25, you find things that were once fun before are no longer that fun.

        I used to love to be gone 7 days a week. Now, I don’t mind having a busy Saturday and somewhat busy Friday, but Sunday – Friday till 4pm is work and chill days.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Like lets_be_honest said and my manager, one of the hardest relationships to maintain is with single friends once you get married. I 100% believe that’s true and my friendships change when I’m in a relationship with someone as well.

      • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 5:10 pm

        Are you my friend Mike that’s been avoiding me?
        Seriously, I was on the other end of this and was a single parent. It was so so so lonely but I got it. My friends in their early 20s thought a good night out was binge drinking til 4 a.m. Not exactly the same as coming over at 9 for a couple hours only to be interrupted by a crying baby every ten minutes. They tried though. My place was the “pre game” hangout once my kid got a little older and actually went to bed and stayed asleep.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:15 pm

        I think parenthood is AWESOME, but I can get so frustrated when their kids want my attention all the time while I’m there. I love them to death, but I can clearly recognize that I’m not ready to be in that position, as a parent, 24/7.

        It’s also harder because you truly have to watch what you say, since kids are like tape recorders, which really makes me bust up laughing! They have repeated some not so very nice things in the past. I know I come off negative and like a dick, but sometimes you just want to hang with your friend one on one, and not the whole family circus. haha

      • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 5:19 pm

        I guess all kids are like that-wanting the attention of the guest. I thought it was just mine. If I need “friend time,” I usually don’t have company til right before or right after bedtime, otherwise kiddo steals my friend away to color or pester.
        Sounds like you are a good, understanding friend with a nice balance worked out of kid time v. no kid time. Good for you.

      • Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 5:20 pm

        Their kids go to bed at 8 or 9. They are both trailing on 5yo. By that time, I’ve ate, showered, and I’m looking at going to bed in the next 2 to 3 hours. I usually don’t want to leave my apartment by then. They also want their alone time as well, since they both work, and I respect that. It doesn’t leave much time to really be available.

  • Britannia January 20, 2012, 3:53 pm

    11. He never cleans up after himself or takes the initiative to do general housekeeping… and also can’t afford to pay for someone to do it for him.

    12. He whines, pouts, and guilt-trips you when you want to have a Girls’ Night Out.

    13. He spends every cent of his paycheck the week he gets it, with no regard to the future.

    14. He gets nervous and disappears quickly any time you start crying.

    15. When you talk about a big issue – like a pregnancy scare – and you ask him for some emotional support (talking about the issue) he just says, “I don’t know, babe, it just really doesn’t affect me, I don’t see why you’re making a big deal of it.”

    16. He has restraining orders against him from previous marriages.

    17. He never tells you if his plans change, but expects to know where you are every hour of every day.

    18. He thinks Dutch Ovens are funny.

    19. You have a very close relationship with your parents and/or siblings, and he dislikes and/or trash-talks them.

    20. He doesn’t have a 5-year plan.

    (These, of course, are personal preferences)

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    • iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 3:56 pm

      I must be getting old, because you said Dutch Oven and I definitely thought of a cast iron pot with a close fitting lid before I realized what you were talking about.

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      • amber January 20, 2012, 3:58 pm

        me too! i actually had to look it up. and then i realized my husband does that to me on a daily basis. the dogs reaction to it usually makes me laugh too though πŸ™‚

      • Kate B. January 20, 2012, 4:02 pm

        I thought the same thing. What’s funny about my Dutch Oven?

      • EscapeHatches January 20, 2012, 4:29 pm

        Yep, the capitalization made me think that way too. We got 3 of them at our wedding. Oof.

      • AnotherWendy January 21, 2012, 7:58 am

        I had to Google dutch oven too. So happy to have never experienced it!!

    • Budj January 20, 2012, 3:56 pm

      sounds more like an ass hole, haha….minus the general housekeeping that is just slobby.

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    • AKchic January 20, 2012, 4:08 pm

      #16 can be for ANY relationship, not just marriages. Some guys don’t make it down the aisle with every relationship, but still end up with DVROs against them. If he has them from his mother – RUN IMMEDIATELY. Seriously.

      21. If he has children that he can’t produce documentation for, nobody has met in person or spoken to on the phone, and there are no pictures of. When it comes to kids – proof or they don’t exist. And email doesn’t count. Anyone with an inclination can create an email account or instant message account.

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      • lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 4:28 pm

        21? Really AK? Why oh why would someone make up fake children?
        Come on, you gotta share a story on that one πŸ™‚

      • AKchic January 23, 2012, 2:01 pm

        My first husband actually DID make up an “older” daughter. When I met him, she was supposedly in her teens and lived in Dutch Harbor with her mother. The product of a teenage relationship. She was 13 at the time (3 years younger than me). In Alaska, it’s not uncommon for teenage parents, nor is it uncommon for the mothers to go back to their rural areas to raise their kids with their parents (the new baby’s grandparents).

        All I had as “proof” was a blurry photo (which I later confirmed was the teenage girl he claimed to have impregnated as a teen, not the daughter he faked) and some emails back and forth. He had his mother, sisters, and I all convinced that she existed on the basis of one blurry photo and emails.
        When we started our divorce, more emails and oddly enough, instant messages (which had never happened before) started coming in. At this point, the girl was supposedly 16 and *surprise* she was pregnant. That was nothing, but how could I have hurt her father like that? I was such an adulteress, evil, etc, and if I wouldn’t give her dad his stuff, could she have it so it would stay in the bloodline. Yes, a 16 year old called me an “adulteress”, which is what my ex was calling me. It made me pause and think back. What proof did I have of this girl? So, I started digging (I was working for a PI at this time).
        Within 8 months, little “Katie” was living with her dad in our town with her daughter (oh proud grandpa). At about the same time, I proved that she didn’t exist at all. To the point that the password for her email account was the same one used for the account my ex created for an attorney he knew and impersonated (I worked for him on his campaign, so I locked my ex out of that account on the attorney’s request). When “Katie” (the fake daughter) instant messaged me to give me a lecture on the evils of getting married again and not sending her “dad” money and calling the police on him again for contacting me (to extort money and violating a 5-year no-contact order), I laid it all out on the line. That “she” didn’t exist, that “she” wasn’t real, that I had proof, and that if HE didn’t stop contacting me as a fake 17 year old single mother (which was sick in itself), I would call the police. And that I’d already emailed his mother the proof. Two days later, he emailed his mother, sisters and younger daugher’s mother a fake obituary. “Katie” died in a car accident (just like his now-14 year old son did when I first kicked him out and he wanted sympathy).

        To reiterate, some will go to extraordinary lengths for sympathy, pity and attention. Faking the death of real kids, creating imaginary kids/grandkids (and killing them off when it suits them/the ruse is falling apart), etc. It’s not unlike how some women will create false pregnancies.

      • silver_dragon_girl January 23, 2012, 2:10 pm

        Holy shit.

      • lets_be_honest January 23, 2012, 2:18 pm

        Ho Lee Shit!
        I knew it’d be a good one, thanks for sharing.
        ps We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–why isn’t there a reality show about your life?!

      • AKchic January 23, 2012, 2:59 pm

        *laugh* Because this sort of thing happens all over the US (and Alaska) far more often than you’d realize. It’s all a part of the cycle of abuse. It’s a hook.

        I don’t need the publicity. All it would do is bring my ex running back and demanding money from me (he already does that on occasion) and get him to try to get some sort of fame from me. He’s tabloid fodder, nothing more. He’s an issue for when I do run for political office, but I can neutralize the majority of the issues he presents. If I were to go reality show? I wouldn’t be able to neutralize that as easily. Opinion need no proof.
        Besides, I prefer semi-anonymity.

  • cporoski January 20, 2012, 4:04 pm

    11.) he doesn’t check in with you about things.Right before we got engaged, my husband and I talked everyday. Just to check in and work out logistics. That is when a guy starts to see you as a partner.

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    • Skyblossom January 20, 2012, 4:57 pm

      My husband and I still check in each day, usually twice during the day.

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  • Lili January 20, 2012, 4:57 pm

    Can I just add that all the letters posted today have made me feel VERY scared about marriage/relationships and all the communicating that is required to maintain them sounds so daunting!

    These plus stuff I see happening to my friends, and even what happened in my last relationship is making me wish I could still join a nunnery. Or maybe a spiritual commune where no romantic relationships are allowed!

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    • Skyblossom January 20, 2012, 5:00 pm

      If both partners learn to talk in a way that is earnest and truthful but not angry or demanding it works. Also, listening is a must and if it starts to get intense a hug to diffuse the situation is a real bonus and stepping back to cool down helps too.

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      • Lili January 20, 2012, 5:05 pm

        Thanks for the advice! I guess I just need to be a bit more optimistic. Not easy this week with this crazy weather we are having.

    • *HmC* January 20, 2012, 7:02 pm

      Consistently honest communication can be daunting, and even the best of relationships take work at times. But if: a) the timing is mutually right, b) the two of you are truly compatible on multiple levels, and c) you’re a long term relationship-type person (not everyone is, and that’s ok), it’s worth the work because the benefits outweigh the negatives.

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    • iseeshiny January 20, 2012, 7:07 pm

      It’s never too late to become a nun!

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    • evanscr05 January 23, 2012, 9:56 am

      If the person you marry is truly your friend, it’s no big deal at all. In the right relationship, it’s so natural to talk about every thing, no matter how big or small, with your partner that you don’t even really think about it. My husband is absolutely my best friend. I tell him everything, and vice versa. He calls me every single day after he leaves work and we chat about our days. We constantly talk about our future, places we’d like to travel, things we’d like to get/do for our new house, friends we want to see, random things we want to do, how our money is looking, etc. It’s work, but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s just so natural.

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  • Skyblossom January 20, 2012, 6:10 pm

    I think it’s only daunting if you let things slide and everything begins to build.

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