rules of engagement

5 signs he’s ready to get hitched (to you!)

Every relationship charts its own course.

Some are meant to be short, sweet, and full of cherished memories. Others last forever, even if they change midcourse from friends to lovers and back again. There’s no rule — especially in gay life — that says your relationship has to lead to marriage.

But if you’re the marrying kind, or if your partner is, it’s helpful to know when to pop the question.

After all, timing is everything. You don’t want to get down on one knee too soon and freak out Mr. Right.

On the other hand, you don’t want to keep him waiting forever if he’s looking for a ring, a ceremony, a mortgage for that white-picket-fence, and a puppy or two (or kids).

Here are some clues he may be giving you to let you know he’s ready.

1. He Treats You Like Part of His Family

Of course, by “family” we mean blood relatives and/or chosen ones—those lifelong friends he’s created an extended family with. When the holidays roll around, does he assume you will be at the table with them? When there’s a birth, anniversary, or funeral to attend, are you always there at his side? When you’re with his family, does their verbal and body language show that he has shared with them his long-term feelings for you? If the answer is yes, consider it a green light.

2. He’s Getting More Domestic by the Minute

Your relationship may have started off online, at the gym, or at a bar. Early dates might have included dance parties and a foodie tour of all the hip restaurants in town. But as time has gone on, has he become more of a homebody? Does he want to spend weekends looking at paint samples and kitchen tile? Is his new definition of a perfect night a bottle of white, a bag of Skinnypop, and a Queer Eye binge next to you on the couch? The more domestic your sweetie has become, the more likely he’s got his eye on Happy Ever After.

3. He Gets Emotional at OPW (Other People’s Weddings)

Okay, this is a big one. Certainly, you two have attended a wedding or five in your time together, whether of the same- or opposite sex variety. Does he tear up when the groom or bride walks down the aisle? Does he squeeze your hand when the couple recites their vows? Is he the guy itching to get up and propose a long tipsy toast during the reception? The more your guy seems to like weddings, the more ready he is to plan his own.

4. He Freely Talks About the Big Three

You don’t need to ask what the Big Three are, do you? They’re Kids, Money, and Sex, of course. Marital therapists tell us they are the top three issues that bring couples into therapy. Divorce lawyers say they are the three top reasons a majority of marriages don’t make it. Point is: If he’s comfortable discussing all of these — and they should be discussed long before a proposal is made — then he’s obviously comfortable with the idea of planning a life with you, and avoiding divorce court.

5. He Tries the Reverse Psychology Trick

Bear with us a minute on this one. We humans can be complicated creatures, and sometimes we say or do just the opposite of what we’re feeling. When the topic of marriage comes up, have you noticed him making semi-passive-aggressive remarks like, “Us get married? How funny!” or, “Yeah, that’ll be the day”? When passing by a jewelry store, has he rolled his eyes and said, “Please, my ring finger will never see a tan line”? If he’s making sarcastic comments like this, especially with a pout, not only is he ready to get engaged, he’s been waiting a while.

Get thee to a jeweler, Romeo, and make it quick.