People have a lot of different opinions about marriage. There are some people who really believe it's an important step in a serious relationship, and that it's an entirely different level of commitment than just a long-term relationship. Then, there are some people who feel that a marriage certificate is just a piece of paper and that they don't need to go through the whole ceremony and process in order to commit to one another.
So, there are more and more couples lately who are opting not to get married because they simply don't see the point — however, they act in ways that showcase how they're basically married in every way, minus the actual tying the knot part. Let's face it — your relationship doesn't magically transform the minute you walk down the aisle. All the quirks of marriage, both good and bad, just come with sheer time spent together. And, for many, that can come without having to actually say 'I do' in front of a crowd full of your family and friends.
Here are 20 tell-tale signs a couple is basically married even if they haven't tied the knot. Hey, the 'common law' designation exists for a reason — after enough time, you're basically like spouses.
20 You Refer To Yourselves As A 'We'
For many single people, this is the single most annoying thing that couples do — but when you've been with someone long enough, it just kind of happens! You used to be two separate people living separate lives, and while you still obviously have individual passions and pursuits, after a while you start incorporating the 'we' more and more.
You know exactly what we're talking about — you say things like "we'd love to meet you two for a drink" or "we really love that show, we just binge-watched a bunch of episodes last weekend."
It's just because, well, most of the memorable experiences you have are together.
Sure, you may have a few hobbies, or work stories you tell, but when you're waxing poetic about your weekend activities or that cool trip you just took to a tropical destination, chances are, your partner was by your side, so you're going to incorporate them in the way you share the story.
Most people don't even realize when they slowly start making the switch from 'I' to 'we' but, after a while, it just seems completely natural and you kind of can't help yourself. There's no guarantee that the single people in your life won't roll their eyes at you, though.
19 Whenever You're Invited Somewhere, You Get An Automatic Plus One
In the early stages of dating someone, your friends probably don't want to make any assumptions, and they're not really sure how serious things are, so you probably will get invited to everything solo. Then, if you ask to bring your partner along, they'll usually be happy to oblige — but they're not going to put it out there just to find out the two of you have broken up already. You know you're in a super serious relationship that's basically the same as being married when you start being given an automatic plus one, to everything.
People just assume that you'll bring your partner, just as they'd assume that the married people in the group would bring their friends. Chances are, after long enough, your friends have developed a relationship with your partner as well, so they're basically in the group too — why wouldn't the get an invite? And, it's especially obvious during wedding season. While some people might have certain rules about only married people getting plus ones, you'll probably get one thrown your way too because, well, you're basically married in their eyes. You don't have to justify your relationship and beg for a plus one like the other dating guests.
18 A Date Night In Sounds Way More Amazing Than Going Out
There was probably a time in your life when the weekend meant the chance to let your hair down, cut loose, and just really party hard. Maybe you had your girls by your side, maybe you had a date, maybe you went out for the specific purpose of meeting a cute guy — whatever it is, you didn't want to be that lame person sitting home on a Friday or Saturday night, drinking wine alone and watching movies. Now, though? That sounds like your perfect evening — although your partner is by your side, of course.
While you definitely make it a priority to incorporate date night into your weekly schedule, you also love nothing more than just hanging out at home, binge-watching something together on Netflix, cuddling, and maybe sharing a bottle of wine or a few movie snacks.
Who wants to be overpaying for drinks in a crowded bar where everyone is just trying to sniff out a new partner? Nightmare. It's much better to just hang out at home with the person you love — and if you ask around, all your married friends will probably agree with you, which tells you everything you need to know about your relationship status.
17 Bodily Functions Are NBD
Bodily functions are natural. They happen to everyone. And yet, in those early stages of your relationship, you're probably terrified at the idea of your partner hearing anything or, well, knowing that you too have to do all those natural bodily functions. You only use the bathroom when you know they won't know what you're doing, or perhaps you go so far as to holding certain functions in when your partner is present.
When you're married, while there may be some people who still have certain hang-ups, for the most part, you're at a whole new level of intimacy. That means, while you may not love experiencing your partner's bodily functions, it's kind of not really a big deal to you either. If your partner freely passes gas in front of you or leaves the bathroom door open when they go to relieve themselves, that's a pretty strong sign that you're basically married. That kind of thing is something you just don't do with someone you're casually dating — it may seem silly, but it's just the way most people function. That level of intimacy and comfort around one another is something that comes with spending a lot of years together.
16 You Make All Your Big Financial Decisions Together
Everyone knows about joint bank accounts, something that many couples opt to set up once they tie the knot and combine their finances. However, if you've been someone for quite a long time, chances are you've already combined your finances in some way, even if it's not in a formal joint account. Perhaps you both pay a certain portion of the rent, or you have some kind of a deal on who pays for dinner.
And, chances are, you're not making huge financial decisions without at least discussing it with your partner.
After all, if you blow all your savings on an extravagant vacation, your partner is going to be the one who has to pick up the pieces and figure out how you'll afford your bills for the next few months — so you kind of can't make huge decisions that blindside them financially.
Plus, you know, you respect them and value their opinion, so even if it's just a personal financial decision, chances are you'll get their opinion and share your thought process with them because you want to know what they think. If you're combining finances in some way, you're kind of acting like you're already married, even if you haven't tied the knot yet.
15 Silence Doesn't Bug You — It's Comfortable
When you first start dating someone, you kind of feel like you need to fill all the gaps and pauses in the conversation. After all, there's something super awkward about silence — you feel weird just staring at one another, and you want to do anything possible to avoid that feeling. However, once you've been with someone for quite a while, that definitely changes. You could definitely still talk for hours about anything under the sun — it's not as if you've run out of things to say after a few years together.
However, you're also completely comfortable just hanging out in silence. You don't feel like you need to keep impressing them and showering them with witty jokes to make them see how amazing you are. You're confident in your relationship and you feel like you can just, well, relax and be yourself — not the best version of yourself that you always put on for dates. If you find that you and your partner have done things like walked together in silence for long stretches of time, or had a meal together without chattering endlessly, we've got news for you — you may as well already be married, because that's totally what married people do.
14 You're Totally Comfortable Looking A Hot Mess Around Them
Okay, first of all, let's just dispel the myth that people completely let themselves go once they're married and lose all sense of style — that's totally untrue. You can definitely still bring it on date night and when you want to channel your inner seductress. However, you also don't feel pressured to wake up before your partner to tame your appearance so you look like you just woke up, effortlessly gorgeous. You don't worry about how an outfit will look after dinner when that bodycon dress becomes a little less flattering because of your food-baby. You just feel, well, comfortable around them — just as you are.
They see you without make-up just as often as they see you with make-up, so it's kind of not a big deal anymore.
You have no qualms about slipping into your coziest, most unflattering sweatpants when you're just hanging around the house, and you know they won't really care what you wear — they just love you, period. If you're able to be completely comfortable around your partner, to the point where you don't worry about your appearance, even if you look like a hot mess, you're basically married. I mean, for better or for worse, right?
13 You Know Their Medical History
When you spend enough time with someone, you get to know every little detail about them — often things you wouldn't have even thought to ask. Perhaps you go with them to pick out a new pair of glasses, so you know their prescription. Perhaps you have to drive them to the emergency room when they're experiencing some kind of a health crisis, so they've coached you through filling out their forms and well, you remember most of it. Perhaps you've stopped by the drug store with them to pick up a prescription while you were out running errands together on the weekend.
Whatever the situation, you've learned enough bits and pieces about your partner that you could probably fill out their entire medical history if they ever needed you to. You'd be able to tell their doctor about any medications or allergies, and you can always tell if something is weird about their body — like a mole that suddenly changes shape and prompts you to make them book an appointment with their dermatologist STAT. It just comes with the territory of being together for years and years — you may not be able to check 'married' on the medical form, but you can sure as heck fill it out for them.
12 You Can Communicate Without Saying A Word
When you've been with someone for long enough, it's almost as if you have some kind of telepathy that applies just to the two of you. People always joke about finishing each other's sentences, but, well — you can totally do that. You're also able to tell exactly what your partner is thinking about by the slightest change in their facial expression.
Seriously — one slight quirk of the eyebrow across a crowded room at a party and you know that they're ready to go, and you're already saying your goodbyes so you can head out the door together.
It seems kind of like a superpower, but really, it's just a product of spending a huge amount of time together and really getting to know one another. For most people, it happens once they tie the knot and start enjoying marital bliss, but even if you don't tie the knot, you can get that kind of closeness with someone just by spending a ton of time with them. And, as a bonus, it majorly weirds people out when you can communicate without ever saying a single word — it's sort of like your little secret superpower that you just share with each other, which is kind of cute.
11 You Never Worry About The Future Of Your Relationship
Different people move at different paces when it comes to their relationships, but one thing is for sure — when you're just dating someone, chances are, you worry at least a little bit about the future of your relationship. Whether there's a certain incident that made you question things, a certain person who makes you jealous, or maybe it's a comment that your partner made about the future which made you feel as if you didn't have a place in it. Either way, it's something that causes you stress, even if just occasionally.
When you're married, you don't worry about that — your future is, well, together! You've already made that commitment, so barring something like divorce, you know that your relationship will be strong and stable as the years go on. And, the same thing happens when you've been with someone for a long time, even if you haven't actually tied the knot. There's a sense of stability and security that you don't just get out of nowhere — it comes from time, plain and simple. You feel completely confident in your relationship and your future and know exactly where life will take you, at least in terms of love. And that's pretty amazing.
10 You Tell Stories Together Like Total Pros
You know how we said one of the major things that couples who have been together through thick and thin is to refer to themselves as 'we'? Well, this is kind of along those lines. After you've been with someone for a while, you'll find that a lot of your stories and his stories kind of become 'your' stories.
Sure, you may have work tales to tell, or something from back before you met your partner, but even then, your partner has probably heard a story you tell so much that he's able to chime in with little comments to really spice it up or get the narrative moving.
And, you do the same for him — you'll insert little tried and true bits into his stories that will have your conversational partners on the edges of their seats. Forget those couples who stammer and stutter through a story, tripping over one another and making a mess of it all. The two of you are like a well-oiled machine, bringing an amazing story to your friends. After all, who doesn't want their own built-in hype man to help make all their stories even more amazing? Even if you're already a fantastic storyteller, it'll make you a hundred times better.
9 When You Meet New People, They Just Assume You're Married
You know the saying "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it's probably a duck"? Well, that applies to married couples as well. When you've been together with someone for long enough, you kind of talk like you're married, and you have the rapport that suggests you're married, and you basically just give off those vibes time and time again — so they'll likely just assume that you're married.
In this day and age, where many married couples don't share the same last name, and where some prefer not to wear wedding bands, it can be hard to tell when someone actually is. You may correct them or you may not, depending on whether you feel like you'll wade into the whole 'but why not?' annoyance if you tell them you're not actually married. However, it's an assumption that you've dealt with time and time again, and at this point, you're so used to it that it really doesn't even bug you anymore. The idea of being married to your partner isn't insulting — you love them, after all — it's just that you really don't have the desire to go march down the aisle together.
8 You Text Them About Silly Or Mundane Things Without Worry
When you've been dating someone for just a short amount of time, there's a part of you that still kind of wants to put your best foot forward. You want to reply to every text message with the perfect witty retort. You want to share a cool story with them or give them an amazing song recommendation. Every exchange has some weight to it.
When you're married, that changes — you become totally fine with texting them silly things, like asking them to pick up a pint of ice cream on the way home, or just sending them a picture of a weird thing you saw that day.
You ask them strange hypothetical questions or get them to weigh in on which lunch option you should go for. You're constantly getting notifications from them, and vice versa, because you're just always reaching out to one another for some silly reason or another. And it's because you're not filtering yourself or overthinking every exchange — you're just sharing yourself and your day with your partner with no worry whatsoever about what they might think. If that's the way you communicate, you're kind of acting like you're basically married — why not celebrate by sending your partner a cute gif?
7 You Have So Many Inside Jokes And References It's Like Your Own Language
Even if you have a ton of amazing besties who fulfill you in ways your partner can't, let's be honest — if you're with someone for a really long time, they kind of become another one of your best friends. After all, you wouldn't spend so much of your time with them if you didn't genuinely enjoy their company! Physical attraction counts for a lot, but eventually, that crazy lust gets another component added to it — friendship.
Over your years together, you've had a lot of experiences together, which means you probably have a lot of inside jokes and references to things you've experienced. And, you just might find yourselves bringing those things up regularly to other people and being met with confused glances because, well, they don't get it. Then you have to remind yourself that it's an inside joke with your partner — of course, someone else wouldn't get it.
There's just something about having that secret language together that just increases intimacy even more — it's nice to have secret little phrases and memories with someone, something you know that only they will fully understand and enjoy with you. After all, who doesn't want to have their own secret language with someone important in their life?
6 You Feel Weird When They're Out Of Town For Work
You know you're basically married when you feel super weird when your partner is out of town for work. After all, the logical part of your brain realizes you're an adult, you've spent plenty of time alone, you know how to entertain yourself and live your life like an independent adult.
However, you're just so used to your partner being there all the time that it seems kind of weird to not have them around.
You'll find yourself spending time wondering what they're up to, and whether or not they're thinking of you.
You'll go to do something that seems totally natural, like watching another episode of the show you've been watching together lately, only to realize that you can't watch the show because it's something you do together (and you're not about to cheat and break their trust by watching ahead!).
Perhaps you make dinner and find yourself automatically preparing two portions like you normally would. There's just something about it all that seems weird when your partner isn't around. Although, obviously, every couple is different — if your partner has the kind of job where they're traveling half of every month, perhaps you've gotten used to flying solo on a regular basis.
5 You Love People Watching Together
There's just something about people watching that is so supremely satisfying, and there's nothing better than people watching with someone. Sure, you can have a good time doing so with your girlfriends, but there's just something about people watching with your partner that's totally fun. When you're just dating someone, you might not feel comfortable just sitting in silence together, and you might not feel comfortable expressing all your silly thoughts and opinions.
When you've been dating so long that you're basically married, you have an entirely different perspective. You'll say any silly thought that comes to mind when you're observing all the people around you, and you're more than happy to sip your coffee and take in all the interesting characters walking past. People watching is just another fun activity you can do while you're out, grabbing a bite to eat or having a drink after a long week. You do things like share amused glances when you overhear a conversation and speculate about people who walked past and what their lives are like. You may even find a character so fascinating that you're talking about them much later when you're in the car heading home. It all depends on who crosses your path!
4 You Shop For Each Other — Successfully
When you're married, even though you know your partner can obviously shop for themselves (and probably does), you still like to keep an eye out for things they might like when you're out and about. Perhaps you see a sweater in a store window that you know would look perfect on your partner. Perhaps you're getting some new home decor items and find a mug that seems like it would be their new favorite.
Whatever the case, you have no qualms about buying something for them because you know their taste and you know what they like and dislike — so chances are, you're going to hit a home run on whatever you end up getting.
That's the kind of thing that takes a long time to develop. Everyone has been in shorter relationships where you're just utterly stumped on what to get for your partner because you only know bits and pieces of what they like, so you do something like picking a hobby or interest and just buy something in that general area. When you've been dating so long you're pretty much married, you probably have an idea of exactly what to get them because you know them inside and out.
3 You Consider Their Family Your Family
Family can be a tricky thing when it comes to relationships. Sometimes, you just don't get along with your partner's family — and sometimes, to be frank, they don't get along with their own family! And, of course, vice versa — everyone has a different family dynamic, and some people are much closer to their families than others. However, one thing is for sure — if you've been dating so long that you basically consider their family your own, and vice versa, that's a sign that you're pretty much married. It doesn't mean you have to love them, and it absolutely means you can find them annoying, but the general gist of things is that you consider them your own.
You've been to so many family events and dinners and celebrations and holidays that you're an honorary member, even if you may not be officially married into the family. You've more than earned your stripes over the years by attending things, so you don't need a ring or marriage certificate to say you belong. And, chances are, you've earned enough respect with the family that you can totally poke fun at family members, just like others are doing — you've earned the right through years of jokes and laughter.
2 You Have Synced Calendars
In this day and age, it's no secret that everyone is insanely busy. People are juggling work and life events and other priorities, and sometimes, it can seem like your calendar is literally your lifeline. After all, how would you remember half the commitments you have if you didn't enter them in your trusty calendar? In the early stages of dating, you basically have your own calendars, and you try to carve out time that works for both of you for things like date night.
When you've been dating so long that you're basically married, things are a little different.
You both obviously have your own calendars, filled with all the things you have to do, but you also likely have some kind of a synced couple's calendar that lists all your joint obligations.
Perhaps it's something as simple about remembering to send a family member a birthday card or to attend their birthday dinner. The point is, you know everything that's going on with their lives, and they know everything that's going on with your life — there's no secrets. You know when they schedule time for a beer with the boys, and when they're out of town on business. You know everything.
1 You Don't Even Consider Lying Because You Know They Can Read You Like An Open Book
Okay, obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, and there are certainly super toxic relationships in which someone is a flawless liar who manages to completely fool their partner. However, those relationships aren't the norm. The norm is a healthy relationship built on trust and respect, and just like your partner is able to communicate with you with just a simple expression or wordless glance, they're able to tell exactly when you're not being truthful about things.
Even if you're a masterful liar with everyone else with a flawless poker face, you know that your partner will see right through you if you try to lie to them, so you don't even bother. It might even just be a tiny thing, like an embarrassing story of something that happened to you earlier that day. A little white lie isn't that big a deal in the larger scheme of things, but you don't even bother with it because you know your partner will know something is up and ask for the actual truth. So, you're just brutally honest with them at all times — and it's kind of amazing. After all, who wants to be in a relationship filled with lies? That's certainly not healthy!
References: elitedaily.com, thoughtcatalog.com, womenshealthmag.com