This is a very tricky question that as a professional matchmaker and relationship coach I get asked on the regular basis. What saddens me the most is when a client has spent years in a relationship, only to find out the other person had no intention of making a long-term commitment.

Most people that come to me to be matched with a life partner are looking for marriage.

I will often have people spend years with a person who doesn’t want marriage only to have them go through a “terrible one-sided” break-up and then have the person go and marry the next person they date.

When someone says they don’t want marriage, my tendency is to think that what they really mean is “I don’t want to marry you”. There are exceptions of course. Seniors who are looking for activity partners and travel companions sometimes don’t want the bother of living with someone. People who have had extremely bad relationships, divorces/break-ups in the past don’t always want to jump into another long-term relationship resulting in marriage. In the case of people who have had awful relationship experiences you may want to move on anyway. In all likelihood trying to convince someone with that much baggage that you’re better than what they have had in the past is a serious uphill battle that you need to be prepared to lose from the beginning.

I can’t stress enough that as a dater you have to believe what people tell you. I don’t want to get married is a very strong statement. If someone says that, chances are you won’t change their mind. If it’s important to you and someone really loves you, they will do what it takes to make you happy and if being married matters to you, it should matter to them as well.

If you want to have a family it is critical that you don’t waste time in a dead-end relationship. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the person that although you love them you have different goals and you will need to move on. Give them a chance to have second thoughts before you throw in the towel. A couple of months is the maximum it should take for someone to change their mind.

It’s great to have fun but staying in a relationship where your different needs are not met is not fair to you or your significant other. Make sure the relationship you are in is right for both people involved.