|Melissa + Jose- photo by Solis Productions|
1. You've Dated Around
We're not saying you have to pull a Jenn Aniston and go through tons of dudes before you find The One. But having a few solid long term relationships under your belt does help you figure out what qualities are important to you and what makes a relationship work-so you truly appreciate your future hubs when you find him.
2. You Share Similar Goals
Let's say he wants to do the suburbia thing stat, while you'd love to travel the globe for a few years. If you get hitched, one of you will end up disappointed...you're in separate mind-sets right now and prioritize different things. Settle down with a man you're more or less on the same page with: you both want to live in the city, you both want (or don't want kids), etc.
3. You Don't Want to Change Him
Look, you don't have to adore everything about your guy. But you do have to make peace with the fact that he's always going to sack out on the couch and be glued to ESPN on Sunday afternoons, and he'll never stop slurping the milk in his cereal no matter how many times you say it annoys you. You can't change a man (but you can tweak him), and trying to will make you frustrated...not to mention bitchier.
4. Your Connection Is Tight Out of Bed, Too
When you first started seeing each other, staying between the sheets all weekend was pretty legit. But for your bond to be strong enough for the long haul, you need more than a physical connection-meaning you need to know that you can have just as much fun together with your clothes on as you do when they're off.
5. You're Not Living Out a Bridal Fantasy
Sure, it seems like every time you sign onto Facebook, another pal has posted pics of herself in a stunning white gown. Sigh. But remember: Getting hitched isn't about the ceremony-it's about what happens after your big day. You'd better be thinking about your future life with him, not just your future bridal party photos (and how pretty they'll look in that fab silver frame).
6. You Both Try to Resolve Fights
After you have a disagreement, it may seem easiest to apologize and move on-you know, do the whole "pretend it never happened" thing and go forward. But sweeping conflicts under the rug only sets you up for a bigger blow-outs down the road, because the issues will likely resurface if left unresolved. If you can't talk things out rationally, you're not ready.
7. Your Friends and Family Dig Him
Of course, it's your life, so you have the final say. Thing is, choosing a partner is a big deal, and your inner circle's input does mean something. It's fine if a few family members or friends aren't huge fans of you two as a couple; you can't please 'em all. But if everyone seems to think you're a poor match, ask them why. They might be onto something.
SOURCES: Carole Altman, PhD, author of You can Be Your Own Sex Therapist; Carol J. Bruess, PhD, author of What Happy Couples Do; Marni Battista, relationship expert in Los Angeles; Jen Kirsch, relationship expert in Toronto for Cosmo TV's Love Track