1. You don’t blink when someone refers to your boyfriend as your husband. Or when they refer to you as Mrs. [his last name]. You’re used to it.
2. Your in-laws consider you family. You’re already calling his mom your mother-in-law. You’re already used to all their family traditions. You’re already guarenteed an invite to every wedding and funeral he attends.
3. You plan on spending forever together. Maybe you don’t see the point in marriage. Or maybe you don’t have the money for a lavish ceremony right now. There are sensible reasons why you two haven’t gotten hitched — but a lack of love isn’t one of them. He’s your forever person. He’s not going anywhere.
4. You still have symbols of your love. You don’t wear a ring, but you always wear the necklace he gave you for your anniversary. Or that sweater that he picked out especially for you. Other people don’t know what it means, but you do, and that’s all that matters.
5. People make assumptions. They assume you’re living together. They assume you’re having sex. They assume you’re doing everything a married couple would do, even though you aren’t technically married.
6. People make stupid assumptions. If an “unacceptable” amount of time has passed without a proposal, everyone will ask if your partner is secretly gay or if there are underlying issues you never talk about. They’ll assume something is wrong with the relationship, even though you’re perfectly happy the way things are.
7. You judge your friends. You know every couple moves at their own pace, but you can’t help but roll your eyes when your friend tells you she’s engaged, even though she’s only known the guy for six months. You don’t see the point in rushing into things.
8. You get sick of hearing the same questions. Whenever you go to a family party, everyone asks when the wedding is going to be — or even worse, when you’re going to spit out a baby. It’s all they seem to care about.
9. You act just like your married friends. Some people mistakenly believe that you live by a different set of rules, all because you’re “single.” But you’re not single. You’re in a serious relationship. Cheating is still a no-no. Loyalty and trust and communication matter. You treat your boyfriend the same way you’d treat him if he was your husband.
10. You know exactly what your wedding would be like (if you decided to have one). You’ve talked about it in detail, even if it was hypothetically. You know what types of flowers your maid of honor would be carrying and what kind of gems would be in your engagement ring. You have it all figured out.
11. You can pretty much read his mind. You know where you’re going to spend Thanksgiving. You know what he’s going to put on his plate when it’s time for the big meal. You know him better than most of his family members do.
12. You feel like you’re married. It doesn’t matter that your ring finger is bare and you’ve never been through an official ceremony. You love each other. You plan on spending the rest of your lives together. You’re married without the paperwork.