The question has been popped, and you have said yes. You’ve excitedly announced your engagement to all your family and friends. But as you start planning your wedding, you just aren’t feeling…it. You are having second thoughts. Is it a case of cold feet, or something more? Here are ten signs that you are not ready to get married.
1. You have only known your partner a short while
It has only been six months, but every moment together has been bliss. You can’t stop thinking about them. You never want to be away from their side. When not together, you text constantly. This must be love, right?
Not really. During the first year, you are in the infatuation stage of your relationship. This doesn’t mean that you won’t marry your partner one day. But you need time to learn more about this person before committing to them. During the first year, everything looks rosy. Making an important life-altering decision while wearing the pink glasses of infatuation would be a mistake. If this is the real deal, love will last, giving you more time to better assess everything about your mate—the good and the not-so-good—so that you can walk down the aisle truly knowing who this person is.
2. You are uncomfortable sharing some of your deepest, darkest secrets
A healthy, loving marriage is made up of two people who know each other’s secrets and still love each other. If you are hiding something significant—a former marriage, a bad credit history, a substance abuse problem (even if resolved)—you aren’t ready to marry that person. If you are afraid that your partner will judge you, you need to work on where that fear is coming from. You want to be able to be authentically you, and still be loved, when saying “I do.”
3. You don’t fight well
If your couple’s pattern of conflict resolution is one person giving in to the other just to keep the peace, you aren’t ready to get married. Happy couples learn to communicate their grievances in ways that move towards mutual satisfaction, or at least mutual understanding of the other person’s viewpoint. If one of you consistently gives in to the other, just so tempers will not flare, this will only breed resentment in your relationship. Before getting married, do some work, either by reading advice books or talking to a counselor, so you learn how to handle the inevitable conflicts that arise in all relationships. If you sense that you are not willing to “fight intelligently”, you are not ready to get married.
4. You don’t fight at all.
“We never fight!” you tell your friends. This is not a good sign. It may mean you aren’t communicating enough about the hard stuff. More likely one of you is fearful or rocking the relationship boat and not voicing their dissatisfaction about an issue. If you haven’t had an opportunity to see how you both manage a heated debate, you aren’t ready to join each other in matrimony.
5. Your values don’t line up on the important issues
You love spending time with your partner. But as you have gotten to know them better, you realize that you don’t see eye to eye on important things like money (spending, saving), children (how to raise them), work ethic and leisure activities. Marrying someone means marrying all of them, not just the parts that you enjoy.
6. You have a wandering eye
You hide intimate communications you are having with an ex. Or, you continue to flirt with your office colleague. You can’t imagine settling for the attention of just one person. If you feel the need for constant validation from people other than the person you are considering marrying, you aren’t ready to get married. Marriage doesn’t mean you stop being human—it is natural to appreciate qualities in people other than your spouse-to-be– but it does mean you need to be ready to commit emotionally and physically to your mate.
7. You aren’t sure you are ready to settle down
You get along so well with your partner, yet you sense that you want to date different types of people before tying yourself to just one. If that little voice in your head is telling you sign up for Tinder just to see who is out there, you want to listen to it. There’s no reason to move forward with a wedding, only to find out later that you regret not playing the field a bit more before putting a ring on it.
8. You hate to compromise
You’ve been on your own awhile, and you know how you like your home (tidy all the time), your morning routine (don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee) and your vacations (Club Med). But now that you are in love and spending your time together, you are finding that your partner’s habits aren’t exactly the same. You aren’t comfortable changing your lifestyle in order to blend with theirs. If this is the case, cancel your order for the wedding invitations. With time, you may come to realize that in order to successfully merge, you will have to compromise. But when you are ready to marry, this will not seem like a sacrifice.
9. All your friends have gotten married
You have been going to other people’s wedding for the past year and a half. You seem to have a permanent seat at the bride and groom’s table. You are tired of being asked “So, when are you two going to tie the knot?”
If you are feeling left out because all of your friends have become “Mr and Mrs”, expand your social circle to include other non-marrieds. That is a much healthier way to handle this situation than moving forward with a wedding, just because you hate being the last unmarried couple at Bunco night.
10. You think your partner has the potential to be the person you want to be with
You want to marry the person your partner is, not the person you imagine they can be. While people do undergo some changes are they mature, they do not change fundamentally. Whoever your partner is right now, that is the person they will always be. So entering a marriage thinking it will magically change your partner into being more responsible, more ambitious, more caring, or more attentive to you is a huge mistake. People don’t change just because they exchange wedding rings.