Of all of the commitments you’ll make in your lifetime, the partner you select to share your heart and home with is among the greatest, if not the most important. Most couples will feel some sort of stress as that infamous wedding day grows near, especially with the chaotic nature of wedding planning, but if you’re doubting your partner, you may want to give yourself a pause. Calling off a wedding isn’t an easy thing to do, with deposits, family relations and emotions on the line, but promising your loyalty forever to someone isn’t a pinky-promise to take lightly. In fact, Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.H., a Los-Angeles based psychologist says you should be as close to 100 percent-positive about getting married as you can be.
“Since people tend to marry with the belief that they will be together until ‘death do they part,’ it is critical to thoroughly recognize and assess the pros and cons of getting married to one's significant other to determine if marriage truly is the right next step or not,” she says. “Getting married is a very serious decision which should be made in a well-thought-out, non-impulsive way because it could affect the rest of your life as well as your loved ones and any children you might have together.”
Below are three major signs you shouldn’t get married. If you’re noticing these relationship red flags, make an appointment to talk with a counselor or a trusted friend ASAP and figure out your next steps, that might not be down the aisle:
You’re hoping marriage will change your partner.
Okay, okay - it’s unreasonable to think that who you are on your wedding day will be how you are for every single moment of your marriage. But generally speaking? Psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., says who a person is at their core doesn’t falter heavily. Especially in terms of fundamental issues that are current deal-breakers, it’s essential to go into your marriage understanding that if someone doesn’t want to have kids or travel frequently now, they probably won’t change their minds when a ring is on their left hand, either. “If the two of you have not been able to come to any kind of a resolution as the wedding draws closer, it might be time to pump the breaks and re-evaluate what you can and can not live with,” Dr. Martinez says. “If you think that marrying someone is going to change their behavior, or your own, you need to have a hard look at yourself and your relationship and decide what the reality of that is.”
You’re feeling anxious.
Cold feet and a bit of nerves are not only normal, but expected. Even if you’ve been living with your partner for years, making it officially-official can be nerve-wrecking at best. But Dr. Martinez says if your anxiety levels are through the roof and aren’t quieted by those intimate moments you share with your partner and your future feels grim instead of exciting, you might need to rethink that engagement ring you’re wearing. “If you are feeling tremendous anxiety leading up to the wedding over the thought of the marriage and the life together, you need to listen to what your mind and body are telling you, and take time to consider if you are doing the right thing,” she advises.
Photo: Adria Lea Photography
Your relationship has a history of infidelity or abuse.
You might not want to swallow the pill of knowledge that ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ but Dr. Thomas says it’s a well-known saying for a reason. “If there is already infidelity, be it emotional and/or sexual, before marriage, this may indicate that the person who cheated may be ambivalent about getting married, has a sexual addiction, may be a commitment phobe or other issues,” Dr. Thomas shares.
How to call off your wedding:
If there is no abuse involved in your relationship, but rather, just a mismatched couple that isn’t meant to make it the long haul, Dr. Martinez says a heart-to-heart might be difficult, but the best solution. “The people involved need to step back and be honest with themselves, and with each other. They need to have the tough discussions, and give the honest answers. They need to know that any embarrassment or guilt they may feel about calling off a wedding that is turning out to not be the right situation, is far less of an issue than an unhealthy and unhappy marriage that starts off troubled,” she shares.
However, if abuse is present, Dr. Thomas notes to tread lightly and call The National Abuse Hotline ASAP for immediate help. You may consider therapy, but also need to feel safe suggesting this tactic. “If your significant other is being physically abusive towards you, you may suggest going to anger management classes or psychotherapy to pinpoint and identify what is causing so much anger and learn how to more appropriately deal with one's feelings in the moment so they don't build up and come out as physical abuse,” she says. However, if your partner isn’t open to this solution, find a way to call off the wedding, surrounded by loved ones who will protect you, emotionally and physically.