To wed or not to wed? That is the question.
Perhaps the scientifically-proven ideal age to get married is approaching. Perhaps you’ve heard that being married is good for your health. Perhaps you’re just sick of grandma bagging on your bachelorhood during every family dinner. Whatever the reason, you’re seriously considering marriage for the first time in your life. Let the soul-searching begin.
There’s no Buzzfeed quiz or Silicon Valley algorithm to determine when someone is ready to marry. There’s just you and your intuition – which nails it some of the time, but also encourages the kind of behaviour that begins with “Hold my beer” more often than you’d like.
Under those circumstances, it’s natural to feel apprehensive about making one of the biggest decisions of your life. But at what point do your cold feet become a case of full-body frostbite? When are your doubts indicative of something more? Here are 10 signs you’re not ready for marriage yet (or may not be marriage material at all).
You’re Not Over Your Ex
“Speak now or forever hold your peace.” If a secret part of you is picturing your ex barreling down the aisle to object, you have a serious case of unresolved feelings that will tank your marriage before it’s had a chance to start. All emotional ex baggage must be unpacked before you commit to your current partner.
You’ve Never Been Single
While your friends happily emulated the playboy lifestyles of their idols Bond and Hef, you gravitated to a more settled life. Serial monogamy is your chosen vice, and though your steady string of girlfriends may make you a “good guy” in many eyes, it doesn’t make you good husband material. Until you’ve mastered the art of self-sufficient happiness, you’ll never know if a relationship is the real thing or merely a way to fill a void in your life.
You’re Too Focused On Your Career
You’re the first one into the office and the last one to leave. You eat lunch at your desk. You work overtime and weekends without hesitation, and your career goals are better described as “career obsessions.” We hate to break it to you, but you’re too busy hustling to get hitched right now. You get one marriage at a time – if you’re already married to your job, there’s no room for a spouse.
You Think It’s A Quick Fix
You’ve heard of the Band-Aid baby – now meet the nuptials version. Swearing “Til death do us part” in a rented tux will not cement an unstable relationship. Arguments, infidelity, stress, disrespect, jealousy, waning passion, and other issues do not disappear because you sign a legally binding document. If the foundation is shaky to begin with, nothing you build on top can be solid.
You’re Keeping Secrets
One or two bones in a closet likely aren’t dealbreakers, but full skeletons spell doom for a marriage. You have two options: fess up or break up. If you’re afraid to come clean because you fear judgement or misunderstanding, or don’t trust your partner to keep their mouth shut, it’s a clear signal that something fundamental is off in your relationship.
You’re Together For The Wrong Reasons
You love them, but you’re not in love with them. You love their potential, but not who they are right now. You’re feeling pressure from family. You’re trying to escape something. You’re afraid to be alone. You think your time is running out. You hate the thought of starting over. You’re tired of being the only one with no engagement photos on Instagram. There are tonnes of bad reasons to get married, and only one good one that really matters: because you want to spend the rest of your life together.
You’re Too Independent
Clinginess is not a good look, but relationships require a healthy level of interdependence in order to function. You must be willing to surrender some of your privacy and alone time. You must give up your “me first” attitude. You must make decisions as a unit instead of prioritising your needs. You must make space for another person in your life. Narcissism and partnership are inherently incompatible.
You Keep Having The Same Arguments
She’s still harping on the year you forgot your anniversary; you’re still pissed about the night she drunk-flirted with your cousin. Arguments are part of any relationship, but if your conflicts are recurring and never resolved, you’re not ready to walk down the aisle. Hit the brakes until you’ve learned to fight effectively (yes, there is such a thing).
Your Values Don’t Align
“Opposites attract” does not apply when it comes to your values, morals, and goals. You may think some disagreements will go away and compromise will solve others, but we’re not talking about problems on the level of a toilet seat left up. We’re talking about issues around faith, finances, monogamy, child-rearing – deeply important, character-defining principles that may be non-negotiable when it comes to picking a partner. These discrepancies will be put under a microscope the second you say “I do.”
You Already Have An Exit Plan
Do not listen to your inner voice when: it suggests betting next month’s rent at the poker table or getting a My Little Pony tramp stamp. Do listen to your inner voice when: it’s already drawing up divorce papers and you haven’t even picked out a ring yet. It’s normal to feel jitters as you approach a monumental new chapter in your life, but if your doubts are so strong you’re already looking for an out, you’re better off not needing an out in the first place.