There is no single sign that an engagement is destined to become an unhappy marriage. Only the couple can determine whether a relationship is salvageable. Before you end an engagement, talk to your significant other about your concerns or consider premarital counseling. These discussions can help you make a more informed decision on whether to end the engagement.
If your partner has ever abused you or attempted to control you by limiting access to friends, finances or family, this may be a sign that you should end your engagement. Even if your partner has never physically injured you, controlling or aggressive behaviors may be a precursor to domestic violence. Rehabilitating abusers can be difficult, so ending relationships with such persons may be the best way to protect your safety and well-being.
Although the saying "opposites attract" may hold true for some couples, if you do not share similar values, it may be worth giving your engagement a second look. While minor differences, such as political views, can make your relationship more interesting, if you cannot agree on things like where you want to live, how to manage your money and how you want to raise any future children, this may be a sign to reconsider the impending nuptials.
If you find yourself feeling at odds with your future spouse's dreams – or vice versa – this may not bode well for your upcoming marriage. For instance, if your partner wants to start a farm and you dream of living in a large city, it may be difficult to accommodate both dreams. While one partner may compromise, giving up significant goals such may lead to resentment. Likewise, unhealthy personal patterns, such as laziness or disregard for your feelings, may be a sign that you have picked the wrong person, according to LuAnn Duncan and Victor W. Harris, authors of "Are You Marrying the Right Person? Healthy Signs and Red Flags."
Lack of Love
Although you may enjoy time with your partner and care about him deeply, this does not necessarily mean that you love him like a potential spouse. If you find yourself feeling attracted to other people or do not experience passion and a sense of intimacy with your partner, this may be a sign that you need to reassess your engagement. In such cases, the love you feel may be more of the friendly variety than the type that lends itself to a healthy marriage.
Unready for Marriage
Marriage is designed to be a lifelong commitment and many people may not yet be prepared to be with one person for the rest of their lives. If you are unsure about what you want from life or have financial or emotional issues that make it difficult for you to maintain stability, this may be a sign that you are not ready for marriage. In such cases, ending an engagement may save both you and your partner heartache.
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- HelpGuide.org: Domestic Violence and Abuse
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Are You Marrying the Right Person? Healthy Signs and Red Flags
- Cornell University Legacy Project: One Thing to Look for in a Mate: Advice from Long-Married Elders
- University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension: Getting Connected, Staying Connected Friendship, Love, and Sexual Intimacy
- Barbara Penoyar/Photodisc/Getty Images