As a bridesmaid for hire, I've found myself on countless phone calls, in church confessional booths and — of course — chasing runaway brides, who confide in me that they have last minute cold feet.
Whenever I sit down with these brides and ask them why they are no longer feeling their fiancé, or the wedding in general, a lot of them come clean with reasons that are deep-rooted in a rocky relationship — reasons that they refused to come to terms with before agreeing to get married.
If you're looking to pick apart why cold feet happens and how you can make sure you relationship is as smooth as possible before getting engaged, here are the five red flags to look for.
1. Zero compliments.
Everyone wants to be showered with compliments, especially from a person they love.
If your partner isn't telling you nice things on a daily basis or boosting your spirits when you're feeling low, you may start to question whether it's a good idea to marry someone who brings you down instead of up.
When the person you're in a relationship with gives you constant reminders of why you are an awesome person, you find yourself feeling more confident and ready to take on the world as an individual, while also having that person as your support system.
When they constant forget to tell you that you are working hard in your career or your health regimen — when you truly are — it may be a sign they are jealous, forgetful and self-centered.
All of that may bring you to fist-fight in your head over whether they care about you or are just too self-consumed, all while causing a ton of tension in the marriage.
When you're with a person who constantly says, “That's what you're wearing?” or “Why don't you try to look more like Kylie Jenner?” you'll probably start to get cold feet when you panic over what they will say — or not say — when they see you all dressed up on your wedding day.
2. Not feeling safe.
One of the best traits you can look for in a potential spouse is someone who makes you feel safe.
As human beings, we all want to feel comfortable knowing the person we're with isn't trying to lie, cheat or steal from us.
We don't want to be with someone who makes us tip-toe around our home, or constantly question if they're going to pack up their bags and leave one day because they aren't showing signs of long-term commitment.
If you're with someone who is constantly playing games, acting immature or even flighty with their life plans and their future plans with you, you may get pre-wedding jitters over marrying someone who makes your stomach flip-flop like it's inside a dryer.
3. Your eyes are searching.
It's OK to spot a cute guy at a coffee shop and send him a smile, but if you are finding yourself constantly flirting and itching to hand out your number to a hot guy you meet on the subway, you probably aren't ready to settle down.
It's unfair to say that you won't find yourself occasionally fantasizing about being with someone else every so often, but if you're finding an excuse to leave the house, head to a bar and flirt with someone else on a weekly basis, then you might not be ready for the ring.
Instead, you might want to trade your upcoming MRS status back to single-and-ready-to-mingle status.
4. The trust is gone.
If you've put a tracking device on your partner's phone and question every single thing they tell you, you may be questioning what your future is going to be like with someone you're constantly thinking is hooking up with their secretary in the bathroom.
Every relationship has a foundation that keeps it together, and if trust isn't one of those pillars, your relationship is doomed to fall to the ground.
Trusting a person makes your relationship flow smoothly and lets you kick the unneeded and unhealthy obsession with tracking their every move because you think they are up to something.
If the trust isn't there, you might decide right before it's time to walk down the aisle that you don't want to be there either.
5. The relationship needs work.
Going to couple's therapy before getting married is a totally normal thing to do.
If you know you have holes in the relationship but you still love the person and want to make it work, seeing a professional can help the two of you conquer some of the blah moments you have with each other.
If therapy isn't working out or you have no interest in fixing your relationship problems, then you may want back out of getting married to a person who has a grocery list of flaws that just irk you to the max.