While some of us Millennials are nowhere near the life stage of marriage (*raises hand*), there are many American adults who are doing it. And it does seem like the logical next step after living together. But there are definitely signs you shouldn't get married, according to divorce attorney and life coach Michelle Afont.
The truth is, 27 percent of Millennials – adults from ages 18 to 34 – are married, according to a Gallup U.S. Daily Tracking poll in 2014. Roughly 40 percent of marriages wind up in divorce, according to Psychology Today in 2017. That's quite a big percentage of people getting married getting divorced – so what can we do to avoid this, if a lifetime of marriage is the goal?
Afont interviewed 4,000 people for her upcoming book, The Dang Factor: A No-Nonsense Lesson on Life and Love, asking the participants their opinions on topics ranging from love to divorce. Afont has a personal connection to the subject as well, having gone through her own divorce, too. She offered insight gained from clients, interview participants, and her own life experience on signs you shouldn't get married.
You doubt the strength of your connection to your partner.
"Doubt really should not come into the equation of marriage," says Afont. "There should be no doubt in your mind that this is the person you want to spend your life with."
Afont has had clients as a divorce attorney that come to her and say that they had doubt before getting married.
To break down this doubt, Afont suggests pin-pointing exactly where the doubt is coming from: Is it compatibility, feelings, or attraction?
Afont says doubt that has to do with these three behaviors are important to recognize and address because they may be "significant" and "do not improve over time."
"The above doubts are entirely different doubts than say, doubting whether you are financially ready to marry or if you will mesh with regard to housekeeping as a married couple," says Afont. "I thought once I got married, my attraction to my first husband would surface because we were now married. Suffice it to say, after twenty-five years of marriage, I still felt no attraction to him."
You feel rushed to get married.
Some people subscribe to the idea that life has an order. You go to elementary school, middle school, high school, college, get a job, get married, have kids, grandkids, retire, and die. While this is the order in which many live their lives, it by no means means you have to set a deadline on each individual event.
"Many people marry because it is 'time,'" says Afont. "In other words, the person you meet in your 30s is likely the person you will marry simply because of timing. If parenthood is a priority, marriage is even more likely to happen based on sheer timing."
Afont stresses the importance of checking your attraction to the person you're going to marry, and not just going ahead with it because it's "the right thing to do" due to timing, or another factor.
With all the time, money, and emotional labor spent on marrying someone – wouldn't you want to be sure it's someone you're truly attracted to and in love with? It's not worth all of that to settle, especially for a timeline that is not your own.
You feel anxious when planning your wedding.
Pre-wedding "jitters" are totally normal and to be expected. But "when normal jitters become a concern is when the jitters form an uneasiness or an agitation within us," says Afont. "Anxiety and restlessness should not accompany your wedding planning. Jitters pre-wedding should be limited to excitement and a touch of nerves."
So be sure you're in tune with how you're feeling both personally and toward your partner. You'll potentially save the two of you years of pain and heartache if you're truthful and address these concerns before you tie the knot.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!