Are cold feet a fast track to Splitsville? Pre-wedding jitters could be a predictor of whether or notyou’re headed for a divorce, finds a new study in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Researchers asked 464 recently married couples whether or not they had been uncertain about getting hitched, then followed up with the same couples four years later. The results: Women who originally questioned their decisions had significantly higher divorce rates than confident newlyweds.
While researchers only studied women, marriage is obviously one of the biggest decisions of a man’s life, too: You might feel like you’re losing your identity, while also trying to figure out how to fit together with someone else, says Ken Freemont Smith, a certified Gottman relationship therapist.
It’s common for guys to get nervous on their big day, but how can you tell whether your concerns are normal or actual red flags? Here are three ominous warning signs you don’t want to ignore. (For more great sex delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the Girl Next Door newsletter–it’s FREE!)
1. There’s an Elephant in the Room
If she’s a closet drinker–and you know it–or you absolutely despise her mother (but haven’t said anything), slam your foot on the brake. “A really important problem that hasn’t been talked about or dealt with is a warning sign that something needs to slow down,” says Smith. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with her, not only do you need to vocalize things you’re actually worried about–you need to know how to (and if you can) handle the tough stuff with her.
2. You Don’t Want to Make Waves
If you’re truly unhappy, but continue to wear your game face, be careful. A lot of men try to be the “good guy” and not rock the boat, says Smith. But instead of finding a solution–i.e. telling her exactly what’s going on in your head–you’re simply training yourself to be okay with disappointment and dissatisfaction, Smith adds. Sounds like a recipe for divorce to us. (Need help getting started? Master these 6 Tricky Relationship Talks You Must Have.)
3. You Hide Your Dreams
Want to backpack Europe some day or take time to finally earn that M.B.A. degree you always wanted? Speak up. “Not sharing those things will come back to bite you,” says Smith. In order to stay connected to her, you have to be able to honor her dreams, and vice versa, or you’ll end up hiding important parts of your lives from each other. If you’re afraid to be honest with her in fear she’ll say “no,” then you’re not ready to say “I do.”