Whether it's an elaborately staged event that take place in front of a crowd, or an intimate, quiet question shared by two people, a marriage proposal holds a special place in society. Sure, in a perfect world every question of marriage could be met with an enthusiastic "Yes!" But in the real world, sometimes you need to hit the breaks. The signs you should turn down a proposal are neither romantic nor pleasant, but heeding them will likely save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
Because marriage is a big deal. Getting to a place where you're emotionally and financially ready to merge your life with another person takes time. Figuring out your views on where to live, how to work, and how (or whether) to raise children is a major deal. Meeting and falling in love with someone who shares your views, while navigating the world of stable adult relationships, is also a huge feat. So you owe it to yourself to stick it out for the relationship that's right for you, and not to settle for anything less. Steering clear of abuse, cheating, and addiction issues is crucial, but not always easy. But hopefully, one day you and your SO will not have any of these warning signs in your way.
1It's An Apology
So your partner screwed up royally, and a marriage proposal is offered as a sort of consolation prize. Take a note from Madame Noire and turn down the apology proposal. You and your partner probably need time to work through things before deciding to stay together forever.
2Your Partner Is Already Married
Granted, plenty of divorces can drag on forever, and it's unfair to ask divorcees to wait around for years before jumping into the dating pool again. That said, getting engaged before your partner's divorce is final may present some difficulties. For instance, an uncertain divorce timeline could complicate your ability to get married, and really throw a wrench into the whole shared finances deal, as noted by Top Wedding Questions. It would be easier for everyone to make sure the divorce is final before you go ring shopping.
3It's A Last-Ditch Effort
Maybe you're about to move to a new city for grad school, or fill up your schedule with a demanding new job. Or, for whatever reason, your relationship has simply run its course. If your SO whips out a ring now, it may feel more like a temper tantrum than an adult hoping to include you in their life plans. Pass.
Does it seem like everyone you know got hitched in the last couple years? It's OK if you feel a bit out of place. Sure, everyone is guilty of keeping up with the Joneses at least a little bit. But for most people, entering a marriage will take more thought than, say, leasing a shiny new car. It's smart to make sure you only enter a marriage when it's the right time for you, even if that means you never get married (which is also totally OK, as noted by The Huffington Post). You do you.
5It Was Out Of The Blue
Maybe you and your SO have been together for a little while and then, out of nowhere, a ring and a wedding is on the table. But you still aren't sure about how well you two mesh on the way you handle money, for instance. It's smart to take a step back. Before getting engaged, you should know a ton about your partner's argument style, parenting decisions, and financial savvy, as noted inThe New York Times. Diving into an engagement without this information could cause you more stress than bliss.
6The Timing Is Off
For many people, when they marry is just as important as whom they marry. In other words, you may want to finish your degree or get to a certain level in your career before settling down. It's perfectly fine to have a pre-engagement "bucket list" that you finish before you and your partner get extra-serious, and a thoughtful partner will respect this desire.
7The Relationship Is Emotionally Abusive
It's sad to say, but plenty of couples march down the aisle hoping a wedding will heal an abusive relationship. It won't. As noted in Psych Central, if your relationship shows signs of emotional abuse, such as hypercriticism, extreme jealousy, or manipulative threats of suicide, then you need to run for the door, not the altar. Marriage will not make it better.
8Addiction Is Present
If you or your loved one has a serious addiction to alcohol, drugs, or any other substance, then dealing with that will probably be necessary before an engagement is seriously considered. According to Addiction.com, treatment is possible, but the stages of early recovery can be difficult for even the strongest of couples. You may want to wait until you're both on steadier ground to make a lifelong commitment.
9Cheating Keeps Happening
If you're in a committed, monogamous relationship with a serial cheater, then a proposal is probably the last thing you should accept right now. Granted, it may be possible for a serial cheater to change, as noted by Psych Central. But in the meantime, you may be better off finding someone else who's also down with monogamy.
10You Were About To Break Up
Relationships that take dramatic 180 turns are great in fiction. In real life? Not so much. If you and your partner are going from breakup mode to a proposal in one fell swoop, you may be better off just taking a breather from the relationship for a bit (or forever).
11It Just Feels Wrong
Listen to your gut. If the proposal honestly makes you feel more worried than happy, then don't ignore that voice in your head. It's usually right.