Some people have always known exactly what they wanted out of life. Others, like myself, make it up as they go along and find fun in the adventure. But no matter what, it's practically a universal fact that there will be challenges along the way. For instance, if you've set your sights on getting married but can't seem to seal the deal, then you might unknowingly be exhibiting some of the unexpected ways you're hurting your odds of getting married.
A friend once compared tying the knot to the old Chinese finger trap: the more you force things, the harder it is to actually achieve your goal. So, are you on the wrong end of a child's trick toy? If your ring finger is achingly bare, then you probably have more in common with the novelty item than you care to admit. In my experience, being bold enough to recognize that you might be unintentionally setting up road blocks in your own life is the first step to moving past them and reaching your goal. If your goal is to settle down with your partner, then check out these ways you could be unexpectedly hurting your chances of getting married.
1You Live Together
Though you've probably had a pious relative tell you this, cohabitation isn't harmful for the reasons you might think. As it turns out, it has less to do with if you move in together and more to do with when you take that next step. According to a study published in The Journal of Marriage and Family, sociology researcher Dr. Arielle Kuperberg found that younger couples who lived together were less likely to have successful marriages than those who did so at an age of 23 or older. In a way, this makes sense since most people probably don't know what they want out of life until they're older.
2You Keep Things Casual
As relationship expert Dr. Robert Weiss told Psychology Today, a person who hopes to make a long-term commitment out of a casual sexual relationship typically experiences, "a decrease in psychological well-being." This isn't to say that anything outside of the umbrella of monogamy is destined for failure. Weiss further explained that it all depends on if the people involved have a mutual and consensual understanding of what the relationship is — or isn't. So it's a good idea to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page, because they might just think it's a casual thing.
3You're Fiscally Focused
Money is great, but it can't buy you love. . . or marriage. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center (PRC), approximately a third of people said they weren't financially prepared for marriage. Consequently, the age at which they would get married was pushed higher as they focused on their monetary situation. Being smart with your money is a great skill, but if you've put love on the back burner because of it, that could be why you're not married yet.
4You're In A Rush
If you feel like you're in a rush to mark off major milestones on life's checklist, that could be why marriage hasn't happened for you yet. In an interview with The Huffington Post, relationship coach Otto Collins said that guilt and public perception shouldn't be the reason you're trying to get married. As Collins explain, those motivations will often lead you into a relationship without a solid foundation. So don't rush the process if you're just trying to keep up with the Joneses.
5Your Family Ties Are Tricky
You're probably familiar with the monster-in-law stereotype, but a fraught relationship with your potential in-laws could be a deeper issue. As social psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch told CNN, a close relationship with your partner's parents can cause tension between you and your significant other. If you're constantly using your potential in-laws to gang up on your partner, that's just going to make marriage less and less of a possibility.
6You Don't Talk It Out
Addressing messy issues is never fun, but it's something that has to happen in order to move past them. In a study conducted by the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project, researchers found that couples who didn't talk about important relationship issues and avoided making deliberate decisions were less likely to get married or have a successful marriage. You might think that keeping things light and fun is easier, but ultimately you're just hurting your chances of getting married by avoiding the tough conversation topics.
7You're A Fixer
Buying a house that has potential is a great idea if you're in the business of finding diamonds in the rough. But this isn't the best approach for relationships. As licensed psychotherapist Elisabeth Joy LaMotte told The Huffington Post, trying to fix or change your partner reduces your chance of getting married. Basically, if your current significant other doesn't meet your definition of the ideal partner, perhaps you should reconsider things instead of forcing them to fit into a mold.