Brides Daily

How to Know When It's Time to Call Off the Wedding

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Martha Rich/BRIDES

Think you're making a mistake? It's far less painful to get out of an engagement than a marriage. BRIDES magazine helps you figure out when you should end it and what to do, if so:

1. Don't ignore the warning signs: persistent doubt about a conflict between you and your fiance; either of you being withdrawn or grumpy; inability to pull the trigger on wedding details; and total lack of interest.

2. Analyze the angst, and take a hard look at your stress-provokers: Can you resolve your differences? Have you sowed your wild oats? If the answer is no to either of those, you may be anxious about marriage itself, not just stressed about the wedding planning. Experts say that the indicator of a good relationship is not whether you have problems, but how capable you are of solving them together. And as far as your fear of being tied down, you may need more time to date other people.

3. Get professional help. Premarital counseling may help a couple iron out differences, but go into therapy with your eyes wide open—and go early in the wedding planning stages.

4. If all else fails, call it off with kindness and humility. Give as much detail as possible, and don't place blame for the breakup. Also, agree that you will both be very discreet.

5. Keep the news on a need-to-know basis. When you're certain about your decision, tell your parents and your bridal party. Just be prepared for them to try to pass off your feelings as no more than trivial wedding worries and to attempt to change your mind.

6. As for dealing with the rest of the world? Not your problem. Your job is to manage your own life, not meet the expectations of others.

—Hillary Quinn, BRIDES magazine

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