Why Do Engaged Couples Call It Quits?

A reader wrote to us hoping we could tell him why so many of his friends got engaged, then called off the wedding. We'll get to the reasons in a moment, but first we want to make it clear that people who call off their weddings should be applauded. Ending a relationship, in front of the prying eyes of friends and families, takes a lot of guts. With approximately 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, it's best to end a doomed relationship before a legal nightmare begins. I have personally have watched couples cheat on each other until the very week before their wedding, believing, stupidly, that once they walk down the aisle, their urge to cheat will suddenly disappear.

So what prompts a couple to call a wedding off? Dr. Patricia Allen, a family therapist and author of Getting to I Do, says, "The one big reason people call off their weddings is that they idealistically want everything in a relationship. When they realize this person won't full fill all of their needs, they beak it off." Allen believes thinks is a bad reason to say, "I won't" because no one person will ever be able to fill a person's every need. A person just needs to find someone who fills the most important needs.

There are better reasons to break it off, including not being in love, marrying for convenience and marrying because it's the thing to do. There's a huge amount of pressure to get hitched in American society. Many engaged couples realize they shouldn't go through with the trip down the aisle, but are too scared to have to explain themselves to family and friends.

For many couples, religious differences rear their ugly head for the first time during the planning a wedding. Once a couple has to decide where the ceremony will be, they realize it matters if one person wants it in a synagogue, and the other in a church. This makes them think what religious beliefs will we instill in our children? Oddly, some couples don't even discuss their views on children until they are engaged. Many a person has found their soon-to-be-spouse doesn't even want kids.

Some people realize they are still attracted to other men and women, so they call it off. I think this is a poor reason. A ring on your finger doesn't mean you won't find someone you are riding an elevator with good-looking. I do think a person should back out of the wedding if he or she acts on the desire for others. If a person can't commit to sexual fidelity, don't make a commitment.

Some people call off a wedding on instinct alone. Getting married just doesn't feel right. Congratulations to them. Sometimes matters of the heart aren't logical and can't be explained. If a friend cites this as their reason for calling it off, make sure they aren't just suffering from pre-wedding jitters.

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