6 Signs You're Not Ready To Get Engaged

by Kalie Eyman

We've all known those couples — the ones who have a relationship that's in the gutter one minute and then they're walking down the aisle the next. Yes, it confuses all of us. But the fact of the matter is that until you're actually engaged, you never know quite how/when it's going to happen. And sometimes, all of that uncertainty about the event itself can be a reflection of how you're feeling about your partner — because, yes, that kind of commitment is scary. So how exactly do you know when you're ready to get engaged? It's normal to have some doubts about things in any relationship; you're only human. However, when getting engaged, it's important to be as sure as you can possibly be before you, you know, dedicate your entire life to someone. That's kind of a big deal.

Whether your engagement is a long, rocky road to matrimony or a plunge into the unknown, there are several warning signs to consider before any mention of rings. Taking the time to evaluate your relationship now and address any issues together will only help your relationship down the road, whether you decide to get engaged or not. Read on to find out the top five signs that you should hold off on those wedding bells.

1. Communication is a struggle

This seems like an obvious caveat, but it's surprising how many couples (even ones who have been together for forever) don't practice what they preach when it comes to communication. It doesn't matter if you met in college and have been dating for the past five years, if both of you can't have an open discussion about where your relationship is going, that's a significant warning sign. Some couples communicate effectively naturally, while for others it can be more of a struggle. It doesn't mean that you aren't meant to be together or couldn't have a successful marriage, but it's definitely a key consideration that you should slow down and work on building on your communication before making a huge commitment.

2. You aren't able to laugh together (and at each other)

Life is full of surprises, and sometimes you just have to be able to laugh at whatever comes your way. If you aren't comfortable poking a bit of fun at each other, it's a sign that you might be insecure about some aspect of your relationship or yourself. It's easy to get caught up in all the glamour and glory of getting engaged and having a wedding, but ultimately you're committing to doing this thing called life with somebody. Whether that means changing dirty diapers down the road or dealing with financial issues, you both need to be on the same page when it's time to put things in perspective.

3. Getting engaged just seems like the "next step"

Getting engaged shouldn't feel like the next step—it should feel like an annoying period of time you have to wait before starting your married life together. A lot of relationships are a product of convenience. Some relationships become a place where you enable each other in negative habits, from low self-esteem to drug use. More commonly, this type of situation happens after you've been living together for a while, and getting engaged seems like the next item on the checklist of your romantic life. Either way, all of these scenarios don't involve two independent people making a decision to spend their lives together.

4. You're not confident in who you are individually

In order for two people to make a commitment to each other and their future, both people need to know what he or she is bringing to the picture. This is also especially important for having effective communication; knowing and accepting your personality, desires, and fears will make it that much easier to relate and communicate with your partner. You don't have to have everything figured out to get married, but you should be confident in who you are and what you want out of life.

5. You haven't discussed the future

We've all heard the standard questions, like "how many kids do you want?" but the questions nowadays should be more along the lines of "do you want to have kids" and "how do you want to raise your kids?" Not to mention all the other questions your future holds, like what your long-term career plans are, where you want to live or settle down, or what type of lifestyle you're looking for in the long run. While you don't have to agree on every little detail, it's important to be aware of what each of you are envisioning for the future.

6. Your first priority isn't your relationship

Jobs will come and go, living situations change, but your marriage is for life. It goes against the grain in today's world to say that your first priority shouldn't be yourself or your job or even your future kids (French parenting, anyone?), but the reality is that your marriage will potentially be the one constant in your life. Both parties need to be all-in on this adventure (rather than, say, being really committed to partying or a hobby), and if you both are, everything else will fall into place.

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