Updated August 31, 2022

Reasons Why Engagements Fail

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Engagements don't always end in a wedding. Sometimes they turn into happily never after. Find out why.

When you get engaged, you dream of your wedding day.

Sometimes, a dream remains just that. Many couples don't make it to their wedding day. And there are many factors that play into a failed engagement. Even factors out of our control.

Below find scientifically proven reasons for engagements that didn't make it.

How Money Affects Engagements

Spending Too Much on the Engagement Ring
Spending big on an engagement ring is bad news for your wallet. But it can signal doom for the marriage as well. Studies show that the pricier the ring, the more likely it is for the relationship to be short-lived.

One of You Doesn't Make a Lot of Money
A big gap between your income and your future spouse's, it can put a strain on your relationship. As your income goes up, you are more prone to stay together for the long haul.

Fighting About Money Constantly
Many studies have shown money is the number one thing couples fight about. If you and your fiancée frequently butt heads over paying the bills, saving money, or working towards other financial goals, that may be a red flag.

Planning a Blowout Wedding
Your typical run-of-the-mill wedding can easily run between $20,000 and $30,000. Statistically, the likelihood of getting left at the altar increases as the total bill climbs.

Communication, Differences, and Taste

Religious beliefs can be another source of conflict for lovebirds. But in some cases, it's a lack of belief that's the problem. In a study, engaged couples who didn't attend church were twice as likely to end up in Splitsville.

Bad Communication Skills
Constant texting is no substitute for genuine conversation with the person you're planning to marry. In one study, poor communication was a relationship's death knell 65% of the time.

Different Taste in Movies
Extremely different tastes in movies could be a potential obstacle to your engagement. Research shows that couples who watch romantic movies together and discuss them are better able to head off relationship-ending problems.

How and When You Meet

Not Knowing Each Other Very Long
There are some couples who manage to stay together for the long haul after getting engaged quickly. But that's more the exception than the rule. Couples who plan to tie the knot after less than 6 months of dating have the lowest chances of survival.

Shacking Up at a Young Age
There's been a lot of research about whether living together is a predictor of a relationship's likelihood of lasting. Findings hint age may play a bigger part.

A study indicates younger couples are more likely to run into trouble when they share a living space before marriage.

Your Romance Started Online
Online dating is all the rage these days. But it may not bode well for the status of your engagement. In one study, 32% of couples who met in cyberspace broke up before they said "I do." Meanwhile, for couples who met the old-fashioned way it was 23%.

Planning a Long-Term Engagement
A longer engagement may be practical if you need time to save up for your dream wedding. Maybe getting married right away doesn't fit into your schedule. But it's not necessarily the right move.

A lengthy engagement period was linked to an eventual breakdown in the relationship.

Technology and Social Media

Having Many Mutual Friends
Having mutual friends may seem like a good thing when you're engaged, But research suggests that it's not as great as you think.

In a Cornell University study, researchers determined that couples who had many mutual Facebook friends were more likely to be on track to a break-up.

Spending Lots of Time on Social Media
If you're constantly tweeting about your upcoming nuptials, you could be putting your vows on the line. Researchers at the University of Missouri found break-up rates increase when one person in the relationship is more active on Twitter.

Being Glued to your Smartphone
Texting your future spouse during the day just to say "I love you" is a sweet gesture. But it's possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, men who text their fiancées multiple times daily are more likely to report lower levels of relationship satisfaction.

How Kids Influence Engagements

You Already Have Kids
Traditionally, couples would get married and then have kids. Times have changed. And it's not uncommon to have a family while you're still engaged. But research suggests half of the couples will split before their child turns 3 without ever tying the knot.

Losing a Child
Experiencing the loss of a child as the result of a miscarriage or stillbirth is emotionally devastating. And it's something that couples struggle to recover from. According to one study, it's a major contributing factor to break-ups for couples who live together before marriage.

The Fear Factor

Fear of Commitment is in Your DNA
Your genetics determine your hair color, eye color, and height. According to Swedish scientists, your genes also influence your ability to commit. Women who possess a certain allele are more likely to break off their engagements and get divorced.

Cold Feet
Getting pre-wedding jitters is normal. In some cases, that anxiety can lead to the ceremony being called off. One study showed that the risk of an engagement ending prematurely is greatest when it's the woman who's having doubts.

Other Things that Could End Your Engagement

Splitting-Up the Housework
Splitting up household chores keeps one partner from doing too much work. But it can put an unintended strain on your relationship. In a Norwegian study, couples who shared the housework equally were more likely to call it quits.

Skipping Out on a Honeymoon
Taking a trip somewhere warm and exotic can add even more to your wedding expenses. But there's a good reason for planning a honeymoon. Research shows that engagements are more likely to be successful when a post-wedding getaway is on the agenda.

Being on Good Terms with your Future In-Laws
The results of a 26-year longitudinal study found that the closer a woman is to her husband-to-be's parents, the more likely the marriage is to be a flop. If it happens at all.

Shopping Together
Spending hours roaming the aisles of a big-box retailer isn't advisable if you want to make it to your wedding day. One researcher has found that couples who do a lot of their shopping at IKEA may be opening the door to relationship-ending arguments.

Being a Blue-Collar Worker
If your engagement is on the rocks, the economy may be to blame. For many working-class men and women, the state of the job market and flatlined wages mean marriage isn't financially feasible.

Bottom Line

Getting engaged can be one of the happiest moments of your life. But there's no guarantee that you will make it to your wedding day.

As research shows, if you can dodge these potential curveballs, you've got a better chance of enjoying wedding bliss.


Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a diamond jeweler comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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