Updated June 20, 2019

23 Reasons Why Engagements Fail

Read more about Tiffany vs Blue Nile

Watch out: an engagement doesn't always end in a wedding. If you are hoping to get married, read on for 23 danger signs that your dreams of a happily ever after may NOT come true.

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  1. You spent too much on the engagement ring
    Guys, listen up. Spending big on an engagement ring is bad news for your wallet and it can signal doom for the marriage as well. A study from Emory University shows that the pricier the ring, the more short-lived the relationship is likely to be.

  2. You don't make a lot of money
    When there's a big gap between your income and your future spouse's, it can put a strain on your relationship. That same study from Emory found as your income goes up, the more likely you are to stay together for the long haul.

  3. Or you fight about money constantly
    Study after study has shown that 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 your relationship isn't built to last.

  4. You're planning a blowout wedding
    Your typical run-of-the-mill wedding can easily run between $20,000 and $30,000, and statistically, the likelihood of getting left at the altar increases as the total bill climbs.

  5. You and your future spouse aren't churchgoers
    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 the Emory study, engaged couples who didn't attend church were twice as likely to end up in Splitsville.

  6. You haven't known each other very long
    While there are some couples who manage to stay together for the long haul after getting engaged quickly, that's more the exception than the rule. According to a 2006 study, couples who plan to tie the knot after less than 6 months of dating have the lowest chances of survival.

  7. Or you're planning a long-term engagement
    A longer engagement may be practical if you need time to save up for your dream wedding, or getting married right away just doesn't fit into your schedule, but it's not necessarily the right move. In a study from Pacific University, a lengthy engagement period was linked to an eventual breakdown in the relationship.

  8. You're shacking up at a young age
    There's been a lot of back and forth among researchers about whether living together is a predictor of a relationship's likelihood of lasting, and research hints that age may play a part. A 2014 study indicates that younger couples are more likely to run into trouble when they share living space before walking down the aisle.

  9. 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," versus 23% of couples who got to know each other the old-fashioned way.

  10. You split up the housework
    Splitting up household chores when you live together keeps one partner from doing too much of the 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.

  11. You're skipping out on a honeymoon
    Taking a trip somewhere warm and exotic can add even more money 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.

  12. Fear of commitment is in your DNA
    Your genetics determine your hair color, eye color, and height, but 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 or get divorced if they do marry.

  13. You're on good terms with your future in-laws
    If you read that and thought it was a mistake, we're here to set you straight. 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.

  14. One of you has cold feet
    Getting pre-wedding jitters is normal, but 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 about the marriage.

  15. You're friends with all the same people
    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 were Facebook friends with all the same people were more likely to be on track to a break-up.

  16. You spend a lot of time on social media
    If you're constantly tweeting about your upcoming nuptials, you could be putting your vows on the line without even realizing it. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that break-up rates increase when one person in the relationship is more active on Twitter.

  17. You already have kids
    Traditionally, couples would get married and then have kids, but times have changed and it's not uncommon to have a family while you're still engaged. The only problem is that research suggests as many as half of the couples will split before their child turns 3 without ever tying the knot.

  18. Or you've lost 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.

  19. You like to go shopping together
    Spending hours roaming the aisles of a big box retailer is a big no-no 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 (in particular) may unknowingly be opening the door to relationship-ending arguments.

  20. You're 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.

  21. You're a terrible communicator
    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.

  22. You don't like the same movies
    Extremely different tastes in movies could be a potential obstacle for your engagement. Research shows that couples who watch romantic movies together and then discuss them afterwards are better able to head off problems that could end the relationship.

  23. You're 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 the fact that wages have flatlined over the last few years means marriage just isn't financially feasible.


Getting engaged can be one of the happiest moments of your life, but there's no guarantee that you and your future spouse will actually make it to your wedding day. As the 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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