OK, it may be true that any cynic with a subscription to US Weekly could have said the same thing, but Anne Milford, the local author in question, has expertise. Nearly 20 years ago, Milford, then 29, called off her own wedding.
The story made her a hit at cocktail parties -- even though she'd sensibly canceled everything five months ahead of time instead of making a mad dash to freedom as soon as she saw her fiance standing at the altar. Also, she had no TV contract and hadn't promised to sell the pictures to the tabloids for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Still, the principle, if not the level of drama, was the same. And, strangely, these cocktail parties were full of unhappily-married women who wanted to confide in Milford.
"I was stunned by how many women said they wish they'd called it off, that they knew they were making a mistake," Milford says now. "It made me feel better."
Serendipitously, a few years ago Milford met Jennifer Gauvain, a therapist who was encountering an unprecedented number of clients who regretted not calling off their own weddings. They decided to combine forces -- Milford's life experience with Gauvin's clinical observations -- and write a book: How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy.
"We have a lot of hope of encouraging runaway brides around the globe," Milford confides. "So far we have several canceled weddings to our credit."
Gauvain and Milford sent out an e-mail survey to every divorced woman they knew and asked them to pass it on. Within weeks, they had hundreds of responses; eventually they would have nearly 1000.
Based on their data, Milford and Gauvain calculated that out of every ten divorced women, three knew on their wedding day that they were making a mistake. "I'll stand by that," Milford says. "But actually, I would say it was higher."
There are five basic reasons women have for going through with bad marriages, Milford says. "They've been dating for so long, they don't want to throw away all that time. They reach the magical age of 30 -- that freaks people out a lot. The biological clock is a factor for women. Or they think nobody better is going to come along. Or all their friends are getting married."
Strangely, men have different reasons for not calling off their weddings -- though the data may be skewed because Milford and Gauvain talked to far fewer of them. "Their reasons are more other-centered. They say things like, 'I don't want to hurt her feelings' or 'I have to honor this commitment.' Women are more selfish, like, 'I don't want to be alone.'"
Milford stresses that, in many of these failed or abortive marriages, including her own, no one is to blame. More often it's a question of incompatibility. Her own ex-fiance, she says, was a very nice guy, but she was more outgoing and more connected to her family than he was. "In my gut, I knew it wasn't the best relationship for either of us. It was hard. It was embarrassing. But both of us are better off because I called off that wedding. A lot of women say, 'Oh, well, I can always get a divorce later.' But divorce is painful and it affects everyone around you. That's something that surprised a lot of people."
So fine, there's no shame in being a runaway bride. And things worked out great for Milford: She got married a few years later to a guy with whom she's much more compatible. But back to Kim Kardashian.
"Kim Kardashian displayed every mistake on an obscene scale," Milford says. "A red flag is when you're planning a wedding where the groom doesn't matter." (Yeah, what's that guy's name again?) "Now she's saying that her 'intuition' led to the divorce. I say, 'Yeah, now that you've given more thought to things other than the dress and the ring and the pictures.'"
At least, Milford points out, the marriage lasted long enough for the wedding special to air on TV.
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