What happens when "to love and to cherish" becomes more like an uneasy "for better or for worse?" A new self-help book describes a disturbing new trend: Women who are rushing into marriage for all the wrong reasons -- and deep down, they know it.
Co-authors Anne Milford, who canceled her own wedding five months before the big day and Jennifer Gauvain, a clinical social worker whose work focuses on couples and families, interviewed hundreds of divorced women for their book, "How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy."
Through their research, they said they found that a shocking 30 percent of divorcees said they knew they were marrying the wrong man on their wedding day.
"They are walking down that aisle, they are going, 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing?'" Gauvain said.
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When talking about this subject, it's hard not to think of Kim Kardashian and her monster "fairy tale" wedding last summer.
The E! Entertainment special drew 10 million viewers, cost a reported $10 million and Kardashian, 31, and her now ex-husband Kris Humpries, 26, made an estimated $17 million off their nuptials. But the math all added up to two unhappy people and a fizzled fairy tale that lasted only 72 days. Kardashian filed for divorce on Oct. 31, citing irreconcilable differences.
While rumors flew that the whole wedding had been a huge media stunt, Kardashian told fans on her blog that she "married for love."
"I want a family and babies and a real life so badly that maybe I rushed into something too soon. I believed in love and the dream of what I wanted so badly," she said.
In Milford's opinion, Kardashian was feeling the internal pressure of a timeline and got caught up in a fairy tale fantasy.
"She was more in love with the idea of getting married rather than who the groom was," she said. "She ignored her gut feelings."
Gauvain added, "She got very caught up in the party."
Just because Kardashian is a famous face, doesn't mean she was the only one who married Mr. Wrong. Short-lived marriages are nothing new in Hollywood -- Demi Moore just confirmed that she is ending her six-year marriage to Ashton Kutcher -- but with the national U.S. divorce rate at 51 percent, marriage regret has become a mainstream problem.
"What a lot of women will say is 'if it doesn't work out I can always get a divorce,'" Milford said. "They underestimate how painful an experience divorce is, even if you're the one who serves the divorce papers."
Studies have found that divorce can have negative effects on a person's health, including extreme stress and depression. Ohio State researchers also found in a 2006 study that divorce proceedings reduce a person's wealth by roughly 77 percent. Milford opened up about her own decision to call off her wedding years ago and avert the divorce disaster.
"I put on the dress and I looked in the mirror, and I felt like I was in a costume," she said. "I thought that was a big red flag. I just knew it wasn't going to work, and that this was not going to end well and that I needed to call it off."
Milford said her and Gauvain's goal has been to uncover why more women don't have the courage to jump on the proverbial horse like Julia Roberts did in the 1999 movie "Runaway Bride." What they found were common stories among women who didn't listen to their nagging intuition before slipping into the big white dress.
So why do so many women say "I Do" when they mean "I don't"? CLICK HERE to read some of Milford and Gauvain's insights and advice, including warning signs they say no woman should ignore.