Should I cancel my wedding?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I feel like I have no one to turn to. My friends and family are too emotionally envolved. I am engaged to be married in 11 days. I have been with my fiance since February of 2007. We just became engaged this January. I have had feelings of doubt and dread the whole time. I feel as though I’m planning my own death instead of my wedding. Any thought or conversation about the wedding makes me sick to my stomache. I recently got up the nerve to tell my fiance that I thought it would be best to postpone the wedding. I told him I was feeling so much stress and pressure that I felt overwhelmed, like I was drowning. He knew that I had been depressed and crying alot. He told me that it sounded to him like I was having doubts and if that were true then we should just end the relationship altogether, so I backed down.

The problem is that he may be right. Our relationship is full of problems. We don’t agree on many things such as politics, religion (a big one for me), child rearing, money, family responsibilities, etc. But then again don’t all couples face that? Also, there are more people involved in this than just the two of us. My parents desperately want this. I am a 29 yr. old single mother of a 5 yr. old boy and, although I NEVER go to them for money and am financially stable, just knowing that my son and I are on our own is a huge burden to them.

Then, and most importantly, there is my son. He has not had it easy. His father was not around for the first three years of his life due to drugs. He is sober now and a constant in my son’s life, but the last two years have been rocky. They are just now beginning to get close. My fiance and my son however, have a great relationship. Better than mine and my fiance’s (which is one reason I didn’t leave him 8 months ago). I am afraid that ending the relationship would cause my son just as much pain and grief as the death of a loved one would. I don’t think I could sleep at night knowing I had caused him so much suffering.

Lastly, I am 29 and I feel like this is the end of the road for me. I believe that my parents are afraid of this too and that is why they are so desperate for this to work. I don’t want to grow old alone. I want more children. I need help. My time is running out and I feel so alone and desperate. It’s like I’m at a fork in the road and both options offer sadness and regret. Please respond if you can. I feel like this is my only resource for help.

A: It would be unfair for me to tell you what to do. You need to take responsibility for the choice you make since you have to live with it, not me. The same holds true for your parents. It might give them comfort to have you married but you’re the one who will be living your life with this man, not them.

I can tell you this: Your reasons for not wanting to go through with the wedding are not crazy or selfish or unreasonable. You are a 29 years young, single, financially stable woman who has managed to raise her son in spite of hard times with his father. I hope you give yourself lots of credit. Yes, your son will miss his adult friend if your fiance drops out of his life but you’ve always been there for him and he knows that.

You didn’t mention love or intimacy or even friendship once in your letter. Although arranged marriages can and often do work in many cultures, both people need to accept the same values and be committed to the project for love to grow. You and your fiance somehow never worked through the principles by which you will guide your family. Unless you can do that, you will always be in conflict. Since you haven’t done it already, my guess is that the two of you are pessimistic about the outcome of any discussion.

You and your fiance have some hard talking to do. Try to imagine how your married life is likely to be 5 years from now. If it’s not a pleasant picture for both of you, you have your answer.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Apr 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Should I cancel my wedding?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/04/21/should-i-cancel-my-wedding/

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