I am getting cold feet about my wedding

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

So, I’m a 23 y/o male. Been dating the same girl–my first real GF for nearly 5 years, and engaged for 7 months now. Up until the time of engagement I always felt passionate love for her. On the day of the question/engagement, I felt very sick afterwards, and the feeling hasn’t really left completely. We were always great together, except one time I was flirting with another old friend online, and planned a date that was basically to cheat (yes I know it’s wrong). When the month came I would be in the same city as the other girl, I dropped it and didn’t even think about it. 6 Months later my GF/now fiancé found the Emails on my PC. She’s not sure to believe me if anything happened with the other girl–though I swear it did not. She nearly let me go, but kept me. I still felt burning love for her, and to this day I do–I have to say maybe a little less. I’ve been struggling with the wedding the whole time. I feel like I’m swirling into a black hole and at this point I have no control of my life. I love her, but I wonder if there is more to life and if being so young and only having 1 serious relationship, I don’t know any better because I have no other comparisons. I also feel like if I could have met her a few years later when I was more settled things would be better. Basically, I am afraid of waking up one day 10 years from now and thinking that in the prime of my dating I caved in early and missed out on tons of fun, and caused her to do the same. I also worry that she won’t ever trust me or never love me completely, as I was scheming to meet another girl. Ultimately, I look at her and I know there is love, but it’s not intense and exciting anymore, it’s almost how you might love a best friend or a sibling. But in the end I am so afraid of hurting her. I don’t want to disappoint her, as she is so deserving and special. The wedding is in 14 days, and I’m panicking. I spend the day switching from happy to depressed and worried by the hour. I must say that our time together does not feel as special, but when I think of all the great things she does for me I feel very guilty about all of this. I fear that the date of the wedding will come and I will seize up and embarrass her. I feel like if I call it off I need to do it now, or man up and marry. Can I have some guidance? Is it possible that my love for her will re-ignite, or do I need to get some new experiences and live a little more as a bachelor before I get married?

A: You list your age at 23, so my first reaction is: Why the hurry to get married?

There are several things that you want to consider. Just to feed back to you what you have said:

  • You were willing to go so far as to plan to cheat on her, so you connection and commitment have been in question since then.
  • You felt sick to your stomach rather than elated when you got engaged.
  • Your time together does not feel special—at a time when it should be amazingly special.
  • You are motivated by guilt rather than joy.
  • You don’t love her as much as you used to—again at a time that love should be at its peak, rather than on a decline.
  • You have doubts that she trusts you.
  • You are uncertain and are hoping your love for her will reignite.

If a friend of yours were telling you this, and saying he fears he would seize up on his wedding day and embarrass her, what would you tell him to do? If he were my friend I would encourage him to do the only thing that makes sense: Tell your fiancée everything you have just told me.

She needs to know what you are thinking so she has the opportunity to decide if she is still willing to marry someone with so much doubt and hesitation. You trying to think this through alone doesn’t give her the opportunity to make a fully informed decision. This is something the two of you need to decide together. It will be difficult, but you don’t want to make a decision in isolation. If you do go forward she needs to know what you are bringing to the table. If you postpone it—then both of you get to be involved with the decision to do that. And if you end it –it will be because you were both honest about your expectations and needs.

I know it is a late date, but you may want to get in front of a couples counselor (see our tab at the top if you need a referral) and sort it through. A third party hearing all this wouldn’t hurt.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Aug 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). I am getting cold feet about my wedding. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/09/i-am-getting-cold-feet-about-my-wedding/

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