Doubting Readiness for Marriage

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 6 months, during the first month we talked about marriage. I have been married before at 19 for only 3 months and I thought I was over it and didnt care. Now that I’m seeing my boyfriend and the thought of marriage came up I developed a generalized anxiety disorder and have been dealing with it. He is so good to me and sticks by my side no matter what but lately I’ve been having doubts if he is the one for me, or if I’m ready for marriage and basically just panicked.

I cant seem to just go with the flow of the relationship, it’s like I need an answer now. Also we are long distance and have yet to spend more than 4 days at a time together. I feel maybe if we got engaged the doubts would go away but if they didn’t this would only cause him more hurt. Im completely honest with him and only want the best for both of us, I just don’t want to regret leaving someone I love just because of doubts. I can’t think of a better guy, I could be more attracted to him but looks aren’t important to me but I also want to be able to love him back the way he deserves and not feel this pressure to move on to marriage or either move on to someone else, I just want to see where it goes but my head it constantly telling me I need to leave him or that I love him and he is amazing and great and that he is the one for me.

A: Listen to your instincts. They are good. Talking about marriage in the first month of dating and pursuing the issue when you’ve never had more than 4 days together makes no sense at all. Of course you’re anxious. What’s the rush? I don’t think the problem is that you’re “gun shy” from a short marriage 7 years ago. I think your system is trying to slow you down.

I’m also concerned that you aren’t more attracted to him. Yes, he may be wonderful. But attraction does matter. It shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision but it certainly should be considered.

I think you should take a big step back. Put the marriage question on hold until you’ve had some quality and quantity time together. Give yourself time to get to know how you two click when you aren’t in “visit” mode. You need some time to get into daily routines and see how it works. If your boyfriend pressures you to move faster, there’s something amiss. A decision as important as who you’ll spend the rest of your life with deserves time and attention. If he truly loves you, he can slow down too.

There’s a sweetness to the time of courtship. It’s a time to explore each other on many, many levels. It’s a time to learn everything from what kind of toast a person prefers to how to please each other physically. It’s a time to enjoy being the full focus of someone else’s love and attention. It’s a time to meet each other’s family and friends to see if there’s a good fit. It’s a time to talk about the endless possibilities that go into making a life together, from your personal goals to your hopes and dreams for a life together. Don’t shortchange yourselves. Enjoy the romance.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Doubting Readiness for Marriage. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/11/25/doubting-readiness-for-marriage/