I am three weeks away from my wedding. Yes, three weeks! I have been with my fiance for over a year and a half. He travels for work, though, so our time together hasn't been consistent.
My cold feet are so severe it is causing panic attacks and physical illness. I have had an affair, I have tried to leave him and somehow he always finds a way to convince me to stay. He isn't abusive, he is kind and loving and sensitive. He expresses his love in every way he knows how and is consistent in his devotion. We don't have a very passionate relationship but basically the same core ideals (except the cheating). He is sitting here now, letting me search the Internet for answers without interrupting or being angry.
Why do I have these intense urges to walk out on someone who is so amazingly good to me? Maybe it's fear of commitment, I am only 25 years old but he is one of a kind. I have never been so loved by such a good honest man, yet I can't get the thought out of my head that there is some amazing relationship, more exciting and thrilling out there.
I made contact with my previous boyfriend and it was shocking how much I saw in him that was probably unattractive but sounded so much more of what I want. My attractions in the past were to guys with a little fire, a sarcastic wit and a sense of adventure. Maybe a spicy Latin dish, my fiance is like chicken soup. So I'm afraid I might be a little destructive and am creating situations for myself that are sure to end in pain. The relationship I am in now is safe and comfortable, but I fear boredom more than death.
Please tell me if there is anyway to know what I really want for sure. How do I soul search productively?
Signed, Confused and Scared Bride-To-Be
I wish there were a sure-fire way to always know what we want in life. You've probably heard the cliches like "listen to your heart," but what if your heart is sending out conflicting messages?
I have dealt with this issue before, though the previous letter writers were not just about to be married. The Ghost of the First Love is about a 21 year old woman with a "wonderful" boyfriend, but she is afraid she will cheat on him or otherwise blow it. She finds "bad boys" all too tempting. Sound familiar? In response to that story, another young woman wrote to say she also has a "nice" boyfriend but she is Still Chasing that Excitement, which is missing in her relationship. Finally (and you might find this story the most interesting) a third young woman wrote about how she is Living the Story. She broke up with her "nice" boyfriend when he asked her to move in and her heart rebelled. Two years later she met someone else and knew immediately he was the one. Her message: "When something's wrong you feel it" and you should listen to that feeling.
As you read those three articles, pay attention not only to my advice but also to the comments readers left in response to those posts. My readers are an astute bunch and often offer up plenty of "been there, done that" advice. This should provide some insight into why you have urges to walk out.
Neither I nor any of the other readers, however, can decide whether you should get married in just over two weeks. Only you can make that judgment call. Let me suggest a soul searching test that might help.
What if you could back out of the wedding with absolutely no negative consequences? Maybe you find a magic wand that can make everyone (including him) forget you were ever engaged. You could undo all the wedding arrangements, get back all the money, choose to be single again or back to simply dating this guy. Would you do it?
If so, ask yourself if any of these factors are playing a part in your decision to go ahead with the wedding. Is it because you would be embarrassed to admit to everyone that you changed your mind? Would some people be upset with you? Are you worried about the money you've put into it? Do you think this might be your only chance to be happy? (It isn't, as "Living the Story" should illustrate.)
I urge you to ignore all those factors. None of them amount to a hill of beans compared with the impact of marrying the wrong person, especially if children enter the picture before you figure that out. The only reason to go ahead with the wedding is if you want to spend the rest of your life with him. If you would rather wait, then wait. It's too important to let other factors influence you.
What if it is "just" a fear of commitment? (This previous post discusses commitment phobia in women.) If so, how would this impact your relationship if you get married while in that state? Many people fool themselves into thinking they will magically feel differently about various issues after the ceremony. "Oh, I'll be more comfortable with sex once we're married." Or maybe, "I'll stop worrying about whether he's the right guy once we're wearing the rings." Sorry, it doesn't work that way. You will be the same people with all the same issues. If you're having trouble committing to this guy, you might want to take the time needed to lay that issue to rest one way or the other before making the ultimate commitment.
A little touch of cold feet or nervousness is normal. Panic attacks, physical illness, affairs, boredom and being tempted by former boyfriends are not. You have issues you need to resolve before tying the knot. Hopefully the ideas discussed above will give you a framework for doing that.
All the best,
Thanks to everyone who has already answered this week's Ask the Faithful Readers question about the relationship skills of the Game Boy generation. If you haven't done so, today is your last chance. I will post my favorite response tomorrow with a link to the winner's site.