Sure, you had to book it two years ahead of time, but you managed to reserve the most sought-after wedding venue in the state. You even hired the perfect caterer. But just as you were adding the final touches to your wedding celebration, you felt it. Maybe it started in the pit of your stomach, or, as clichéd as it might sound, you actually felt the bottoms of your feet get cold. Either way, you felt as though you were well on your way to a full-fledged panic attack.
The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Marriage is a monumental decision and it’s completely normal to feel pangs of hesitance or apprehension when faced with what can be a huge shift in not only your future, but in your day-to-day life. It might be the idea of sharing a sock drawer, the realization that you may never be able to move to Mexico just to learn the language, or that you’ll have to hide in the bathroom to get ready for outings to save your betrothed the horror of seeing you in curlers. If you feel the anxiety starting to build up, grab a paper bag and take a few deep breaths.
The One-Person Forever/Commitment Fear
“I can’t believe you’re getting married; I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with just one person.” While you laughed at the time, your maid of honor’s words keep banging around in your head. And while it may not be the loss of sexual freedom that scares you, but the idea of coming to rely on another human being to the point of dependence, you can’t help but thinking she’s right. You haven’t even decided whether you’ve thrown in your lot with Jimmy Fallon or Jay Leno, so are you prepared for this?
In your moment of panic, remember: you said, “Yes” for a reason. Whether it’s their uncanny ability to make you laugh during your darkest of moments, or the heartache you feel when you see that you’ve hurt them, no one understands or gets to you like this one person. So why wouldn’t you want to spend the rest of your life with them?
Don’t make the common mistake of believing you have to rely solely on your betrothed to satisfy all of your emotional needs in order for the two of you to be the perfect pair. Different people offer different kinds of emotional satisfaction. Don’t be alarmed if there’s a certain friend you turn to for an immediate emotional release when something bad happens. It’s fine to reserve a less (or more) tearful discussion for your partner at times.
The “I’ll Never Get to…” Fear
Whether you’ve always wanted to travel the globe or secretly dreamed that one day you’d own a wildlife refuge, if you’ve started to view marriage as a death sentence for a handful of your long-held goals or aspirations, know that it isn’t necessarily time for their demise. Your dreams don’t come to a screeching halt the moment you say, “I do.”
Be open with your betrothed about your ideas and aspirations, and your partner may surprise you by jumping on the bandwagon. What do you know? Maybe they, too, have always wanted to open a Caddyshack-themed bed and breakfast. At the very least, you will likely enlist their unwavering support, possibly giving you the emotional backing you’ve needed to finally get up the nerve to make it happen.
The Fear of Change
You’ve got a nice little life carved out for yourself and find you don’t deal well with change. Whether it’s the idea of sharing your bathroom or your nightly rituals with anyone but your dog—the thought of a change in your routine, let alone your entire life, has gotten you spooked.
Remind yourself that change is good. Imagine if we had all stayed the pimply-faced know-it-alls we were in high school. More importantly, remind yourself of all of the wonderful things that will come along with this particular change. The emotional support, the listening ear, and the idea that you’ll never truly be alone again should be reason enough for you to be clearing out half your closet.
If you’ve been together for a long time, or if you already live together, the reality is, your life may not change all that much. The only differences are the forms you fill out around tax time and how you introduce one another. Don’t let the pressures of perceived change hold you back from what could very well be a wonderful future together.
Chances are, your frazzled state is due to the pressure of the situation and not the person you’re going into it with. If, however, you think it could be more than that, it’s time to sit your partner down for a long and serious talk. It may be difficult to bring up, especially if you suspect that it will involve hurt feelings, but talking can help to allay your fears and is a great exercise in what married life will be like.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.