Ever wonder why the Second Thoughts board at Indiebride is always jumping? It’s because a huge percentage of brides- and grooms-to-be deal with cold feet at least once before they tie the knot. Few people talk about it — and some won’t even admit to it — but all in all, “what the crap am I doing?!” moments are pretty common. I know that I and many of my friends asked ourselves if we were doing the right thing…and we all ended up married.
It’s important to remember that second thoughts and cold feet don’t necessarily mean that your marriage is doomed. Rather, it’s just a natural reaction to making what is ultimately a big life change. The thing about getting engaged is that it can be a whirlwind of lovey-dovey daydreams, excitement, shopping, and other nice stuff, which doesn’t leave you with much time to sit down and really mull over what getting married means. Cold feet can be the psyche’s way of forcing us to stop thinking about linen colors and start thinking about sharing a life with someone.
Overcoming Cold Feet
- Your spouse-to-be is getting on your nerves. You suddenly hate how he chews…the way he leaves his shoes by the door…how he sneezes. In fact, you’d really like to kill him right about now, but you need someone to help you carry two huge boxes of faux flowers up three flights of stairs. Planning a wedding is stressful, and it’s normal to direct all that irritation toward the nearest human being. This is a good time to sit down and meditate on all the things you love about your intended. Your feet will probably warm up again when you’re in a better mood.
- Take some time off…from wedding planning, that is. A wedding-free weekend can be a godsend when you’re knee-deep in invitation choices and fabric swatches. Spend some quality time with your spouse-to-be, with the caveat that all wedding-related topics of conversation are off limits. Better yet, get away for the weekend if you can. At the very least, get out of the house. Seeing a double feature will take your mind off of matrimony and hopefully east some of your anxiety.
- There’s a good chance your recently married friends or relatives have gone through what you’re going through, though they may be hesitant to admit it. If you can’t get a peep out of them or (worse) they’re judgmental, head over to some of the bigger bridal message boards. Anonymity inspires people to spill their guts, so you’re going to find out really fast that you’re not the only one out there who has had cold feet.
- Don’t call off the wedding just yet! Even if you want to toss your engagement ring in the toilet, resist the urge. Give yourself some time to cool off on your own, as it may be hard to clear your head with your intended lurking underfoot. Stay with your parents or a friend for the weekend, and try to chill. Your spouse-to-be will probably appreciate the break as much as you do. In fact, when you reconnect in a couple of days, you may find that all your old romantic feelings are back in force.
Jitters or a Warning?
All the tips aside, sometimes second thoughts are a warning sign. When your cold feet are inspired by more than just the occasional “what the crap am I doing?!” moment, it’s time to ask yourself some tough questions. Are your jitters so strong they’re making you ill? Have your loved ones expressed strong objections to your marrying your intended? Does s/he have baaaad habits you believe will change after you’re married or have children? Do you love everything about him/her except his/her drug problem, gambling habit, or flirtatious tendencies?
It’s easy to sit down and say “These are my dealbreakers,” but it’s not always so simple to stick to your guns when the caterer is booked and your dress has already arrived at the salon. If you even suspect that your second thoughts are indicative of a larger flaw in your relationship, talk about your concerns with someone you really trust. It may turn out that your cold feet are just chillier than normal, or it may turn out that you have to look your fears in the eye and admit that your future spouse is actually a louse.
Sharing With Your Spouse-to-be
I’m usually all about the open dialogs, even when what you have to say may be hurtful, but in this particular case I have to advise caution. When weddings are involved, emotions can run high and hot, meaning it’s easy to take a perfectly innocent admission of uncertainty and twist it into something more sinister. If you think your intended can handle hearing you say that you’ve been wondering if the two of you are making the right decision, by all means, let loose. S/he may be feeling many of the same things! But if the love of your life is a sensitive guy/gal, it might be best to discuss your thoughts with your mom, your brother, your best friend, or a therapist.
Now we want to know: Did you have second thoughts? Did they go away on their own, or did you have to work to abolish them?