When Your Feet Are Cold

cold feet

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?

(photo via)

8 Responses to “When Your Feet Are Cold”

  1. Twistie says:

    You all know how I love and adore Mr. Twistie. We had a long and committed relationship before we got engaged. There were still days when I suddenly started panicking. What the hell was I doing??????

    Since those were brief flashes of random what the hellness, though, I would sit myself down, make myself start breathing again, and come to the realization that I was getting ready to share my life with the man I loved. Thinking about that calmed me right down. That’s how I knew it was that I was making a huge change in my life, not what the change was. It might take the form of ‘I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone who thinks that joke was funny?’ or ‘God, has this man ever voluntarily eaten a green vegetable in his life? How am I going to eat with him?’ but looking into his eyes took all my questions and quibbles go away.

    If it’s more than periodic generalized freakatude over a major life change, though, definitely take a couple steps back and try to figure out whether the step you’re making is the one you really want to.

    A few lost deposits and disappointed relatives are a lot less expensive than years thrown down the drain of an unhealthy relationship.

  2. A few lost deposits and disappointed relatives are a lot less expensive than years thrown down the drain of an unhealthy relationship.

    So true! And on top of that, your relatives will eventually forgive you — if they can’t support your decision right away — but forgiving yourself years down the line for making a bum choice is a lot more difficult.

  3. What a great piece! I think more brides than not have cold feet at some point. Moreover, I think that even after the wedding, many people at some point in their life question the decision they made and life they have created with their partner. I think this is totally normal as well and the same priciples you mentioned apply. Wonderful topic!!

  4. Victor says:

    Good point, Twistie, but NtB…well, sometimes the relatives won’t forgive you. You see, I tended bar at a country club that allowed non-members to rent their banquet hall. You could even have the rehearsal dinner there in one of the smaller meeting rooms.

    So I’m tending bar for this rehearsal dinner and I notice Bride and Groom don’t seem to be into it that much…probably because Bride’s Mom and Groom’s Mom seem to be battling it out for the most attention, I thought. After dinner, Groom was at the bar (to his credit, he wasn’t getting totally smashed, though he should have–more later) when Drunken Uncle came up to him, put his arm around his shoulder, and slurred something along the lines of, “I hope you and your beautiful bride have a long and happy life together.”

    Groom snorted, shrugged off Drunken Uncle’s shoulder, and said, “Maaan…I hope we make it through one year.” I later found out B&G realized they weren’t compatible and tried to call off the wedding (to their credit, IMO!), but neither Momzilla would allow them to do so! As I recall, Bride’s Mom didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of her family; I don’t recall Groom’s Mom’s reasoning.

    Sadly, they weren’t having the reception at the club. Too bad, because I would have loved to have known if B&G showed up for their own wedding.

  5. Bargain Bride: It is indeed totally normal, especially when you’re reaching one of those “adult” milestones like buying a house or having a baby.

    Victor: That’s terrible! And you’re right that sometimes calling off the wedding will cause long-lasting or even irreparable family rifts. I feel sorry for the couple, but in the end I hope that neither of them showed up to the ceremony. As horrible as it sounds, sometimes it’s better to lose the esteem of a relative or friend than to make a bad, hard-to-undo life decision.

  6. KTB says:

    When I had cold feet, I suggested that we go to some couples counseling. The therapist was awesome, and neither of us felt like it was just an opportunity to beat up on the other one. Well, maybe we wanted to, but the therapist wasn’t about to let us! Either way, it was a safe environment to work through some tough stuff, and to help us realize that we really are great together.

  7. Morgan says:

    I had been with my boyfriend for 6 years when he proposed. We had the house, the car, the mortgage, all that – marriage was the next step.

    4 days after he proposed, I had my first 6 hour panic attack. And then a week later? Another one. And another one. I found a not-challenging therapist and spent a lot of time trying to talk myself into the relationship, and about how great he was.

    6 months later, I finally called it off. For me? Cold feet (aka panic attacks) were my brain’s way of telling me to get out while I still could.

    Best decision I ever made, too.

    I’m marrying someone else – the most wonderful man – in a few months time.

    Sometimes cold feet are a way of your gut trying to tell your mind what it doesn’t want to acknowledge.

  8. Multiple six hour panic attacks, Morgan? That sounds less like cold feet and more like your brain (and heart) trying to beat you over the head with the message that you might be making a mistake. I’m glad you were paying attention… and that you went on to find someone who didn’t inspire dread in you!