For The Anxiously Engaged: From ChristmasBride 2006 on The Conscious Weddings Message Board:

As part of the Conscious Weddings E-Course which I’m in the process of creating, I’m combing through thousands of posts from the now-closed Conscious Weddings Message Board and choosing the “best of” to be included in the course. I’ve come across many insightful and helpful posts which I’ll include in the E-Course, but this post, from the ever-wise ChristmasBride2006, deserves to be printed here as well. Thank you, CB, for your willingness to share your wisdom with so many anxiously engaged women. I truly believe that it’s your voice that saw many of the women on the board through their anxiety. The responses to this post were fabulous as well, but for that you’ll have to wait for the e-course : )

***

Not that I am by any means a “seasoned” married woman, nor can I accurately (but most likely can) predict that my husband will remained married forever and ever until the day we die, but I just thought I’d offer some experiences I have with engagment/marriage and what we think it should be vs. reality.

I was very, VERY scared to get married. When we got engaged, I had panic attacks, lost my appetite, cried whenever I looked at my cat (my husband proposed with a kitten and a ring!), couldn’t stomach looking at anything wedding-related, wanted to just go away and hide and lay in bed for DAYS, sunk into a deep depression, blah blah blah… you get the idea. I was scared up until the 2 weeks prior to my wedding, and scared on my wedding day. And even nervous for a few days afterwards. After all, what had I just done?! I married someone without 100% knowing if he was “the one” or not!

NOTHING that ANYONE has written in the past few weeks has surprised me, shocked me, or made me think “wow, they shouldn’t get married.” Everything that everyone has had doubts about, I had, too. And I got married, and lived to tell about it. And we’ve been married for 1.5 years now, and life is, quite honestly, sooo much better than being engaged.

I worried and feared….

… did I love him? or love him enough? or in the “right” way?

…. were we compatible enough? have enough passion? did he make me laugh enough? or did he make me too mad? did we fight enough/not enough?

…. why didn’t I feel in love with him sometimes?

…. what if we got divorced? what if I ended up hating being married? what if I was “trapped” (and by the way, I am very religious so divorce is a ‘no-no’, so you may understand how I felt the stakes were raised when it came to the “Big D”)

…. HE’S NOT PERFECT, he annoys me sometimes, I’m bored sometimes, etc.

…. what if I can’t commit, what if one of us cheats, we got married SO YOUNG (at the age of 24), so what if I change and didn’t want to be married anymore?

…. What if I just don’t like him?!

and on, and on, and on….

As you can see, I had some really crazy thoughts and fears. I felt crazy. I felt like it wasn’t ME.

but at the very least, I thought… you know what, for 2 years, I’d been the happiest I’d ever been. I “KNEW” before we got engaged, that he was the man I was meant to marry. I knew it. And I knew (beliving strongly in a higher power) that if God wanted us to get married, then we would, and if we weren’t supposed to get married… we just wouldn’t. But all that knowing went out the window when I got engaged. I didn’t KNOW anything. I didn’t know if we were supposed to get married on our wedding day. I just knew I was going to go through with it, and knew that breaking it off was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. So I got determined, and waded my way through, and got married.

And it was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. But I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to tell you if it was the right then when I was engaged. Fear felt all wrong. Nobody thinks you’re supposed to feel this way when you get married. But what I also want to put out there is that many, MANY people get married without a second thought, and end up divorced.

Fear or no fear is NOT a determination to how successful your marriage will be. Getting married was a real eye opener for me. I realized that things didn’t have to be perfect, and that things weren’t like the movie. What I did discover, however, was that I had a man and a relationship that were good enough. Not perfect, but good enough – good enough to want to build a life with, to want to have children with, good enough that when life threw struggles our way, we’d want to work it out together instead of separately. Good enough that we’d want to commit to each other, to learn to love each other in new ways every single day, to know that what we know NOW about love is not what we will know 20, 30, 40 yrs from now, but knowing that we want to try.

I am always – ALWAYS – falling in and out of love with my husband. Sometimes he drives me NUTS. Sometimes I can’t get enough of him. But once I said “I do” and crossed over to the other side, I realized… what was I so worried about? Nothing today has changed since yesterday… ok maybe I made the biggest commitment of my life so far, but what else has changed? My husband is still the same person today as he was yesterday. Once I got married, I let go of the fear, and suddenly, I was back to my old self. Suddenly, I was free to love… and experience all the wonderful things that marriage has to offer.

I LOVE being married to my best friend. I love having someone to listen to my feelings, laugh with, build a home and a family with. Marriage is not so complicated and a big deal that we need to be frightened of it, but yet, look at it as an opportunity to build a life with a person we love. It is simple, and wonderful and WORTH all of this fear and heartache you ladies are going through. I promise.

52 comments to For The Anxiously Engaged: From ChristmasBride 2006 on The Conscious Weddings Message Board:

  • Cori

    Thank you SO SO MUCH for this post. Everything you described in that post is me and it spoke to me perfectly… I have the exact same worries/fears/doubts… somewhere deep down I know I want to marry this man, but fear has struck my heart and riddled me with concerns… it is so good to know that i am not alone, and that things can work out despite all the struggles… and that all of the fighting of the fear and anxiety is worth it in the end!

  • KD

    Excellent post. Same thoughts, same feelings, same fears. I can only hope for the same outcome. On days when the fear is so strong and I can’t answer “do you want to marry this man?”, I recognize that I also can’t answer “do you NOT want to marry this man?”. That’s what keeps me going.
    My one question: what if you’ve lacked that sense of “knowing”? For instance, I wonder if I ever just “KNEW” my fiance was the one I wanted to marry. I think it’s not my nature to make that kind of decision. Or if that is a sign? (I suffer terribly from the grass is always greener syndrome.)

  • Carrie

    Goodness, this was me only three short months ago. I had all the same symptoms. My fear had me in a choke hold. But like CB, I too survived my wedding day. After moving through those fears, I can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that I couldn’t be happier than I am today to be married to my husband. Our relationship is not perfect, of course. But my husband is a wonderful, caring and understanding man. He has supported me throughout my turbulent transition and it has made both of us stronger people in the end. I feel that I am better prepared now for when I encounter another transition. If you can move through fear, you can make room for love to grow in your life.

    • admin

      “If you can move through fear, you can make room for love to grow in your life.” That’s really the crux of this work in a nutshell. Well said, Carrie.

  • Anna

    KD, I think it’s ok to never have had a “knowing” moment. I think the important thing is to look at the information you have presented to you. Does your fiance love you? Respect you? Do you share the same values? Is he kind to you? Does he meet a majority of your needs (notice I didn’t say ALL! No one person can do that!) Are you friends? I would wager that if you didn’t have fear or doubt holding you back, you would emphatically say yes to all these things. We are conditioned by society to look for the “perfect” spouse – after all, relationships are disposable to celebrities and maybe even our friends. I hear so often that if things aren’t perfect, then you shouldn’t get married. Bull! There is no perfect person or perfect marriage. But if your fiance is a good person, loves and respects you, and you share some basic values, then you’ll be just fine.

    Marriage, I don’t think, is a big mystery that only a few lucky people can figure out. It’s two different people who love each other learning to make a life together. And it IS a learning experience – I think I will be learning things for the rest of my life! But it’s so very worth it in the end!

  • PJ

    Thanks Anna and well put, maybe we can communicate over email, as I am going through the same type of thing from a guys point of view. My whole anxiety and thought process goes something like this with statments and questions in my head; “Do I love her?” “I think I love her”, “I do love her” “I don’t love her”, “I’ve never loved her” etc. I’ve always been a closed off type of person, and really never quote “loved” a person of the opposite sex, so thats why I’m so unsure. I have this idea I’m supposed to feel a certain way and not be asking these questions. Some days are better than others, but the last thing I want to go through is these continual thoughts through the wedding and then after the marriage.

  • Anna’s actually in the midst of her own transition right now so I don’t think she’ll be available for email communication ( I understand the urge, though; she’s really a wise soul). However, I encourage everyone who’s struggling with the question of “Do I really love him/her?” to read M. Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled.” It will define love and being in love for you in way that puts in all in perspective and answers your questions. I go into depth in Lesson Four of my e-course, including many, many posts by Anna and other wise women from the boards, but if you can’t wait, read the book TODAY. Peck’s primary point about love is that it’s NOT a feeling but a choice. It’s act of will, an intention, and an action. It’s not a FEELING! Isn’t that amazing?

  • KD

    Thank you Anna and Sheryl! I picked up the book and hope to finish it today. I can relate to PJ’s plight…I think that while I am a fun, kind, caring person, I’m probably guarded and closed off as well, and this, perhaps, affects my perception of love. And since this is also my first long-term, serious relationship, I am not sure how I should feel now or if I ever felt the right feelings our entire relationship. I guess I have more work to do!

  • Janelle

    I’ve been with my now husband for 3 months, we dated for 10 years before we got married. I always knew I wanted to get married to him and then he proposed and I completely freaked out. I know that I love him dearly and I have been working through my feelings and looking at this website since we got engaged. I was wondering if somebody could say something about feeling like your in denial. Sometimes I ask myself “is this what I really wanted”? I feel like I should completely know for sure that being married to my husband is exactly what I want. Does anyone else do that? I really don’t break down like I use to during our engagement but these thoughts are really annoying. I know that I love my husband completely, I know that there is no one else in the world that I would rather spend my time with. My husband is wonderful so I don’t why sometimes I can’t feel that and enjoy our marriage. Our marriage is a happy one but these thought are AWFUL! Please help!

  • Janelle

    I would like to clarify that my marriage is fine and these thoughts are not coming from anything my husband or I have done. These thoughts are just in my head and I don’t know why. I feel like I should know that this is what I want for sure and b/c sometimes I have a hard time answering that question. I feel that I wouldn’t be having these thoughts if this is what I really wanted! Now, please keep in mind, that I know that I love him and I’d never leave. It’s just that my mind keeps throwing up landmines to keep me seperate from love. I wish my mind would just realize what a great life I have laying right in front of me, but instead my mind is trying to find anything to keep me from enjoying it….so strange…ugh!

  • admin

    Janelle – You’re describing what every single one of my engaged or newlywed clients describes: a great relationship with the only problem being the landmines that the fear-mind puts up. It sounds like for you the thought of “I should know that this is what I want for sure” is what’s creating a lot of your anxiety. Whenever a sentence starts with “what if” or “I should” it’s a telltale sign that fear is at play and the thought will inevitably lead to anxiety. There’s nothing that says that you “should” know that this is what you want with total certainty. Is there anything in your life you can know with total certainty? Certainty is an illusion, and any thinking person will tell that they have doubts about their relationship or their job or any major decision they’ve made. Learning to accept the uncertainty is a big part of the marriage transition for many, many people.

  • Janelle

    Thank you so much Sheryl. I am in the point in my marriage transition where I know that every question I have is pretty much okay. Every thought that I have is okay. Now this took me about 7-8 months to get to this point. During my engagement I was so depressed and your mother’s site helped me get out of that depression within a month. The question that my mind keeps putting in front of me “is this what i really want” is a question that I had been dealing with for a long time but was just to scared to ask. I guess I already knew the answer to the question before I asked. It is just a hard question and I’m trying to let that unknown stick in my mind.

    Also, I feel that I’m going through a HUGE transition as a mother as well. Now, this sounds crazy b/c I don’t have any kids and my husband and I don’t want children for atleast a few years. Let me explain, my parents went through a divorce when I was little and it shattered me. Ever since I was little I grew up wanting to be the perfect wife thinking that that would always keep my family together. Now, I’m finding out that I’m not the perfect wife b/c of these thoughts in my head. UGH…I know there’s no such thing as perfect and in no other aspect of my life do I want to be perfect…even when I was a girlfriend I didn’t feel the need to be perfect. I tell my husband about this need to be perfect and he laughs and says ” I just want you to be how you’ve always been, I don’t want you to be perfect-that’s crazy”. I know that he’s right but my mind is still trying to accept that. You see we’ve never been ‘perfect’ and our relationship has always just worked- we just are best friends.

    Now as for the parent transition (with out even having kids, lol). I am just having a hard time b/c I am pressuring myself to make sure that I have made the best decision in a husband for my children. Now I KNOW that my husband is going to be the best father ever, but I just want to make sure that my husband and I are completely happy together so that my kids won’t have to go through what I went through a child. I know there are no guarantees but my mind needs to somehow manage that no matter what my children are not going to have the perfect life with the perfect family- no one does- and that is hard to accept!

  • JT

    Janelle

    Everything you have said are pretty much my exact thoughts.

  • KD

    Janelle,
    As much as you’re struggling, it seems like you’ve rounded a corner and are seeing there’s light. You recognize your thoughts are fear-based and not rooted in reality. Seems like you’ll get through this with time!

    When you were engaged, did you struggle with anything in your relationship, or just the unknown and the level of committment? Right now I am coming to grips with what part of me is struggling with the unknown, and what part is related to the relationship. I wish I could say it’s all me and my crazy head, but I know I have doubts because of our differences in personalities and backgrounds (like, I wish he was more reserved when we go out in public, he’s a product of divorce, he’s smart but not intellectual, etc). I also compare myself to others, thinking, do we have that chemistry? Or were we meant to be friends this whole time? It’s maddening at times!

    Sounds like you have a great relationship, and many happy years ahead. Best wishes!

  • admin

    KD – At least 90% of my clients struggle with issues in the relationship – which aren’t so much relationship issues as they are difficulties in accepting differences. It’s so common, in fact, that I’ve devoted an entire lesson to it in my Conscious Weddings E-Course – as well as the other thought that’s plaguing you of “Do I love him enough? Or do we have enough chemistry?” You’re far from alone and with the right tools you can effectively work through these anxiety-based thoughts that are keeping you separate from love.

  • Janelle

    KD- I mainly struggled with thoughts in my head. That’s not to say that we haven’t ever had problems, b/c we have. But we got through our “problems” and the problems never were a breaking point in the dating life so why would they be when i was engaged. Please try your best to not compare yourself to others. I have to tell myself this a lot! Trust me- you don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. I know that people would be shocked to hear that i’m writing on this website, shocked to hear I’ve had anything other then perfect thoughts. You see, everyone can see exactly what is so hard for me to see right now, which is my husband and I are wonderful together. I actually didn’t nit pick on my husband, rather I was so hard on myself which led to crazy anxiety! don’t worry you’ll get through this and so will I! hopefully : )

  • Janelle

    One more thing- one of my fears was dealing with the unknown and i was pretty sure that after the vows were said it would magically disapear. the fears definitly diminish but don’t go away completely-atleast in my case….i wish i would have expected the fears to stay …maybe then i would have felt more comfortable during that first month of marriage! good luck!!

  • PJ

    Janelle and KD, I can certainly relate to these questions that are now coming up in your transition. I’ve actually been doing a lot better, my earlier intense thoughts have become a lot easier to handle, but now have transitioned into the thoughts very similar to yours stated above regarding the questions “do I wanna have kids with this person?” or questioning the relationship based on differences in personalities. Like just the other night I let the fear thought in, like “gosh her laugh is so annoying, or she sounds like such a ditz sometimes and is driving me crazy” These do exist, the trick is not to let irrational thoughts like this take over and take charge of the outcome of your relationship. I have no idea what love is, or how I’m supposed to be feeling right now, but I enjoy my fiance’s company and we work as a couple and companionship, and thats just fine with me 🙂

  • Janelle

    Sheryl,
    If I have been working with my fears for months and months and I still don’t feel calm and relaxed, does that mean something is wrong? I have been married for a few months now and I just feel like I should feel happy most of the time. I feel like I should not be questioning my relationship with my husband. Could it be that i’m focusing way too much on these thoughts? I’m more than ready for my relationship to go back to how it was when we were dating- I was so relaxed and never had a second thought! Will i ever get that relaxed feeling back? Is something wrong with me? I should be enjoying this wonderful man that I have as my husband! Please help!

  • admin

    How much work did you do before you got married? Did you grieve the end of your single identity? Did you transfer allegiance from your family of origin to your husband? Did you find a way to accept the uncertainty of marriage and of marriage? Are there any issues in the relationship that you can point to right here and now that are cause for concern? And by the way, the fact that you never had a second thought during your dating isn’t necessarily a healthy thing!

  • Janelle

    Sheryl,
    I think that I worked on the fears as much as I knew how to. I had been looking at your website during my engagement for about 6 months and then after my wedding for about 3 months. I think that I have grieved my single identity but I’m not positive. I mean, I had been with my now husband for 10 years so it’s not like that really bothered me too much. I would still say that i have feel some guilt when I choose to spend time with my husband rather then my mother. I’m really working on the uncertainty of marriage, b/c I’m questioning all of my thinking. There are not any issues in my relationship that are cause for concern other than I just can’t stop thinking that I should not be thinking this way. I guess I may have had second thoughts once and a while during our dating relationship but what I meant was that it never drove me to this point- where I can’t get it off of my mind! It’s like I don’t have any specific fears that I can write down anymore b/c I have found through this website that all of my fears are just normal fears. So now I’m trying to figure out why I’m questioning if I did the right thing. Well, I know I did the right thing for me b/c I love my husband- but why wouldn’t I just go back to feeling at ease and relaxed? Does it just take time to get use to the marriage?

    • admin

      Yes, it does take time to get used to marriage. But it sounds like there are deeper fears that have been triggered because of the marriage that have to do with your childhood. Clearly your relationship is solid otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed for ten years. But the archetype of marriage is powerful and it will trigger any unconscious fears and beliefs you’ve carried about marriage your whole life but didn’t know you had. Are you in counseling? I would encourage you to consider it. It sounds to me like you would benefit from a deeper exploration of where these fears are coming from and how to work with them effectively.

  • Janelle

    * by the way during right before my husband and I got married we moved from the east coast to the west coast, quit our jobs, recently got new jobs, and we are now living with my sister in law…..so my the transition just isn’t quite complete….after all we were living together for years before we got married and now we’re living with his sister until we get financially stable again…..

  • Janelle

    sorry for writing all over your message board- but I just realized when I walked downstairs….that I’m not sure if I completed the turn into an adult transition. I felt like an adult before we got engaged, we were living by ourselves, both had wonderful jobs, and were financially secure. Then when we got engaged I felt all the sudden like an immature kid again? Like I wasn’t a mature adult anymore…I still feel like I should be more mature to be a wife. It seems like I have all of these great expectations, maybe it’s because my parents are divorced and I’m trying to be perfect to someone prevent that from happening. And I know I can’t prevent anything. Thanks for your time everyone I really appreciate it!

  • LT

    Janelle,

    I have been reading your comments and cannot BELIEVE how similar we are! It is like reading my own thoughts! I, like you have been married for just a few months. I dated my husband for 11 years before we married and never really questioned our relationship until about three months before the wedding. I was then consumed with the same questions as you – what if I don’t love him enough? Do I really love him? But despite all of these worries, deep, deep down I knew that we were good together and this was just silly fear. However, the fear remained after the marriage and now, exactly like you, I still can’t get it out of my head and I can’t relax and enjoy our marriage. Again, just like you, I am now filled with questions about whether this is someone I want to have children with and if I do, what if it doesn’t work out? My parents also divorced when I was young and it was acrimonious. I have enough insight to know that this is probably why I feel the way I do but there is just no escaping these horrible thoughts. Sheryl, your articles are amazing and it is a major relief to know I am not on my own but I just wonder if I am ever going to get over this and go back to the way I felt when we were just living together. Do you think it is possible?

    • admin

      Yes, I know it’s possible to work through the fears and anxiety that arise at any point in the marriage transition. It’s a process and it requires time and commitment, but with the right information and tools, you will find your way to acceptance and tolerance about your marriage.

  • Janelle

    LT-

    Thanks for responding! I’m sorry that you are going through this but at the same time it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I know that I love my husband, want to be with him, love spending time with him, and love love love laughing together. Last week was such a wonderful one for me! But, of course, the thoughts came back, “is this really going to last forever”? “am i doing the right thing”? You see when I’m not in an anxious state I feel more comfortable addressing those questions, but sometimes my mind just asks the questions over and over again- it drives me crazy! The thought are very annoying and I’m just so sick of them! Then b/c I can’t stop asking myself the questions some days I start to think something must be wrong or i would stop thinking these things. It’s all very frustrating! I hope that you are doing better!

  • Janelle

    LT-

    Thanks for%20responding!%20I’m%20sorry%20that%20you%20are%20going%20through%20this%20but%20at%20the%20same%20time%20it’s%20nice%20to%20know%20I’m%20not%20alone.%20I%20know%20that%20I%20love%20my%20husband%2C%20want%20to%20be%20with%20him%2C%20love%20spending%20time%20with%20him%2C%20and%20love%20love%20love%20laughing%20together.%20Last%20week%20was%20such%20a%20wonderful%20one%20for%20me!%20But%2C%20of%20course%2C%20the%20thoughts%20came%20back%2C%20%22is%20this%20really%20going%20to%20last%20forever%22%3F%20%22am%20i%20doing%20the%20right%20thing%22%3F%20You%20see%20when%20I’m%20not%20in%20an%20anxious%20state%20I%20feel%20more%20comfortable%20addressing%20those%20questions%2C%20but%20sometimes%20my%20mind%20just%20asks%20the%20questions%20over%20and%20over%20again-%20it%20drives%20me%20crazy!%20The%20thought%20are%20very%20annoying%20and%20I’m%20just%20so%20sick%20of%20them!%20Then%20b%2Fc%20I%20can’t%20stop%20asking%20myself%20the%20questions%20some%20days%20I%20start%20to%20think%20something%20must%20be%20wrong%20or%20i%20would%20stop%20thinking%20these%20things.%20It’s%20all%20very%20frustrating!%20I%20hope%20that%20you%20are%20doing%20better!%20

  • magda

    So I too am suffering from huge engagement anxiety. I fell into anxiety, panic, and now am suffering from depression because of all the fears that I thought weren’t ok to feel. My biggest concern is how to still lead a happy relationship with my fiance. It’s like this big vicious circle that I don’t know how to get out of. So he is seeing the fear in my eyes, and I see it in his, but his fears are different. His fears and frustrations are based on the fact that he doesn’t know how to help me, but I don’t know how to help me, and I don’t know how to help him. I feel paralyzed when I’m around him because I’ve been feeling this way for so long. I get so frustrated, that this frustrations turns into anger. I feel angry with myself and with my fiance, and I know I shouldn’t but I just feel so stuck in this one place and don’t know which way to go. I know my fear would like me to run away, but that’s not an option. I feel like I’m in a hole, and it feels like everyday it’s getting bigger and bigger. How does everyone deal with their relationship without affecting the other person and still making them feel loved, even with all these fears flying around.

  • Hi Magda,

    I think personally what helped me with showing love to my Fiance even if i wasnt feeling it or if i was feeling numb or disgust or like i wanted to run was knowing that beneath the surface of the fears i did truly love him (even though the fears can lie to you and tell you that you dont). Knowing that, I was able to show love in certain ways, even though it was very difficult. I think sometimes actions proceed knowledge and sometimes loving (the verb) someone (i.e. saying i love you, doing something nice for them, etc) helps with the process of overcoming your anxiety. also being as open as possible with your fiance about everything. i think for a while i was holding back some thoughts i had in my mind and suddenly i decided i had to talk to him about it. once i opened up to him things began to change drastically. i hope this helps.

  • Beautifully said, Cori. It sounds like you’re doing well! Wonderful…

  • magda

    I have been doing little things for him to make him know that I love him, even though the fear is so overwhelming that it makes me believe that I don’t. I get him cards, I had a birthday party for him, and that’s with feeling the fear and depression. I think I’m in this stage that no matter where I turn to, I hit a wall. I do talk to him about what I feel, and I think the problem is that I’ve told him a little too much, that would really make anyone want to run away from me. That’s where all the guilt hits me like a ton of bricks. Then with the guilt I feel the anger. I just get angry at everything and everyone. Most of all I’m just angry that I got everything I wanted it, and now the fear made believe that I just don’t want it anymore. But I know I do. I have the most handsome and loving fiance in my eyes, and I’m just upset that it feels like it’s being taken away from me.

  • Sarah

    Hi Magda. I can relate to your worries about telling your fiance too much – I have the same tendency. Even though you think it might have been too much, how did it feel to tell him, to get it off your chest? Something that works for me is just saying things out loud to myself when no one can hear me – even screaming in my car when I’m driving down the highway (it feels really good!)- and then dialoguing with that voice. Saying it out loud and actually hearing myself changes the way I interpret what I’m thinking and I’m better able to detach from those thoughts so they’re not as scary. Another thing I would suggest is mentally checking out the walls you’re running into and being curious about what lessons you’re meant to be learning at this stage. The walls are there for a reason. I know it’s hard and can be confusing since it’s so abstract. When I learned to accept where I’m at in my relationship, and life in general, it opened me up to learning so much about myself, my life, and my man while still staying connected to my core feelings (but in a less scary way). 🙂

  • admin

    Sarah – One of the most gratifying parts of my work is hearing the wisdom that spills out of people who have been touched by my work and are now sharing their growth with others. I love what you wrote here. Your growth is evident. You’re getting it and absorbing it and now able to share your wisdom with others! It’s wonderful.

    Magda – You will be there too one day. You’re doing everything you can right now to address your fears and wade through the difficult thoughts, feelings and issues. I know it’s hard, but hang in there and you will see progress.

  • Sarah

    Yes, Magda, you WILL see progress. Just a few short months ago I was a complete wreck and thought it would never end. But alas, things have been getting better and better as I allow myself to be where I’m at.

  • Sarah

    Sheryl, thanks for your comment and recognizing my growth. Now the trick is remembering it and accepting that it’s a daily practice. It’s easy to forget the lessons I’ve learned when anxiety rears it’s head – old habits sure do die hard – but to make a conscious effort to check in with what I’m needing at that moment is important. Guess I need to take my own advice and to be more accepting of the ebb-and-flow nature of this transition, which is really the pattern of life.

  • KP

    We are all going through the same thing. It makes me feel a little less fearful to read what everyone is going through. Today I am feeling a little fearful and I can’t really put my finger on why I might be feeling this way. Fear steals from moments of love with my fiance, we spent a wonderful day together yesterday, but today I woke up frightened whether I will be able to love him forever and wondering just how do people love one another forever? Sometimes my fear will just be there for no reason and steal away from our moments together. I really hate it. Though I feel fearful I am still moving forward with our wedding plans, I do not feel scared all the time, sometimes I am so overjoyed and feel blessed to have found the man I want to spend my life with. My question I ask myself is, how do you know the fear isn’t telling the truth? What makes you connect with love to remind you that your fears are not real? And why do we have these fears in the first place? Thanks.

  • Erin

    This post made me realize that no matter what we’re conditioned to think about engagement and marriage, that the way I am/have been feeling is normal. Despite my fear, I’ve managed to forge ahead with our wedding plans and now, six weeks away, I’m starting to relax and to truly “feel” all of my emotions, good and bad. Thank you so much for this post!

  • Yes, Erin! That’s the gift of this work in a nutshell.

  • Melissa

    I got engaged a month ago and we are getting married in July 2012. When we first got engaged I was very very excited and started planning right away. As soon as things started to calm down and sink in, I started having fearful thoughts and anxiety about being engaged and married. Of course I immediately thought that if I was having these thoughts then it must not be right. The anxiety intensified because I thought I would end up calling off our engagement and marriage. The fearful thoughts that so many others have posted (what if marriage changes things? what if I get so scared that I leave?, what if we aren’t the right match?, what if we get divorced?) began to completely take over about 2 weeks ago. We have been dating for 4 1/2 years and have lived together for 3. We have a perfect life together and have never even come close to breaking up. We have talked for years about getting married some day and openly discuss the fact that we are each other’s perfect match. Prior to dating him I always told people I would never get married. When people started pressuring me and asking when we were getting married and why we weren’t married I even told them I wasn’t sure when or if we would get married – just so they would stop asking. I have ALOT of divorce in my family and had a very unstable mother. I believe the reason that this is happening is because I had so many negative thoughts about marriage and a belief that it could never work. I am now having to re-teach myself.

    I am very thankful for this website and for the work that you do, Sheryl. I have felt so much better since discovering this website and journaling every day. I am also seeing a therapist so that I can get back to normal and enjoy my engagement and new life with my fiance. My latest fear is that we have SO long until we get married – can I last over a year with these feelings and a roller coaster of emotions? Of course my fear is telling me I cannot last. If you have any advice, please pass it on. Thank you again.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write, share your story, and express your gratitude, and I’m so glad that you found your way here and that it’s provided you with guidance, tools, and comfort. My advice in getting through the next year: take it one day at a time and remind yourself that if you’re anxious one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll be anxious the next or your whole engagement. And remind yourself that, especially because of your history, this is an opportunity to heal your negative fears and beliefs and the more you dive into it, the more you’ll learn and grown. And lastly, have you checked out the Conscious Weddings eCourse? It’s a treasure-trove of information, tools, and, perhaps most powerfully, a community of wise and compassionate women (and a couple of men) that gather to support each other on the private eCourse forum. I can’t recommend it highly enough for the anxiously engaged.

  • Janelle

    Sheryl,

    Wow! It’s pretty amazing to read my old posts from over a year ago : ) I was so lost : ( Thank god I enrolled in your ecourse, it really helped me to work through my emotions rather than pushing them off to the side! Thank God I took the leap and married my amazing husband! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

    Janelle

  • Cornelia

    Hi,

    I just came across this website and this post. After being stuck in a relationship with my high school sweetheart for 9 years, which ended with me finally breaking up with him after being depressed and having horrible anxiety which led to agoraphobia. I met my no fiancĂ© just a few weeks after breaking up with my ex, and what I thought was a rebound quickly became serious. We are a perfect match and he is everything I’ve ever wanted in a man. We talked about marriage, kids, finances, the whole nine yards and I couldn’t wait to marry him. I can’t remember ever being that happy. A year and 3 months after we met, he proposed in January. I was thrilled, but then when I picked the wedding vanue and things got “real” I began being consumed by anxiety, fear, sadness, dread. I had a panic attack and broke down and cried yesterday and feel completely lost. I know I want to marry him, but I am soooooo scared. I am also scared I am going to end up calling it off. This website is already helping me so much. I am thinking about buying the e-course, but its expensive! Can any equally stressed and anxious ladies let me know if its worth it?

    Thanks

  • Adelina

    Amazing!I got engaged exactly a month ago, and last Saturday I woke up with some devilish thoughts: started looking up forums on ‘falling out of love’ and other disheartening topics.From there,Sunday morning I woke up crying like a baby,all over the place,telling my fiance I was possibly not in love anymore,missing all emotions.It was like somebody had deleted all my thoughts I’d had for the 1.5 years we’d been together which were love,friendship,affection and briefly,total dedication.All this past week I managed to eat a few apples and a bit of cereal,wanted to go and see a doctor,cried for hours in despair,thought I’d have a heart attack and had suicidal thoughts.Thinking about being in his shoes just gave me the cold shivers…what will he think?Will I start not caring genuinely after all?Am I gonna be watching football every week-end(something I’ve always enjoyed doing with him)?Your post made me so much better.We don’t have wedding plans yet,but it is so comforting to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel!Also,ladies,if anyone is overly-concerned like me,try St.John’s Wort tablets,one a day,it eases the stomach shaking and chases the nasty thoughts away.Bring it on!!!
    Adelina

  • LC

    Hi

    I have just discovered this site and I am crying here, that FINALLY, finally, finally I am not the only one who feels this way!!! Thank you so much everyone! xx I have been with the most wonderful guy for 12 years now, engaged for 5 years, and completely paralysed with fear. But, as I said to my fiance last night ‘if this were a fear/phobia of spiders people would understand, and they certainly wouldn’t take it as a personal insult to THEM – but my fear has the potential to hurt so many people (my fiance, my family and friends) that along with the fear come so much guilt…

    But today, I ‘felt the fear and did it anyway’, and have booked our wedding!! I still have another 10 months to get my head around things, but I am DETERMINED I am going to do this – for my fiance, but most importantly for me! I am looking forward to what ‘being married’ has to offer – but am completely petrified too!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • Lacy

    Im so glad I ran across this post tonight. Yesterday my fiancĂ© and I went to his cousin’s wedding. While we were watching them say their vows, I was thinking about how he and I will be doing the same in six months, and I don’t know what came over me other than what I could only describe as a panic attack. My face got so hot, I got extremely dizzy and I started to really feel like I was freaking out. All while trying to silently sit there and not interrupt a wedding. I had to calm myself down right then and there, after visions of all possible outcomes of getting married/not getting married ran through my head. I love my fiancĂ©, but sometimes I worry about my fears. At the end of the day, I’m excited to start a life with him, and to be his wife. Some days, I can’t wait to get married. But what scares me are the other days when I look at him and wonder how we will make a marriage last, how we are going to remain in love and grow for the next 60 years. The fears I felt caused more panic because then I began to wonder where my fears were coming from and then worrying myself further thinking “am I doing the right thing?”.
    I guess I am just glad to hear that fears are normal. We’ve had several of our friends get divorced this year (we are both in our late twenties), one couple in particular who we had admired and talked about how they were a good example of young married and happy. I’m having to remind myself of this quote I’ve read all over pinterest: “Do not let comparison steal your joy.” I am learning to focus on us and our relationship and stop looking at others and not feeling good enough. Thanks again for sharing! It really helped me tonight!

    • I’m so glad you came across it, too! There’s nothing like reading about another’s similar experience so that you can say, “Okay. I’m normal. I’m not alone.”

  • Bethany

    I have been married for about three weeks now and am in freak out mode. This is a second marriage for both of us and i keep having thoughts that I need to run away because it will end up in divorce. When I have my good calm moments I realize how lucky I am to have met this man and the opportunities we have and the life we can build. BUT at the same time I’m still afraid we are going to get divorced and I will be the one to call it off.

    We were married on 6/29, moved to a new city 7/10, my husband started a new job on 7/16 and I began teleworking for my office on 7/16. I think that having all these changes at once is what making this even harder for me. I feel so bad for my husband because he truly wants for us to be happy (and I believe we are) but I have a hard time believing this is going to last and that i should call it off now.

    When I was living by myself (and we were dating) I was in a good place emotionally. BUT now I think all I did was build myself a cocoon where I was able to protect myself from everything outside and could always retreat to my little apartment if anything ever felt wrong. Part of me feels I was doing a disservice to myself by doing this because I was just trying to make my life easy and not to have hardly any emotional intteruptions. Sometimes I get so angry at my head because it is making it hard for me to experience this new life appropriately and enjoy that I found a good man who will stick by me.

    I have a hystery of anxiety and having these reactions of wanting to runaway from new experiences. I remember having my earliest anxiety issues when I was 8 years old. So part of me knows that I am probably just having a flare up of my old anxiety issues, which happen to be having people I love and care about let me down, sometimes in a big way. And then comes the forever part. FOREVER is so damn long! I know that I should just take it day by day and see where our life goes – but at the same time I have a hard time not knowing! :/

    • Bethany: If you’ve read through this site you know that you’re in the right place. You could certainly leave your new marriage, but you would be leaving from fear, not clarity, and you would undoubtably find yourself in the exact same boat with your next partner. Unless you want to live your life alone, in the safety of your controlled, single environment (which is very safe!) you need to deal with this. Transitions are opportunities to heal old anxiety, and since your anxiety has been with you since you were a child and you’re enduring multiple transitions at once, life is giving you a profound opportunity to heal. I know it’s not fun (hard as hell) but the fruits of this labor are worth the challenge a thousand times over. Keep reading, keep learning, dive in and you will start to find windows of clarity that you’ve never known.

  • fortierb

    Thanks Sheryl, I am deeply committed to this man. I AM not leaving this marriage, just working on getting the anxiety under control. AND as appealing as my old apartment is, I know deep down this is what I want. At moments I can see us coming home with our first child; buying our first place together, and even just hanging out as we get older. I am under no illusion that marriage will be easy, which in itself is scary, but still realize it is a very important aspect for my life. I do want to have a partnership with a man, I want to raise a family with him and I want to have new adventures and experiences with him. So I know if I hang on, I’ll get through this too.