Eventually, all of my clients and Conscious Weddings Course participants end up asking the same question: If I’m with such a great partner, why am I so terrified? It’s an understandable question to ask when you have the sense that you’ve met the person with whom you could spend the rest of your life as the terror (and yes, it’s terror, not just fear or anxiety) flies in the face of what you think you’re supposed to feel. The next question is: If I was with the right person, I wouldn’t be feeling this way. Again, an understandable conclusion since nothing in this culture prepares people for the normal fear and common terror that arise in intimate relationships.
So why would someone feel terrified to commit to someone with whom they have a great relationship? Why would a loving, solid partnership trigger such deep-seated feelings of anxiety rendering my clients unable to eat, sleep, or function? The first reason is that it’s because the relationship is so safe that the anxiety is triggered. Let me explain with an example from someone who didn’t attribute the anxiety to her partnership.
One of my dearest friends met her life partner in her late twenties. After a whirlwind love affair they got married, and a few months into her marriage she developed severe anxiety symptoms for the first time in her life. Her ears started itching and she heard a ringing that wouldn’t go away. Then she felt like there was copper in her mouth and her anxious mind went into overdrive: I’m dying. I have cancer. I’m going crazy. (All common thoughts that accompany anxiety.)
We had fallen out of close touch, but she knew that I had struggled with serious anxiety during my twenties so she called me for support. We talked every day, and within a few weeks she was able to identify that the safety and stability of her marriage is what allowed the anxiety to surface. In other words, the anxiety (fear, terror) had been living inside of her since she was child but she had always kept it at bay. She was a typical “good girl”: good grades, a good job, never stayed outside the expected lines. Her psyche lived inside a steel-clad box of expectations and busyness.
A bit about her childhood: She had been raised by two young, drug-addicted parents who had no idea how to show up as parents. They were both narcissistic and emotionally unreliable, and my friend had learned at a young age how to take care of herself as best she could. In short, her parents didn’t attend to her in the way she needed to be parented; her father failed miserably as a dad and her mother was too narcissistic to give her real nurturing and mothering.
But now her psyche was exploding open. Within the security of her husband’s support, she finally felt safe enough to fall apart. For the first time in her life, she had someone who could keep watch as she delved into darkness. She knew that no matter how crazy she felt, her husband loved her and he wasn’t going anywhere. And that’s when the thirty years of terror came rushing to the surface.
After months of suffering with the anxiety and countless discussions with me and her therapist, she started to learn how to re-parent herself and to develop a relationship with a Higher Source. It was slow and hard work, but over time the physical anxiety symptoms diminished and she could feel some solid ground beneath her feet. She recognized that she would have to give up the notion that her mother would ever show up for her in the way she needed and that the only true healing was to learn how to mother herself and receive nurturing from other sources. But she credits the development of her spiritual relationship as the key to managing her anxiety. As another client recently said to me, “Relying on a Higher Source is very comforting for the anxious mind.”
I hope that by sharing this story it will shed light on your own terror. But if you’ve found your way here, it’s likely that, unlike my friend, you’ve attached the terror onto your choice of partner. And for most of my clients, the projection onto the partner becomes so strong that they want to run. This is the wounded self at play, the part of you that’s terrified of real love.
So, again, the question is: Why is real love so scary? If you know rationally that you’re with a great partner (i.e. no obvious red flags like addiction, betrayal, control issues) and you’re ready to commit (when fear isn’t in the way), why would you feel so scared? The wounded self is the part of you that developed to protect you from the pain of your early experiences. Perhaps you were raised by narcissistic parents that didn’t know how to set their own needs aside in order to attend to yours. Perhaps your mother was emotionally engulfing and your father was emotionally absent. Perhaps you had loving parents but there was other pain in your life (we don’t go through life without pain). So the wounded self was born and developed a belief system that said, “There must be something wrong with me because I’m not receiving the love I need. If I was more perfect in some way, I would get love.” In essence, you looked around you and realized that love isn’t safe. It’s either too much or too little, both of which you ascribed to some fault within yourself.
Now, during transitions, when real love stands before you in the form of a solid, reliable mate, the old beliefs come flaring to the surface. You’re terrified of getting hurt again. You’re terrified of risking being vulnerable, exposing your true self, and then being rejected. It’s too risky. It’s not safe. You’re knee-deep in a projection that says, “I must be terrified because I’m with the wrong person,” when in truth you’re terrified because the old fears have been unleashed. Let me say this as clearly as possible: The terror has nothing to do with your partner. The terror lives inside of you and has always lived inside of you. And the degree of the terror is directly correlated to the degree to which you love your partner (even though you’re so scared right now that you can’t feel the love at all).
Similarly, many people carry a rescue fantasy that says, “When I meet the right person I will be so happy and alive that I’ll be lifted out of my anxiety and misery.” I’ve written extensively about this misguided belief – and devoted Lesson 7 of the E-Course to it – because it’s so fundamental to many people’s belief system and is a primary reason why they leave a perfectly good relationship. Said another way, the belief is: “Someone else would make me happier.” I’ll say this clearly and bluntly: holding on to this belief prevents you from taking full responsibility for your pain and joy. Again, it ascribes the terror onto your partner instead of recognizing that this terror is old, it’s yours, it has nothing to do with your partner and you’d be feeling it no matter who you married.
If you’re going to work through the terror, there needs to be a recognition that it has nothing to do with your partner. It’s not his fault, it’s not here because you’re with the “wrong” person, and it won’t go away if you walk away from the relationship. Ask yourself honestly: How long have you struggled with anxiety? If you’re like most of my clients, you’ve struggled with it for years, often since childhood.
Anxiety is a gift. It’s an opportunity to address deep-seated belief systems that are no longer serving you and an invitation to learn how to connect with a source of higher guidance. The fear says, “Run! Love isn’t safe. He’ll leave you. She’ll smother you.” Something wise in you is saying, “Deal with me now! You’re finally with someone safe and loving who’s not going to run away from your anxiety. Within this safe space, you can fall apart and learn how to put yourself back together again in a healthy way.” That something might just be called love. Which voice will you listen to?
During my anxious periods, I deal with this question on a daily basis! So glad you addressed it here. Another question which I believe goes along the same lines that I ask myself (and I think many others do too) is, “is this really terror/anxiety/fear I am feeling, or am i not scared at all and maybe I just dont want to be with him?” The way I answer that is by remembering what I have with him and how amazing he is and how it is the best relationship I have ever had… but it is still difficult to get the fear voice to go away and to actually believe it.
I love the idea of all of the anxiety from our past popping up now because we are in a safe place. It makes so much sense. I have always felt this anxiety lurking beneath the surface, especially while in relationships, but the relationships never lasted long enough for it to surface (and i never felt safe enough).
I love this part: “Deal with me now! You’re finally with someone safe and loving who’s not going to run away from your anxiety. Within this safe space, you can fall apart and learn how to put yourself back together again in a healthy way.” I pray everyday for God to make this an opportunity for healing… an opportunity to be picked apart from the inside out and to be put back together to become a healed, loving, and whole person.
I have been dealing with many of these feelings since my fiance and I got engaged last March. The overwhelming anxiety I felt nearly caused us to break up, and in the end we decided to postpone the wedding until I felt calm enough to proceed. During my struggle to deal with my anxiety (during which time my therapist, family, and friends kept telling me that if I had this much anxiety over everything, maybe my fiance wasn’t the one), I stumbled across your old site and message board, and ordered your book on Amazon. What soothing balms they have all been during the flare-ups of anxiety I’ve had in the last 10 months! My fiance and I did eventually set our wedding date and will be getting married this summer.
Just this morning something I read on another website caused my anxiety to spike. I came to this site to read this great post and am feeling better already. I had loving, involved parents, but had a hard time fitting in socially, and my fiance is the first man I’ve been in a relationship with as an adult. I’ve written before on your site that he had some things from his first marriage that I fixate on in my most anxious moments, but when I step back and think objectively about our relationship, there is nothing that should give me such alarm or intense fear. I am preparing myself for a bit of a roller coaster ride as our wedding date approaches, but at least now I feel prepared and able to address it without it consuming me.
Reading this post I thought it was my own story! I got engaged to a great guy who really treats me right, but in March of this year, I also had an anxiety overload. I was lonely and afraid, and it felt like I was dying and had no other choice but to leave. Rather than doing that I decided to fight my fear and stick around. The summer was grueling, and though I ached to feel better it didn’t get to where I was confident in myself and my partner until about two months ago. Even now I have days of doubt, but through everything, my guy has stuck by my side and loves me the same. Why wouldn’t I want to marry a guy like that?! Our wedding is set for this July. Scared? Yes. And the more I ponder on the “If’s” the more anxiety grows. But I’m learning to battle it because I believe he, and this life is worth it. 🙂
Cori-I ask myself that same follow-up question…isn’t it amazing how twisted these fear beliefs can be? I read these posts and every word seems to ring true, then my fear somehow manages to warp things and I catch myself thinking “yea, but I had a great childhood, so it doesn’t really apply to me” or “yea, but I haven’t always struggled with anxiety, so maybe I am actually making a mistake”. Its frustrating.
I’m in a good place at the moment, and I know that my discomfort and anxious thoughts have nothing to do with my fiance. They are coming from within myself and only I can fix these issues. I’ve started reminding myself in my anxious moments of the times when I feel happy and excited about the wedding as a way to confront the fear. If I can have these moments of intense joy at the anticipation of it all, then, to me, it means I’m not making a mistake.
You have no idea how much I look forward to reading your blogs, Sheryl. And to all the women who comment on this site- I don’t know you but think of you as a friend nonetheless. What you say sounds so familiar! How refreshing that other women are admittedly declaring their anxieties and relaying that “the one” isn’t as easy as we’ve been led to believe. I so badly think we should remind our daughters to chose a good man. To fall in love, but chose to stay in love based on his character and how well you meet each other’s needs. No one told me this growing up; instead I was inundated with romance movies, novels, and love stories. That you’ll “just know.”
I’m 28 and in the first REAL relationship of my life. I’ve had boyfriends, but this is the first time the possibility of ‘a long time’ presented itself. And though that’s what I was craving before he came into the picture, about 6 months into the relationship I came head to head with my demons! Big time. I’ve had anxiety my entire life, but it seemed that in this break-down EVERYTHING came out. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t stop analyzing, asking anyone and everyone what they thought of marriage, commitment, if they’ve ever been in love, etc. I needed answers and I needed them quick.
I’ve done alot of work on myself and the big breakdowns seem to be farther between. They still happen but slowly I’m learning the tools necessary to get me through and especially learning to not act in these heightened states.
I ask myself all the time “if I’m scared, does that mean it’s not right?’ It’s refreshing to know that other women go through this. I’m freaking terrified ladies, and I’m beginning to see that alot of it has to do with the fact that I”m totally out of my comfort zone. My pattern seems to be me loving the man more, me doing the chasing, the idealizing, the hoping he’ll come around. This time around it just sort of fell into place but I don’t know what to do with the easiness of it. Does that make sense? A relationship without chaos feels distrusting, as ironic as that sounds.
I’m still scared. Lots of times. But something deep down tells me to stick it out. Probably because he’s worth it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to read your posts and get help with my anxiety and obsessive thinking patterns.
Welcome, and I’m so glad you found your way here : )
You hit the nail on the head. I’m going through a similar situation right now and here I am, reading blogs to ease my mind. I’ve always been in distrusting relationships and now I’m with my best friend and an amazing person and it’s freaking weird. We plan to spend the rest of our lives together and I’m terrified.
I think you’re right about “being out of our comfort zones.” I’m used to the guy looking at other women, giving me excuses, says he’ll do something, then doesn’t. Now, I have a man who may not be perfect, kind of a dork, but I love him to pieces. Right now, I’ve bee feeling “out of love,” but I know I’m not. It’s my usual “sabotage the relationship before some real stuff happens.” So, I hope yours doesn’t become sabatoged because that’s what we’re used to.
Scary. Glad I’m not alone in this!
Hi Kathryn. So much of what you said resonates with me. Especially the part where you said, “A relationship without chaos feels distrusting.” I can totally relate to that, and I think I’m pretty damn good at creating drama when it’s unnecessary. I think if I didn’t nit-pick all the time and create something for us to work on, our relationship would likely just work, or it would become amazingly clear that it’s not working and time to move on. But keeping with the chaos feels comfortable (in the most uncomfortable way, of course) and what I’m used to. I am constantly thinking that it’s time for me to just move on, but, like you, something deep down is telling me to stick it out.
I also had my first ENORMOUS breakdown just about 6 months into the relationship, and have ever since attributed the anxiety to him, even though I chose to stay with him, move in together, and it’s now been 6 years. Strange when I think about it. I’m just learning how to take back and own my anxiety rather than plaster it all over him. It’s amazing how when he’s not around I feel calm and at peace, and then when I see him it hits me all over again. I can’t stand that!
I can so much relate to everything you said. I wish you luck on this journey – it will get easier eventually!
It’s sometimes really hard to believe that the anxiety isn’t about my fiance, just because I’ve literally convinced myself that it’s about him. Funny thing that is happening though, I’m actually starting to know that it’s not about him, that I love him so much but my fear is now telling me that I’m just in denial about it. So there is literally something that fear works on just to convince you other wise. I have to reverse all these projections I made about him. See my fiance is a real charmer, beautiful blue eyes, has the cutest smile with dimples. I made myself believe that there is something physically wrong with him, literally everything, and through the eyes of fear, that’s exactly what happens.
I’ve been suffering for years with anxiety, have been in relationships before my fiance, where I hid them, to the point where I would exhaust myself, just because I was scared to tell anyone.
My fiance came along, we dated for six months, he proposed, and I became a wreck, but I did because I knew that he won’t go anywhere.
I felt empty before I met him and expected him to fill me up, and now going through this makes me think that he’s just not good enough. But he is more than I can ask for.
So everyday, I get the I don’t want to be with him or it’s not working or going to work, but when I turn it around from negative to a positive projection, even with the fear still sitting inside of me, I don’t want to be anywhere else but with him.
I’m still not myself, I actually don’t know who myself is right now, thanks to the liminal stage and I’m still so very scared almost to be happy again because I’m scared that it’s fake or I’m in denial, but I know that in some way he actually did save me, it just doesn’t feel that way. I can’t wait to deal and work through this, to finally after so many months feel my connection and love towards him.
Thanks Sarah for your kind thoughts. I feel like I have a pretty firm grasp on things right now, but I know me and I know it’ll come back. Anxiety seems to know where I live. Every now and then it knocks at my door. I’m sure you know the feeling 🙂
I too am guilty of labeling my boyfriend as the catalyst for anxiety, which is funny since he hasn’t done anything to make me feel this way. We’ve been together a little over a year and have mentioned moving in, the future, etc., but haven’t discussed it seriously. Like no one has demanded something of the other. Still, I was feeling anxious 6 months ago, declaring, “I don’t want to get married” “I’m not ready to give up my apartment” “I can’t take him on my journey cause what if I miss out on something.” I would totally go to extremes when nothing was happening to me to cause this. I’m just really good at creating and projecting! When I’m freaking out it helps to ask how I’m doing now- In this moment. I’d look around wherever I was and couldn’t find a boy on bended knee let alone anyone asking me to change my identity. Instead I just saw a dude that loved me lots and was willing to combat this stuff with me. What’s even funnier is though I’ll have so many doubts when the time comes, and thought I want to run often, I could still imagine me moving in with him. Go figure.
I swear us anxious folks really have to go day by day.
Can I ask everyone something? Do these questions come up for you – “Since I’m focusing on the positive so much, does that mean I’m talking myself into love?” Or my other favorite these days, “Since I’m doing so much work to commit, does that mean I’m settling?” These seem to be the questions that flash across my brain.
Kathryn, these are the thoughts I’m mainly struggling with… whenever I feel good I find something else to worry about however deep down I know it’s all lies and in my head. I fear intimacy with my man at the moment and can’t imagine getting it back and that scares me but again that’s just fear.. you just have to let things happen and it will be okay. Our minds are our worst critics. You should go look at some of the relationship anxiety articles they will talk about this
Anxiety/terror are so debilitating. Ask anyone who has a phobia and they will tell you that while their fear may be irrational, it feels very real to them! This is the same instance, and it really distorts what you are thinking and what your true feelings are.
Kathryn, I think you bring up some really great questions. I guess, you also have to ask yourself the reverse of some of those questions, like, “am I NOT in love?”. Or maybe, what about YOU and what you bring to the relationship makes you feel like you are settling? I totally know what you mean though, when we’re lead to believe that once we reach engagement, it is smooth sailing from there.
I’ll share a little anecdote. The woman who owns the bridal boutique where I purchased the dress told me that she, in fact, had called off her wedding, twice, to her now husband (I guess third time was the charm!). She says she was just scared but still knew deep down that she loved this man and that he was good for her. By the third wedding prep, her parents were just like WHATEVER, but, finally she felt ready and she felt right despite all her previous reservations. Fifteen years and three kids later she feels so blessed that her husband stood by her in spite of her anxiety.
(This is Sarah). I’m constantly worrying that I’m settling. A huge thing for me is that we got together when I was so young and I’ve never (which is what I actually thinks contributes to the ambivalence so much) learned to take care of or responsibility for myself. Now that I’m working on doing that, things are shifting in the relationship and we as a unit are in a groundless state, not knowing what’s going to happen. The hardest part is to not talk about it constantly with him – cause that just gets really old and we both end up wanting to leave the relationship.
I’ve also thought about your first question, the focusing on the positive so much and worrying that I’m avoiding something important for me. We’re both trying to resign to the fact that we each need to work on ourselves and let happen what will happen with us as a couple. One of the reasons I postponed the wedding was because we were at what I thought was a pretty unhealthy state and I did not want to start a marriage on a weak foundation.
I think it’s definitely a choice what you focus on in the relationship. Yeah, there may be some annoying habits and irritations, and those can eventually be overlooked. I once read that happy couples have an almost idealized idea of their partner in their mind – meaning they think they’re better than they may actually be. Hope that helps. 🙂
KD – I LOVE what you shared. Thanks so much for writing about that other woman. A book Sheryl recommended to me, When the Heart Waits, has been immensely helpful. One of the major reassurances I’ve gained from the book is that it’s okay and normal to want to be alone during a major transition. I am constantly forcing myself to be around my partner or act in a way I think I “should” vs. how I’m really feeling. I would highly recommend the book to anyone struggling with change and trying to make some sense of the internal shifts you may be experiencing. Great book.
And Sarah, thank you again for sharing your POV and book recommendation. Our stories are similar in a lot of ways, so I do find it reassuring to have someone like you to share the experience with.
I think I am a person who is naturally self-reflective and who craves alone time. Again, reassuring that during transitions this is the case and even on a greater scale.
As much as the anxiety sucks (yes, sucks), I am grateful for all that I have gained (and let go of) from this experience.
And, on a side note, the woman in that story was in her 30s when she got married and said, ‘[KD], I was no spring chicken!’ Anxiety can strike for many reasons and at any age.
KD – I am also someone who craves alone time and always have. One of the things I learned about myself during this transition is that I’m most doubtful about the relationship when I’m neglecting myself in some way. That’s when the questions of leaving start showing up and get stronger, it’s when I look at him and blame him for everything wrong in my life. Recently my partner was out with some friends and didn’t come home when I thought he would. It really got me thinking about how much emphasis I put on him and what he’s doing with his life rather than turning the microscope around and focusing on me.
I am glad, too, that I have someone to share this experience with who can relate. I wish you all a peaceful weekend!
KD – I like your advice about turning the questions around. I’ve NEVER thought to do that, and the very first responses when I did (just now) were good. When asking myself am I NOT in love with him, the instant response was no. As in no, that not the case. I definitely love him. And I don’t believe I’m settling. He’s a great guy. I honestly think feelings of settling come from the adventurous, free spirit in me. I wonder lust and imagine if something more is out there. I think that’s part of my personality, not part of our relationship. It’s my ego.
Admittedly, this stuff seems to come up every time our relationship morphs into another phase. This is my first real relationship and I’m learning that love goes through phases. We had a very romantic courtship and a “this is it” kind of beginning. Don’t tell my boyfriend, but it wasn’t some insane passionate love affair (he would like to think that I want to rip his clothes off every time I see him). It was just very sweet and very comfortable. Well, when the beginning wore off, the anxiety took over. It was almost as if I was disappointed that I wasn’t feeling something amazing everyday. Does that make sense? Like because I was missing that feeling, it would equate to “does that mean I’m not in love?” or “can someone else make me feel it?”
Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love and self-proclaimed commitment phobe) says that alot of what has happened in marriage in this society is that we hold our spouses up to crazy expectations – they’re supposed to be our best friend, our greatest sexual partner, our inspiration, and on top of all of that a really good man. It’s kind of absurd you know? It seems like a recipe for disappointment, and I myself have had to distinguish what are reasonable expectations and what’s just too much for anyone. Like expecting honesty and support everyday is reasonable, expecting him to intellectually stimulate and inspire me EVERYDAY is not. I have alot of work to do in this department. My boyfriend and I share alot of common interests and have really fun days, but when we’re just being a normal couple I start to go “should I feel this, or something more.” I hate that.
I liked your story about the woman who pushed back her wedding a few times and now look at where she is. Gives everyone hope. I swear, maybe sometimes you just take a giant leaps of faith and hope you’ll land on your feet. You’re never going to have all the answers. I guess you just decide if someone’s worth pushing forward.
Good luck ladies. I look forward to seeing you here 🙂
Can I just say how amazing it is to know that I am not alone in this? I am so thankful for all of your ladies’ willingness to share your stories and experiences. It is truly a lifesaver.
Kathryn- From what you have written, I feel that i have a lot in common with what you are feeling. I definitely have thoughts like the ones you mentioned – “since i am focusing on the positive so much does that mean i am talking myself into love?” “am i settling?” I wonder that a lot. I think KD has a good point, if you reverse those questions then I think we will have our answer. Another thing I struggle with then is, do I love him enough? I have been wondering lately though is there even any way to be quantatative about love? what does that question even mean? I remember there was a guy I dated who i liked A LOT. He was unpredictable, unwilling to commit, and I thought of him as a god. I think those are the reasons i liked him “so much”… it was more the rush of trying to get him to like me and trying to get him to commit and wondering when or if he was going to call… i was feeling lust rather than love or even like. I think those are the feelings that get us confused with what love should feel like. Until my relationship with my fiance, i only had relationships like the one i described above and i thought that was what love should feel like. I am in the process of learning what love really is, and I think it is a never ending learning process. Sheryl also recommended the book “the road less traveled” which talks a lot about this issue and is very helpful.
Also, the beginning with my fiance was very similar to yours. It was something of a whirlwind and every moment together was great. After that initial phase wore off, anxiety kicked in. “Why isnt it always butterflys? does that mean something is wrong?” I also feel like we always have to be doing something fun. If we are not laughing or interacting i get anxious. We also have our fun days and our great convos but its the ones inbetween that makes me anxious. I think this is our societies influence and the way that our society has totally screwed us up.
KD and Sarah – I also crave a lot of alone time. This is something that causes me anxiety. I start to wonder if since I want to be alone alot, it means that I dont love my fiance and maybe we shouldnt be together. Especially because he is not like that at all, he wants to be around me constantly. This is definitely something I need to work on. Something that scares me a lot about marriage is the fact that you are always going to be around this person, ALWAYS. It makes me have my what-if questions. “what if i dont get my alone time?” “what if we get sick of each other?” “what if we get bored of each other?” etc.
These are all things I am working on – i think the major part is accepting my relationship for what it is, for all of the twists and turns and bumps that come with it. Sometimes he gets on my nerves, sometimes it is boring, but then there are times that are amazing and times that remind me of why i want to marry him and they make all of the other times worth it.
Hope you are all having a great weekend!
Great post – I quoted you on my blog posting about Alternative Bachelorette Parties – Cold Feet and Whipped Cream http://philadelphiaweddingofficiant.com/?p=611
I just read through these posts and burst into floods of tears. I am ‘engaged to be engaged’ and am unable to sleep or eat, filled with overwhelming fear – no, terror – and utterly confused, scrutinising my partner to within an inch of his life and feeling completely alone DESPITE the fact that he listens, responds so kindly, holds me, tells me everything will be all right, tells me we can take things as slowly as I need… I feel as if I am going insane. The more I try to connect with him the more disconnected I feel, the more lonely… it’s horrendous. I have struggled with anxiety issue since my early teens. I’m glad I found this board and read this posts – it has helped ease some of the tension to know I’m not alone.
To all of the women who posted here-thank you. I read each and every post, and cannot tell you how much they all helped. I am in my mid-twenties, and did not begin struggling with anxiety until a few years ago. I have been with my boyfriend for nearly a year, and up until two days ago have felt constantly happy and content with him and our life together. He is an amazing, amazing person. Loving, nice, fun, sweet, and a jokester like myself. After our second date I said to my mom, “He’s the one”, and I meant it (especially after being in two other serious relationships).
So, when my overhwhelimg anxiety surfaced out of the blue two days ago, I did exactly what most of you said you did-pushed it off onto our relationship with thoughts of, maybe he’s not the right one, why am I feeling like this, is it just not exciting anymore and why is that, etc. Why can’t I feel anything right now, and why can’t I sleep or eat, is it because I don’t want to be with him? However, when I thought of breaking it off with him, my immediate reaction was no, I am in love with him and cannot imagine my life without him. After reading everything here, I do not feel alone or scared anymore. I know I can share everything with him because he loves me completely and has been wonderful the past two days.
I am going through a lot of personal transitions now in my life right now and am scared of the future, how my life is going to go, and, like a lot of you, crave alone time. As a side note, my parents are divorced and the thought of that happening to me is unbearable-especially with him. All of these factors are things that I will need to work on and know they are heavy contributers to the anxiety I have right now. I also think that, like others have said, things cannot be exciting day in and day out, and I have some unrealistic expectations for my boyfriend that I need to work on. I know that I want to be with him and know that in order for that to work, I need to work on myself and accept his help.
Again, I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You saved me this morning! And Sheryl, thank you-this blog wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Good luck everyone!
I have been dealing with engagement anxiety for the past few months it started a few days after my fiancé and I got engaged. We have been together almost four years, and he is such a wonderful, kindhearted, loving man, who I know would make a great father and husband. I went to see a councilor about it and from Sept-Dec my anxiety would have good and bad days. By the end of Dec my anxiety went away and I was so in love with my fiancé again and looking forward to planning our wedding. That is until a week ago, when I was speaking to a co-worker about getting married. She expressed her feelings about marriage (they were not positive) and how she loved her freedom to date any man she wanted. While I do not want any other man I began to have anxious thoughts, what if I am missing out on other things I may otherwise not get to experience when I am married. Also thoughts about planning the wedding kept me up all night and began stressing me out. These first few anxious thoughts caused a cascading effect, causing the “what if’s” to occur. (What if I regret getting married, what if he cheats on me, etc, etc). This whole week I have felt disconnected from him and it tears me apart, I do not want to feel this way! I know what I have is amazing and I am afraid to lose the best man I have ever had because of my fear. I am afraid my fear will totally disconnect me from him and make me stop loving him. This terrifies me! I went to see my councilor this week and she reminded me of the things I can do to deal with the “what if’s”. However I am still dealing with the fear that this disconnection means I am falling out of love with him, (as I write this I am crying my eyes out). I am afraid if this doesn’t go away I will lose him because I have stopped loving him. I feel like I have no control over this.
KP- Everything you’re are writing all of us “conscious brides” have thought about- absolutely normal! I would strongly encourage you to look into the e-course. We have a board running with lots of engaged and married people!
Yes, I second Janelle’s suggestion to check out the E-Course. Everything you’re describing is normal, and one of the most helpful measures for dealing with the fear is connecting to a community of wise, compassionate, like-minded women – which you will find in the password-protected E-Course Forum. Working with the fear-mind requires every tool in the toolbox. It sounds like you have a good awareness but lack some of the tools that could push this through.
Hi ladies and Sherly,
I’ve never contributed to one of these boards, but in the midst of the exact terror described, this is my little breath of fresh air. I did so much work to find such a healthy relationship and a loving partner. Even though, I know he’s the one, this terror of getting married has caught me totally off guard. I was a smooth anxious free ship until now. This terror only began when I became so fixated on getting engaged, and then when my partner told me he would be doing it soon, I freaked completely. But now I feel a little calmer knowing I’m not alone and its possible to work through.
This really helped me. That I project my fear on my partner, I heard that from another psychologist but I didn’t understand that firstly. Now I know, because I overcame the hardest and unexpected anxiety right after we announced engagement officialy (thanks to God and to you Sheryl), but it came back. Its not that bad, but I see how my fear of moving and getting married effects how I feel towards my fiance. I start to think that I don’t love him that much, but I have to realise its just my fear, but its so hard.
Oh my god…I feel as if a weight has been lifted. Your post made me start crying to say the least. My mother was a drug addicted parent that passed away when I was 19 and my father who raised me showed no emotion for almost my entire life and worked a lot. so I was on my own with a lot of things from the age of 11. I’m OCD and needless to say a control freak. My fiancé and I have 8 months until the wedding and recently I’ve been a different person. Nothing has changed except me. I’ve second guessed our relationship, had severe anxiety and even told him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get married anymore. He amazingly has stuck it out (I would have personally ran). It’s so hard to work through all of these issues. But one issue at a time is all I can do. You have no idea how much better I feel reading this. Everywhere else I turn is “Doubt means don’t” and “He isn’t the right one if you feel this way”
I will continue to follow you. It is also nice to know not the only one out there either. Reading everyone else’s posts makes me feel like I’m not so crazy after all.
I’m so glad you found your way here, Ashley. Keep reading through the site and you’ll see that you’re far from alone and you’re in the right place!
I have found my way here because I am experiencing the worst anxiety. I got engaged about seven months ago to the most amazing man I have ever met, our relationship has been wonderful and he is my best friend, I have never felt so close to anyone in my entire life. However about 5 months into the engagement I started getting intrusive thoughts about what if I did something or something happened to me and neither of us know, and that started an insane about of worry about him leaving me and I could not eat, it was just constant worry, then about a couple weeks into that it suddenly switched, I felt so far away and worried that I was losing feelings and started getting thoughts like what if this isn’t right, what if we’re supposed to just be friends, what if this is a message from god and it was such an intense urge to run, but the thought of ever leaving absolutely kills me, now although reading through the posts things seem a little better I still feel so distant and am worried that I’m just accepting that I feel numb or that we aren’t supposed to be together. How do I know that it is the anxiety and fear manifesting to make me feel this way? Is it a sign of anxiety when the topics switch sides? I didn’t have any doubts or anxiety previous to this, and I want to know if the conscious wedding course would be something that could help me over come my fears/find the route cause and save our relationship, and help create a better foundation in marriage. I just want to feel as close to him as I did before and ecstatic for the wedding as I did before my anxiety has been driving. I know I love him and have moment of clarity but then the anxiety takes over again and makes me question everything.
Welcome, and you’ve found your way to the right place! Everything you’re thinking and feeling is 100% normal and solvable. To answer your questions: Yes, anxiety switches topics all the time, as I wrote about here:
Since you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts I would recommend the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course over the Conscious Weddings Course. Both courses will help you heal at the root, reconnect with your partner, and lay a healthy foundation for your marriage, but the Break Free course will offer more specific tools for working with the thoughts themselves: