I’m in my mid-twenties, and in the last couple years it feels like every single one of my friends got married. I guess it made me worry that my relationship wasn’t going anywhere, and I kinda pressured my boyfriend into popping the question. Now the wedding is a couple months away and I’m starting to worry I made a huge mistake. I’m always picking fights with him, and I’m starting to feel really attracted to one of my coworkers. Is this just cold feet? I still care about my boyfriend, I think, but the closer we get, the less certain I feel.
-Bride Not to Be
You have two levels of problem, here: the immediate, “shit, what have I done” problem of whether or not to go through with this, and beneath that, the soil from which that hideous plant has sprung, your REAL problem:
You’re looking at your life in entirely the wrong way.
OK, ouch. So let’s deal with the tangible first. It might be that because you rushed your boyfriend into this, and you’re under the stress of planning a wedding, your feet are just feeling really, really chilly. Or, it could be your subconscious is blaring all its alarms to keep you from making a massive, expensive mistake. That’s not something I can diagnose online, or that you should self-diagnose at all, for a whole host of reasons, the most palatable of which is that none of us is particularly objective about our own relationships.
So do a couple things: sign up for a couples counseling appointment IMMEDIATELY. Discuss your concerns, push your fiance to bring up any of his own, and try as hard as you can to be honest with each other. Before you even go, sit down and have a really clear talk about your goals, both for yourselves and for each other. Are you both aiming for lives that could work and grow together? Or is one of you envisioning babies and dogs and a vacation home in five years while the other is fantasizing about a couples’ “travel on $0 a day” blog posted from Bhutan?
If those things look wildly different, maybe save the cash you’d spend on counseling and start working to get as much deposit money back from your canceled wedding as you can.
But let’s talk real problems. Instead of viewing marriage as what it ought to be–an expression of lifelong commitment with someone you care about deeply–you’re looking at it as a checkbox, or a trophy. You’re letting peer pressure decide your life for you (for christ’s sake, who CARES if all your friends are married? Their marriages aren’t some cosmic judgment on the still-single…), and you’re not even trying to be in touch with your own goals and feelings.
So go to another therapist, one just for you, and start trying to work through why you feel the need to build your life around a pre-determined, essentially arbitrary timeline. It could be this guy is a good choice for you, and you should ride off into the sunset together. It could be that you should call off the wedding entirely and work on you for a while before you get into another relationship. It could be that you cancel the wedding for now and try to let things progress more naturally (please, do NOT be afraid to cancel the wedding; even if you lose some money on it, that’s a lot less than you’ll lose if you have it, pay for it, and wind up married to the wrong person).
No matter what you do next, don’t just keep going forward, hoping for the best.