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What To Do If You Have Cold Feet?

So you're about to get married. You have cold feet and start to get scared. What now?

By Ossiana TepfenhartPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

In almost every romantic comedy involving a marriage, talk about "cold feet" will inevitably arise. For those not in the know, this term describes the nagging feeling of making a mistake or feeling nervous about the decision to marry someone.

Many people get nervous before they tie the knot, but at times, it could be something more than just pre-wedding jitters. According to relationship experts, you might need to consider putting things on hold if you have cold feet.

If you're getting a case of seriously bad cold feet, here's what you should do before you walk down the aisle.

Before you consider any drastic moves, take a look at your relationship's current situation.

Getting married is a huge life-changing decision that will impact you for the rest of your life. That's a huge deal. Because of that, it's very possible that you could get a case of cold feet without actually having any reason to do so.

Before you begin to panic, take a look at your relationship and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you being treated well? Does your partner treat you the way you want to be treated, or have there been major arguments that still linger? If you are being emotionally neglected or find yourself pulling most of the weight in a relationship, you may want to reconsider. It will only get worse once you're married.
  • Are you getting married as a way to fix your relationship? Not a good idea, unless the thing that's been upsetting your partner is not being married. If you are getting married to end an argument that doesn't involve a wedding, then you may want to delay the marriage until you figure out your problems.
  • Are your goals compatible, and does your partner's lifestyle mesh with yours? A marriage that goes against everything that you want to do in life is not going to be healthy, period.
  • How bad is the feeling you're getting? A little cold feet is normal, a lot of that feeling is not. If you have a serious feeling that something is wrong, it may be time to think about things deeper.

If it's a minor case of cold feet, talk to your partner about how you're feeling.

As hard as it can be, it could be a good idea to ask your partner for some reassurance during this time. Don't say that you want to call off the wedding, but do say that you're getting nervous and jittery. Your partner should be understanding.

In many cases, your partner might feel the same way about the wedding. They may also offer you the reassurance you need to jump the broom with confidence.

Seriously, talk it out. You two might realize how much you care about each other during this time.

Do something nice for yourself to take the edge off.

Just like with any other case of the jitters, you would be very wise to pamper yourself a little bit to quell the stress. Being stressed and jittery will not help things. Treating yourself so you can think clearly, on the other hand, will.

Something as simple as having a night out with your friends, going to a meditation session, or even just taking a nice hot bath could help you relax a bit.

One thing that you need to remember is that you're under a lot of pressure right now, and that could make you more sensitive than you usually are. You should act accordingly and do what you can to mellow out.

Don't be afraid to ask a trusted friend or relative for a pep talk.

If you are still feeling a bit jittery, we've got news for you. If you have cold feet, your wedding party is there to help you through it. That's why they're part of your closest circle, right?

Go ahead and reach out to your bridesmaids or groomsmen. They will be able to give you the no-nonsense pep talk you need in order to make the show go on.

Consider going to premarital counseling to make sure that you two are actually ready to marry.

If you have a single problem that needs to be hammered out, or if you're just looking to make sure that you're both on the same page, giving premarital counseling a shot would be a good idea.

The key things to remember with this route is that you need to choose a qualified counselor, and you both have to be willing to sit down with them to talk about major issues. If you can't agree on this, it may not be a good idea to get married at all.

Additionally, you both should consider getting a prenup. A prenup might not be romantic, but it is a good way to determine what you both expect from a marriage—and what you two will do should things not work out.

If you have a single glaring issue in your relationship that has nothing to do with marriage, you need to tackle that as a team before you get married.

A lot of couples make the mistake of getting married when a serious issue is already causing strife. Make no mistake about it, whatever that issue is won't go away once the two of you walk down the aisle.

If anything, getting married will only make the problem worse. If you have cold feet due to an issue you know will be an issue later on, don't hold the wedding until you two fix it.

Your partner will understandably be hurt hearing this, but if you approach it non-confrontationally and frame it as an "us versus the world" thing, you will both be happier and stronger for it.

Watch out for warning signs that something is very, very wrong.

Believe it or not, many people can't tell when they have cold feet from typical jitters, and when they have cold feet from something far worse. Sometimes, our gut feelings know when we are making a mistake more than our minds do.

If you notice any of the following warning signs, you really don't belong with your partner and should call off the wedding:

  • You feel trapped. Studies have shown that women who end up divorcing their partners are much more likely to admit that they felt "trapped" in the wedding. If this sounds like you, you may need to postpone your wedding day, or even call things off.
  • Your partner has suddenly lashed out at you for the first time. A lot of abusers will hide their behavior until they are married to their victims. If your partner suddenly hit you or berated you for the first time, this is a red flag that suggests you may need to break things off.
  • You've started to have panic attacks, you cry daily, and you feel doomed. This alone should be reason to avoid getting married.
  • One of you constantly feels like you have to save the other. If you're playing "mom" to them now, it will get far worse when you're married. Marriage should not be martyrdom. You can't fix a person, only they can fix themselves.
  • The only way your partner will marry you is if you do something for them. Not a good sign. Your marriage should not be held hostage by a partner's demands.
  • Something just feels very wrong. Also not a good sign.

That being said, you should also take your mental health into consideration.

Sometimes, extreme cold feet could just be something that happens if you are a naturally anxious person. If this is the case, you might want to take professional counseling on your own to help you cope with the positive life changes you're seeing.

If you suffer from social anxiety, regularly have panic attacks on unrelated things, or have been known to shoot yourself in the foot with your negative outlook, it's possible that it's just a "you" thing. It's up to you to determine this.

If you need to postpone the wedding or cancel the wedding, do it the right way.

Even if you realize that the wedding is a mistake, there's still a certain amount of decorum you owe everyone involved. The absolute worst thing you could do is leave your partner at the altar. Not only is this terrible to do to your partner, it also is a betrayal to the guests who helped plan things out.

The sooner you call off the wedding, the better. Make a point of getting the deposits back for the catering, rooms, and other goodies, and split them evenly. You will need to explain to the wedding photography firm that they need not show up, and rescind wedding invites.

You don't need to tell people why you're calling off the wedding, but you do need to tell them that it's not going to happen. All they need to know is that they avoided what would have been one of the worst weddings ever.

Finally, if you call off the wedding, take a long time to figure out if the relationship is even salvageable.

One thing that's pretty obvious is that calling off a wedding is often a swan song to the relationship. In other words, if you call off a wedding, chances are pretty high that the relationship will end shortly after you do so.

That being said, it's not a guaranteed end, assuming that you both agree on a course of action. If the two of you agree that now is not the right time to get married, you may be able to work things out.

ceremony and reception

About the Creator

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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