Once the question has been popped, and you've shown off the ring to everyone in your circle, the whole engagement process starts to get very real. In-between the wedding planning and major life decisions that come along with it, you might feel a bit anxious about everything. But as the doubts that are OK to have when you're engaged go to show, just about everyone deals with some reservations in the run-up to a wedding. These feelings are just "cold feet" that don't say anything bad about the relationship overall. Really, the fact that there's a specific term for pre-wedding worry, AKA cold feet, just proves how common these minor doubts really are.
Until recently, the idea of marriage was only in the abstract. But once you start picking out everything from china patterns to the city where you'll ultimately settle down, it becomes a real part of your daily life. You're about to throw your lot in with someone else's, with no proof that the future will play out the way you want. As long as no serious problems in an engagement are present, such as abusive or addictive behaviors, then you're likely just dealing with some minor anxieties. Here are some of the doubts that many engaged people deal with on the regular.
1. Is Our Love Really Perfect?
After watching royal weddings or even a few seasons of The Bachelor, it's easy to worry whether your relationship stacks up to these love stories writ large. Chances are, though, your real-world love story is perfectly fine if you're serious about getting married. "In our culture, we have this over-idealized idea about what love is, and about what relationships are," said therapist and relationship coach Dr. Carroll in Man Repeller. These idealized love stories don't always match up with reality, and that's probably for the best.
2. What If I Feel Attracted To Someone Else?
After finding the person you want to marry, should you worry if the cutie ahead of you at Trader Joe's catches your eye? For the most part, feeling attraction to other people is normal and not a sign of trouble in your relationship. "At some point, especially in long-term relationships, you’re going to be attracted to other people," said social worker Emily Brown in Greatist. As long as you aren't acting on the attraction or giving off "I'm single" vibes, then it's harmless.
3. Am I With 'The One'?
If you're caught up on the idea of "the one," then maybe it's time to ditch that whole thought process. "There is never 'The One.' There is a one that you choose and with whom you decide that you want to build something. But in my opinion, there could also have been others — you just chose this one," said couples therapist Esther Perel in Business Insider. Really, the idea that you purposefully chose this partner is romantic in its own right.
4. How Well Do I Get Along With The Future In-Laws?
The idea of marrying into someone else's family is nothing new, but it gets very, very real after the engagement. Suddenly you're contemplating life in a totally different family dynamic for the rest of the foreseeable future, and that can be nerve-wracking. But as long as you have a comfortable relationship with the in-laws, you're in a pretty good place, according to Psychology Today. A healthy mutual respect is actually a great sign.
5. Am I Really Ready For This?
For most people, getting married is a pretty big deal, so of course it brings up some anxieties. "Normal cold feet is not so much about the relationship or the person, it’s more about, 'Am I sure I want to do this? Am I ready for this?'" said psychotherapist Rachel Sussman in InStyle. Freaking out a little over this major life change is only normal.
6. Is This Even The Right Decision?
Sometimes you might doubt the whole marriage decision entirely, and that's OK. "Doubt does not always mean don’t. Doubt means slow down and listen to something important that’s trying to get your attention," said bridal counselor and author Sheryl Paul in Conscious Transitions. It's a major life choice, so of course you want to weigh all options.
7. What Should Our Wedding Be Like?
Wedding prep can take a lot out of you, even if it's a small affair. Second-guessing your venue, dress, or even song choices is perfectly normal. Really, if these are your biggest doubts right now, you and your SO are probably in a great place.