Here’s how one bride worked through her feelings of engagement anxiety.
I can tell you how effective bridal counseling can be at dealing with cases of cold feet, engagement depression and engagement anxiety.
But it’s far more effective to hear it straight from a bride.
This blog was written by Ashley, author also of Dear Newly Engaged Me: Here’s a Laundry List of Things I Wish I’d Known From the Start. Read below about her journey from panicked to peaceful.
“Eight months before my wedding, I completely freaked out.”
“Whenever anyone mentioned the wedding or my fiancé, my throat tightened. I’d get short of breath. My heart raced. I was scared.
Four months earlier, I happily said “yes!” to a wonderful man who understood me inside and out and was perfect on paper.
Before getting engaged, I loved my relationship.
I loved him, felt lucky to be with him, and that we had such a special and magical relationship.
Now, I was no longer attracted to my fiance. I was questioning the whole relationship.
I felt we had lost our spark, and I was trying to talk myself into marrying him.
I was so confused.
I never imagined I’d have cold feet.
I thought cold feet only happened right before your wedding.
Negative feelings got hold of me so badly that I’d just look at my fiancé and cry.
I felt so guilty for having those feelings and even worse for knowing how those feelings would hurt him.
I felt as though I had lost my mind.
After a week straight of looking at my fiancé and falling to tears, he said I needed to seek help, and he would do whatever we needed to do to make sure I was OK.
I searched the Internet, and of course felt even worse.
“Cold feet,” “engaged and scared,” “no spark in my relationship,” “signs you should call off the wedding.” The Internet did its job of giving me the worst case scenario in every situation: what I found made me feel worse. It was like Googling the symptoms of your common cold and WebMD tells you that you have a rare disease that originated in Africa and you have 48 hours to live.
I scared myself in to a dark hole, an abyss of no return, reading late into the night.
The last blog I came across was this one. I was skeptical.
A “counselor who only works with brides.” Yeah, right.
My first reaction was “Wow, another money-grubbing scam to trick brides into spending more money on this money pit of a wedding.”
I was skeptical, and I was scared to talk to a therapist, since I had never talked to one before.
But I was at my wit’s end, so I immediately downloaded her book. I kid you not: I felt better instantly and was laughing out loud.
I was in stitches reading the first chapter with her story about fighting with her mother for 4 months about the temperature of the lasagna at her rehearsal dinner.
The next day I continued to read her book and welled up with tears watching her videos online. Together, they kept me from being a weepy mess over the weekend.
Finally, someone understood what I was feeling.
I emailed Allison hoping she really existed, and that this was’t a hoax.
To my surprise, Allison emailed me back that day. She was real; this wasn’t a hoax.
We set up a consultation for the following week. (In the meantime, I had booked appointments with the best therapists in the area — University of Pennsylvania-degree-toting therapists who seemed quite cold.)
During my free 15-minute video consultation, I just cried. I barely got words out.
I told her how I felt, and she could not have been more warm and compassionate. She even made this face, because she could really feel my exact pain. (For a while, I’d cry every time she did it.)
Because that’s what I needed: I needed someone to know what I was feeling.
I reassured my fiance that I had found the help I needed, and that I would be fine.
Allison told me to slow down, that things are not as black and white as “call off the wedding” or “go through with the wedding.”
She told me to take a month-long break from planning the wedding and to take it easy on myself.
She put me at such ease that I cancelled all appointments with the University of Pennsylvania therapists and put my faith in Allison.
I was still scared she’d tell me to call off the wedding…
But I also really wanted her to give me a definitive yes-or-no answer about whether I should get married or not. (I know, it doesn’t make sense.)
She never did. She is not a Magic 8 ball or a fortune teller.
She is a therapist.
She gave me the tools I needed to decide for myself.
She taught me how to deal with all the “what if” questions that were plaguing me — “What if we change?” “What if we stop loving each other?”, “Do we have what it takes to last a lifetime?”, “Can I get married even without a guarantee we’ll be happy?”
She helped me look into my past, learn things about myself I couldn’t see on my own, and showed me how they directly affect my emotions today.
My cold feet, it turned out, were due to feelings about my family, how I viewed myself, and how I let people treat me — not my fiance.
Through therapy, doing emotional work, reading her book and watching the videos, I am feeling so much more confident in my upcoming wedding in four months.
Yes, it’s been a lot of effort, time, and money to get to this place. There’s no doubt about that!
Today, on a daily basis, I feel excited when I think about my wedding.
There are moments during the day I just think to myself, “I’m getting married!!!”, “I’m going to have a husband.”, and “We’re going to be our own little family.”
So many moments I can’t help but just beam.”
Thanks, Ashley, for sharing your story!