Thursday, August 11, 2011

Emergency! My guy is scared and the wedding is a week away

Hello ESB

My guy and I have been together for 10 years. We have faced every problem that has come our way, and come out stronger for it. We have loved and respected each other, and he is everything that I want in my partner and best friend. We got engaged a year and half ago, and the wedding is in one week. We are both extremely busy people but have always been able to make time for each other, and take care of each other. The problem is 2 weeks ago we got off track and we can't get back on, he keeps imagining a life without me, trying to place failures in his life on me, and has cut me off. I feel like I'm losing my best friend.

At this point, if we need to cancel the wedding we can, even though I don't want to, all that matters is making us work.

But how could someone go from 10 years of healthy, happy communication to complete shut down in such a short period of time, with no major problems leading into it.

Is it just cold feet?

Thank you
Girl who misses her guy


You're right. He's scared.

Tell him exactly what you just told me. That he's everything you want in a partner. That you're willing to cancel the wedding (though that's not what you want) -- "all that matters is making us work."

Then step back and give him some space.

Another photo from Olivia Bee


  1. Did his parents divorce acrimoniously/have a miserable marriage? If so he's prolly scared you guys will turn into them.

    But here's the thing - speaking from the other side, marriage doesn't change your everyday relationship dynamic. If you made time for one another and were kind to one another before, you will after. It's a ceremony of love and commitment, but you don't change afterwards in yourselves... I felt more secure, more part of a team which doesn't have to mean taking one another for granted.

    Apart from that, what ESB said.

  2. Oh man. I'm sorry this is happening. I agree with Catherine- my husband and I have the exact same relationship now that we're hitched as we did for the five years we dated. Except now we wear rings, and there is a sense of security.

    Maybe his fears will be calmed if you talk about all the things you have loved about dating, and how you're excited to carry all of that into your marriage?

    I had two friends who dated from 8th grade all the way through college. They were inseparable. And then they got married and were divorced within months. I have no idea how something like that happens, but my guess is that they were having issues and they thought marriage would fix them.

    That's not you, though. You guys already HAVE a great relationship...why not make it forevah?

  3. Man, I feel ya. My fiance and I have been together for four years, engaged for a year and a half, we're getting married in three weeks and two days ago he tried to have a dispassionate conversation with me about the possibility of not being together. My first reaction was 'oh my god he wants to leave me, so I should just leave him first' and I tried to run out the door. But he followed me, and tried to stay calm, and told me he didn't have anyone else to talk to about his fears because I'm his best friend... and he doesn't think he wants to leave, but he's mourning the life that he feels like he might have to give up. Which led to a really important conversation about what marriage can be for us, what we might have to sacrifice, and the dreams that neither of us want to give up on....
    Suffice to say, it was hard, but we're still getting married, and I think we're stronger for it.

    It may be tough, but see if you can have a calm conversation about things, tell him how he is hurting you, and how you still want to be together, and maybe talk about what he is afraid he might lose.... marriage (and life) is what you make it.

    Good luck! If it works, I think it will make the commitment even more honest and more real.

  4. Great advice from everybody so far. I have nothing else to add, except that hopefully this will follow the pattern of your relationship, and you will come out all the stronger for it.

    Good luck!

  5. I come from the other side of this, except it was regarding moving in. And I can tell you that ESB is absolutely right.

    When we decided to move in together, we had already been together for 5 years quite happily and I even had a freaking ring on my finger.

    And while I was 150% confident in our relationship, I was terrified at the prospect of having everything change on me without my consent. And so what did I do? I cried and complained for approximately 6 months up until the move.

    And then for 3 weeks afterwards.

    And then when the world failed to implode, I realized I was being super dramatic and that things were only going to change if we let them.

    I suspect this is what's going on here too. But you need to be absolutely certain that these fears are about the act of getting married, and not about the prospect of marrying each other. Those are two totally different beasts. But for what it's worth, I think he'd be a bit more subtle if this actually had anything to do with you (rather than having everything to do with him. Which I suspect it does).

  6. OMG, I am so mad at him right now.

  7. The timing does sound suspiciously like cold feet. Did the wedding planning get really intense? Family pressure maybe? Although you honestly don't need any concrete reason to get cold feet.

    I would recommend clearing an evening entirely and treating yourselves to a really leisurely dinner out. Tell him you just want an evening away from the wedding stuff. Start with good drinks, work your way through, see if you can't get him loosened up enough to start talking and stop freaking out. But don't force it. The goal is to try to get back in the groove, not have a huge fight in a public place.

  8. I don't think ESB could have said it better. Be honest with him, and if you need to give him his space.

    And on the flip side, when you get through this - make sure you express your feelings calmly so that you don't harbor resentment.
    -that bitch from Germany

  9. everyone has offered lots of great advice. As someone who has also been with my fiance for 10 years, i can only imagine how hurt and confused you are right now.
    As everyone has said, time needs to be put aside and a really honest conversation needs to take place. I really hope it all works out for you, take care.

  10. It's really true, you won't change after the wedding. You'll still be the same people, tackling things in the same way. It just feels nice being married. Like wearing a favourite sweater. It's the same as before, but with an extra layer of comforting warmth.

    ESB is bang on, as usual. Even if you have to postpone the wedding to work this out, you'll be fine. It sounds like you have a great relationship and you'll work this out, the way you've worked things out before.

  11. ouch, my heart hurts for you. I hope that you guys work it all out, I really do. xx

  12. What everyone else said.
    When you talk to him make sure you are the longtime caring friend you are and not the bride that might have to cancel her wedding. Also, be very reflective beforehand and see if you think you have started acting differently too. It is much harder to see changes in ourselves. Above all this is a convo about him and the two of you as a unit. try to avoid only seeing it from your frame of reference. Try and explain what you think his feelings are back to him.
    This is probably very obvious stuff but I see so many conflicts continue because both parties aren't able to agree on what the conflict is. You need to find a common frame of reference and the solution will be clear.
    And hey, dudes get scared too even though we are terrible at admitting it.
    (hope that wasn't clear as mud, I can't see all of it on my phone)

  13. I got a remarkable perspective from an interview with Jeff Bridges on Peirce Morgan last night. Peirce asked him "What's the biggest gamble you've taken?" he meant career but Jeff Bridges said it was getting married and he had always been afraid of marriage. He explained that "If death is the end of the story, like the last chapter in the story, then marriage is a giant step in that direction" and went on to say that (at least for him) "The fear of marriage is really the fear of death".

    I know that will probably sound pretty bizarre to most of you but it really resonated for me. I also felt like marriage would be the end of my life as I knew it. I feared I would have to give up my independence and goals and that my life would become boring and basically be over. But as a lot of people stated above, not much really changes. Well... I have really good health insurance now because of my husband's job. I also don't obsess on an exit strategy when we get in a fight. Now exit strategies involve lawyers and stuff and it's a huge hassle so you might as well stay and work it out. But as far as the day to day I'm still the same person pursuing the same dreams and being married really isn't in the way of that. If it starts to get in the way, we talk about it and work out solutions.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that your fiance's conflict might be with himself and maybe even with his own mortality. The best you can do is be understanding and let him go through it. Hopefully he will talk to someone useful about it. It's got to be a bit of a touchy subject for you at the moment and if you're the one he goes to, I can imagine that it will be hard not to be reactive, but if you can try to focus on being compassionate and know that it probably really isn't about you, hopefully he can process what he's feeling so you guys can move on with your plans. Or you might just find out that this isn't the guy you were supposed to marry after all and this all came to a head right now because it is time to move on. I know that's harsh but it's better to have that info now instead of after you're married and you have to get lawyers involved.

  14. Here's the thing no one is saying.....for some people...marriage does change a negative way. For me it didn't. Our relationship only got stronger when we got married...but for SOME people it does...because like someone else mentioned, people who may otherwise be normal in a relationship have very different feelings about what being in a marriage is like. I've seen guys who pulled their weight in a relationship but the second they got married they felt like the division of labor in their house should be that of a 50's sitcom. because that's what they saw in their parent's marriage.

    So I think a good healthy conversation about everything you said (like ESB said) but also about what a marriage means to both of you is in order. If you don't marriage to change your relationship it won't. YOU TWO are in charge of your marriage. Every marriage is different, none are perfect but you do what works for the both of you.

    good luck. send an update!