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Doubting Your Relationship While Planning Your Wedding

Written By Ashley Gray, LCSW, MFTC

Doubting your relationship is the thing you never hope to do and the thing you feel you can't say out loud. Doubting the relationship while you are engaged feels even worse. There is an upcoming wedding date, so much money being spent and many people involved, while you're contemplating what the rest of your life could look like. It can feel like high stakes. It is lonely is common.

So what do you do!? Does it means that you're doomed and you should end the relationship or call off the wedding? It is only cold feet and you should just stay the course? The answer lies within your relationship. Let's explore...

*I encourage you to journal about the questions that I ask in this post.

What Are The Thoughts?

When you start thinking about your relationship and having doubts, what are the thoughts that arise? What events might be evoking these thoughts?

If these thoughts are mostly fears about what could happen in the future without actual instances (cheating, falling out of love, personality changes, etc) of this imagined situation occurring then there might be work that could be done. Sometimes these fears occur because we hear people talking about this life long commitment and how hard marriage can be that we think about marriage as being completely different from what we have been experiencing with our partner. Instead you might be thinking about divorce rates, fights about how to raise kids and other future differences of opinion. It can be good to consider these things, to help you prepare for how you might want to approach these concerns. However, to accept your fears as likely can make you anxious and steal your peace now. Have you brought your concerns to your partner? If you have, how did they respond? This can give you some really good information about how you two might be able to approach issues in the future.

If you're able to bring the concern to your partner, but you're having a hard time figuring out how to move forward, it might be time for a different type of intervention. This could be reading a couples therapy related book together, taking a course together, listening to a podcast together that might help with your issue or going to couples therapy.

If you suspect that maybe it isn't an issue between you and your partner, but you think it might be an issue with you projecting past experiences and negative core beliefs on your current situation, then individual therapy might be a better fit to help you navigate your concerns.

What Are The Behaviors?

Is it your partner's behaviors that are evoking these thoughts? If your partner is engaging in behaviors that make you uncomfortable or make you feel unsafe, this is definitely worth taking another look at. Please, ask yourself honestly if you are physically, emotionally, sexually and mentally safe in your relationship. If you know for a fact that you are safe, that is fantastic, you can keep reading! If you know that you are unsafe or think that you may be unsafe, please use the resources at the bottom of this section to help you determine if you are safe and/or help you figure out how to get out of an unsafe situation.

If safety isn't a concern, then it is good to look at the facts of the situation that isn't working for you. How often do these behaviors or situations that you don't like occur? How long has this been happening? Is it likely that this will end on it's own, meaning that it is situational?

Have you discussed your concerns with a friend, family member or therapist that can be balanced in their response? What do those you trust say? Sometimes those who know you best can be really good at knowing if something isn't right for you. If you fear that they might be too biased, a therapist can be a great option. If you need resources for affordable therapy, click this link. If you would like to work with me, you can use the contact buttons at the top of this page to reach out.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788

Or check out their website here.

In the event of medical emergency or if you are in an imminently dangerous situation, please call 911.

You deserve to be safe. You deserve to be loved in a way that doesn't hurt.

What Effort Is Being Put Forth To Change Things?

Is your partner aware that things don't feel good to you right now? Sometimes you may accidentally assume that your partner just knows when something isn't going well in the relationship. With the possibility of things being lost in translation and the nuances of needs they may actually need to hear directly from you precisely what the issue is.

If you have discussed it with them and they are very aware, are they open to working on making things better, so you can each have your needs met? What is it that they are willing to do and are they also sharing the weight of making this work happen? For instance, are they an active part in deciding which books you might read together or are they also helping schedule therapy appointments? The work of maintaining a healthy relationship falls on both partners. If work is being done, but the logistics of completing the work or the very work itself falls on only one person, resentment can start to grow.

Let's say your partner is well aware of the issue, you're working together to make things better, but you still feel like something isn't right. You might want to look at how they are taking responsibility for their part. Are they apologizing, but still blaming things on you? Are they only taking responsibility when they are pushed or are they actively aware of their role in the relationship dynamic and naming, on their own, where they could do things differently?

If they are aware of the issue(s), doing the work, taking responsibility, taking initiative, sharing responsibility and things things still don't feel right, you may have a compatibility issue. You may not feel that things in the relationship truly align with your needs and values. What are your needs? What are your values? List them and put them in order of importance. Examining whether or not you have a similar flow of life might be helpful as well. Do you both love busy weekends or do you prefer to stay in? Are you active in the lives of your friends and family or do you take a more distant approach? Does helping others consist of giving of your time, money, belongings or all of the above? These questions lead us to our next section.

What Makes You Right For One Another?

As you have been looking at you and your partner's values, you may have encountered some overlap. These shared values and ways of looking at the world are part of what makes you right for one another. It is why you chose them over others. It can be part of what keeps you engaging and trying when things get difficult. What are those things that are unique to you two that make you right for one another? Do you both love live music? Do you share a sense of humor? Do you love volunteering together? Do have a shared faith? What clears up the doubt for you about why you have chosen this person?

Similarly, what is unique about them specifically that feels like you can't find anywhere? What feels like it is worth fighting for?

If these questions have only brought more confusion, then it might be time for therapy. Pre-marital therapy can help you get clear on the facts of your relationship that I started to mention here. I talk more about what pre-marital therapy can look like in this blog post.

Individual therapy can also be helpful to get clear on your part in your relationship dynamic and to sort out your values and needs. If you would like to work with me, you can use the contact buttons at the top of this page to reach out. Note: When domestic violence is present couples therapy is not recommended, it is best to engage in individual therapy in such instances.

The Choice Is Always Yours

Whether you stay or you go or some combination of the two, you know you best. You get to make your own choices. No one else has the answers. A professional may be able to help you sort out the facts and find clarity in your situation while remaining unbiased. Still, the final decision is yours.

I'm wishing you the best on your healing journey! :)

P.S. If you want to sign up for my newsletter, so that you don't miss a blog post and you get the latest information about free resources, services and news follow this link. There will be a pop-up on the page that will prompt you to sign up. If you get the pop-up after you sign up, you can use the yellow "x" in the corner of the page on your desktop or bottom of the page (you may have to scroll) on your phone to exit.

This post is written by individual and couples therapist, Ashley Gray of Arvada, Colorado. Ashley works with her clients using Gottman Method Couples Therapy, EMDR Trauma Therapy, Prepare and Enrich, attachment focused therapy and techniques from Emotionally Focused Therapy, Couples Intensives and EMDR Intensives. As a therapist, she is passionate about helping people build healthy relationships and supporting people with the resources they need. In her free time, Ashley hikes, paddle boards, reads, spends time with her husband and her cuddly dog. For more information about Ashley and her practice, click here.


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