Planning a wedding can be stressful and might make you a little more emotional, anxious, and sleep-deprived than usual. You may even find yourself asking, "Do I really want to get married?" If you're having cold feet before the wedding, know that it's perfectly normal. You're not alone, and it's not a sign that you're making a mistake. Chances are it's just pre-wedding jitters and anxiety that can be remedied.
What Are Cold Feet?
"Cold feet" is a term characterized by a feeling of uncertainty around moving forward with your wedding.
Ahead, discover six common signs of cold feet that, in reality, are no cause for alarm—and how to deal with them.
Signs of Cold Feet
Here are some signs you might experiencing cold feet.
You Suddenly Start Noticing Other People
Until now, you've only had eyes for your significant other. But as the wedding day approaches, you might find yourself attracted to other people. "Marriage is a big step, and it's normal to start noticing ways your single life is coming to an end," says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage, like noticing the men and women you can no longer date. But this cold-feet sign, Doares says, could be nothing more than primal instincts kicking in. "As my husband and I say to each other, 'we're married, not dead,'" she laughs.
You're Fighting More Often
According to Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach, overreacting to wedding-related squabbles can lead couples to believe they won't be able to handle the bigger curve balls life throws their way. "Planning a wedding involves many logistics, large sums of money, compromises due to family—and the couple is supposed to get it just right," she says. It's not exactly easy, nor is it necessarily a red flag if you argue along the way. Instead of giving in to this cold-feet conundrum, "raise any concerns and ask your partner to work with you," Coleman says. "This will help you build those conflict resolution skills you will need later."
You're Beginning to Find Your Fiancé Annoying
Your betrothed has a habit of leaving dirty socks beside the hamper and a sarcastic sense of humor that is seriously getting under your skin. But even though it feels like it, you're not seeing these annoying behaviors for the first time. "It isn't that those habits haven't been there before," Doares says. "It's just that the anxiety of this big life change puts them front and center. It's your brain's way of saying 'pay attention and make sure there isn't a deal-breaker in there somewhere.'"
You're Having Nightmares About Marriage
Missing hours of Zs is enough to make anyone question their impending marriage. Add in nightmares, and it can feel as if your feet will never warm by the wedding day. But, "big change creates big stress, which often plays out physically," Doares explains. "The brain uses sleep to process information, and there is a lot to process about marriage. Your hopes and fears about this new stage of your life may be kept at bay during the day but make appearances in your dreams." It's important to remember, though, that while having nightmares is never fun, "they usually don't reflect your actual feelings or desires," Doares says.
You're Afraid You Might Be Getting Married Too Quickly
If your family and friends keep telling you that you're headed to the altar too fast, that may lead you to question your decision. But "other people aren't inside your relationship and don't know what you know," says Coleman. "There is no right amount of time that will determine a relationship's success or failure. Couples who feel confident and committed [but have been together for shorter periods of time] have just as good a chance of success as those who have been together a long time—maybe even better."
You've Lost Your Sex Drive
If you're losing your sex drive before the big day, we can almost promise you'll get it back. "The time before a wedding is rarely calm," says Doares. "You have a lot to do, in addition to your normal daily activities, and being tired, overwhelmed, and stressed is not exactly conducive to being frisky." Don't add to your stress by convincing yourself that this cold-feet sign is anything more than life takings its temporary toll on your libido. To take some pressure off, Doares even recommends going without sex on your wedding night. "High expectations around wedding-night sex just adds to the stress and a lower libido," she says.
How to Deal With Cold Feet and Pre-Wedding Jitters
Even though you know cold feet and pre-wedding jitters are totally normal, they're not exactly enjoyable. Luckily, there are ways to combat those anxious feelings. Here are our top tips for dealing with those cold feet!
Scale Back the Wedding
"The vast majority of 'cold feet' is related to anxiety about the enormity of the wedding," psychologist Lauren Napolitano explains. "So, if possible, scale back the wedding, or cut out some complications."
Try Deep-Breathing Methods
"Try the one-ten breath method in which you breathe in for one, breathe out for one, breathe in for two, breathe out for two, etc., until you get to ten," describes Jesse Tombs, senior event producer for Alison Events. "Deep, focused breath helps calm the nerves, center the mind, and release the butterflies."
Think About the Honeymoon
"Your honeymoon is not the time for a rigorous bike tour," says Napolitano. "It's time to chill at the hotel pool." If your feet start to freeze, just picture them stepping into a hot tub or on a beach with your partner.
Turn to Your Parents
"Clear the room and let the bride be alone with her mom or dad," says Tombs. "They always know what to say!"
Get Some Perspective
"Talk to other brides or newlyweds to ask about their cold feet," Napolitano suggests. "Especially talk to happily married couples with five or more years under their belts to see if they felt cold feet." Chances are they did, and they don't regret taking the plunge anyway!
"Often, brides get upset because they haven't eaten all day and need sustenance," Tombs says. A quick snack (or even a drink) can fill you up and calm you down.
Try to Exercise
"The best antidote for anxiety is always activity," says Napolitano. "Take a yoga or spinning class. It will help to slow any racing thoughts that you might have."
Talk Through It
"Be honest to yourself, and remember who you are and why you are getting married in the first place," Tombs says. "Never forget that!"
"If your anxiety is causing you to lose sleep or causing you trouble concentrating at work, get help," says Napolitano. "A therapist can help you to feel less anxious."