You can't possibly picture a future without your fiancé — but if thinking about "forever" can break you into a cold sweat, you're not alone. "Marriage is a major life decision, and inherent in most decisions is loss," explains Brandy Engler, Ph.D., author of The Women on My Couch. "You are closing the door on other possibilities — other men, other lives you may have dreamed of, and more. The finality in the decision to marry can bring on acute anxiety over making the right choice."
For fears of hitting a sex slump to worries of post-wedding boredom and whether a person will change over the years, experts have heard it all. "It's true that keeping passion alive in a marriage is a challenge," admits Engler.
Marriage also "forces you to lean on one man to meet all your emotional needs, and her for him," Engler says. "Right before marriage, people begin to feel the weight of that."
If your fears are preventing you from enjoying wedding planning or causing you anxiety that includes sleeplessness or physical pain, it may be time to speak to a professional. "A therapist can help you find out if underlying psychological issues are driving your fears, such as abandonment anxiety, low self esteem, etc.," says Engler. "It's also worth listening to the fear to see if it's rational or not. Is there some evidence you are not a good match? Or does the fear have no basis — sometimes friends are good at helping you see clearly, as they've already seen how you get along."
Finally, when your fear rears its ugly head, think of things this way: "Transitioning from single life to marriage is like trading one set of pleasures for another," says Engler. "Marriage can have its own unique bliss — being part of a family, sleeping together each night, creating special occasions, and so much more."