Can You Love Someone and Be Afraid of Getting Engaged?

Updated 10/07/15

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He brought up the word "engagement," and instead of feeling butterflies, you felt nauseous. Is it possible to be head-over-heels in love with someone and be frightened over forever?

"It is normal to slightly mourn the loss of singlehood and complete independence, especially if a woman has lived on her own for years," explains Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of the upcoming Audible book He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing). "It's also normal to wonder if you can live with all your partner's strange quirks — and he or she can live with yours! — for years to come."

It's also normal to question whether you're making the right choice — even if he's the man of your dreams. Many women ask, "Am I really in love with him? Will he be willing to compromise and meet my needs, while also meeting his own?" says Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.

But normal fear crosses into red flag territory, Syrtash says, "if these concerns keep you up all night and make you question whether or not you want to get married." Greer adds that feelings of suffocation, nonstop anxiety, or constant hot-and-cold feelings about your partner "are warning signs that something is not right."

Regardless of what fear you might be feeling — "normal" or not — it's "important to identify the fear and work through it," Syrtash says. Fears that combining your things or syncing up your sleep schedules will be difficult are issues you can talk through. "These fears are normal and a good opportunity to open up dialogue with your partner and figure out what will work for both of you."

Beyond that, Syrtash says, ask yourself: Are you a better version of yourself when you're with your partner? "Good relationships bring out our best, not our worst," she says. "If you're with someone and generally feel insecure, unsure, unhealthy, confused, upset or angry around him, it may be a sign that you should reconsider."

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