How to Know If You Have Pre-Engagement Anxiety (Yep, It's a Thing...)

Updated 10/01/16

Larissa Cleveland

You get an inkling the proposal's imminent. Or you're been talking about it for months, and you can sense that your guy's close to pulling the trigger. Suddenly, your mood nosedives. You become a nervous wreck. Your mind races and you feel really anxious — about everything. This is SO not how you expected to feel on the eve of your marriage proposal, and yet you do.

Why? Once you know that the proposal is in fact coming, you're finally free to take the focus off of "Will he ever propose?" The result: You now have the mental and emotional space to consider the consequences of said coveted proposal.

It can be a whirlwind processing through all the changes in your identity and relationships this imminent proposal will cause: What's it like to be a fiancé? To plan a wedding? To become a wife? How's your mom going to react? Your dad — can he handle it? How will your single girlfriends respond? (You remember the jealousy and sadness you always felt when another friend got married and you don't want to cause them that pain.) Who's going to be in your bridal party, and what does that say about your friendships?

What does it mean to have him become your husband? To link your life forever with this great guy (who, because he's a human being, has all these annoying and difficult qualities as well)? With his family? What's it actually like to be engaged and get married?

In short: How is this going to change my life?

These are worthy and important questions to ponder, consider, and work through. Doing this emotional work can make you feel anxious, sad, scared, and overwhelmed. It's all normal and necessary to help you make the psychological transition from single woman to married woman.

See More: The 5 Items You MUST Check Off Your Wedding To-Do List Before You Get Engaged

For some women, this process begins when you get wind that the proposal's actually, truly, and finally coming. It's disappointing and upsetting to be feeling topsy-turvy when he's about to get down on one knee.

Or you can think it this way: You're an overachiever, just getting a head-start on the emotional work every bride has to do.

Allison Moir-Smith is an author and bridal counselor who specializes in engagement anxiety and cold feet.

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