Since I wrote the article Seven Signs It's More Than Just Cold Feet and toured with my solo show Bad Bride I have received a number of emails from strangers asking for advice. I wanted to share one of those messages (edited for anonymity) and my reply because I think the conversation may be helpful for others that feel stuck in a relationship.
I came along your story by accident when I was trying to work out whether or not I was doing the right thing getting married -- I'm due to get married in the summer of 2015. I have been with my fiancé for 10 years -- we had a long-distance relationship for the first few years until he moved to my city to be with me. I feel awful writing this or even admitting this to myself as I know I will never do better than him -- he really is a wonderful person and takes care of me, I'm always told how lucky I am to have someone like him (which I agree with) however I don't know if I love him anymore...There's no feeling and I don't know honestly if the marriage will even last. We also want different things- he wants children and I don't- he has known this the entire time of our relationship -- I never lied to him and he says he accepts this but I'm not convinced- I think he assumes I will change my mind but I won't -- I'm 33 and have never wanted a family. I know this upsets him.
Even planning my wedding I felt like you that I couldn't be bothered with it -- I even just chose a dress for the sake of choosing one as I was so bored looking for one -- and I always like to look nice and never settle for anything! To be honest weddings/brides in general bore me anyway. I am feeling so down and just want to cry and I feel trapped. Everyone else is so excited about us getting married that I get a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach any time the wedding is mentioned and feel sick. I have even nicknamed my wedding "doomsday!" and I just want to scream at the mention of my wedding! Surely this can't be normal??
I also suffer with anxiety so I can't work out if it's just the build up to the wedding (we have over 300 guests) and I have no idea if I can keep it together with my nerves. I'm from a traditional Catholic family with immigrant parents, as is he and I know my parents will be mad at me for canceling and I will be bad mouthed and be the "bad guy." I'm so confused. I have no idea whether to get married or not -- either way things will be a huge mess. I hope you don't mind me emailing you but I have no one I can turn to. What are your thoughts on my situation??
I totally understand what you're going through. I also have anxiety issues and sometimes it gets in the way of me making clear decisions. I can't tell you whether or not you should get married, but if you aren't happy you need to change something. Whether this means going to therapy (alone or together) to figure it out or call off your wedding- you have to do what's right for you and only you. Easier said than done, I know.
I totally understand and can relate to the fear of family thing which is partly why I didn't cancel my wedding. Meanwhile after my divorce, my parents told me they would have preferred I cancel the wedding instead of me getting married when I knew deep down it didn't feel right. They were shockingly supportive. And my friends that were "so excited" for me to get married, all supported me after my split. The people that really love you just want you to be happy.
And as far as "never do better than him" that's not true. You will find "better" because you will find an honest relationship. Right now you're in a dishonest relationship -- you're going through the motions, you're not on the same page about family planning yet you're pretending it's okay, you're not sharing an honest love. So, rather than "do better than him" you'll "do better than this relationship." And "better" could mean you open up fully to him about how you are feeling and work together to change the dynamic of your current relationship, or you split and eventually meet someone with whom you can be totally honest.
Love can be extremely confusing, complicated, and scary -- it's hard to know the difference between "love" and in "love." There's no one way to love. My version of love may vary from yours. So no matter how many articles you read or advice you seek, ultimately only you know what you need, want and feel. Just please know that I understand how you are feeling and that you're not alone. There are many people dealing with this same feeling right now. Try to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself, and most of all be true to yourself.
Best of luck,