Just Cold Feet?
Q: I have been with my fiance for 3 years, 2 of which we have lived together. Our wedding is coming up in a few months, but he's been a little distant the last couple of weeks. I wasn't sure why and I got angry and I cornered him and blew up at him and made him talk to me. He told me he loves me more than anyone he has ever known and has never been closer to anyone in his life but he is not in love with me anymore. I told him it was normal for the googly eyes to fade and that he might just be getting scared. He hasn't decided to move out of our home yet. I suggested we might try going out on some dates together to spark some of the reason we fell in love to begin with. Do you think I'm on the right track here? I love him unbelievably and I don't want to lose him. -- Taryn, 29
Dr. Susan: Whoa! Your fiance was a little distant so you cornered him and blew up at him and "made" him talk to you? Your behaviors are guaranteed to not only give him cold feet but full-on frostbite. Each of us has our own way of opening up, and those who tend to withdraw when something's troubling them need to be approached with gentleness. Strike one for you. Now, on to his so-called problem: He's not in love with you anymore. Remarks like that only show his ignorance of what love is. When you love someone, it's essentially the same as being "in love" with them. The only difference is that being "in love" feels, as you said, all googly-eyed. New lovers feel a combination of anxiety and excitement because they're not sure of one another yet, whereas those who have loved one another for a couple of years have moved beyond that to a deeper, less anxious form of happiness in one another's presence. That's a good thing, except to those excitement junkies who would spend their whole lives falling in love over and over again, each time with a new person. I do think you're on the right track when you suggest spending some intense alone time with one another, doing fun stuff and reminding yourselves why you fell in love in the first place. What he's going through is part of the human condition. Did he think the early euphoria would last for 50 years and not evolve into something more stable? He has to come to terms with reality (it's not a bad thing!), and counseling might help clear up his misconceptions. Good luck.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.