For many people dating and the start of a relationship is fun and unplanned. The excitement of hanging out with someone new and seeing what unfolds is most people’s approach, where couples just take it a day as it comes. However, as things progress and feelings develop this can change. Some may feel like they are ready to commit and take their relationship to the next level. Others may feel like things are moving too fast or doubts might start to set in. This is often called “getting cold feet”.
Someone who experiences cold feet may feel anxious, apprehensive, fearful, and reluctant to commit and can get cold feet at any stage of life and in any situations, for example, it can happen before a relationship, during a relationship and when there is a change in circumstances. When people think of cold feet, most people imagine someone about to propose, get engaged or get married.
Yet it can also be further down the line in a relationship too, like committing to have children, moving to another city or country, buying a property together or making retirement plans. I’m sure we can all think of a conversation we have had where we have expressed some doubts on a situation that may come and go, however, having doubts in a relationship where they are frequent can have much deeper repercussions.
While it is totally normal to question where you are in life and where you see yourself going in the future, it is important to remember that our decisions have the biggest impact on those that we love, and this is why I chose to share this topic today.
Being in a relationship with someone who has cold feet or has expressed there not sure about committing to the next level you would like in the relationship can be so difficult. It can be so confusing and hurtful for some, they wondered whether it is best to end the relationship.
For those of you that may have watched Sex and The City back in the day may remember where Big gets cold feet and Carrie is left at the altar. There are many TV shows and movies that show how much pain a character goes through when their partner all of a sudden freaks out and ends things.
This happens more than we think! Not so much always being left at the altar most of the people I have helped seem to question everything after being engaged or 1-6 months before a wedding or when one in the couple is putting on pressure for marriage, children or an overseas move.
I will share with you the concerns and fears the men and women I help get clarity share with me –
“I’m not sure if were compatible”
“what if I’ve overestimated my love for them?”
“I can’t love them as much as they love me.”
“I don’t look forward to the wedding and spending life together.”
“I’m worried I won’t be as happy with them as I initially thought.”
“I’m losing the excitement about seeing them.”
“I don’t miss them if I don’t talk to them in the day.”
“I’ve lost that sexual desire.”
“I no longer find them attractive.”
“I miss living my single life.”
“I thought this would get better over time.”
“It’s been going downhill for a few years.”
“I want to have sex with different people”
“I haven’t lived enough yet.”
“I think we want different thing”
“I’m not sure I am in love with them”
“I am not sure if I am here because it’s convenient / comfortable”
“I’m not sure if they are the person I want children with”
“Our lifestyle and retirement dreams are so opposite, it’s not going to work”
“Now the children are older, we have nothing between us.”
Naturally, if you are on the receiving end of the doubts and lack of commitment, it may make you question everything. Whether they love you or ever have. Or perhaps whether you’re being unreasonable for asking a certain level of commitment from them. It can leave you feeling unsafe and worried about the future. Unsure whether you can bare the hurt and living in the uncertainty may take a toll on your health.
When a partner won’t commit different reactions are common. Some people consider ending things quickly because of the disappointment and pain. Others stay resilient decide to do whatever it takes to be with them and make it work and hope to change their mind. Some carry on as if they didn’t hear the words their partner said and live in denial, carrying on as normal.
There are many reasons commitment is hard for some people.
First being with one person for the rest of your life – can scare people. Especially if they have were used to constantly getting attention from the opposite sex and enjoyed doing what they want when they want. This includes being able to dress up for others, flirt and have fun with multiple people – all of which they can no longer do if they are in a committed relationship. Of course, they can dress up and flirt and have fun with their partner but many share with me that it is not the same after they have been together for some time.
Then you have those that are serial cheaters – men and women who, despite loving their partner and knowing that this person is the best thing that has happened to them, they go and mess the relationship up by cheating. They struggle to say no to temptation and end up getting caught but continue to lie time and time again – making them question whether they are made for serious relationships or destined for the single life.
I’ve also had clients that lost themselves in the relationship right from the beginning they changed themselves to be like their partner, adopted their hobbies, friends, values. Then after a while and their partner is madly in love with them, they start to question everything. They are not sure if they want the same things because they were just following their partner and when it gets serious they wonder who am I and is this what I really want?
It’s so difficult for people to work out whether they are just scared of committing or there are fundamental flaws in their relationship. It’s so important to help a person gain clarity as they could make a huge mistake and hurt many people in the process.
People who find themselves in this position benefit massively from my 3-day individual breakthrough program, because we are able to work together to sort through the fears, doubts and negative thoughts.
We often under estimate the power of our thoughts in creating problems that aren’t really there. If a person keeps telling themselves that they are not compatible with their partner or worry that because they fantasy about other people they will not be able to get married and aren’t marriage material, the confusion often gets worse. An impartial relationship assessment is often needed which I do inside the breakthrough process, after examining the root of the issue.
There is a difference between commitment problems and cold feet. Cold feet usually indicates having some doubts that can be alleviated with some reassurance or clear thinking and many believe this is natural when any relationship is about to go to a deeper stage. In contrast commitment issues go a little deeper. It’s something often within the person that needs to be addressed. Mainly strong fears. Many times I see people wanting to commit but struggling too and end up self-sabotaging in their relationships.
Imran completed a 3-day breakthrough program with me because he didn’t want to lose his girlfriend but was not ready to marry her. He felt he wasn’t ready to move in together and give up his freedom of doing what he wanted. He enjoyed seeing her on the weekends and working long hours and then going out with his colleagues during the week. As we explored his reasons for not being able to commit, it was clear he was affected by his parents loveless marriage. His parents tolerated each other, but there was no romance, age 6 he remembered them living in separate bedrooms and sitting in chairs at opposite sides of the room. His parents stayed together but were very unhappy and bitter towards one another, this impacted his views on marriage. As soon as things got serious with someone he would leave to avoid falling into the “trap of marriage” as he put it.
Thomas I helped was addicted to the adrenaline of a new relationship. He loved the thrill and excitement of getting to know someone and the chase element kept him on his toes, however, once he got comfortable with someone, or they showed a lot of interest in him he was ready to move on. At first he believed these women were just not right for him. But later admitted that he got bored too easily and didn’t see himself ever settling. When we looked at why he was thinking so much negative things about the women he had been with and felt insecure with some that they would get bored with him. So he was mirroring his own fears.
Thomas had previously been married for 12 years – 8 of which were happy years, however the last 4 years were full of heartbreak as his wife cheated on him and he hadn’t yet got over the jealous, insecure and inferior feelings he felt.
To avoid getting hurt again, he only did short term dating. Having his sexual needs met, without having to commit to them. I supported Thomas in releasing his past and building his confidence that he could love again and be happy in a long-term relationship. He’d promised himself never again would he fall in love, yet deep down that is what he truly wanted a romantic loving , passionate, relationship. After the sessions, he didn’t have to end his relationship, instead together they redefined it to meet both of their expectations. We also created a plan for boredom to never enter their individual lives or relationship.
If you can identify with some of the fears described and believe you may have commitment issues, please do not feel like you will never be able to commit to someone. There are actions you can take that will help you overcome the fear of commitment and help you to build a healthy relationship outlook with your special person if you want to or understand better what you need in a relationship to make committing easier –
On the other hand, people who experience cold feet before committing, can be genuinely happy – they just experience relationship doubts or worries that need to be addressed to reassure them that they are doing the right thing. I speak to many people that get cold feet before a wedding for example. Normally they need only 1 to 2 sessions.
For those having commitment issues deeper support is often needed. As commitment fears can be deep rooted and I recommend a full relationship belief and history review. If there are patterns it is important to release the past, learn from it and get clear on the relationship you want. What is it that you want, emotionally, practically and sexually? Then when you are clear on that get the right support to learn how to communicate that to a pertner in the best way possible.
I will share more about cold feet in the next episode as it is slightly different, so I will add some more tips in that audio for couples.
If anything I have covered today rings a bell with you, you will benefit from a breakthrough session, where we can explore the root causes of your relationship fears and identify the best actions you can take to move forward in a healthy way that leaves you feeling happy and deeply connected to yourself so that no matter what the outcome you feel good. As life is great when we live a life being true and loving to ourselves.
Please also remember – love may not look equal in a relationship. One person may show love easier than another or love can be shown in different ways so it’s important to figure out what your partner’s way of showing love is and seeing how well this aligns with your wants and needs, changing it if it doesn’t.