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Pre-Wedding Jitters: 40 Cold Feet Signs You’re Not Really Ready for Marriage

Marriage is a big step and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Cold feet before marriage? Check the signs you’re not ready yet.

cold feet before marriage and pre-wedding jitters

We don’t want to assume, but if you were looking for this article, there may be a chance you’re feeling the signs you’re not ready for marriage. Now, it could also mean you have cold feet before marriage or just aren’t sure. And guess what? That is totally normal.

Almost everyone who is about to get married is worried they are not ready for marriage. Just like graduating from high school or going into your first job, marriage is a big step. You want to make sure you are ready.

Yes, there are signs you’re not ready for marriage that you should look out for. And we will help you with that, but just like everything else worth having in life, you cannot be fully prepared. Marriage, just like any relationship, has its ups and downs. There will be fights and ruts and more you cannot predict.

But if the idea of facing those times, both the good and bad, together for the rest of your lives is what you want, then you probably are ready for marriage and this article may not be for you. If that doesn’t sound like you, keep reading. [Read: How to recognize your relationship doubts and make the right decision]

The Psychology Behind Cold Feet Before Marriage

First off, let’s discuss why we feel these nagging jitters as the big day approaches. Cold feet before marriage is often a natural response to a major life change.

Getting married is a big deal, and it’s normal for your brain to process this transition with a mix of emotions, including anxiety and uncertainty.

It’s like standing at the edge of a new chapter in life, and that can definitely stir up some butterflies in your stomach.

Now, think about how we all view relationships. Your attachment style—whether you’re secure, anxious, or avoidant—plays a big role in how you handle pre-marriage anxiety.

For instance, if you’re the anxious type, you might find yourself more prone to pre-wedding jitters, constantly questioning if you’re making the right choice. On the flip side, someone with a secure attachment style might see these jitters as just a small bump on the road to a happy marriage.

And let’s not forget the pressure cooker that is society’s expectations. Everywhere you look, there are ideas about what marriage should be like. If you’re feeling cold feet before marriage, it could be partly because you’re trying to align your relationship with these societal ideals.

It’s like you’re measuring your relationship against a yardstick set by movies, social media, and family traditions. This pressure can definitely crank up the anxiety, making those pre-wedding jitters even more intense.

In the midst of all this, remember that a bit of excitement and nervous energy is part of the journey too. It’s not all doom and gloom; these feelings can be a sign that you’re about to embark on an important and exciting new chapter of your life. [Read: 58 best and worst reasons to get married and signs you’re not prepared]

Are You Showing Signs You’re Not Ready or Is It Just Cold Feet Before Marriage?

Everyone deals with the idea of marriage differently. Whether you always saw yourself being married or finally met someone that made you consider it, no one reacts exactly the same.

Your fiancé may boast to their coworkers and family members about how excited they are to marry you. But you may be more private about your coming nuptials.

You may want to live together before marriage. And others don’t think it necessary. You may want a big wedding while your partner would rather have an intimate ceremony.

The good news is that these are not common signs you’re not ready for marriage. These are probably things you have been dealing with throughout your entire relationship. You have differing opinions. And that is normal.

But, if you never fought about these things until now, that could be a sign you’re not ready for marriage. Are you picking fights? You could think you’re ready or want to be ready for marriage, but subconsciously you act out to show your partner you’re having cold feet before marriage without actually saying so.

Sure, having cold feet before marriage is a possibility, but usually, it is temporary. You may question being with the same person forever. You may miss the single life. But ultimately you come back to the fact that you want to marry this person.

If what you thought may be cold feet is lasting longer, and you’re edging up to the big day, it might be signs you’re not ready for marriage. [Read: 42 signs you’re not ready for a serious relationship and how to let them know]

Normal Wedding Jitters

The mere thought of tying yourself to one person for life, till death do you part, is scary at best. So it’s pretty normal to feel any of the following before you walk down the aisle.

1. Anxiety

The definition of anxiety is “an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination.” [Read: Relationship anxiety: What it is, 44 signs, feelings & ways to get over it]

You can try all you want to make everything perfect for your big day and all the days you’ll spend as husband and wife, but nothing will ever be perfect. T

here’s not much you can do about things you can’t control, so the best you can do is try to prepare for what you can prepare for, and leave the rest to fate.

2. Not Sleeping Well

Not getting much sleep at night, or sleeping only a few hours correlates with feelings of anxiety and stress. Just because you may not be sleeping on cloud 9 every night, does not mean your wedding and marriage are doomed.

There are too many studies to count that show that we tend to process everything on our to-do lists right before we go to bed.

3. You Feel Like It’s Too Soon

In all honesty, no one is ever truly 100% ready for anything. If you feel like you wish you had spent some more time preparing for marriage, you’ll spend the rest of your life preparing, until you walk down the aisle at 80.

When the moment comes, and it feels right, you have to seize the opportunity. That’s why you said “yes,” right? [Read: Is there really a right age to get married?]

4. Fear of Becoming a Wife

Being a wife is rife with responsibilities that can definitely make you get cold feet before marriage but that doesn’t mean you can’t handle them all.

You’re going to have a husband who will support you in transforming from an anxious millennial to a wife and potential mother. It may be hard, but if you work on your marriage together, you should be fine.

5. Fear of Becoming a Mom

If you’re afraid of being pregnant, being a step-mom, or having kids, these things are only natural, and you’re not alone.

Taking on the role of a mother is a huge responsibility. But as with everything, you can learn all these things along the way, and it will be easier if you have a supportive husband by your side.

6. Money

Being nervous about trying to stay within your wedding budget is pretty common. You want to make everyone happy as you celebrate your big day, but the people who should be the happiest are you and your husband-to-be.

If the money issue is really bothering you, start asking yourselves if you really need that Vera Wang gown or those designer centerpieces. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

7. Family

When you marry a man, you are marrying his family *to some extent*, whether they like you or not. But you will never be able to please everyone.

If you’re worried about your fiancé’s family, just keep in mind that you’re directing your vows at your groom, and not at his family. You always have a choice to keep your distance, and by now, your husband-to-be should understand why.

8. Worrying About the Future Changes

Change, even when it’s positive, can be daunting. You might find yourself fretting about how marriage will alter your daily life, friendships, and career. It’s like you’re about to embark on a journey without a map, unsure of what the destination looks like.

These concerns are common and natural, they reflect your desire to navigate the future effectively. Remember, feeling apprehensive about the unknown aspects of married life doesn’t mean you’re not ready, it just means you’re human and thoughtful about the significant shift that marriage brings.

Again, having cold feet before marriage because of this is definitely normal. [Read: Should I marry him? 24 signs that scream “YES” and the reasons why]

9. Concern Over Losing Personal Independence

One of the subtler jitters revolves around the fear of losing your personal independence. It’s a bit like wondering if your solo playlist is about to be permanently replaced by a duet.

Will you still have your personal space, time for your hobbies, or freedom to make individual choices? [Read: Spirited steps to be independent in a relationship & love better]

These concerns are a normal part of adjusting to the idea of sharing your life closely with someone else. It’s okay to value your independence; recognizing this concern allows you to address it with your partner and find a balance that works for both of you in your marriage.

10. Doubts About Meeting Expectations as a Spouse

Are you secretly worried about whether you’ll be a good wife or husband? It’s like you’re stepping into a new role without a script, unsure if you’ll play the part well.

These doubts can stem from a lack of confidence in your relationship skills or from unrealistic expectations of what a spouse should be like.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all in marriage, and being a good partner often means being yourself and growing together with your significant other. It’s natural to ponder on your role in the marriage and how you’ll navigate this new identity.

The Biggest Signs You’re Not Ready for Marriage

In order to catch these signs, look a bit deeper than your actions. They begin from the inside out. Deep down you will recognize the signs, but no one wants to not be ready for marriage.

So, before reading this list, be prepared to admit what you may have been avoiding and in denial about for some time.

1. You Care More About the Wedding Than the Marriage

We see this quite often, don’t we? There is an entire TV show dedicated to it. Sure, it is easy to fall into the glamour and excitement of a wedding. There is so much to do. We don’t blame you for being upset that the caterer canceled or that your second cousin can’t make it.

But, if the wedding plans are taking over your relationship, you may not be ready for marriage. Your priority when getting married should be the marriage and the relationship, not the party.

Focus on it for sure, but if you give it more attention than the marriage, you may not have your priorities straight. [Read: 25 very obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever

2. You’re Settling

No one wants to admit that the person they committed to is not right for them. You have invested all this time and don’t want it to be for nothing.

Plus, you may think that being with them is better than being alone. They may not be right for you, but they are a good person.

But, since when is being a decent person a reason to get married? When is not wanting to be lonely a reason for getting married? If you catch yourself thinking something like, this could be worse, you may not be ready for marriage, at least not with that person. [Read: Why get married? The worst reasons to tie the knot]

3. You’re Flirting

We all have lapses of judgment. Maybe you flirt with the guy in accounting or the lady in the elevator. It happens from time to time.

Sometimes we don’t notice it or think anything of it, but if you are flirting with someone other than your partner regularly, you may still be playing the field.

Sure, you know you won’t actually act on it, but if you are looking for a connection or a moment with someone else you are showing signs you’re not ready for marriage. [Read: Are you unintentionally micro-cheating?]

4. You Avoid the Big Things

This is something so many people avoid before marriage. You may not want to stir the pot or bring up negative or iffy subjects before the big day, but that is the exact time to do so.

If you are considering marriage, discuss the big things. Talk about your future, money, religion, beliefs, your plans, kids, etc. These conversations cannot be put off before a marriage. Don’t assume you know what your partner wants or that you want the same things.

If having these talks scares you more than what will happen if you get married before having these talks, you are not ready for marriage. [Read: 20 questions to ask each other before getting married]

5. You Let Everything Get to You

You know those days where work was awful and you come home and take it out on your partner by yelling at them about the trash? If these days are taking over your life as of late, you may be showing an underlying sign of not being ready for marriage.

Marriage is about compromise. You meet halfway. You make sacrifices for one another. But if everyday things are getting to you, so much so that fights about doing dishes turn into one of you sleeping on the sofa, you are not ready for marriage.

But, the good news is you can be ready for marriage. If things like this are happening, couples therapy can do wonders for your relationship and get you ready for marriage.

6. You Question Their Motives

Do you lay next to your partner at night and wonder if they really love you? Do you wonder if they are out to get your money? Do they try to control you? Is something eating at you?

If you question your partner before a marriage, it will not go away by saying, “I do.” In fact, it will likely get worse because you have more to lose.

Sure, marriage is about love, but trust and love go hand in hand. If you don’t trust your partner, you are not ready to marry them. [Read: Subtle things that change when you get married]

7. You Won’t Compromise

As we just said, compromise is a big part of having a successful relationship or marriage. Both of you need to be able to set aside trivial things to benefit the relationship.

If you are not willing to make sacrifices or even put your partner first sometimes, you are not ready for marriage. This is one of the things we notice in divorced couples.

At first, you are high on the beginning stages of a relationship. You are happy to give and give, but once that wears off couples expect things to stay the same.

The thing is, relationships are not easy. They require work, effort, communication, and sacrifice. And if you or your partner are not willing to do that, even before the nuptials, there is a very good chance that things will only get worse. [Read: The questions you should be asking before marriage to see if they are the one]

8. You’re Doing it For Them

You love your partner. You know they want to get married. You cannot imagine hurting them. Even though you may have hesitated accepting a proposal or instigating one, you ultimately moved forward for their sake.

But, if marriage is not what you want and you are only doing it for them, eventually that will lead to resentment which can manifest into problems like cheating, lying, and more.

We know we said you have to sacrifice to have a successful marriage, but you do not need to sacrifice your future. [Read: Questions you need to ask yourself before considering marriage]

9. You Feel Like You Made a Mistake in Saying “Yes”

Ask yourself why it’s a mistake. If you can pinpoint an answer, then try to find out a way of working on whatever it is that’s making you feel like your engagement is a mistake.

However, if you can’t figure out why you think it’s a mistake, then it may be your gut instinct telling you to back out. 9 times out of 10, your gut instinct may be right. [Read: Signs you have the fear of commitment]

10. He Doesn’t Make You Feel Good About Yourself

When the man you absolutely adore asks you to marry him, the normal reaction would be elation at the fact that this wonderful man wants you by his side for the rest of his days.

However, if you feel like you agreed to marry someone who can’t even make you feel good about yourself, it may be time to start working on your relationship first before taking the huge next step. [Read: Ways to know if he genuinely wants to marry you]

11. You’re Afraid to Call Off the Wedding

If you are continuing to plan your wedding solely because you are afraid to call it off, that is not a wedding jitter, but a huge sign that you really don’t want to get married.

A husband isn’t something you can take back to the store if you don’t like the way it looks. If the only thing holding you back is fear and wasted money, we can tell you that a divorce is much scarier and more expensive!

12. You Don’t Want to Change Your Lifestyle

Marriage won’t miraculously hold your relationship together, despite the fact that you and your fiancé want very different things.

Before you even consider getting married, you should already know if the person you’re with shares the same ideals as you, and if they don’t, then you both should have come up with some sort of compromise by now.

If neither of you are willing to compromise to make your marriage last, then your entire wedding is just one big joke waiting to happen.

13. Things Aren’t Adding Up

As we have said, people change. But if you suddenly out unsavory things about your fiancé that he hid from you, such as his stint behind bars or a baby mama who suddenly shows up at his door, then it may be a sign that you’re about to marry a person you hardly know.

How can you marry someone who’s hidden so much from you? And what’s worse, what else could he be hiding?

Marriage isn’t all about a big wedding and spending the rest of your lives in your honeymoon phase. A successful marriage takes a lot of work, a ton of effort, and more patience than you can even imagine as a singleton. But as with everything in life, nothing worth having ever comes easy.

14. You Want the Title

This sounds bad. we know. You probably do not want to admit this at all, but some people just want to be married to say they are married. It sounds shallow, and well, it is.

You may want to be #relationshipgoals, post cute wedding photos, and have a relationship that others are jealous of.

But those are not good reasons to get married or even reasons at all, really. If marriage is your goal, but a happy and equal marriage isn’t, you are definitely not ready for marriage. [Read: Couple goals: 58 fake and real ideas you must add to your relationship goals]

15. You Feel Pressured

This may sound crazy. You are pressured to drink. You are pressured to lose weight. But being pressured to make a change as huge as marriage seems insane, right?

You probably think you are stronger than that. You probably think that your parents, society ,or even your friends could never pressure you enough to do that.

But, even with that obvious idea, it happens every day. People get married, engaged, or even propose because they feel pushed. Their peers are all married, and they just feel like they should. Feeling like you should get married means you are not ready for marriage.

You need to want to be married in order to be ready for it, without that, you will continue to show signs you’re not ready for marriage. [Read: Ways to know if marriage is for you]

16. You Have Unresolved Personal Issues

Maybe there’s a part of your life or personality you haven’t quite figured out yet. It’s like having a puzzle with a missing piece – you might not feel whole.

If you’re entering a marriage hoping it will fix these personal issues, it’s a bit like putting a band-aid on a deeper wound.

Addressing and understanding these issues before getting married is crucial. Remember, marriage isn’t a solution to personal problems; it’s a partnership that thrives best when both individuals are in a healthy, self-aware state.

17. Fear of Missing Out *FOMO*

If the idea of settling down makes you feel like you’re about to miss out on other life experiences, that’s a sign to pay attention to. It’s like standing at a crossroads, wondering what the other path might have held.

This feeling is more about what you’re leaving behind than what you’re moving towards. If thoughts of the single life, traveling solo, or other potential relationships keep you up at night, it might be your inner self signaling that you’re not quite ready to tie the knot. [Read: Useful ways to battle FOMO while in a relationship]

18. You Don’t Feel Like Yourself Anymore

Since getting engaged, if you feel like you’ve lost a bit of your identity or personal goals, it’s worth a second thought.

It’s as if you’re playing a role in a play that’s not quite yours. Marriage should be about adding to your life, not subtracting from who you are.

If you find yourself changing core aspects of your personality or abandoning your passions just to fit into the mold of ‘married life’, it could be a sign that you’re not ready for this commitment. Your unique identity should be celebrated in your marriage, not compromised.

19. You’re Ignoring Red Flags in the Relationship

Maybe there are some glaring issues in your relationship that you’re brushing under the carpet. It’s like seeing storm clouds on the horizon but hoping they’ll just go away.

Whether it’s trust issues, constant arguments, or fundamental differences in values, ignoring these problems won’t make them disappear.

Addressing these issues head-on is crucial before making a lifelong commitment. Marriage is a big step, and walking into it with unresolved relationship problems can be like building a house on shaky foundations. [Read: 45 big relationship red flags most couples completely ignore early in love]

20. You’re Still Holding on to Past Relationships

If thoughts of an ex or a past relationship are still occupying a significant part of your mind, it’s a sign to pause and reflect. It’s like your emotional baggage is yet to be fully unpacked. This lingering attachment could mean you haven’t fully moved on or processed past emotions.

Entering into a marriage while part of you is still anchored in the past can lead to complications. It’s essential to feel emotionally free and fully present in your current relationship before tying the knot.

Dealing with these unresolved feelings is crucial for stepping into a marriage with clarity and commitment.

What to Do If You’re Showing Signs You’re Not Ready For Marriage

It can feel embarrassing and shameful to admit you’re not ready for marriage. You may feel like a failure for calling off an engagement or admitting you’re not ready.

But guess what? Coming to terms now, and talking to your partner about it before the wedding is the most mature thing you can do.

1. Self-Reflection

Take some time for introspection. Ask yourself what’s really at the heart of your anxiety. Is it about your partner, the concept of marriage, or external pressures?

Jotting down your thoughts can be incredibly enlightening. It’s not about making immediate decisions but understanding your feelings better.

2. Open Communication With Your Partner

Have an honest conversation with your significant other about your feelings. It’s like opening up the floor for a heart-to-heart. Express your concerns, fears, and hopes.

Remember, marriage is a partnership, and being able to discuss these matters openly is crucial for a healthy relationship.

3. Consult a Professional

Sometimes, speaking to a therapist or a counselor can provide clarity when you’re having cold feet before marriage.

They’re like a neutral third party with the expertise to guide you through your emotions. They can offer tools and strategies to deal with anxiety and help you make a more informed decision. [Read: Relationship therapy: 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

4. Evaluate Your Relationship Honestly

Take a close look at your relationship. Are there unresolved issues that need addressing? It’s like doing a health check-up on your relationship. Identifying and working on these issues can either resolve your doubts or confirm them.

5. Talk to Married Friends or Family

Getting perspectives from those who’ve walked down the aisle can be enlightening. They’re like your personal panel of experts on marriage.

Ask them about their experiences, how they dealt with jitters, and what marriage means to them.

6. Consider Premarital Counseling

This is a great way to prepare for the challenges of married life. It’s not just about addressing current issues, but also about equipping you with skills for the future.

Think of it like a boot camp for marriage, where you get to strengthen your relationship muscles.

7. Take a Break From Wedding Planning

Sometimes, the stress of wedding planning can amplify your jitters. Taking a step back can help reduce stress and give you space to think.

It’s completely okay to take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Wedding planning is a huge task, and it’s normal for it to become overwhelming at times, thus the cold feet before marriage.

Stepping away, even briefly, can provide a fresh perspective and help you approach the planning with renewed energy and clarity. After all, your mental health is just as important as the event itself.

8. Set Realistic Expectations About Marriage

Understand that no marriage is perfect. It’s like demystifying the fairy tale and embracing the reality. Having realistic expectations can alleviate some of the pressure and anxiety you’re feeling.

9. Focus on Personal Growth

Sometimes, the jitters stem from personal insecurities or fears. Engaging in activities that foster personal growth can boost your confidence. It’s like prepping yourself not just for marriage, but for a new chapter in life.

10. Give Yourself Permission to Postpone

Remember, it’s okay to postpone the wedding if you need more time. It’s a significant decision, and rushing into it won’t do any good.

Give yourself the space and time to ensure you’re making the right choice for the right reasons. [Read: Steps to let go of relationship insecurity and learn to love more]

It Doesn’t Mean You’ll Never be Ready

If you are showing signs you’re not ready for marriage, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be ready. Just keep living and growing. Life isn’t a race, and neither is love or marriage. Everyone’s journey to the altar, if they choose to take it, is unique.

So, take your time to understand yourself, your partner, and your relationship better. Embrace this phase as an opportunity for personal and relational growth.

[Read: 33 honest questions to ask before marriage to know if you both are genuinely a good match]

Cold feet before marriage is normal. It’s like a natural reaction to one of life’s biggest decisions. But it’s also important to know when these jitters are more than just passing nerves. If your doubts are persistent, deep-seated, and point to fundamental issues, they deserve your attention and action. Listen to your instincts, communicate openly, and seek guidance when needed. Remember, your happiness and well-being matter, both in and out of a relationship.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...