Your time as an engaged woman is one that's packed with mixed emotions. In addition to being one of the most exciting and joyous times of your life, there's a good chance that it'll also be one of the most nerve-wracking and stressful periods to date. Odds are, this is one of the biggest moves you've made in your entire life. For this reason, and plenty of others, it's perfectly normal to feel confused and maybe even a little bit concerned as you plan your big day and future ahead. In fact, most women will say they felt this way, too.
To help you prepare, we asked relationship experts to outline the most common concerns newly-engaged women have. Even better, they shared their best tips for addressing some of the questions and thoughts that have been swirling through your mind.
Am I making the right decision?
Even if you're deeply in love with your now-fiancé, it's perfectly normal to question whether or not you're totally ready for this thing called marriage. So, if you're asking yourself questions like, "Is this really my soulmate?" or "Can I really live with this person for the rest of my life?" it doesn't actually mean you're making the wrong move. "When we get engaged, we are betting on the hope that this person will be the right life partner," explains Dr. Rudi Rahbar, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples and families. "And, since none of us have a crystal ball, its normal for both men and women to question whether they made the right decision."
Do we want the same type of wedding?
Unless the two of you have discussed your dream wedding in detail before you even got engaged, you likely don't know where you partner stands on the details. "When wedding planning starts, a lot of couples start learning much more about one another and tensions are high, as we start experiencing new pressures," explains Dr. Rahbar. Thankfully, this is also normal. "Men and women have different ideas on what they want for a wedding and specifically how much they want to spend on one," she adds. "This can naturally cause tension in any relationship, but through careful communication you can find a middle ground that satisfies both of your desires."
Do we have enough money to get married?
As anyone who's ever attended a wedding knows, they're expensive affairs. While you are thrilled about being engaged, it's totally normal to start sweating with anxiety when you think about the dollar signs involved in actually getting hitched. "Money is always a source of contention in the relationship," says Dr. Rahbar. "If you find you're fighting about napkins and cake toppers, it's time to take a step back from the wedding planning and reconnect. Discuss what is important and what isn't." This, she explains, is the best time for an engaged couple to learn how to compromise.
Does he/she really want to marry me?
It's not uncommon for one person in the relationship to start making ultimatums when they're ready to get married, but the other partner isn't so willing. But Claudia Six, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship coach, warns that this is not a good precedent to set for the rest of your marriage. "Unless you always want to be driving the bus and want to have the illusion of being in control, you'll end up resentful," she says. If you're seriously wondering whether or not your proposal was forced, sit down and have a serious conversation with your fiancé to get a clear read on his or her feelings.
Do you really want to be a part of his family?
Don't forget that by marrying your partner, you're also marrying into his or her family. If that leaves you feeling uneasy, you're in good company. Many men and women wonder if they can stand every member of their partner's family for the rest of their life. "At this point, remember why you're marrying this person and consider the qualities they have that made you say yes or propose marriage," Dr. Rahbar says. "If there is a legitimate concern, discuss it, but be open, but gentle." Again, communication is key.
Are we being pressured to set the date?
You may have just felt a wave of relief that you'll no longer have to dodge people's unsolicited demands to know when you'll get engaged, but soon realize that they've been replaced with inquiries over when you'll set your date. How exhausting? But Dawn Michael, Ph.D., a certified sexuality counselor and clinical sexologist, says not to allow this idea to become stressful. "As a long engagement is a good thing, allowing the couple to get to know each other as a preview to being married is important," she adds. "Take time to come up with a date and then once decided let it go for a while and enjoy the engagement."
Am I okay with having one partner for the rest of my life?
Even if you've been with your significant other for several years or even decades, the concept of never ever being able to be with someone else sexually for the rest of your life can be a strange concept. If it's a serious concern for you, talk to your partner. "Don't go out and rack up notches in your bedpost now just to ensure that he's the one you want," says Dr. Six.
What will happen on his bachelor party?
Your partner may have attended bachelor parties before and reported back to you stories of how the groom was misbehaving, causing you to be concerned about how he might behave once he's in the bachelor seat. "Part of a successful long-term marriage is setting boundaries and being able to negotiate a win-win," says Dr. Six. "That doesn't mean you get to lay down the law, but you can voice concerns, express fears and make requests."