A.G.’s Story: A Groom from North of England
Before I met the woman who was to become my wife, I hadn’t done an awful lot of dating. I’d had one serious girlfriend when I was at University, which lasted for a year, there were a few flings and the odd encounter that lasted into the following week, but for the majority of what became a ten year spell, I was single and desperate to find love.
The date was 1st September 2009 and I was required to introduce myself to, and make feel welcome, a new member of my department. He was a rather surly individual who gave very little away and didn’t seem interested in making much of an effort. There were other new starters there that day in other departments and everyone was together for their induction. My obligations towards our faculty’s newest recruit became a secondary priority as I chatted freely with a ray of sunshine. I was immediately attracted to her, and within a couple of weeks we were an item.
Things progressed rapidly. Within six months, we’d moved in together and before our first anniversary, I’d popped the question. In the run up to the proposal, I’d started to question whether or not it was the right thing to do, but I thought that that was natural and even healthy; it meant that, although I wasn’t hanging around, it wasn’t something I was taking lightly. A huge difference between her and recent flames was the reaction of my friends and family; my mother in particular was bowled over by how lovely she was. My closest friends had continually warned me about women that I’d been attracted to before and they’d always turned out to be right. This time they were all in agreement that I was the luckiest son of a builder in the world.
With all this reassurance, of course I was doing the right thing. There was a problem, however. My subconscious wouldn’t let it drop. ‘You shouldn’t be doing this. You’re making a mistake. You don’t love her.’ There was no evidence to support any of this, so my mind started to invent things and torment me with them. ‘She’s too loud. She’s not as witty as you. She’s not as clever as you.’ None of which should matter, even if they’re true, which they’re not. I was able to keep these thoughts at bay for the most part until mid April, two months before the wedding, when I started to fall apart with fear and anxiety. I remember coming to the decision that I didn’t have any love for her. ’She’s not the one’, I thought. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. How could I have been so stupid to let things get so out of hand so quickly? There was nothing else for it. Imminent though the wedding was, I couldn’t go through with it. I went home to break the news to her.
She asked me if I still loved her. I said that I didn’t know. And with that, our engagement was over. For the next few minutes I tried to explain what I was going through. I said that for some reason, I was having to let go of the best thing that had ever happened to me, but I didn’t know why. As I spoke those words, I knew that to end it was not what I really wanted. Within half an hour, we’d patched things up to the extent that we were re-engaged but I knew that I had a lot of work to do. I still felt as though I didn’t love her, but I couldn’t find any real reason why. I went to a couple of different therapists who tried their best to help me with these intrusive thoughts but time was running out.
I spent a huge amount of time searching the internet for advice on cold feet and general wedding anxiety, none of which was helpful. ’Doubt means don’t’ they all yelled at me. Two weeks before the wedding, I found the Conscious Weddings website. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Every account, every story, every emotion, they were all just like mine. I learned so much about myself. About how my perceptions and expectations of marriage had been shaped by the media in the form of romantic comedies and how if your stomach doesn’t do somersaults every time they walk into a room, it means you don’t love that person. I realised, although it seems obvious now, that if that’s the way it is, then there isn’t anyone who has been with the same person for more than two years who can claim to be in love.
Thankfully, with the help of Conscious Weddings, I was learning that that isn’t the way love is. I was learning that love is a choice, not a feeling. I was learning that real love was deciding to commit to someone, even after the feelings of infatuation have faded. I was learning that, although I could leave at any time, the anxious feeling of doubt would still be there waiting for me when my next relationship reached a similar stage. Most importantly, I learned that the problem was inside of me, it had nothing to do with my other half. I learned that I’d spent my whole life trying to run away from myself. I learned that if I wanted peace, then I had to tend to my inner child, whom I’d neglected for so long.
It’s taken a long time, but I can say without any shadow of a doubt that I love my wife, and I love being married. If you’re reading this now after searching the internet for reassurance, then, as cliched as it may sound, I know how you’re feeling. Trust me. Do the work on this e-course and you’ll be more than fine. You’ll find your way to a kind of love that you didn’t know existed.
As I said earlier, love is a choice. Now, I’m no fan of The Eagles, I find them uninteresting and formulaic, but the lyrics from the song Desperado sum it up beautifully:
“You’d better let somebody love you,
Before it’s too late.”
Good luck. You’re not alone.
- AG, North of England