5. Addiction. Addiction is not just about alcohol or drugs. We can become addicted to food, shopping, sex, pornography and even to a relationship. Addictions reek havoc in a relationship, especially with trust. In some ways, the addiction becomes a third person in the relationship.
If your partner has an addiction, there is also the possibility that you feel like you are what holds this person together. Without you, you feel they would fall apart or perhaps become depressed or suicidal which may leave you feeling trapped. This is a very difficult way to begin a marriage.
If you are having doubts about getting married because there is an addiction or addictive behavior, then information is your most important intervention. AA and Smart Recovery are two wonderful organizations that provide information, literature, meetings and support groups. You will begin to understand what an addiction is, how to live with an addiction and how to be in a healthy relationship with an addict.
Many people who struggle with addictions are in rewarding, supporting and wonderful marriages. It does not mean that your relationship is doomed but it does mean that your relationship will have unique challenges. You need to be able to make an informed decision about the relationship. A psychotherapist or counselor who specializes in addiction is another great place to get information and support.
6. Difficult family relationships. When you get married you are creating a new family. In order for there to be room for this new family, you must first separate from your family of origin (your parents). This sounds easy as I type it but I have seen many couples where this step gets messy. Family dynamics and politics are complicated and unique.
If you are having doubts about your relationship because of messy, complicated family dynamics you need to make sure that you and your fiancé have strong communication skills. You cannot change anyone else's behavior, expectations or feelings but you can make sure that you and your spouse are a team. You need to be unified in your expectations, boundaries and message to others. A couples counselor is the best place to learn these skills and to come up with a plan of action to cope with the wedding day and every day after.
Problems will arise if your partner is not willing or able to do this very important step of individuating and creating a new family. It can be very lonely in a marriage where you don't feel that you are a central player; resentment and anger can build up quickly. Consider individual counseling so you can learn how to best ask for your needs from your partner and then couples counseling to help you both understand the need for boundaries and how to create them for yourselves.
7. Cheating. Is there a history of cheating in your relationship? It is devastating to have your trust betrayed and forgiveness and healing each take a long time. But trust can be rebuilt and relationships can be stronger after a betrayal. It makes sense for there to be anxiety about entering into a commitment when there has been an affair. The fear is there that "once a cheater, always a cheater."
I don't believe this sentiment. But I do believe that you both need to understand what caused there to be an opening in your relationship for this third person; was it something in your dynamic together or was it something solely within the person who cheated? A psychotherapist or couples counselor can help greatly with this process. Continue reading ...