Ask Dr. Zoe – Are These Pre-Wedding Jitters or Marriage Red Flags?

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‘Ginny Girl’ Asked:

My fiance told me a few things that hurt me really bad a few days after the engagement. I gave him a few weeks time, patiently tried to convince him in my way, even went on a day’s trip to make him feel more relaxed thinking he’s probably having his jitters because we were quite fine before the event I felt and I just couldn’t understand why his behavior changed suddenly. I told his parents about this. They intervened too and tried to convince him to stay but still he was only getting worse with time and I finally decided to let my parents know of his dilemma because it worried me to see them run around preparing for my big day while things weren’t going so well between us and once they got to know (I didn’t tell them everything he told that hurt me… Just that he is unsure of how successful the marriage will be) they got really panicky and cancelled the marriage. His parents tried frantically to reconcile and get it back on track and he was also telling me later that he was jittery and that I acted in haste. I often feel terrible whether it’s all my fault that I didn’t understand him well and tackled the situation poorly.

These were the things he told me:

That he had been trying but couldn’t fall in love with me.

He can’t imagine building a nice home with me.

That he can’t look forward to coming back home to see me after a hard day’s work.

That he is not able to look at our engagement pictures and doesn’t feel like showing his friends.

That he doesn’t even feel excited to come down to meet me. He doesn’t feel like putting in that effort. And that there isn’t much buildup here for him to look forward to.

And after the trip he said he hadn’t been himself, he didn’t feel comfortable in my company and we’re just mechanical while I felt it was the best time we had together honestly.

Would he have said these things out of his jitters or was he just trying to tell me ‘let’s end it’?

Dr. Zoe Answered:

Those are not jitters! A man experiencing jitters will talk about being worried that you or the relationship will change after marriage. He may talk about whether it’s the right time. But a man with jitters loves you like crazy just as you are, even though he may be fearful of marriage. He DOES NOT say that he isn’t in love with you.

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Something is very wrong that just a few days after proposing, he would make those statements. Something is also very wrong that your parents canceled the wedding. You didn’t clue me in on any cultural or familial norms in your families that would explain why your parents felt they had the authority to cancel your wedding—or why his family feels they should talk him into marrying you.

Aside from any cultural issues that would make this okay, it seems to me that his family is pressuring him to do something he doesn’t want to do.

To be blunt, what he is saying not only doesn’t make him husband material—he isn’t even boyfriend material. I know this is super painful, but ending this quickly and getting on with your life is the most caring thing you can do for yourself and for him.

You deserve a man who knows he loves you and can’t wait to make a home with you, who is proud to show you to his friends and makes you feel loved and adored. He is none of those things and you are so very blessed that he was willing to tell you that—even if it meant hurting you and defying his parents.

I know this is so very tough, but one day when you are looking into the eyes of a man who loves you, you will be so grateful that you didn’t marry your fiancé. You’ve got this! It just takes some time and a little bit of grit and grace.

For related relationship advice, start here:

4 Things You Need to Know About Pre-Wedding Jitters
This Is What a Well-Loved Woman Feels

Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Move on From a Broken Relationship?
Commitment— the Road Forward in a Relationship
7 Things to Look for in a Man

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