Cold feet or cancel the elopement?

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Hi Meredith,

My fiancé and I are a couple of weeks away from eloping and I've been getting cold feet more often as we've inching closer to the big day. It's not that I'm afraid of committing to this person for the rest of my life, but I feel a deep void and constantly ask myself if there is a cap to love. As background, my fiancé and I started off as a long-distance couple and continued that way for nearly two years. During that time, we conditioned ourselves to be fairly independent from each other. Sometimes I would defer a concern for a couple of weeks until he would have the capacity to have a genuine conversation with me. He is a surgical resident so this was my way of respecting his time and energy.

I convinced myself that mitigating the distance gap would either improve or solve some of these challenges. Essentially, I was thriving on false hope of what our love could be rather than what it was at the time. When the stars aligned on my end, I moved to be with him. It has been a little over a year since we've lived together and I've seen little to no improvement. It turns out that we share two completely different love languages and neither of us have been that motivated to learn the other person's. It took me a while to understand that him supporting my independence and instilling profound trust in me is his way of loving me.

I've communicated to him countless times how I've been feeling and what it does to my mental health. We have also completed a pre-marital program with a therapist. It seems as though I have tried every tip and trick found on the internet. But by default, my requests become chores to him. It feels like an endless cycle. I recognize now that our relationship has its boundaries with little room for flexibility, and I need to figure out what is best for me.

More times than not, I find our relationship emotionally exhausting. I feel like my basic expectations have never been met. I feel more emptiness than fulfillment. There are days I feel incredibly lonely and depressed. I love him dearly and cannot imagine my future without him, but at the same time, I lose respect for myself as each day goes by. My wiser, older counterparts tell me that our relationship dynamic provides a strong foundation for a healthy, lasting marriage, and that my concerns are trivial against the big picture. Neither of us have what the other person would consider as deal-breakers. He insists that he is incredibly content with where we are, which leads me to believe that this is just my problem. I am confused. Is this just cold feet?

- Capped Lover

"My wiser, older counterparts tell me that our relationship dynamic provides a strong foundation for a healthy, lasting marriage, and that my concerns are trivial against the big picture."


Well, I disagree. Your letter makes it clear that you don't want to elope. Why would you commit to someone for life when you're not happy right now? I understand how you got here and why you assumed that living together would change the way you interacted as partners, but now you know you were wrong about that. You feel "lonely and depressed" even though he's right next to you. I can't imagine making the case for more commitment right now.

Many letter writers tell us they "can't imagine a future" without their partner, even though that person isn't making them happy and vice versa. I'm sure it's difficult to dream up a scenario where it would feel good to let go of someone you love (it would be a significant loss, for sure), but can you imagine a happy life with this man if nothing changes? How will this look in 10 or 15 years?

He sounds like a very wonderful person who isn't the spouse you want. It is not just cold feet; these problems have been around from the start, even though they were less obvious then. Stop trying to turn him into a different person. Accept where you are and take the next step by rethinking elopement. One decision at a time.

- Meredith

Readers? What do we think of the advice from the wiser, older counterparts?