Dear eNotAlone: My fiance and I have been together for almost three years now, and he recently proposed. I am very happy about it, but I am also feeling scared. I'm afraid of making some kind of mistake or doing something wrong; something that would hurt our relationship, or worse yet, cause him to back out of the engagement.
I try to talk to him about my fears, but I can't seem to bring myself to actually say what I mean. And sometimes, I feel like he doesn't understand what I'm trying to say anyway. I feel like a big part of me is trapped, unable to express my feelings and thoughts to him.
I don't want my fear to ruin our relationship and I want to be able to tell him how I really feel and what I fear about the future. Is there anything I can do to help myself to get better at this?
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If you feel like you are unable to express your thoughts and emotions to your fiance, it may be important to examine why this is the case. It is common to feel anxious or scared in situations like this, as marriage is a long term commitment with potentially serious consequences if things go wrong.
The good news is, there are strategies you can use to help you express yourself more freely and openly. The first of these strategies is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and accepting all your thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism. This practice can help you to relax and notice any anxiety you may be having, allowing you to recognize and move forward from it.
Another strategy to consider is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on discovering and examining patterns of thought and behavior which can lead to unhelpful feelings and behaviors rather than helpful ones. Through this practice, you can identify and address areas that are causing you difficulty, ensuring that your conversations with your fiance clearly express your feelings rather than causing confusion or stress.
If you can't seem to talk to your fiance, perhaps you could try expressing your thoughts and feelings in another way. Writing down your thoughts onto paper offers a degree of distance and privacy which can empower you to express yourself more freely. Alternatively, you may find speaking to a close friend or family member comforting, as they can be supportive in a non-judgmental way.
It's understandable to be fearful of expressing your thoughts and feelings to your fiance, as marriage is an important commitment. With the right strategies, however, you can overcome that fear and be able to speak to them more openly and honestly. Through practicing mindfulness, utilizing CBT and focusing on alternative methods of expression, you will develop the skills and understanding necessary for a successful relationship.