I do. Do you?

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                Welcome to a new week! These last few weeks have been tough with kids going back to school, the traffic that comes from kids returning to the daily grind and just getting used to summer being over. We know that all the changes in our household have created some intense anxiety in all of us. One kid starting her senior year and filling out college applications, one kid starting ‘real school’ or first grade and the youngest starting school for the first time. We’ve been dealing with the jitters for a few weeks now and we think we know a thing or two about cold-feet in this household.

                Lee says: Creating a relationship and maintaining it are difficult. You get two people with distinct personality, customs and cultures, throw in a little chemistry, attraction and sexual tension, raise some dopamine and norepinephrine and voila, you are in love. However, as a society, we have come to the general conclusion, like a collective unconscious amnesia, that questioning love is all right. We have decided that being scared and reticent to delve into the pool of happily-ever-after is just fine and probably a wise move. We even have termed that fear of commitment as something benign, reminiscent of a simple misplacement of a blanket. 

                ‘Cold feet’ is a cute way of saying ‘I have serious reservations about committing to you’. And yet we treat it like ‘don’t worry. Wool socks will do the trick!’ ‘Cold feet’ is not a cause for panic but it is also not cause for dismissal. This is a serious thing. Commitment requires surrender and cold feet is indicative of someone who is probably unwilling to give them self over to the experience. Regardless of societal acceptance, ‘cold feet’ is the equivalent of rethinking one’s willingness to commit. How is this cause for celebration?

                It takes a lot to be in a committed relationship. For some, perhaps those with role models such as parents who stayed married and lived a mostly happy life and valued their marriage and family, it can be quite natural to jump into love with both feet. No qualms. For others who have never seen a healthy marriage, love affair or cannot fathom love without drama, love is a scary proposition. We talk about things like commitmentphobia like punch lines, whereas the fear of relationships is a paralyzing, life changing condition. We bandy about the term like it’s no joke but it is quite serious.

                Unfortunately, most people we diagnose as commitmentphobes are rarely that. Most people who eschew commitment and blame ‘cold feet’ for the jitters are people who may not really be in love. Before a wedding, and I know about those because I had one once, a person can be nervous about a million things; not the least is being the center of attention and having all eyes on you. I know, for me, that my nerves came from the planning of the wedding itself, not the act of marrying my husband. That was the easy part. I loved him then and now. The person who is questioning the commitment prior to the ‘I do’s’ is doing more than suffering a drop in temperature of the extremities but is feeling a pang of conscience. It is the ultimate ‘what the hell are you doing?’

                Be sure about marrying someone. Do not wait until the final moment to question your decision. Don’t let the fear take over your life. And most importantly, keep your feet warm and avoid tile floors in winter.

                Paul says: I never had cold feet. I knew that it was time for me to marry, that I was the marrying type. And, of course, I fell in love with the most amazing woman and that made my decision easier. I think that when people question getting married, it is not a question of loving their mate-to-be but in questioning their ability to commit to anyone. If you have the notion of yourself as a Dorian Grey stud, forever playing the field, then marriage is not in the fantasy. But I do need to point out that one day, one day soon, you will get old, saggy and unhip. It is nice to have someone with who to get rumply.

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