Please note, for relationship counselling, marriage counselling, marriage guidance, relationship advice & marriage advice I only see individuals who want to work through their own marriage or relationship problems.
I don't see couples for relationship counselling or marriage counselling.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - commitment phobia
Fear Of Commitment, Abandonment, Rejection, Sabotage
In The Relationship
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - commitment phobic men, scared of commitment, fear of commitment
Commitment Or Commitment Phobia
Wanting Our Partner To Commit To The Relationship Security in our relationship, marriage, is important for many of us. It can be frustrating that we cannot persuade our partner to compassionately love us, give and receive love, make a decision and commit in the way we need, make future plans, so our love is consummate. Some of us may pressurise our partner to commit to us, the relationship or a marriage, and the more we push, the more they pull away, as if there is an emotional dance between us. Sometimes despite all our good intentions our partner may be unable to commit and we may be faced with mourning this loss. However we may have our own issues around commitment (often hidden), not only affecting us but also our partner... We may want a committed relationship, or to get married, for cultural reasons, family or peer pressure, because we really should commit, yet haven't actually chosen commitment ourself from our heart and soul or thought through what this actually means for us and our partner. Overly focused on trying to get our partner to commit to us, we may not have cultivated friendship, trust, understanding, honest communication - speaking our own truth and an authentic way of relating, living. Liking our partner, we may want commitment without intimacy or passion, which can be experienced as an empty love. Sometimes our partner may unconsciously pick up our own loneliness, emptiness, neediness and they may retreat, withdraw. Focusing on our own life, being resilient and emotionally powerful, independent, centred in our own ground without pulling on our partner, developing shared values, exploring our conscious and unconscious intentions, expectations (what has been called "conscious coupling"), can for some couples open up the space for the other to also occupy, walk towards, commit.
Fear Of Commitment In A Relationship - Commitment Phobia Being committed in our relationship can help make future decisions together as a couple, help us feel safer and loved, yet this may not always be our experience... Some of us may be scared of love or have what is called commitment issues, commitment problems or commitment fear. Whether or not we are in a relationship we may have a fear of lack of commitment. At certain times in relationships, things happen which can test us, bringing us up against how we really feel and and how committed we are. It can be as if our commitment in relationships and willingness to commit is tested. For some of us, we only have to hear the word "commitment" and we are looking for ways of dodging this or seek an exit strategy. Our fear of commitment (commitment phobia) can immobilise us and the weight of commitment may lurk and become all consuming. Scared of commitment in relationships, if we receive a hint, or are asked to commit, from this point on we may withdraw. Often one person can push for commitment, and the other can resist, as if we have no option but to repel this. We may have lost our own choice to commit. We may want meaningful commitment in a long term relationship or marriage, yet overlook that this involves fully relating, connecting. Some of us may be stuck in our head, struggling to open our heart to commitment or be emotionally available. If people come too close, we may push them away. Believing it will all end in tears, that we have more to lose if we commit, we may choose to sabotage our relationship to avoid being rejected. For example some of us can push or drive our partner away, push he self destruction button, so they can reject us (see Sabotaging Things In The Relationship Or Marriage). Yet we may end up losing the relationship anyway because of our fear. Stuck in our fear of committing ourself to the relationship or marriage, we may attack, fear conflict and withdraw, withholding our love, forgetting that love is also an action, and we may struggle to be loving and giving. Scared of love, our challenge therefore may also be about how to courageously love, feel safe with our partner, rather than remaining stuck, afraid of commitment and this can be considered in the relationship counselling and marriage counselling for commitment phobia in women and in men.
Fear Of Commitment In A Relationship - Frequently Thinking Of Someone Else Or Others Some of us may be scared of commitment, scared of love, have some sort of commitment fear. It is said that commitment phobia in men is more prevalent than commitment phobia in women, and commitment phobia symptoms are not always easy to pinpoint... Just as we get close, we may hang back, not knowing they are the right person for us (or focus on our partner's imperfections). We may hold that the grass is always greener, as if "They'll do until we meet someone better". We may spend a lot of time comparing our partner with others (or even imagined others), which may have its roots in our own self esteem, insecurities. We may imagine or start seeing someone else (always have someone else on our mind, in the background) or sabotage things. Others may have developed a pattern of wanting to end their relationship or find someone else whenever uncomfortable difficulties arise. Some of us may always need a secret escape route, have someone else in mind just in case things don't work out. We may have intrusive frequent sexual thoughts about others - having different sexual experiences, being with a new body, which inhibit our decision to commit. When we are in the relationship we can never be satisfied (maybe seeking the ideal or perfect partner, forever wondering if there is someone better out there), continuously fantasising about or looking over the fence at others (this can be exhausting, weigh us down), yearning for new relationships or wanting to be single again. Yet when we are single, we may wish we are in a relationship again. Frequently wanting what we can't have, we may also have problems committing, we may never quite find the right partner. Others may struggle to allow themselves to get over their ex or past relationships. Clinging on to elements of our past relationships, we may want to utilise the relationship counselling to explore any unfinished emotions. Endlessly searching for the right partner may point to our "magical thinking", that there is only one out there, that we will know and have no doubts. We may fantasise, idealise other women, men. We may be in a continuous series of relationships, yet want something different after a while, which may also point to underlying commitment problems. Afraid of commitment, acting from our commitment phobia, we may experience a series of superficial relationships, "hooked" on the need to fill a sense of emptiness or void in us, and then using others to fill our void. Some of us may feel addicted to this pattern of (commitment phobic) behaviour, and we may struggle to experience our partner as more than an object to meet our desire for love. Some may have unacknowledged envy, jealousy or struggle to accept our partner's sexual history. These issues can be explored in the relationship psychotherapy, marriage counselling for commitment phobia in men and in women.
Commitment Concerns Around Intimacy & Love Once we get someone, we may pull back, have one foot out the door. Fear of love, fear of commitment or disappointment and engulfment affects both men and women, and can come out in different ways. Some commitment phobic men or women may fear love. Others may be in a double bind, we may want intimacy, yet fear it and fear being vulnerable, wanting commitment, yet needing to escape from it, "I can do it on my own", so we "hedge our bets". We may fear we may be exploited, abandoned, rejected or love will be unrequited. (Some may avoid intimacy by turning away from the loving relationship and towards pornography.) How and when to engage, disengage may also concern us. "Could I be more in love with someone else?" may be a question we continually ask, yet more of a challenge to us may be nothing to do with our partner and more about us being courageous to take the risk of being loving and intimate ourselves, being willing to give and receive love, let go of what we need to, say "Yes" to love alongside the pain which comes with it (see also Our Painbody). Commitment fear counselling and marriage therapy can help you with unpacking this, seeing what lays behind this, exploring bonding patterns in early years, looking at other alternatives.
Fear Of Commitment - Getting Hurt At the back of our mind, we may want to keep an escape route. Avoiding commitment in relationships may also be a protection against disappointment. Some of us may be very affected by our first love not working out. Some of us may continue to hold on to our beliefs that love isn't safe, that it ultimately means loss of ourself (or the other). When it comes to commitment, we may feel like a child, coming from our wounded self (as if somehow we are programmed to fear relationships - that there is no point in them), we may believe that love isn't safe or means inevitable loss (of us or our partner). This aspect of us may need healing, so we are free to love ourselves and share our love with others. Afraid of commitment or scared of love, we can avoid the risk of not being let down or sad. Some of us can be scared of committing to a relationship for fear of being hurt, rejected or losing who we are or indeed losing them, because nothing lasts. This fear could spread to fear of dying. We may also fear being on our own or being dependent on someone else (maybe fearing they will leave us), yet at the same time need our autonomy. We may wonder if we have not met the right person - the love of our life, or struggle to put our heart and soul into our relationship. We may not only have a fear of things not working, failing, but also a fear that they actually might work out, that our relationship, marriage may actually succeed, which can be explored in the relationship counselling. Deep down inside and fear-driven we may feel insecure, fearing that we have to leave our partner (or they us), because we may believe we are not a nice person. Choosing fear or love may be our dilemma, and it is this that can be included in the relationship counselling and marriage counselling.
Valuing the freedom of our singledom, we may loathe to give it up, want to keep our options open. Especially for men, the masculine is regularly seeking release from constraint, towards freedom and how we manage the dilemma of being a separate self, letting go of this when we need to can be challenging as we open to love. Even when we are in (or have been in) a committed relationship, we can "forget" we have a partner or act as if we are single, without a partner, believing we will always be single. Our autonomy may be very important to us and we may want to keep our options open. We may not want any limits on our current lifestyle, and our commitment phobia can support this. Permanency of the relationship, dependency or monogamy can be scary for some, and we may find ways to make ourself unreachable. "I'm not quite ready" or "Not now" may be our broken record. We can avoid commitment or become "commitment phobic" for many reasons and inherit early destructive relationship patterns. Whether or not we are considering marriage, when there is a relationship wobble or challenges along the way, we may struggle to stay in there, work things through "for better or for worse". Once we commit, our choice can be taken away. Valuing our free spirit, we may fear merger, engulfment - losing who we are, or the weight of expectation, as if it is a burden. We may question how we and our partner can be both strong, yet engaged in the art of compromising. We may be unwilling to take responsibility, worry about providing - giving and receiving. Struggling with the paradox of being on our own, yet part of something, getting in touch with what we really want for our life, may bring us up against our own existential issues. These important issues can be discussed in the marriage counselling and relationship therapy.
Fear Of Commitment - Scenarios, Forecasting How Our Relationship Or Marriage Might Be We may value our personal life, fear losing this. Protecting this may be important for us. We may fear things will close down, be less open, forecasting other opportunities will pass us by. We may also have a healthy scepticism about how couples can simply live happy ever after, as if this happens by magic. Fearing the unknown or wanting perfection, with a strong need to be in control, we may hold on to a range of other scenarios ("What if this? What if that?"), which stop us committing or holding on to an ideal of a loving, lasting relationship, without this wavering. We may not have properly got over the effects of previous relationships or always think there is someone better around the corner. Choice can be a burden for some. Considering our choice with care may be challenging for us and others. Insecure about our future, we may predict it will be stressful. Some may passively allow (yet feel uncomfortable inside) our partner to decide the direction of the relationship, marriage. Others may believe we are not good enough to be part of the couple in a committed relationship. Alongside our fear of commitment, we may question our ability to endure difficult times or provide what is necessary, that we may let our partner down. Relationship counselling and marriage therapy can be a place where these thoughts and fears can be investigated further.
Fear Of Commitment After Initial Stage Of Relationship We may enjoy the early romance, excitement - falling in love quickly in these early stages of our relationship, yet after a while start looking for flaws - even blowing them out of proportion - trying to find reasons to avoid commitment. Counselling can explore what else if happening around this, including our own bonding patterns. Later on in our relationship, marriage we may struggle with the balance of giving and receiving love, anything more serious or deep, especially if it involves maintaining and nurturing the relationship and the counselling for commitment problems can explore this further.
Fear Of Commitment - Being Trapped Stuck in our "never know what will happen world", struggling to bear the unknown, we may worry, that if we choose to commit our self to one person, "settle down" or get married, things will be completely different, and we could be trapped, taken for granted, maybe in a loveless relationship, marriage. We may fear being trapped, losing our freedom, self-sufficiency, yet may also deny our own dependency needs. Not only fearing engulfment, we may also fear enmeshment, becoming trapped forever - that there is no way out, we can't walk away from our or our partner's problems. We may also fear having children. We may fear entrapment, believing that somehow our growth will be stunted. Valuing our freedom, not wanting to be tied down, we may believe if we make a commitment, it will stop us doing other things, seeing our friends, doing what interests us. In the security or safety of our committed relationship or marriage, we may wonder "Is that it now?", fear predictability, loss of spontaneity, vitality, being taken for granted, taking our partner for granted. Maybe being controlling ourself, we may also fear being controlled or getting into routines, which are deadening or losing our own important routines. "What's the point of commitment, because nothing lasts?" we may ask ourselves, so why bother? Yet life is impermanent (see also Reflecting Upon Our Mortality). Some, having thought or got what we wanted, may now wonder "Now what?", overlooking that nurturing the relationship, having further goals, communicating well, continues to enable the relationship to thrive. Some of our commitment fears, cold feet feelings, may date back to the role models our parents were for us and we may continue to hold false, unhelpful beliefs about love and relationships. Yet it is our very committed relationship, marriage that provides us with the opportunity to grow, love, evolve.
Commitment Phobia, Fear Of Commitment & The Way We Think Often we may tell ourself that our struggle with commitment is to do with the person we are with, yet often it is to do with ourselves and how we think. We may feel optimistic or sad in our relationship and convert that to binary thinking, polarising things, that the relationship is right/not right for us and the counselling for commitment phobia can explore this further. The therapy may explore our fears about what might happen if we commit and our negative or positive feelings, beliefs about "settling down". Sometimes we may simply not be ready for commitment, to settle down, be serious. We may want learn to rely on our self more, so we are strong inside. We may struggle to figure out what we want from a relationship - our relationship. We may have been so attracted initially, that we have ignored signs that something may be amiss. We may be lonely, feel disconnected with our future partner. We may lack strong feelings towards our partner (or be used to closing off, shutting down or bottling things up), settling for them - that they will do, because they have come along at the right time. We may lack enthusiasm, feel reluctantly dragged into something and need to listen to this, exploring what this is about. We may be genuinely concerned about trying to fill a void, experiencing emptiness in us, basing our happiness on our partner, because of our own struggles to care for ourselves (see also Expecting, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs).
Not Yet Ready, Genuine Concerns, Doubts The relationship counselling and marriage therapy can be a place where we can bring any niggling or genuine doubts and concerns about whether we are willing and want to commit or are making a "terrible mistake", struggling to be real, feeling like a fraud inside. The therapy can be a space to explore how we respond to our personal doubts - unconnected to our partner. Ruminating, many of our commitment doubts may have little to do with our partner and more about us (we may even blow things out of proportion or as an attempt to try to break up, in order to reinforce our doubts). We may also have a lack of commitment, because of genuine concerns about our relationship. Our "commitment issue" may be about real doubts about the sustainability of our relationship, not just our fears. There may be strong indications that this relationship is not right for us. We or our partner may be preoccupied to conform for conforming sake (e.g. preoccupied in the marriage contract and wedding day, rather than seeing ourselves as we are and our actions, which demonstrate our commitment). We may have wedding nerves, wedding doubts. We or our partner may be more interested in how things seem, in gaining public approval, validation from the outside world, rather than committing from the heart. We may have led a very superficial relationship, we don't actually know our partner, nor do they know us. We may have based our commitment solely on sex. Our love may be absent. We may want our partner to be the one who ends the relationship. (See also Continuing Or Ending The Relationship Or Marriage)
Avoiding The Risk Of Commitment Scared of commitment to loving someone or having some sort of commitment fear we may struggle to make that choice and procrastinate. Holding relationship fear and anxiety, the agony of choice may be affecting us. Weighing up what we have and acting upon this may stretch us. We may struggle to say "No" or "Yes". Making a decision, deciding to live with it, can call upon our resources and personal responsibility. We may experience what some people call commitment phobia. We may struggle with competing interests, for example between investing our time in developing our career and nurturing our relationship. Some may want to look at how it is they prefer security to risking love. We may be trying to "get it" in our head, overlooking our heart and will. Some of us may fear being or falling in love (sometimes called philophobia) which pushes us away from committing (see also Pushing & Pulling), so we end up alone again. How we want to be in a satisfying relationship or marriage can be explored in the counselling, alongside our attitude to uncertainty. Seeking the courage to be real, love and trust, "claim our partner", be involved, letting go of things may be of importance. We may want to live a fulfilling and meaningful love life, be willing to not walk away, be loving and seeing our partner the way they are meant to be seen and loved. For some this may involve choosing to commit to one loving person in real and honest ways, being curious to learn about them. Being in touch with our desire and willingness towards making the relationship or marriage work may be important. The transition from boyfriend/girlfriend to husband/wife, or civil partnership, can present its own dilemmas. Some believe it can be just as meaningful living together for the long term, whether married or not. Others believe that pledging commitment as an act of faith can solidify the bonds together as a couple in private and public ways, that the oaths of marriage will be honoured. Fear of commitment in relationships or marriage commitment can also be known as gamophobia. What lays behind avoiding risking commitment, our inner life - how committed we are to our self, what moves us, what we yearn for can be included the relationship counselling and marriage therapy for commitment issues, commitment phobia (see also Pre-Marital Counselling). Choosing and deciding commitment in our relationship or marriage can be influenced by many factors...
Commitment is an act, not a word.Jean-Paul Sartre
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy London - deal with rejection, fear of rejection
Being Autonomous Yet Part Of A Couple
Dependence, Independence, Interdependence In relationships we will encounter dependence and independence issues alongside codependence issues, like needing to be separate and autonomous, yet needing to share and belong as a couple and feeI like a team - a you, a me, an us. Having "me" time can be important. We may want to be alone, sometimes fear aloneness, yet want togetherness, which at times can also be too much or too little. We all have needs and some of us may struggle to acknowledge any of our dependency needs on our partner (my needs, your needs, our needs). Conversely, becoming overly dependent on our partner, we may abandon or lose ourseIves in the early relationship, give up our independence, lose our ground and sense of who we are, as we become consumed by them. One or both of us may become controlling, possessive or over-demanding. We may be scared of taking our space for fear of losing our partner. Underlying resentment, envy and jealousy may play its part. We may experience issues of abandonment, rejection, control, engulfment, encroachment, intensity, invasion, imprisonment, suffocation or claustrophobia, sucked into something - what's my space, your space and our space. Some of us may thrive on being close and together as a couple, and others may be sensitive to a lot of togetherness. It can be too much for us, causing us to flee, as if we have absorbed our partner's energy, feel overloaded, tired or anxious. For those of us who are sensitive it can feeI as if our own space has been invaded, that we are smothered. Fearing engulfment we may struggle to experience giving and receiving love, and become love avoidant. We may have a different pace or need for space to that of our partner. Denying or fearing we have any needs maybe a concern for some. Fear of being overly needy may be a fear for others. Relationship counselling and marriage therapy can look at what these dependency, independence, commitment issues mean for you, alongside any fear of love and concern you have about how to deal with rejection, some of which may relate to our attachment, relationship style. That we are all interdependent may also interest us (see also In Tune With Us & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness).(Dependence - our difference, uniqueness, personal power, body, behaviour, feelings, preferences, etc. that I have choice, power, control, my actions only affect me)
Personal Identity & Shared Identity As A Couple Being there for each other, having shared experiences, are important. What independence and coupledom means may differ between us and our partner, and there may be a dance between both of us - one of us being emotionally avoidant, the other emotionally dependent (where one of us may do the pushing and pursuing, and the other one - the pulling away and distancing). Expectations may be different and we may want to be clear about defining our own privacy, personal life and space needs. All of us have an optimal space preference, which fluctuates. Identifying and communicating this with our partner can support us, so we feel less squashed or suffocated, enmeshed, and intimacy flourishes. In the times together (or apart), knowing we are loved and emotionally held, and that this is reciprocated, is usually of prime importance, as is retaining our own individuality and control. It may be important for us to know that love doesn't mean loss of us or our partner, that we are safe. These origins may come deep from our old wounds. Free from feeIing needy or like a victim or martyr, we may also want be able to be able to risk our vulnerability, yet be empowered. How to connect, disconnect and reconnect in ways we feel comfortable may be important for us. The relationship counselling or marriage counselling can look at what your own identity means for you in your relationship or marriage and how this may affect any fear of commitment, fear of rejection. Exploring our identity may also be important in the therapy.
Challenges It may be challenging to appreciate what we as a couple have in common, as well as our differences (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, interpretations, expectations, relating states, etc.). Believing that our partner completes us, as if they are our "other half", can lead to enmeshment or a merging with our partner, struggles with our separateness and personal boundaries - what's mine, theirs and ours. Challenges may include how to be in a loving, intimate, fulfilling relationship, where there is mutual empathy, without denying our needs, being either too remote or overly needy - demanding of others' attention and time (being overly "clingy"), or how to give of ourself, yet remain empowered, where there is space for me, you and us as a couple. Being strong, emotionally connected, without forsaking ourselves, grounded, taking responsibility and care for ourselves, empowered and different in our separateness, so we don't have to forego ourselves, worry about losing or upsetting our partner, may be important, so we don't lose our personal freedom. Further challenges may be how to have a clear sense of who we are - holding on to this, in touch with our own difference, being able to tolerate our own discomfort, aloneness and loneliness, connections, disconnections, reconnections, soothe us (less dependent on our partner doing this for us), being less reactive to our partner's reactivity. Being our self, individuated, and being with our partner, them too in in their separateness, individuation can be challenging. We may believe that if we individuate, we have to separate as a couple and no longer be together. Some may worry that if we are so separate as a couple, we may end up in living parallel lives. Spontaneity may also be a concern. The art of compromise may be another challenge. Marriage counselling and relationship psychotherapy can support you with your own struggles around these issues, including any commitment issues, worries about how to deal with rejection or our fear of love. We may also look at how loyalty and duty have their proper place, but do not become a straight jacket restricting us to flourish, be secure with both intimacy and autonomy, in our own authority.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - fear of relationships, fear of marriage
Differences Between Us & Our Partner
Acknowledging, Accepting, Managing Our Differences In Relationship How each of us experience things, view reality is different. It can be challenging, yet enhancing of our relationship, when we acknowledge, accept, embrace our partner's differences. One or both of us may struggle with understanding, accepting, tolerating each others difference. We may have different behaviour, temperament, needs, preferences, priorities. One may tend to be more optimistic, the other more pessimistic, one more introvert, the other - extrovert, yet these differences can work well for some, be the reason why we were attracted to each other in the first place, because each of us offer the other something lacking in us. The extrovert in us may enjoy the depth and quietness of our more introverted partner, while the introvert in us may enjoy the aliveness and social ease of our more extroverted partner. Understanding and accepting these inherent differences - supporting each other, can benefit the relationship, yet for some cause conflicts if we start judging each other. One of us may find detail important - the other prefers the bigger picture. One of us may tend to be more fluid, the other less so. Differentiating by identifying our own feelings, thoughts, values and desires, reflecting on these, enables us to know our self more. Congruently expressing these enables us to say who we are (see also Being The Person We Want To Be - Getting Back In Touch With Who We Are). Yet as we do this, it also enables us to be more aware of our partner also being separate, different from us (see also Owning, Accepting What's Ours). Effectively responding to these differences with clear boundaries, may assist us. It can be challenging to find ways other than to argue, acknowledge and respect our partner's right and responsibility to feeI, think and act along with their own their own desires and beliefs, even if we don't agree with them (see Our Sensitivities - Pushing Each Other's Buttons). Whether we are in a heterosexual or same sex relationship there may be further differences between us. One may be more led by our emotions, heart, the other our mind, intuition and it is how we respond to the impact on us of these differences which can be discussed in the marriage counselling and relationship therapy. Any cultural and religious, sexual differences between us and our partner are often embraced and celebrated, which can add to the relationship. Yet for some these differences, behaviours, traits, irritations, values, expectations and assumptions about the way things are done, or should be done, may be problematic or build up resentment, yet our partner's differences may be inherent. We may want to change our partner. Empathy, compromise or love may be in short supply. Sometimes we can focus on our differences or choose love, demonstrate love. At times it can be as if we have love for our partner one moment and not the next. (Some may become scared of commitment, fear commitment or indeed have a fear of rejection.)
Differences Between Us Because we are different, relationship at times can be challenging. Not only do we change, but also our relationship inevitably transforms and some of us can be troubled by a specific relationship problem. What we expect from relationship may be different. One of us may not want to grow up or struggle to adapt (see also Relationship Expectations, Hooks, Triggers, Disappointments, Hurt, Attitudes & Roles). What we do in adversity - how we respond, may be our challenge. Relationship counselling and marriage therapy can support you and explore possible options. (See also Challenges, Changes & Transformations In The Relationship Or Marriage)
Responding To Our Differences When life is always easy, comfortable, ticking along, we don't necessarily grow, without stretching ourselves into unknown territory. When life flows and we are aligned with our partner, it can feel good. Yet when our partner is not on the same wavelength as us, we may struggle to tolerate these inevitable differences, maybe wishing they would change. Our challenge may be to learn from this so our relationship can grow. Some of us may look for someone, who on the surface seems similar to us, yet eventually differences arise and relationship conflict may result, usually not because of the differences, but due to how we respond to these differences in the relationship. We may struggle to accept the way our partner thinks or acts - if only they were more like us, we would be happier. We may hold on to a belief that it is up to our partner to make us more happy - to complete us, that our uncomfortable or difficult feelings would disappear and we would be happy. Clash of different assumptions, perspectives, unrealistic expectations, needs and values may present problems. We may struggle to learn how to disagree, accept some differences may be unresolvable, calmly communicate in ways which enhance our relationship without things turning into an argument, even over the small things. We may allow some of these small details to divert attention from deeper issues or what's really important. We may want different things from the relationship. We may be holding expectations, disappointment, hurt or have contempt. Our love for our partner may continue to blow hot and cold. Some of us can regress, like bickering adolescents or children. It can be frustrating and exhausting explaining, arguing, defending, attacking, blaming, threatening or trying to persuade our partner that we are right, rather than compassionately feeI our own (or empathise with our partner's) real heartache. We can either be judgemental, critical or choose to respond to our partner with curiosity, openness and a willingness to negotiate, which may not only avoid conflict in relationship, but enable us and our relationship to grow, expanding our tolerance, acceptance, yet at the same time taking responsibility for our own wellbeing, aliveness, passion. Healing the relationship may be important to us. Accepting our partner as they actually are, letting them be themselves instead of trying to control them, valuing their differences, may be challenging as well as finding a way towards relationship balance. In our need for connection, closeness, love we may be trying to get our partner to see things the way we do, needing their complete support, understanding and affirmation - probably the same things as our partner needs. These issues can be included in the marriage counselling and relationship therapy.
Toleration We tend to receive back what we give and treating others as we wish to be treated may be a useful reminder to us. Do we assume the worst or give our partner the benefit of the doubt? If they do something inconsiderate or unloving, do we attack or withdraw? We have all done things that were thoughtless, unloving or inconsiderate and would have wanted our partner to understand, tolerate our mistakes, not hold them against us, but forgive us, validate us, without turning everything into a battlefield.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - abandonment issues, fear of abandonment
Healthy Boundaries & Resilience In Relationships
Respecting Each Other Once we are committed in our relationship or marriage, one or both of us may assume we have the right to know all of each other's business, knowing what's best for our partner, or telling them how they should be. Being different, separate and autonomous at times and articulating this can be challenging. Resentment, unhappiness and power struggles often emerge, leading to insecure and shaky foundations for the relationship. Loving and respectful boundaries can enable relationships to be built on firm foundations, so each partner is aware of the necessary lines to be drawn and how far we are allowed to go (see also Wanting Others To Respect Us & Respecting Others). Being clearer what's mine, what's yours and what's ours (including thoughts, beliefs, emotions, expectations - adjusting unreasonable ones), defining our boundaries can help us avoid enmeshment and co-dependency. What respect, and being in a committed relationship means for us and our partner, how important this is, can be looked into in the relationship counselling and marriage therapy. (See also Respect For The World Around Us)
Resilience In Our Relationship, Marriage Some of us may hold grudges, quit difficult things when there is discomfort. Our resilience can protect our relationship from the effects of its challenges, stresses. Making our relationship, marriage more resilient may include taking responsibility and care for our own wellbeing: accepting us and our partner, Good communication and emotionally connecting every day, viewing adversity as a way of strengthening the relationship, keeping perspective and choosing optimism over pessimism.
Trying To Enforce Our Boundaries On Our partner Being aware how we allow others to treat us may help us with setting our boundaries. Yet we may falsely believe that setting boundaries can enable us to control whether or not others treat us in ways we don't like. Our boundaries can only be set for us, not for others. For example if we tell people they can't treat us in a certain way, yet they do, we have tried to set boundaries for them, not for us. It can be challenging to accept we have no control of how someone else treats us, yet we do have control how we treat ourself and how we respond to the way others treat us. We may tell our partner they can't treat us this way or they should change, which can end up disempowering us. We may try to control our partner, withhold, withdraw (e.g. by not giving, receiving love), yet all these responses will diminish the loving relationship (see also When Our Partner Is Unloving). Accepting our differences, compassionately managing our own feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, helplessness, grief, may help us.
Boundary Setting Having some jointly owned "ground rules" and setting our boundaries can be a challenge, so they don't become like impermeable barriers or, on the other hand, too loose, yet flexible when they need to be, because our relationship is not only about us. Knowing when to draw lines as to what is acceptable and tolerable, to stand firm and when to compromise - bending our boundaries or dropping them, may support us. Regularly checking, reviewing how any rules, boundaries are working may support us, as may knowing our limits and where we stand. Some people can view personal boundaries as restrictive, with negative connotations and not the domain of relationships. They define us and our difference, and can vary in different situations. For example if we have a need for both space, closeness and intimacy in our relationship, it may need us to assert our personal space needs - the time and physical limits we set with our partner, so we are comfortable and emotionally freer. Another example may be not to get so drawn into our partner's emotions, that we should feel the same. Being caring yet remaining calm, when others are being emotional, may enable us to be receptive and support them. Once we set our boundaries, we may find it easier to negotiate our preferences with our partner, so intimacy becomes possible, conveying our message without attacking, blaming, being clear that it isn't about not caring for them, but is about how we best thrive and feel at ease. Conversely, we may be so intent at keeping our partner at arm's length, that the relationship lacks intimacy. This too can be a challenge for some. The level of commitment in our relationship may also concern us. Having our boundaries and setting them, the art of compromise can be considered in the marriage therapy and relationship counselling.
Boundaries Which Support Us Our boundaries enable us to take personal responsibility for our thinking, emotions, needs, will and actions, including what we say. Being clear to our partner about this may support us and our relationship. Our boundaries can also support us in not saying everything which is on our mind or always reacting to things immediately. Without healthy boundaries, and feeling resilient inside, we can look to our partner to meet all our needs, and make them responsible for our problems, or we may try to fit in with our partner's needs overlooking our own. Our boundaries are our own sanctity, defining who we are - our separateness within the relationship. They allow us to be ourselves, experiencing a sense of security and solidity. "I am I and you are you, and I am in relationship with you". They protect and guide us, enabling us to feeI safe, e.g. by sometimes saying "no" to us or others and following our inner voice. Yet, when we need nurturing or love, we may need to let our boundaries down. And these issues, alongside any phobia of commitment we have, can be brought to light in the relationship counselling and marriage therapy.
Boundaries Which May Hinder Us Opening and closing, receiving, giving love and intimacy may be an issue for some. We may have healthy boundaries, which are firm and flexible. However, some of us may struggle in setting reasonable limits - boundaries, in our relationship with our partner, and indeed with ourseIves. For some, our boundaries may be porous (we may for example have enmeshed our partner's needs with our own or vice versa). Others may put up walls of self-protection. However, what protects us, may not always help. These walls can be constructed through our anger and fear (e.g. commenting "if you say that, I will explode"). We can also build our walls by passively disappearing into the background, preferring to observe rather than interact, withdrawing from conversations ("walls of silence" or "stonewalling" - see also Giving Or Receiving "The Silent Treatment"), or using continuous talking ("wall of words"). It can be hard to set healthy boundaries and develop healthy relationships as adults, if boundaries were inconsistent when we were growing up. Relationship counselling and marriage therapy can help discover with you what boundaries are supportive and what aren't. How our boundaries affect our personal level of commitment can also be included in our work together. (For personal and sexual boundary issues see also Our Resilience, Hardiness & Protecting Our Personal Boundaries)
Relationship Counselling, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, fear of commitment, engulfment
Fear Of Engulfment
Caught In-Between Fear Of Rejection, Abandonment & Fear Of Engulfment When we feel love, loved we may also feel fear. The relationship counselling can explore how we can feel safe with our partner in the way we need. And some of us prioritise being safe from our fears of rejection, engulfment so we get into a relationship with avoidant, unavailable partners. Terrified of commitment, or of losing ourself (or of losing our partner), we may find reasons not to be with our partner ("Do I really love her/him?", "Are they the right one for me?", "Do I really want to be with her/him?") and struggle to find our strong loving adult within to set limits against being engulfed or controlled. We may be caught between the fear of losing ourself or our partner. Our strong strong loving adult may be able to decide that we would rather lose our partner than lose ourself and when this happens, our fear of engulfment (being sucked in, sucked dry, losing our self) may well diminish. We may continuously be faced with wanting to end the relationship so we end our turmoil of worrying about losing our partner or ourself, yet we may not have dealt with our deep fears, which may resurface every time we are in a relationship. And when we re-establish our existing relationship (or start a new one) when our partner opens up to us, our fear of engulfment returns, as if we are emotionally dancing out of step, in a push me, pull you pattern, so when we are in a relationship, we may fear engulfment and we are out of a relationship, we may fear rejection. Wanting, yet fearing intimacy and may be withholding, some of us may prefer to remain in some sort of dream world, fantasy - reminiscing what could have been from past relationships, what might be in future ones, yet not present in our current relationship. These responses may point to our attachment, relationship style including any separation anxiety.
Fearing Engulfment - Losing Ourself In The Relationship Sensitive inside, some of us want to let love in, share love, yet fear engulfment, being overwhelmed, enmeshed or our space being invaded, ending up pushing others away or pulling away ourself. Valuing our free spirit, we may fear being trapped, losing ourself in our relationship or become overly nice or compliant. We may also fear conflict, withdraw, withhold, disengage with our partner or close or shut down internally, deny our dependency needs, struggle to openly give and receive love. In our fear of any engulfment, we may not want to take responsibility for, or be controlled by, our partner's neediness, own sense of worth and safety, yet have not vocalised this. (For some our fear of engulfment may point to struggles taking our space in the relationship, which can be explored in relationship counselling.) We may fear losing ourself - believing that we need to give ourself up in order to get what we want, so by pushing others away, we (this wounded part of ourself) protect ourself from losing ourself. Yet needing love, compassion from others can make us feel vulnerable and scared of this we may pull away, push others away as a form of protection. We may need to let go of our judgements, listen to our own feelings, needs, find our own way of being compassionate, loving to our own inner child, so we are no longer dependent on another for this. Developing our own loving adult, so we no longer abandon ourself, fear rejection, abandonment, so we never lose our self, no longer fearing annihilation, death, setting healthy limits, so we are not engulfed, feel safe enough to open our heart and risk loving, making our desire for a relationship more important than our fear of engulfment, being centred in our own ground, powerful in our own right, may support us.
Relationship Counselling, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, pushing, pulling in relationship
Pushing & Pulling
Pursuing & Distancing - What May Be Going On Inside & Between Us There can be a dance between us - one of us emotionally avoidant, the other emotionally dependent. Needy inside, maybe fearing rejection, one of us may want to have control over the other, while the other resists. And when controlling and not being controlled becomes the intention behind our relationship, marriage, it makes it hard for it to thrive. The one who distances may fear heartbreak and in our helplessness over this end up pushing love away through our fear of loss. The one who pushes may struggle to take responsibility for their feelings, pulling on the other to give what they need to give to themselves. And when we feel or fear being pulled upon, we must resist - fearing or feeling invaded, engulfment, we may pull away, withdraw or abandon ourself. These circular patterns of responding can become like a downward spiral unless transformed (see also Our Painbody). Some may have developed a codependent relationship. It can be challenging for us not to take responsibility for our partner, when they are pulling on us, keep our heart open, be present and not lose ourself, be autonomous, yet be part of a couple. And taking things so personally we can lose our deeper connection with our partner. Both of us may struggle to take responsibility for our own feelings, coming from fear and our wounded selves, rather than our love. Often it can become clear in our relationship, marriage as to who is doing the pushing (pursuing), feeling pulled upon (distancing). A pattern may now have developed (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns) when one person pushes the other pulls away, and the more we pull away, the more the other pushes...
When We Pursue, Push Receiving, giving and sharing love may be out of balance. One of us may give a lot, yet choose un-giving partners (see also Caretaking - Codependency (Co-Dependency)). Others may have come on strong at the beginning of our relationship, believing we have found the right one, and yet when our partner reciprocates we may pull back just as strongly, lose interest. Later on we may again become more interested when our partner pulls back, and if they start showing interest again, we pull back again. In many relationships on the surface there tends to be a pursuer - one who is certain in their love feelings (with their fear often hidden). And empty inside, it can be as if we mistake searching and longing for love. We may desire to be with a person, who doesn't walk away, is loving and seeing us in the way we are meant to be loved, seen, yet it can also be what we don't want...
When Our Partner Distances, Pulls Away The counselling and psychotherapy may explore how one of us has a greater need for connection than the other, how we can tolerate these differences, be curious and loving. The distancer in our relationship may not easily express their loving feelings, attraction, as if they are the only one carrying the doubt on the surface. We may numb our feelings, close off, shut down, bottle things up. Meanwhile the pursuer in us may ironically feel safe, when the distancer has put up walls of protection, and it can sometimes be when our distancing partner begins to overcome their own fears, that we become in touch with our own fears of intimacy. Both pushing, pulling and resisting (like a magnet) can be viewed as a dance between one of us being emotionally avoidant, the other being more emotionally dependent and a form of controlling. This dance may also be in play when one partner is the caretaker, the other the taker. The counselling and psychotherapy can also explore how we feel treated by our partner (for example they may expect us to give ourself up to take responsibility for their needs, feelings) and how this may be a mirror for how we treat ourself.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - commitment phobic men, scared of commitment, fear of commitment
Fear Of Rejection, Abandonment Issues
Not Being All Of Who We Are, Risking Our Vulnerability, Choosing Our Partner Based On Fears If something went wrong when we were younger, we may have felt rejected, abandoned, and continue to believe this will happen now in our relationship with consequences. This can stop us fully being our self, living. In our fear of abandonment, struggle to deal with rejection, we may often imagine worse case scenarios. Rejection hurts and can be painful, affecting our wellbeing and can last a lifetime if we struggle to overcome or fear of rejection, abandonment. Being hurt or unable to let go (maybe from a past relationship), putting up walls, we may vow never be so vulnerable again. Fearing others will leave, scared of love, fearing love or commitment we may struggle to risk being ourself, real, asking for what we need. Paradoxically we may want to be seen and met, yet fear being seen as trusting or vulnerable, e.g. "As soon as I make myself vulnerable, I fear abandonment". Some of us can fear rejection so much, that it is on this basis we choose someone, because we believe they won't leave us (often trying to please them or try to make them dependent on us - not because of a deep connection or compatible qualities). Afraid to lose them, we may avoid risking ourselves in an intimate relationship for fear of being used or taken advantage of. Others may choose to turn inwards, become depressed or numb our feelings, get angry, as a form of protection, yet we may have rejected, abandoned our self.
How We Deal With Rejection In Our Early Years Every human being at some level has had to deal with rejection, both in their early years as a child (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns), and through adulthood in relationships with others. We continue to experience large and small rejections throughout our life. How to deal with rejection is something usually not taught. When younger, others may not have been present, ignored us, didn't "see us", as if we weren't important or valued and we may have felt rejected, not good enough and take these "not good enough" beliefs into our relationship. In our past we may also have felt singled out and became isolated. As a child, we may have avoided saying "No", fearing rejection or withdrawal of love. That burning, sinking feeling we have inside, devastation, when we were intensely sad, we may never want to repeat. Yet we may have closed off around others, magnifying our aloneness, loneliness. We may have learnt to avoid the hurt or pain of our heart breaking. We may have given ourself up to avoid rejection and continue to do this now in our life. How these early issues of abandonment, rejection continue to impact upon us now and other alternative ways of responding, so we deal with rejection in healthier ways, can be explored in the relationship counselling and marriage counselling. Learning to nurture ourself and care for others, so feeling rejected or lonely doesn't overwhelm us, may be a challenge.
Fear Of Rejection Now - Making Ourselves "Rejectable" No one wants to be rejected and rejection can be something we fear the most. It can be challenging to accept that rejection hurts, to remind ourself that often it has nothing to do with us personally, to not be so hard on ourself, be compassionate to ourself. Because of our fear of rejection, we may analyse everything, thinking of strategies, be looking for problems with things, signs of our partner being distant or uninterested, which can become like an avalanche cascading down on us, yet we can misread, misinterpret the signs and end up trying to subtly or explicitly control our partner. Some of us may frequently seek from others approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission and confirmation. Fearing rejection, abandonment, we may also fear upsetting or annoying others, our partner. Some of us may isolate ourself, others may try to be perfect, agree with everything, please others. As if feeling not good enough inside, some of us may set up relationships, so we get rejected again and again, as if to prove we are "rejectable" (see also Sabotaging Things In The Relationship Or Marriage). We may find ways to test our partner or push them away to see if they reject or abandon us, be scared of commitment, scared of love, yet also want this (see also Getting Our Basic Dependency Needs Met In A Healthy, Loving Relationship). We may end up rejecting the very people we want to let in, walking away, withdrawing, withholding to pre-empt them rejecting, abandoning us by being closed, starting an affair or even try to end the relationship first, before they can reject us. Concerns about how to deal with rejection may also get in the way of establishing a relationship with commitment. Our envy or jealousy may play a part. Others may choose to totally immerse themselves in looking after others, setting themselves up as depended upon, in the hope that they are not rejected. We may give up, close down, or do a whole range of other things to avoid rejection. Relationship counselling and marriage therapy can investigate ways of overcoming our continuing fear of rejection, abandonment issues, so we can deal with our rejection fear in a positive ways, remember we are worthy.
(S)he whose love has always been reciprocated does not know the real feeling of love.Inayat Khan
Self-Rejection For many of us it can seem as if there are two sides of us - a competent, loving person and fearful, needy side that can take over (for example the rejection and abandonment that we fear we can make happen in our relationships - see also Alone in The Relationship, Marriage). Some of us can reject ourselves through our self-judgement, criticism. We may struggle to accept and value ourself, our sensitivity and self-consciousness without judging them. Even though on the outside we may not show this, others may pick up the energy of our self-rejection, and then we end up attracting rejection. Noticing the subtle ways we reject or treat ourselves (as if somehow we aren't good enough), and stopping doing this, may be important. Fearing abandonment from our partner, a challenge may be to stay present to what we are feeling (e.g. anxious, low, guilty, ashamed, alone, angry, rageful, numb, distant, critically self-conscious), no longer abandoning us and our inner child. Some of us may have a negative sense of ourselves and negative model of others and this can be explored in therapy.
As we accept ourselves, so too will others.
Overcoming Fear Of Rejection, Fear Of Loss, Abandonment Issues Because our fear of rejection, some of us may choose partners who are unavailable or we find ways to drive them away. Rather than face our fear of loss, fear of rejection, abandonment, we may stay in relationships, when love is unrequited and the relationship therapy can explore this further. No one likes being rejected and most of us have been hurt in relationships. We may feel stuck inside and some of us may not have made the time to mourn our past hurts, pains, betrayals, or heartache. This can get in the way with how we deal with rejection now, as we or our partner continue to leave relationships. Each broken relationship leaves a mark on us, however small and we may want to utilise the relationship and marriage counselling to talk about the effects of these past relationships, so we are freer to be in our current one now. Accepting the rejection and other people's choices isn't easy, nor is understanding that rejections are rarely personal, yet when we do, it can stop us feeling so rushed. The effects of previous and worries of possible future relationships may stop us fully committing or opening our heart now, and we may experience a similar level of woundedness (or need) in the people we attract, yet our very relationships can offer the potential to heal our patterns of leaving relationships or others leaving us. Unless we learn to manage our possible heartbreak and helplessness, we may push away love of our life, others because of our fear of loss. Our fear of rejection, abandonment may never entirely go away, yet we can learn to manage this (rather than rush in to fix or please others or become a caretaker in the relationship). Our fear of rejection may point to how we rejected our self. No longer abandoning ourself may be important, so we let go of our belief that someone out ther can make it all right for us, that we not only take our barometer from what others need (without necessarily becoming a pleaser or fixer of others), but also from what we need. Our sensitivity to abandonment issues, fear of rejection and commitment phobia may date back to early connections and bonding patterns, affecting our selfworth and contribute to our fear of being alone, loneliness, and limit our way of flourishing in the world. We may also have a fear of death, dying. Being caring and trusting, being loving to ourself, coming to terms with our existential loneliness, may be our biggest challenge as may loving well and grieving to completion. Relationship counselling and marriage psychotherapy can help by looking at healthy ways to cope with our fears of rejection, reduce our dramas, manage our own dependency needs, so we don't act them out on us or through our partner, feel calm, safe in the relationship, are loving and learn what we need to learn.
Little Rejections Small rejections occur throughout our life and getting used to them and managing them can test our sensitivities. Innocuous mannerisms, looks in others, lack of eye contact and not being seen by others - even strangers, may affect us. Sometimes we may mistake our partner walking away from a situation, as if they are walking away from us. We may also look at ways of not taking rejection so personally, as if there is something wrong with us, so we deal with rejection in positive ways. Being centred in our own ground, congruent, choosing to speak our truth, expressing our needs may support us.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Commitment Therapy - deal with rejection, fear of rejection
Sabotaging Things In The Relationship Or Marriage
Relationship Self-Sabotage, Destruction One of us may have a pattern of sabotaging things in our relationship, marriage unconsciously or even seeing ourselves doing this, yet feel unable to stop. We may test our partner to breaking point, be in touch with our dark side, attracted to destroying the relationship, maybe through preempting our own fear of rejection, abandonment by rejecting them first. Some of us come to relationship counselling to look at the roles we take in our relationships and maybe explore ways how we may personally sabotage things. Some of us may try to fix things, please our partner, or attack, as a way of sabotaging intimacy. We may have fallen into habits that seem out of our control, where we end up sabotaging our relationship or marriage, yet not know why we do this. We may have powerful emotions towards our partner, which we can't bear. Yet these emotions are inside us, and many of them have nothing to do with our partner. (Some of our emotions, motivations, may be unconscious.) In our sabotaging behaviour, we may for example adopt opposite feelings, behaviours and impulses to the ones we intended. Somehow anxious inside, we may for example push away people closest to us, or deflect from intimacy. We can act towards our partner in the same way we would treat our worst enemy. Struggling to find or express love to our partner, or to acknowledge how important our partner is to us, rather than express this appreciation or love, we would prefer to hide it, fight, withdraw, do anything to avoid our anxiety of not having our partner around. We may not be able to believe we are loved or can love, and may find sabotaging ways to destroy love. Some of us may hurt or provoke or partner, testing them (e.g. if they still love us or would leave us - even trying to make them leave us). Fearing commitment, although we don't want our relationship or marriage to be destroyed, a part of us may also want to destroy it. This may also point to a fear of love, struggles of how to deal with rejection. Love may be elusive for us, and we may sabotage things further.
Relationship Counselling London, Pre-Marriage Counselling, Premarital Counselling, Premarriage Therapy, Commitment Therapy - abandonment issues, fear of abandonment
Pre-Marriage Counselling We may worry about whether to get engaged to our partner. Our engagement concerns may also be metaphorical, connected to how engaged, connected we are with ourself and with our partner. Some of us may have pre-marital concerns or whether or not to commit to the relationship. Anxious, we may have second thoughts (see also Our Internal World). We may be questioning if we are compatible or incompatible with our partner, or believing that by marrying our problems will disappear. Can we fully accept our partner as they are, that we are unable to change them? Others can be understandably nervous, or have concerns about getting married, and may want to use the marriage counselling and premarital counselling as a soundboard to discuss and review these in more detail. It may be important to find time with our prospective partner, discussing beliefs, intentions, expectations of a shared future together, ambitions and dreams, values, attitudes to certain things - including money and bread-winning, whether children are wanted, how they would be raised. (See also Relationship Expectations, Disappointments, Hurt, Attitudes & Roles)
Important issues may include:
- What it means to lose our single life
- What fantasies we have about married life
- The basis we form our relationship, marriage, on
- What assumptions, expectations are made
- Certain inhibiting beliefs, e.g. that it is our partner's responsibility to make us happy, to complete us
- How conflicts, disagreements, differences are responded to
- Understanding each other's needs & differences
- Having a strong, realistic foundation for when challenges, conflicts, compromises occur
- Creating a space for both to communicate well
- Appreciation of what both of us bring into the marriage
- What holds & binds us as a couple
- Being strong as a couple & good friends
- The qualities we value & each bring into the relationship
- Shared values & expectations
- Sense of our own identity
- Adjusting to married life
- Any false beliefs about our sense aloneness disappearing because we will be married
- Partnering ourself, so we can be a partner to our spouse
- How the marriage can grow & prosper
Wedding Nerves, Wedding Doubts It is understandable we may have wedding nerves and the closer the wedding date approaches, the more stressed we may become. We may feel pressurised by others and this can get compounded by our own self-pressure. There can be a strong social pressure, especially for women, to be married by a certain age, compounded by any concerns about the biological clock ticking away. We may experience irrational mood swings, feel anxious, panic, have problems sleeping. One of us may have become a little distant, or have cold feet about the marriage, needing to think through our fears. We may be considering postponing the marriage, yet also need to be clear that we don't remain in limbo, so we can explore what needs to happen to make us ready, if that is our choice. When we make important decisions, like getting married, it can be natural for some of us to have some wedding doubts and we may swing from wanting to go through with the wedding, because it is the right decision, yet have some understandable fears about the wedding day itself, unconnected from other major wedding doubts. Managing our wedding anxiety may now be a priority for us. Others may have deeper concerns, whether or not to go ahead with the marriage, postponing the wedding, cancelling the wedding. Some may have been on autopilot, going ahead with the wedding arrangements, yet not consciously choosing to think about what all this means, responsibly choosing to decide to get married. We may have genuinely wanted to marry our partner, and as the day gets closer, "falter at the final hurdle", question if we love them anymore, even though they haven't changed. Our fear, dread of marrying, may have set in, even affecting us physically. The counselling and psychotherapy for relationships and marriage may explore our underlying fears, worries, beliefs, that have brought us to this state. Others, deep down inside may be unhappy about the marriage, be contemplating cancelling the wedding or at least postponing the wedding for some time, making it easier for us to have the time and space to think things through. We may want to honour our own journey in life, which for some may mean not going through the wedding for the sake of it, or because we "should". Finding and speaking our own boundary saying "No" to this may for some be the right decision. Distinguishing between whether our anxiety, panic is about the wedding ceremony or what may be troubling us in our relationship may be important. If the person we intend to marry is not the man, woman for us, then for some of us listening to our anxiety, panic, may help prevent us from making the decision of going through with the wedding.