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Boyfriend says he wants to get married, freaks out while planning

Community Member
My boyfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years, I'm 28 and he's 27. We moved in together within 6 months of our relationship. From the very onset we have talked about marriage and kids, he described to me in the very early stages of our relationship that those are two of the things he wants. We also share a lot of the same interests. We both come from previous long term relationships as well. So this whole time we have never really had many arguments, we live together very well, we share a lot of interests, the sex is amazing (although recently the frequency has died down a bit) and we both share the same values and interests, I pretty much felt that everything, all the important stuff aligned with us. He has been talking non stop for the last year about getting married and kids. I started to talk more seriously about it to him, and he basically told me to start planning it. He even said  to me if I were to accidentally fall pregnant that it would be a great thing and nothing to be afraid of (my previous partner always made me feel bad). So everything is going well, and then out of the blue a few days ago he says we need to talk. He says he hasn't been expressing himself emotionally to me for at least a year and he says he is actually afraid of the future because there are so many uncertainties. He says he is especially worried and anxiety filled because he is normally so focused and clear (a quality I love about him, since I experience an anxiety disorder and he has been very helpful and supportive of me) but lately he hasn't felt this way. At first I was a bit upset because I felt more betrayed that he didn't choose to talk to me about all his worries. He says he didn't want to upset me, that I deserve the best and to be happy (I have a pretty terrible past, just lots of bad luck), but I said protecting people that you love isn't necessarily what's best for them. He says he wants a family and marriage with me, but he has so many intrusive thoughts that constantly question our relationship. I think his worries and fears are normal, because we set a date and then his anxiety started, but because he's never experienced it before he has no idea what to do with it. He is still very loving towards me, and wants to work hard to sort this out and "get back on track". I have suggested therapy to him and he will be doing that soon. I have many doubts and fears about everything (anxiety disorder) but I work through them all. Is relationship anxiety a thing?
5 Replies 5

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi SB, welcome

Yes, anxiety is normal in this situation. Anxiety can be misinterpreted though from huge disappointment, guilt, embarrassment I would assume.

At this point it seems to me you've just set a date. That can easily be postponed. Take the front foot and tell him you aren't interested in marrying him unless he is 100% sure. Tell him "too many marriages fail now a days and you don't want to be in one of them."

Men do mature slower than females. It's a chance he has just had a hiccup feeling and he will recover over time. So I'd wait and not talk too much about the topic for a year or so. If he hasn't found security enough to pledge to you again then start to get concerned then.

Life is full of hoops, roller coasters and along with them comes the disappointments. Disappointment over plans cancelled will take some time to recover from. Readjusting will settle your nerves and life will go on.

A fairytale marriage - there is no such thing. It's hard work. So put this challenge of your down to the same challenge. it's the price we pay for love and care from another human being....to give them time, space to make up their mind 100% and get the reward for being patient.

Patience is something you cannot buy. It's torturous. But he might be worth it dont you think?

Lose your patience and put pressure on him and you run the risk of losing him.

Tony WK


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Silent Bird

Hello and thank you for your post. You have been very open and honest with your comments and you show a great deal of insight. This is great.

It seems to me that the anxiety your BF feels is quite usual. Talking about marriage and having children is all very well until it suddenly looks like becoming a reality. It's not that your BF has changed his mind, at least I hope not, it's just the potential responsibility and added stress of including children and making a public commitment to someone. In some ways it's good that your BF realises that marriage is no casual matter and wants to be certain this is the right thing for both of you.

Everyone has doubts and fears about major steps in their lives. Try to talk to each other about your concerns. It is surprising how speaking the fears out loud changes your perception of them. It can help to decide how real are these fears and what you can do about resolving them. Keep on talking until you can both feel you can make a decision that is right, whatever that decision is.

Let us know how you get on.



Thank you for replying to me Tony. 

We have had many chats over the last few days, and each day he says he feels a lot better. He is appreciative of the way in which I've responded to his thoughts and fears. He says for weeks he wasn't sleeping or eating, because he thought our relationship might end once his feelings came out. I asked him flat out if there was any chance, what-so-ever, of him wanting a life with me, to marry me and to have children with me, and he immediately told me yes (this was a few days into our talks). So I don't necessarily believe he's changed his mind. I said to him that if he is serious about that, then he will make every effort to work through any anxieties he's feeling. He agreed, and he is looking into therapy. He says all he wants is to feel better and to "be back on track for our future". I told him that I will give him time, and I will be supportive throughout this period in our relationship. I said to him that I will not be bitter, or resentful or hate him while this is happening, but if he can't come back to me within a reasonable amount of time with a definite decision to choose me in life than I will need to move on (as much as it pains me). I understand these things take time, so I'm in it for the long haul.

He told me he can't imagine building a life with anyone else and that the more he talks to me about all these things the more certain and confident he feels with me.

I am a very patient person... I spent 10 years previously with a boy who strung me along. In my heart I knew he wasn't the one, but I allowed it to go on for so long. I have an anxiety disorder and suffered clinical depression, but I worked hard to get out of it. My previous partner told me I was never good enough to marry, but continued to stay with me. I have been to therapy for these issues and feel like I have mostly sorted them out.

I feel deep down that my current partner is just experiencing normal anxieties, especially since this is a pretty big life decision to make. There has been little tension in our relationship so far, and when this first came to a head it was quite shocking, because everything for the most part had been pretty easy. I understand relationships take a lot of work, and I am willing to be patient and put in the work because he is worth it.

Good for you. That's the right attitude.

Now, let him do his therapy thing and keep laughing and enjoying the next few months while he sorts himself

Take care and good luck   Tony WK


I have some new information to add. A few days after our talks, and everything getting better, I had a gut feeling about infidelity and checked his computer. He had images sent to him from another woman, a woman he was friends with on FB. He met her at work, she was a client and she added him to FB. He said the friendship started off quite innocent, but he said the more anxious he felt with me, the more he opened himself up to her. Their conversations turned sexual in nature and she began sending him pretty hardcore photos of herself to him (she is in a failing marriage and has kids too). He says he didn't ask for them, but he didn't tell her to stop either. I ended up confronting him about this and going to my friend (my friend has been through something similar). She gave me some good advice and after I collected my thoughts, I came home and told him exactly how I felt. I said this is an emotional affair and I am betrayed. I am shattered. He says he is remorseful and just so confused and frightened and upset. He booked his first session for therapy but says he wants to do his personal therapy first before we do couples counselling. He blocked and deleted that other woman from everything and deleted all the pictures. My heart is broken, but I feel like this might just be a hiccup for him. We live together and I've made it clear to him that he is sleeping in the living room, and that there is a lot of work to be done, and he has to earn my trust again. This has all happened because he's never emotionally opened up to me. He's never been honest with himself or his feelings with me. He's hidden them from the beginning. How is it fair that he would go to his friends and another woman before even talking to me about how he felt? I believe he felt a lack of intimacy between us, but he constantly told me that everything was great. I don't understand.