Twenty-nine-year-old Priya Gupta was to be married this month in an expensive and lavish wedding in Mumbai. She had known her fiancé for eight years, and the momentum that carried her like a wave toward the altar must have seemed unstoppable.
Priya had the wedding jitters in October. “Thankfully, I could express my concerns and doubts to my family,” says the brand manager. All she had to do was make it to mid-November, and then her fate would be sealed. But things didn’t go that far. The wedding was called off, and Priya stayed at a friend’s house in Bangalore “to get away from everything” where, at last, she heaved a massive sigh of relief.
At least 50 per cent of all people getting married get a case of either cold feet or seem to have feet that want to run away from the altar. Now, it’s happening more so among women, for whom traditional definitions of marital roles are changing. Although a proposal is usually followed by “yes!” there may later come a time for “no,” or a “whoa”.
Some would speculate that Priya was experiencing a post-traumatic stress reaction, or that she had a manic-depressive disorder, or maybe an anxiety disorder, as the result of a highly stressful event in her life. But her actual reasons for running away from her nuptials were different. “When the invitation cards were printed and my wedding dress bought, I started questioning my decision (to get married). I was having sleepless nights, and tried to ignore the jitters by drowning myself in work. But nothing worked. Finally, I confided in my mother and sister that although my fiancé is a nice guy, I didn’t really love him,” she says.
Her other reasons were pressures by would-be in-laws to live and behave differently, differences of opinion about family planning and domestic responsibilities. Meanwhile, her fiancé thought she was “just getting cold feet” and would come round soon. “When he realised it wasn’t so, he agreed to part ways cordially.”
Occupational psychological counsellor Dr Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya strongly recommends pre-marriage counselling. She says, “Activities leading up to the wedding, including the ceremony, and your life thereafter will not be perfect. Wedding books and movies focus on the fantasy of perfection, one that is not achievable in the real world.”
What to do:
> Talk honestly to your betrothed. Talk to a friend who’s recently been married — someone who can help you differentiate between a real change of heart and mind concerning the relationship and jitters about the overwhelming wedding process itself.
> Recall why you said “yes” in the first place and see if your reasons are still valid.
> Think about what you like, what you love about your future spouse and why these aspects of his personality are so special to you.