Q: My fiancé and I are planning to marry after dating for five years. We are both 50. I was previously married for 22 years, but he has never been married. In fact he has never left the childhood home he shares with his sister. He is also borderline OCD, but we have managed to build a wonderful relationship by working at it slowly.
I’m so worried about how the transition to married life will go, especially since he will not be moving in until after the wedding. I’ve wanted this for so long, but now I’m the one who’s terribly nervous now that it is just a few months away. How can I work through these fears without totally freaking him out as well? — TB
Dr. Schwartz: Why not have him move in before the wedding? If you’re afraid that he will have a traumatic transition, why not test it out before hand and live together for a few months? Why should that freak him out any more than your eventual cohabitation as man and wife?
I worry that there are things you know, in your bones, that you don’t want to know. His romantic background is dicey, to say the least but you must believe he has come a long way over these past five years to make this kind of commitment. So why the freeze now?
Perhaps because you are picking up some vibes that you need to listen to. So that’s why I think you should make sure that transitions that worry you, should be done ahead of time. You both are making a huge commitment, and it shouldn’t be done if you are having a case of nerves that can be rectified with more information.
I hope everything is wonderful but I will tell you this: I have heard many stories of people who had doubts of one sort of another, felt they should just go through with the marriage because “everyone was expecting it” and later, felt they should have waited. I’m not telling you to delay the wedding. I don’t know enough to recommend for or against that.
What I can say is you should feel sure and investigate anything that makes you feel unsure. If that “freaks him out” then that should be handled and solved, but not avoided. You need to be able to handle this as a couple and not back away from it. You have been nurturing this relationship and I commend you for that, but ultimately, this has to be a marriage between two competent, communicating adults, or it’s not the marriage you want.