Dear Carolyn: I am getting married in August. I have no doubts about him or being married. However, I strongly pushed for a small wedding or eloping, but my fiance and our families both want a larger wedding.
He’s helpful in the planning, and I have very little interest in most of it. Whenever I’m asked how it’s going or about specific details, I get a little nauseated. I don’t know how to answer and move on without giving the wrong impression. I’m not anxious about him, just the big day and being the focus of everything. I just want it to be over and be married, and talking about it so much is just awful for me.
– Wedding Anxiety
A: Please tell me the lone dissenter on a big fussy wedding isn’t the one planning the big fussy wedding – with your fiance merely being “helpful.”
Because if you are, then I have doubts, even if you don’t.
Doubts because your planning the wedding would mean you couldn’t or wouldn’t stand up to the pressure to fit other people’s expectations.
Doubts because your being planner-in-chief would mean your fiance couldn’t or wouldn’t recognize how thoroughly he and your families are imposing on you.
Doubts because wedding details are small, even trivial, but combined they draw a blueprint. And I worry about a marriage with the blueprint this wedding apparently draws.
Please tell your fiance you remain eager to be married to him. Then tell him that planning a big wedding you pushed hard not to have is a source of anxiety and nausea for you. Ask to turn the planning reins over to the people who wanted it, be it to him or to his parents or to yours or a committee thereof. Ask to cut your role down to this: picking your outfit, and showing up when and where you’re told to show up.
These are fair to ask, because he overruled your preference. If he does not recognize that fairness, then I suggest you take it up in the context of premarital counseling. Like I said, flowers and caterers are small stuff, but so are acorns. What they grow into are anything but.
As for what you say to people requesting details, whether you’re chief planner or not: “(Smile.) If I could be married tomorrow, I would.” All honesty, no awful. Good luck.
Dear Carolyn: I have recently started seeing someone I really enjoy. The only problem is she uses a lot of synthetic fragrances (body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent, perfume) that all make me feel a bit sick.
I use only natural stuff and would like her to, too. I have tried asking (as tactfully as possible) a former lover as well as former roommates to change their products, even offering to subsidize any increased cost, and have never gotten a positive response. I’m afraid to bring this up because I don’t want to turn this into a fight, but it’s not something I can ignore indefinitely.
A: It’s possible your tact is the problem. What you have isn’t an opinion; it’s a physical reaction.
So present it that way: “Perfumes make me sick.” Pad the preface as you want (“This might sound weird/intrusive/(etc.)”), but be completely plain with the point.
Then, specifics: “I’m sensitive to anything with a synthetic fragrance – shampoo, detergent, scented candles.” The last one is unrelated to her body, which might help.
Then, ask: “Would you be willing to change what you use?”
For someone I see often, I’d sign on without thinking twice. The right person for you will do the same.
Obstacles like these are a natural filter; trust that the keepers will pass right through.
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