Why Am I Afraid to Get Married?

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“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s Common to Be Afraid to Get Married

Although marriage comes with a lot of wonderful perks, it can also be life-changing and scary. There are no guarantees and things will change once you’re married.

Try to think of marriage as a glass-half-full, instead of a glass-half-empty. Yes, your life will change but most likely for the better!

Being married forces you to grow as a human being and a partner

It helps you get in-tune with who you really are and what you really want in life, a partner, and even a relationship. But, that doesn’t make it any less terrifying, right? Honestly, there could be a thousand reasons why someone may be afraid of getting married. The key to overcoming this fear is to acknowledge it and address it.

Does that mean you have to get married one day, even if you don’t really want to? Absolutely not. It is your choice. But, if you do want to get married one day and you feel something is holding you back, this article is for you.

The reasons you may be afraid to get married

There are many reasons why a 20-something may be afraid to get married. The only way you will overcome this fear is if you figure out why you’re so afraid to take the leap.

Below are possible reasons why you may be afraid to get married:

1. Your parents had a “bad” marriage or divorced

The two main reasons young adults are afraid to get married are because their parents’ marriage was abusive, destructive, or unhealthy, or because they grew up with divorced parents. In other words, they witnessed a failed or many failed marriages, poor communication, domestic violence, adultery, etc. All of these factors can play a role in your fear of tying the knot.

2. Fear that you will eventually fall out of love and your marriage will fail

Another common fear that young people have about getting married is that they will lose interest in their partners and vice versa. The result? A failed marriage. Thus, these individuals are ultimately afraid of getting divorced.

Commitment phobia is usually based on mistrust, uncertainty, and/or previous relationships that ended badly.

3. Fear of the unknown

Some people refuse to get married because they don’t know what to expect. They are afraid of the unknown. What does marriage even mean and look like? What are the expectations? These individuals typically crave order and predictability. So, they shun marriage because they cannot guarantee the outcome. 

4. Fear that things will change in your life and in your relationship

Others are afraid that once married everything will change – themselves, their partners, their relationships, and their overall lives. This terrifies them, so they avoid marriage at all costs. These individuals are afraid of the changes that come with committing themselves to someone else.

5. Fear of leaving your parents

Some young adults are afraid to leave the safety of their parents. These individuals are used to Mom and Dad taking care of everything so it is hard to leave that comfort and security behind. Moreover, people who come from tight-knit, or enmeshed families, could be afraid to leave their parents because they heavily influence their identities.

6. Fear of losing independence after getting married

Some 20-somethings are deathly afraid of losing their independence. For the first time in their lives, they can do whatever they want when they want to do it, and they don’t want to lose their independence by getting married. These individuals are typically set in their ways. They don’t want someone telling them what they can or cannot do or where they can or cannot go. They also don’t want to lose their individuality.

Remember, these are just some of the reasons why you may be afraid to get married. Honestly, the list is endless so it is important to do some self-reflection and identify why YOU feel the way you do.

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Actionable Steps


Identify the real cause of why you’re afraid to get married

Try to determine why you are so afraid of getting married. Is it because you witnessed unhealthy, abusive, or destructive marriages, your parents are divorced, you are afraid of change or the unknown, you don’t want to leave your parents or lose your independence, etc.?

What scares you the most? Once you have an idea of where this fear stems from, you can make a plan to conquer it.


Work on trusting your partner

If you are afraid of getting married due to past experiences or relationships, you’ll need to work on trusting your partner before you think about walking down the aisle. Marriage is a huge commitment so it’s important that you, at a minimum, have good communication and problem-solving skills, and trust – lots of trust. If you don’t have these things, you are not ready to get married.
So, talk to your partner about how you feel and why you have a hard time trusting him or her. Did your current partner hurt you in the past? Are you unsure of his or her commitment to you and your relationship? If the mistrust lies with your partner, you’ll need to address it before you talk about getting married.
If the pain and hurt remain, you may have to seek couples counseling before you can move forward in your relationship. On the other hand, if your trust issues have nothing to do with your current partner and more to do with a previous one, two, or three, lean on your partner. Talk to him or her about how you’re feeling. And, if that doesn’t help, consider seeking individual or family counseling to resolve your issues.
Psychologist’s Note: Remind yourself constantly that your current partner is not your previous one or ones. He or she is a totally different person; it’s not fair to blame him or her for the actions of others. If you keep this mentality, you will eventually begin to trust your partner.


Write it down

Purchase a journal and write down what you are thinking and feeling. Journaling helps you put your thoughts and feelings into perspective so you can better understand and deal with them. When you are having doubts or you feel overwhelmed or afraid to move forward in your relationship, write it down in your journal.
The great thing about this exercise is it forces you to take an in-depth look at what’s really scaring you about getting married. After you write down a fear, try to come up with a healthy way to deal with or address it.


Talk to a counselor

If you feel like you’ve tried everything to move past your commitment phobia and conquer your fear of getting married, but nothing has worked, it may be time to talk to a counselor.

A counselor can help you determine the root cause of your fear of marriage. He or she can also help you address the phobia so you can get married one day – angst-free. Moreover, a counselor can teach you coping skills which will give you the tools you need should the fear arise again in the future. Lastly, a counselor can help you rebuild trust in your relationship.


Read more about this topic

You can learn more about why you are so afraid to get married by reading the following articles: I’m Terrified of Getting Married, 15 Reasons I’m Afraid to Get Married Someday, and How to Overcome the Fear of Marriage.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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