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Is Having Cold Feet Healthy?

Dear Philippa,

My girl friend and I have been going out together for three years. The other day I told her that about a year and a half ago I had cold feet. I told her that now when I ask myself if she is someone I can love forever, the answer is always 100% YES. But she says that I had cold feet because I don't love her enough. What do you think?

�Bob, Sydney, Australia


Dear Bob,

The term "cold feet" has a negative connotation to many people because they equate it with someone backing out of the relationship and leaving them without warning. I wonder how your girlfriend would have responded if you had told her that earlier in your relationship you were going through some stuff that made you worry about the two of you, but now you know she is the one you want to be with and love forever.

Many of us feel insecure in relationships. It sounds like you hit an insecurity nerve in your girlfriend because even though it occurred a long time ago she's probably wondering if you will get "cold feet" again. That's why she probably made that comment about not loving her enough.

She might find it helpful to know that you can love someone and be totally committed to that person and still go through periods when you question the relationship. This is normal and healthy.

Once, when my husband and I were dating, we were literally lost in Los Angeles, walking around trying to find a certain restaurant. We spent the time talking about our relationship. We talked about our fears. My husband told me that he had been feeling scared about certain things. Normally that would have sent me into fits of absolute terror. But then I realized that he and I were actually discussing these feelings openly with each other. He wasn't doing what other guys had done and just announcing that it was over or had "cold feet"�which I have always equated with rejection.

Its not only healthy to talk to each other about your concerns, it is absolutely the only way that you can hope to sustain a happy, long-term relationship. Relationships all go through their cycles as they warm up and cool and warm up as you deal with life and each other. The love doesn't fluctuate�it remains constant even when you argue, feel sick, or are stressed out by what life throws at you.

Can you see how your innocent comments may have contributed to your girlfriend's insecurities? You sound like a very aware and special guy, but you may have to do a little repair work if you want your relationship to evolve into a "forever".

Explain to her that you want both of you to be able to talk openly about your concerns. Let her know that the term "cold feet" no longer exists in your vocabulary because it implies you would just change your mind and leave. She need never worry that you are suddenly just going to leave her. Tell her that you are in this relationship for the long haul, through the good and not so good times. And that your love is growing all the time as you and she become closer by sharing your hopes and fears with each other.

Intimacy is about openness and truth. And that can seem scary. Once you develop a relationship where you can share your thoughts and feelings without frightening or threatening the other person, the love just gets deeper and stronger. See this situation as a gift, an opportunity for you both to become closer, and you will.



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