Dear Wendy: “Are Pre-Engagement Jitters Normal?”

My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly four years. I recently found out, through my mom, who has a huge mouth, that my boyfriend stopped by to pick up my grandmother’s diamond. We are using it in a simple setting we picked out together. When I picked it out, I was overjoyed. I’m still very excited. But now that it is real, I can’t help but be a little nervous. I don’t ask myself if he is the right person, I just worry about forever being a long time. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s the wrong choice? What if 10 years from now we regret getting married? What if I have to get a divorce? I’m a planner by nature. I hope for the best and plan for the worst and I like guarantees. I like to know what is going to happen to me. Is it wrong to be a little bit nervous about all the uncertainty and life changes I am jumping into? — Planner

You don’t mention how old you are, but I’m assuming you must be pretty young if you haven’t yet learned that there are no guarantees in life. And all the plans in the world can be thrown out the window on a dime. The only thing you can really plan for are curve balls, because life’s going to throw them at you. You’re going to experience loss, grief, hardship and challenges, some of which you may not even be able to imagine right now. Of course, there will be plenty of wonderful things to come your way, too — rewards you’ll work hard for and happy surprises that may seemingly drop in your lap without warning. That’s life and some of the biggest events are unplanned or unexpected. The question is: do you want to experience those events with someone you’re in love with, whose support will help get you through the hard stuff and whose encouragement will help you enjoy the good stuff? Or, do you want to travel the rest of your path alone because you’re too afraid of making a misstep with someone?

Of course, uncertainty can be nerve-racking, but living life in a constant state of anxiety is not only unhealthy, it’s unproductive and uninspired. If you feel in your heart you’re making the right choice — and this goes for whatever choices you may have to make in the future — feel the fear, but don’t let it guide you. Let love guide you. It has the better track record as a leader. But if you feel in your gut you’re making the wrong choice, don’t ignore that! We can’t always plan for the curve balls life’s going to throw our way, but sometimes, when we pay attention to our instincts, we can get out of the way before they hit us.

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