The phrase “they got cold feet” is probably one that you’ve heard used before. But out of context, it can be difficult to understand what it means. There is a symbolic meaning for a lot of people, then there is also the real meaning.
There is no specific point in any relationship where the members get cold feet – it can happen at any time.
And getting cold feet can happen to anyone, not just men or just women.
The textbook definition of relationship cold feet is one member excessively worries about a particular problem.
It could be something simple such as the way you look or perhaps a habit the other person has that annoys you.
It also could be attributed to something major, like whether to have children or where you want to live after marrying.
This phenomenon is mostly associated with right before marriage. Suddenly, one partner realizes he or she cannot live with their intended spouse.
Sometimes the marriage is called off prior to the ceremony itself. Other times, the intended spouse is left standing at the altar. Either way, it can be traumatic for both parties.
We must point out that cold feet do not only surface when a marriage ceremony is involved.
It can happen during a proposal by the hopeful spouse. The answer to that all-important question is not always yes – sometimes it is no.
Definitely yes! It can happen in the early stages of a relationship where one member suddenly realizes that they can no longer commit to the partnership. It could happen in as little as a few weeks or as long as several months.
Let’s take a look at an example of this happening. Say the people involved were communicating over a long distance via social media.
Everything seemed perfect until they met in person. Then, one or both people realize they are not compatible after all. Cold feet.
Although the signs are not always obvious, when they are present, they may look like:
- Excessive arguing
- Lack of trust
- Avoiding each other
- Seeing other people
- Lack of emotional connection
- Differing values
- Lack of intimacy
- Communication issues
- Not getting along with or liking your partner’s family or friends
- Feeling a lack of independence
- Inability to solve problems in the relationship
In actuality, yes. When somebody gets cold feet during a relationship it does not mean that there is something wrong with the individuals in the relationship.
Getting cold feet can stem from differences of opinion or for a variety of normal reasons. It is part of human nature.
If one or both people want out of a relationship, it is certainly normal. Human beings change over time and sometimes are no longer compatible. It happens all the time.
No, not necessarily. However, one partner may have difficulty managing their emotions and understanding their deeper feelings.
Just know that having cold feet doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something extreme going on or that the person experiencing them is immature.
Sometimes the differences between two people just grow worse over time. Then, one or both of them decide these are too much to persevere.
Does getting cold feet always mean the couple is doomed?
Even if a couple breaks up due to one or both members having cold feet, it’s actually quite common for them to get back together later.
A lot of times the two people in the relationship realize they really were meant to be together even though one or both experienced cold feet.
Usually, the couple gets back together because they realize that they truly missed each other and want the relationship to work. Often, repairing the relationship this way is even done without the help of a couple’s counselor.
The two parties are resourceful and committed enough to make things work more successfully the second time around.
Yes, but it’s more common for couples to have a period of separation after getting cold feet.
The reason for the cold feet might be a sensible one like the intended spouse wasn’t ready to make it official. However, it can still be traumatic.
Having just said that some relationships can continue after this occurrence.
The feelings that resulted in the coldness do not necessarily mean the couple does not love each other anymore. Sometimes, it is caused by financial reasons.
Perhaps the breadwinner of the pair felt unable to support the other person or the inevitable household the two would share.
It does not mean they can never marry. Maybe they just needed to put it off for a little while.
If a relationship is progressing faster than you are ready for and you want to separate for a while – or end it permanently – there are some tactful ways to go about it.
Remember, it is possible your partner did not see it coming. Therefore, it could be traumatic for them, so try to be diplomatic and caring.
Be respectful of his or her feelings when you break the news and do so in person. Here are some suggestions for breaking the news:
- Ask your soon-to-be ex mate to talk.
- Be honest with the other person. Explain that the relationship is progressing faster than you are ready for.
- If something the other person said has brought on the cold feet, discuss why it bothers you, then tell them you want to take a break from the relationship.
- Never be prepared to live a lie. If a commitment to one person is not for you at this time, tell them so.
- Let him or her know they are not a bad person, then proceed to tell them why you want out.
- Remember there is never a point of no return for a couple. If you experience cold feet and want to end the partnership, tell them. Nobody should continue a relationship they are unhappy in.
Definitely yes. Many couples remain friends after their romantic partnership ends.
Perhaps you feel you cannot have a monogamous relationship with the other person for various reasons, yet you enjoy doing things together.
Have a serious discussion with him or her and tell them that. Explain you would like to remain friends even though you don’t want to continue having a romantic relationship.
There is nothing wrong with doing this. Many former serious relationships thrive when the commitment part is left out and they go on to stay close friends for the rest of their lives.
If you get cold feet at any point during your relationship, don’t think that there is something wrong with either you or your partner.
It happens to most people at least once during their lives, so give each other some space to sort things out.
Maybe you two will come back together or maybe you will each move on. Only time will tell for sure.