Engaged! The Reality of 5 Premarital Myths

Under the fluff of the tulle and the sweetness of the tiered white cake, there's a lot of serious business behind a wedding. It's the symbolic beginning of a new life - which means it's also the end of the one you knew. Relationships change - boyfriends become husbands, best friends take a back seat, your parents take a smaller role as you begin your own family.

Many brides - in their excitement and planning - don't realize they're stressed about those changes until they find themselves having a meltdown over place settings and napkin colors.

Allison Moir-Smith, author of the new book "Emotionally Engaged," coaches brides on handling the emotional roller coaster ride to the altar. She debunks the most common myths about getting engaged.

Premarital Myth #1: Getting engaged means you're ready to marry your fiancé.
The Reality:
You'll never re-evaluate your relationship more, or with greater intensity, than the time leading up to your wedding. When you were just dating, you never quite let yourself think of a forever future. But once that future becomes a reality, you may become more critical. The good news is that once you realize you still want to marry your fiancé, you'll be even more committed to the marriage.

Premarital Myth #2: Engagement is all romance, all the time.
The Reality:
Freaked out by the sudden seriousness - and permanence - of the relationship, many couples begin having more fights and less sex. Plus, your relationship has now gone public: Everyone on your guest list is speculating on whether it will last. Moreover, there's the stress of wedding planning. Who knew your betrothed would have such strong opinions about wedding favors?

Premarital Myth #3: Your friends and family are thrilled for you.
The Reality:
Well, they are - but they're also a little scared or sad about the changes that will take place to your relationships. Brides may feel alienated, even angry, at families and friends who are pulling away, or acting out, from their feelings of being left behind as you start your new life.

Premarital Myth #4: You won't turn into Bridezilla.
The Reality:
Not only will you find yourself unnaturally obsessed with table linens or invitations, you'll realize it's actually kind of good for you. "Being engrossed in your wedding can be psychologically and emotionally healthy, if you can find the metaphors," writes Moir-Smith. "Trying on dress after dress helps you become comfortable in your new skin as a bride. Tweaking your online registry - 10 place settings? 12? 10? 12? - helps you imagine your new married home. So, go ahead, be obsessed about your wedding if you want to be. Just bring a psychological awareness to your obsession. Ask yourself: Why am I devoting so much effort and energy to this wedding detail and not another?"

Premarital Myth #5: It's the happiest time of your life.
The Reality:
It is a happy time, sure, but it's also full of ups and downs. "Most brides-to-be write off their 'unbridely' feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness to wedding stress - which does in fact account for some of the angst," writes Moir-Smith. "But much of it is caused by a normal, natural psychological process." You can't rush the evolution from your single mental state to a married one. Learn to separate fact from fiction, be okay with grieving the loss of your single self, and you'll be ready for the realities of marriage.

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