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Getting cold feet before marriage

By Karabo Disetlhe-Mtshayelo | Oct 19, 2016 | COMMENTS [ 51 ]

We all loved Julia Roberts in the classic movie Runaway Bride, where she played a commitment phobe who would always literally leave her fiancés at the altar and make a run for it.

As heart-warming as the film was, there are some real-life people who have left others at the altar too, and called off the wedding at the very last minute.

What causes one to do this? Is the cold feet phenomena real? One such person who can relate to this is Dane Smith, a 24-year-old cabin crew trainee who ditched his fiancée during the final preparations for their wedding and never looked back.

Smith says for him it was just a case of a change of heart.

"We were deeply in love and got engaged on a trip to Mozambique back in 2014. Soon afterwards, preparations for the wedding were under way, and we set a court date, confirmed the reception venue, caterers and even the honeymoon. Everything was in place and ready for us to just walk down the aisle."

But Smith says he started getting cold feet when he noticed controlling behaviour in his partner, and that's when the thought of bailing out occurred to him.

"I felt I was too young for that kind of responsibility at the time and that my partner expected way too much from me. She was controlling and I realised that when we got married, her behaviour would escalate, and I was afraid that I would be trapped once everything was on paper. So I called it all off."

The unfortunate thing was that the couple could not get back the money they had paid for all the wedding arrangements.

"We couldn't get the refund on the venue and decor because of the last-minute cancellation, but we managed to get some of the money back from the honeymoon which was booked for Thailand.

"I wasn't hurt by my decision to call things off. People automatically assumed that I would be hurt, but I honestly wasn't. My ex-fiancée and I spoke about it and it was completely amicable. We are actually good friends now because we had a great understanding. She understood where I was coming from."

While Smith's decision to call off his wedding may have been seen in good light, someone who experienced the complete opposite was Vuyiswa Bhovungana, a 29-year-old East London receptionist.

Bhovungana says she believes that her fiancé hates her to this day for cancelling their wedding - three days before the big day!

"Everything was ready. The cows that would be slaughtered were circling the kraal, my dress was ready, we had practised our dance steps with our bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I think during all of the preparations, I was just going through the motions. I wasn't really there because in the back of my mind I kept wondering if this was something that I really wanted."

After she had time to reflect, Bhovungana says that her decision was largely influenced by her ex- fiancé's stance on marriage, and the role she would be expected to play.

"He is a very traditional Xhosa man, and would always make passing remarks about how he expected his woman not to work but to rather stay home and raise his family.

"As much as that sounds good on paper, I always knew that it wasn't for me. I felt like I would be trapped in a marriage where my husband is always gone and working while I was showered with money ... but sleeping cold.

"The first person I told that I was walking out was my aunt, and she literally slapped me. She wanted to shake the sense back into me I guess, but my mind was made up. I then told my parents, who held a family meeting to try and talk me out of it, threatened me with bringing disgrace to their name, and every other thing you can think of.

"But I stood firm, and eventually they had no choice but to deliver the news to my ex-fiancé's family, whose reaction was anger. They said stuff about how I had wasted their time, and even demanded their lobola back. As for my ex-fiancé, he went from shouting, screaming to begging and crying.

"I just tried to tell him that we are too different and wanted different things out of life, but nothing I said could make it alright for him, and he is not speaking to me to this day."

Bhovungana says the loss they incurred as a result of her decision is in excess of R100000, and she says despite this, she does not regret her decision. "I had to follow my heart. Many people say I could have spoken up sooner, but I always say that I wanted to give this a chance, and when I saw that there was no hope of improvement, I had to run for my life. As much as people think I did an ugly thing, divorce would have been uglier."


Relationship counsellor Lethabo Ntsasa says that the cold feet phenomenon is a symptom of suppressed issues.

"No one can suddenly decide not to get married and cancel the wedding at the last minute. The reason why this happens is because of a clear lack of communication within the relationship, which sees the one partner suppressing some of their feelings about what they may feel does not work for them in the relationship. This culminates in a panic attack when the time draws closer to take that final leap of faith into marriage.

"Do I think people breaking off their wedding plans at the last minute is right? No. It is selfish and unfair.

"Do I, however, think that it's right to enter into a marriage with doubts? No.

"This is the reason why I highly recommend premarital counselling for couples planning to get married."


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useless article, not for men

Oct 19, 2016 12:22 | 1 replies


Read it, lest someone pulls the stunt on you.

Oct 19, 2016 12:24 | 2 replies


LOL, you know you are asking too much of Indi.

Oct 19, 2016 12:28 | 0 replies


I read it, its for metrosexual men

Oct 19, 2016 12:45 | 0 replies


Why waste someone's time and money? Just tell them, siyabhebhana nje.

Oct 19, 2016 12:24 | 1 replies


or ka ho xhuta net then it is understandable than dragging and dragging knowing hore kilililili dololo

Oct 19, 2016 2:41 | 0 replies


Eish, that woman looks like MsKinks after I asked her to marry me, LOL.

Oct 19, 2016 12:27 | 0 replies


This is why one must never go on trips with their partner if they have no intention of marrying them, dirty hotel sex and alcohol can lead one to lose their marbles.

Oct 19, 2016 12:27 | 1 replies


....and their pin numbers.

Oct 19, 2016 12:29 | 1 replies


You should know, akere wena o e file the girl ha le le busy le bua via Skype.

Oct 19, 2016 12:31 | 1 replies


you & @loveanus really have a problem with "us" neh

Oct 19, 2016 12:40 | 1 replies


Oh so it's "us" now? What about big nose?

Oct 19, 2016 12:51 | 2 replies
Oct 19, 2016 1:2 | 0 replies


He's around.

Oct 19, 2016 1:6 | 1 replies


You keep them around, just in case neh? Giving them false/fools hope. You're a piece of work, wena!

Oct 19, 2016 1:23 | 2 replies


I'm not doing what you saying I'm doing!

Oct 19, 2016 1:29 | 0 replies


The are also keeping her around just as a piece of @ss.

Oct 19, 2016 1:35 | 1 replies


The we quits mos

Oct 19, 2016 1:40 | 1 replies
Oct 19, 2016 1:41 | 1 replies


Not making sense

Oct 19, 2016 1:44 | 1 replies


Think she meant that makes them even. I've taken a few lessons in gibberish.

Oct 19, 2016 1:49 | 1 replies


Its not gibberish its clear English, and yeah that's what I meant

Oct 19, 2016 2:18 | 1 replies


Just pulling your leg...rolling down your stockings aaaannnnnddd....DAMN girl, when last you had a pedicure?

Oct 19, 2016 2:42 | 0 replies


Sadly, people do get cold feet but its best to go with your gut feeling than to lie to yourself and the person you're marrying.

Oct 19, 2016 12:35 | 2 replies


Why lead the person on when you can say no from the onset.

Oct 19, 2016 12:38 | 1 replies


Sometimes one is not sure from the on-set, its not about leading on

Oct 19, 2016 12:39 | 1 replies


If you not sure say so.

Oct 19, 2016 12:55 | 0 replies


are you planning cold feet on me my everyday crush...i will kill myself.

Oct 19, 2016 12:56 | 1 replies


Never! I'll be at the altar lol

Oct 19, 2016 1:29 | 1 replies


wearing boxing socks with Jan Bergman's name embroidered on them for keeping your feet warm?

Oct 19, 2016 2:19 | 0 replies


I am not having sex until marriage.

Oct 19, 2016 12:38 | 5 replies
Oct 19, 2016 12:41 | 0 replies


u not telling the truth.

Oct 19, 2016 12:54 | 0 replies


O le skhenke so?

Oct 19, 2016 12:55 | 0 replies


LOL. Look who is talking. Akere you always dunusa-ed and had lots of it.

Oct 19, 2016 1:8 | 0 replies


I'd marry ColoredChick just to bang her, then file for divorce a day later.

Oct 19, 2016 1:22 | 1 replies


Pot calling the kettle black?? I quote "you're a piece of work wena"

Oct 19, 2016 1:27 | 1 replies


I embrace being a piece of work. N.B. That statement was said in admiration. Thought we both used the same modus operandi.

Oct 19, 2016 1:34 | 1 replies


LOL nope, I'm not like you

Oct 19, 2016 1:40 | 1 replies


Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Oct 19, 2016 1:47 | 0 replies


...I have no comment with some stupid things white people article pls

Oct 19, 2016 12:48 | 3 replies
Oct 19, 2016 1:9 | 0 replies


Mhlonishwa, you mean running away is un-African? LOL

Oct 19, 2016 1:10 | 0 replies
Oct 19, 2016 1:19 | 0 replies


my friend went all the way to Mauritius for baby preparation and wedding on to find out the lady was carrying some dude sp.erm. Brave lady though she had to be honest.

Oct 19, 2016 12:54 | 0 replies


I got cold feet hopping she'll run, for she broke up with me about 3times before, she went ahead and I regret.

Oct 19, 2016 12:56 | 0 replies


Why wait until the last minute, that's just sound selfish.

Oct 19, 2016 1:14 | 0 replies


Mina I have frozen feet and run away before there is a possibility of marriage. After a couple of months I lose interest in having se*x with the same woman. Once a reach a stage whereby my appetite is only 1 round every other day, thats it, I call it quits. No point go into a marriage and only to starve your woman,,,,or else she will get it elsewhere. That's my fear of marriage. Right now, I'm happy to entertain them starving women, but should not happen to me :).

Oct 19, 2016 1:59 | 1 replies


@FreeWilly practice safe sex baba, so your relationships lasts 7days or one weekend?

Oct 19, 2016 2:6 | 0 replies