Rarely talked about Post-Engagement Anxiety is REAL - and here's how to deal with it

When your partner gets down on one knee and slips a sparkly diamond ring onto your finger, the last thing you expect to feel is anxiety or sadness.

But apparently, this is an all too common reaction, even for those who are deeply in love with their new finances and have been dreaming of a romantic proposal for a long time.

It’s called 'Post-Engagement Anxiety' and not only is it real, but it is completely normal ... and no, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re about to get hitched to the wrong person.

According to marriage therapist Marni Feuerman any big life change, even the good ones, can be cause for stress and anxiety.

"Having some anxiety symptoms does not mean you are unhappy per se about the event itself," she told the Huffington Post.

"Getting engaged to someone signifies one step closer to a lifelong commitment. You may have anxiety about planning a wedding, merging families, being a good daughter-in-law, moving in together, financial decisions, being a good wife and so on.

"There’s a lot that comes up post-engagement that can easily trigger some fears, even if they are not totally logical or rational."

So what should you do if you suddenly feel completely overwhelmed with being engaged?

Search your feelings

Firstly, Feuerman suggests that those suffering from anxious feelings should take a moment to really decipher why they are feeling that way.

Is it worrying about having all your friends and family suddenly paying attention to your relationship? Or maybe it’s fear over how you will pay for your dream wedding? Or are there actually a few red flags in your relationship that you are concerned about?

Talk to your fiance

Once you have a clearer idea about the cause of the stress, Feuerman says it’s vital that you talk to your partner about how you are feeling - and chances are they could be experiencing the exact same overwhelming emotions.

"Do a bit of self-reflection first to get clear on what you are anxious about. You can bring it up without hurting his or her feelings by first confirming your happiness about being engaged before talking about your anxiety," she says. "There is a good chance your fiancé feels the same way and would welcome a discussion.

"This is an opportunity for you both to calm each other’s worries and get clarification on topics triggering negative feelings."

Seek advice from others

Getting some perspective from someone who is already married can be a great idea, as they have already been through this phase of life and have made it out the other end in one piece.

Feuerman also suggests taking a pre-marriage counselling course can be helpful for many couples.

"This way, a third party can help you navigate discussions about anything that is making you feel anxious," she advises. "It’s not a bad idea to talk to those who are already married and have gone through this phase of life.

"It is likely the anxiety will be normalised and you can relax a bit more and enjoy this special time in your life."

Good luck to all the newly-engaged out there with overcoming post-engagement anxiety!

Where to get help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.