Is It Normal To Get Cold Feet in a Relationship? (Answered)

Is it normal to get cold feet in a relationship?

It is very normal to get cold feet in a relationship. Relationship anxiety is especially common when you move into new stages of commitment like becoming exclusive, meeting the parents, moving in together, or getting engaged and married.

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African American woman scratching her head—Is it Normal to Get Cold Feet In a Relationship
Image by Author via Canva—Is it Normal to Get Cold Feet In a Relationship

It is important to remember that these phases will pass and there is nothing wrong with feeling anxious during them.

At the same time, I know how many questions you might still have about cold feet. I’ve done my best to answer them in this article while sharing my personal experience.

I’ve certainly felt my fair share of frozen feet.

What Does It Mean To Get Cold Feet in Relationships?

First of all, what is the meaning of “cold feet“? Getting cold feet is a metaphor for the sensation of fear or anxiety about an upcoming activity. No one really knows where the phrase “cold feet” came from, but most people refer back to American author Stephen Crane.

Getting cold feet is most often experienced before something happens, but you can also experience it after or during an experience, such as moving in together.

If you get cold feet in a relationship, you might feel:

  • Apprehension
  • Anxiety
  • Doubt
  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Reluctance

I know when I’ve felt cold feet in relationships, I would start questioning everything. I’d ask a series of questions to myself and would often talk to my friends and family to get their advice.

So, you might be asking yourself:

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • What if his/her parents don’t like me?
  • What if this is a big mistake?
  • Is he/she the right person for me?
  • Can I see a future together?

The most important thing I want you to know is that getting cold feet is absolutely normal at every stage of a relationship.

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Why Do People Get Cold Feet in Relationships?

There are many reasons why people experience cold feet in a relationship.

For some, it’s the possibility of losing independence and becoming responsible for someone else. For others, it’s feeling like the other person or the relationship itself will take over their personal identity.

I could even be the fear of being hurt by another person.

If you’re like me, you’ve been through past trauma in your relationships. A past partner may have cheated on you, manipulated you, or lied to you. There could have also been abuse.

All of the emotional pain from past relationships can weigh heavily on us and make every small milestone in a relationship seem even more significant. Our past experiences can bubble up in our hearts and minds, bringing understandable doubts and uncertainties.

While we don’t have all of the answers as to why people get cold feet, we do know that it does happen to most people (at some point and to some degree). That knowledge may help you accept yourself better for feeling this way.

Knowing more about your feelings might help you reflect on what you need or want from your life right now.

Do Guys Get Cold Feet Before Dates?

Yes, many guys (and girls) get cold feet before dates.

It is not uncommon at all for guys to get nervous and feel a little anxious before meeting someone. They might worry about what they are going to wear, how they look, or if the date will go well.

There is nothing wrong with this because it is natural that guys would feel some anxiety when first meeting someone new.

When I was single, I always felt some degree of cold feet before a date. Sometimes I would feel cold feet before messaging someone on a dating app, making a video call, or making the first move.

All of this is completely normal.

However, not all guys (or girls) get cold feet and most guys don’t feel cold feet before every date with every person. Just because someone feels cold feet, it doesn’t mean that they don’t really like you.

It just means that they feel normal human emotions—which is a good thing!

Is It Normal To Get Cold Feet at the Beginning of a Relationship?

Yes, it’s very normal to get cold feet at the beginning of a relationship. The beginning is a time of excitement, but also for some level of anxiety and fear. You might question whether you’ve made the right decision to be with this person, or wonder if it’s too soon for a serious commitment.

Doubts are completely normal when you first decide to go exclusive, which is usually one of the first official milestones of a relationship.

You might also feel cold feet when:

  • Updating your online relationship status
  • Posting photos of your new relationship online
  • Introducing your new relationship partner to your friends

All of these seemingly simple steps can trigger anxiety and doubt. This is a very reasonable and human response to change and public acknowledgment of your choices.

After all, if things go south in your relationship, you may feel embarrassed. This is why some couples don’t post their relationship online for the first few months or until they feel reasonably secure that the relationship will last.

Is It Normal To Get Cold Feet Before Moving In Together?

Many people get cold feet before moving in together.

It is not always the fear of spending too much time with a significant other that causes these feelings. It is often because you finally realize all of the change and commitment this step brings to your life, which can feel scary.

Moving in is often the step that signifies you are ready to take your relationship to the next level of commitment.

If any doubts get stirred up, it is best to express them openly with your partner. This prevents misunderstandings between the two of you when you do finally move in together.

Don’t let old fears hold you back from beginning an exciting new stage in your relationship.

Is It Normal To Get Cold Feet Before Engagement?

The pre-engagement stage is a time of change and anticipation. It’s a time of vulnerability when couples grow in the knowledge that they’re committing to the rest of their lives with another person.

They worry if this person will be “the one,” or if they’ll eventually regret their decision. They want to make sure that their life partner will have the qualities they want in a spouse and/or future parent.

The fear of making the wrong decision can take its toll on the psyche, which sometimes results in cold feet before engagement.

Proposing is a big deal. If you didn’t feel some doubt or anxiety before an engagement, I’d probably feel worried you weren’t taking the proposal seriously. That’s not to say you HAVE to feel cold feet before an engagement, but if you do, you don’t need to get alarmed.

Cold feet before an engagement is very common.

Is It Normal To Have Cold Feet After Getting Engaged?

Cold feet are common after getting engaged. It can be difficult to process the magnitude of a lifetime commitment with someone, and there is almost always some fear of the unknown.

It’s natural that people might not be ready for their lives to change so quickly.

When you get engaged, you publically commit yourself to the lifelong social contract of marriage. Your family, friends, and co-workers expect you to get married—usually in the next 12 months.

There are tons of preparations (and expenses) for the wedding and honeymoon.

When you start your engagement, there are many adjustments you need to make. Even though it’s normal, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t seem strange. You may even feel guilty about your “cold feet.”

Trust me, I do understand!

Are Doubts in Relationships Normal?

Some doubts in your relationship are normal. Getting cold feet and doubts are usually different expressions of the same experience. You might feel some doubts about your partner’s affection and intentions towards you. You might doubt if they are your perfect match.

Some people find the idea of going exclusive, moving in together, or meeting each other’s parents very scary. These are all normal and expected emotions.

Still, it’s important to value and validate your doubts.

If you’re having feelings that your relationship is going in a direction you don’t want, stop and think about what is giving you these feelings before making any life-changing decisions.

You may also want to talk to friends, family, or relationship experts that you trust.

Cold Feet vs Legitimate Relationship Doubts

What’s the difference between feeling cold feet and legitimate relationship concerns?

There is a difference.

When deciding whether what you feel is “cold feet” or something more serious, consider these factors:

  • Who is feeling the cold feet or doubts?
  • How long have you felt the uncertainty?
  • Is there evidence to back up your doubts?

Cold feet is typically felt by both people in the relationship, while legitimate concerns are usually more one-sided.

There’s also a difference in when these feelings are experienced—cold feet usually happen before a commitment like meeting parents or marriage, while true doubts typically come after the commitment.

The length of time also matters. Feeling cold feet is temporary but doubts linger for weeks, months, or years.

Keep in mind that “feelings are not facts.” Look for evidence that backs up your doubts. For example, did your partner rack up thousands of dollars of debt? Do they routinely “ghost you” by going no contact for days or weeks? Have they cheated on you?

When you feel cold feet, you usually don’t have any concrete evidence that the relationship is rocky. Legitimate doubts, on the other hand, rest on verifiable evidence.

Check out this awesome video about doubt in your relationship. Don’t make any big decisions before you watch it!

Video by 3 Key Elements via YouTube—Is it Normal to Get Cold Feet in a Relationship?

Final Thoughts: “Is It Normal To Get Cold Feet in a Relationship?”

It’s completely normal to get cold feet at every minor and major milestone in a relationship. In my current relationship, I’ve experienced fewer cold feet than ever, but I still felt some uncertainty and anxiety because of past relationships.

When we first went official as boyfriend and girlfriend, I felt excited AND anxious. Yes, you can feel both sure and unsure at the same time.

I also felt mildly cold feet when we took our first weekend trips, met each other’s family, and started talking about our future together. Ultimately, I’m head over heels in love with her. But feeling cold feet is a normal and predictable response to big milestones.

Thanks for reading!

ProgramShort DescriptionLearn More
Fortune Reading CrushA psychic reading of your relationshipLearn More
BioEnergy FixManifest your best lifeLearn More
Sketch Your SoulmateA psychic sketch of your soulmateLearn More
Check out these programs—Is It Normal to Get Cold Feet in a Relationship?

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