Planning a wedding while dealing with the emotions of being a domestic abuse survivor

Guest post by Kelly Pinkerton

I have gone from being a young bride, to a survivor of domestic abuse, a divorcée, a fiancée, and now I find myself planning a wedding again.

A wedding is supposed to be a happy experience. For me, this doesn't seem to be the case. With my looming nuptials I can't help but feel emotionally and physically drained. I remind myself every day that “he isn't my first husband.”

All my original expectations of marriage were shattered less than 24 hours after I said yes.

I thought I would spend the rest of my life with my first husband; instead I spent the ensuing months living in my idea of hell. I was young, naive, and on reflection I can see the cracks in our relationship before we married. With a bit of wisdom and age, I am glad to have moved on to a healthy relationship. I have overcome many challenges to get to this stage in my life.

This doesn't stop the dread I feel that history will repeat itself.

I can't change my past but I can make sure it doesn't define my future. My ex-husband put me through some unimaginable times. And when you leave an abusive relationship, the pain doesn't always stop there. I'm learning to let go of this. I am a fighter and I am a survivor!

The physical scars have healed, although the emotional scars will always be present. I expertly hide my feelings from everyone around me. I hate that I have to pretend to be excited sometimes. No one can prepare you for this journey.

I have learned that there is no guidebook to help through these emotions, and most women don't want to talk about this transition. It's okay to feel like this — we are only human after all. But, let's talk about it now.

Who else is planning a wedding while dealing with the emotions of being a domestic abuse survivor? What advice would you have to give to others in the same position?

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Comments on Planning a wedding while dealing with the emotions of being a domestic abuse survivor

  1. I’m not currently seeing anyone because of all the abusive relationships I’ve had. I was even engaged to a guy who would constantly abuse me both verbally and physically. I’ve dated three guys and one girl and they’ve always ended up being the same. The final straw for me was when my ex started yelling at me and then tried to break my arm. It’s been eight years and I still don’t feel like I’ll ever be ready for a relationship… What has helped me somewhat are my friends, family, and the ability to talk to people about some of the things that happened. If you find one or two people you trust and that understand you they will be the best ones to talk to when you start thinking about the past. My roommate knows everything about my past and I can tell her anything. She has been the biggest support for me. I’m sure some day I’ll be willing to open up to a new relationship it just won’t be too soon and I’ll know what to look out for…

  2. How awful to have not healed and moved forward.
    I fit the first paragraph to a tee then I’m like.. Nope.. No need to pretend I’m excited! I want to scream it from the rooftops daily I’m getting married! I’m
    Not scared at all.. Because this time I know my partner. I trust my partner and I adore my partner. I made a good decision. (I’m speaking purely for myself here) whoever wrote this has not recovered and needs more help to achieve this.

  3. I’m in this exact situation, except i had a son with my first husband, so i have to see him occasionally (turns out, if you never called the cops on your abusive husband, the abuse has no bearing on visitation with a child). I also have an extremely emotionally abusive mother. Fortunately (or kind of unfortunately?) my fiancee had an emotionally and physically abusive father, so we understand each other very well. We both get paranoid at times, and sometimes we look for fights because, before each other, abrasive relationships were all we knew. I feel so lucky to have a fiancee in my life that i can keep a running dialogue with about my extremely deep feelings and fears. My maid of honor especially hasn’t gone through anything near what I’ve been through; she had a very happy family life and good relationships. I can’t exactly lean on her so much, so i count my blessings that i have a man i can fully lean on when i need to be afraid or uncomfortable and cry. It’s so hard to get rid of the fear.

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