Embrace the jealousy of other people's weddings

July 14 2014 | Guest post by Meanderer
Photo by Mike L. Photography
Photo by Mike L. Photography

About one-and-a-half years into what is shaping up to be a four-year engagement, my future brother-in law proposed to his then-girlfriend. I love these people very, very much, so naturally, I was filled with excitement, happiness, love, and… jealousy?

Yep, jealousy. I was envious that her wedding was coming together in four months when it seemed like I was waiting forever for my day to come. I was frustrated by the fact that so many of her wedding details were so similar to mine, from the engagement ring, to the style of wedding dress she bought. I was jealous that she was getting to start her married life years before I would. And I was angry with myself for getting jealous in the first place.

I mean, this is a person I hold so very near and dear. How could I think of her wedding celebration with anything but light and love in my heart? How could I allow myself to infuse such a negative feeling into my reactions to her planning process? How could I be such a petty and small person toward two of the most important people in my life?

I was filled with guilt about my reactions. It ate into me, and fighting them caused me hours of anxiety. It got to a point where the positive emotions I did feel were getting blotted out. I was spending so much time berating myself for feeling jealous that I was eclipsing any other positive reaction I had. On top of that, I worried that my negative reactions would mar my experience on their wedding day. What if I could not think of anything except mean thoughts on their happy day?

So, I just gave in to my jealousy. I embraced the emotion and allowed myself to fully experience it. Then I moved on.

By letting go and allowing my natural reactions to wash over me, I was able to realize that my negative thoughts were not inherently bad. They did not make me an evil person. They meant I was human, and humans are imperfect. We cannot be continuously full of light and love.

Once I stopped resisting, I was able to process through the emotions and understand that most of the details that were causing my negative reactions were not so serious in the grand scheme of things.

Sure, my partner and I are having a long engagement, but we had an extremely short courtship. Our long engagement is helping our families feel more comfortable, and it means we can save up for the exact wedding we want.

Our wedding details may be pretty similar, but does that really matter? Who will really notice? I mean, my wedding was never some original, special snowflake to rule, find, bring, and bind all the weddings. Plus, my sister-in-law and I have very similar personalities and tastes. It's what makes us such good friends, and of course, it means we will pick similar details for our weddings.

And I may be waiting a while to start my married life, but what will that really change? Have I not made all the same commitments I would at my wedding to my partner long ago in my heart and privately to him? What will truly change, aside from some legal aspects and other people's perceptions of us?

The most amazing benefit of embracing my jealousy, however, was the fact that I was able to move forward into even richer, positive feelings about their wedding and union. I was able to reclaim my full response and get excited and happy and joyful all over again.

And guess what? When their wedding day came, I felt only love and light for them. I was filled to the brim and overflowing with my happiness, and if I could relive their day with them a few times over, I definitely would.

  1. Again, OBB comes through for me. I've been with FH for years, am getting married next year, and my future sister in law just got engaged and wants to get married weeks after us. We're not particularly close, but we're getting there, and I'm trying not to let weddings get in the way, but we're tiptoeing around each other because nobody wants to be the bridezilla and we're both currently stuck up our own special snowflakeness (frankly, as it should be). This, all of this. Thank you!

  2. I so identify with this, in a little different way. I'm the oldest of four kids, and my boyfriend of five years and I have decided not to get engaged until after I graduate grad school. My brother just proposed to his long-distance girlfriend of 2 years, and they're having an engagement lasting only four months. I found myself being jealous AND judgey, and found myself just having to find the good in it (because I absolutely do not WANT to be judgey, I just want to subdue the accidental judgeys). No, maybe I wouldn't get engaged as young/make the same decisions about bridesmaids/treat my future in-laws in this particular way, but I CAN appreciate that she is giving me my first up-close-and-personal wedding planning experience, and that if I am patient and gentle and treat her as I would like to be treated, I can at least gain some perspective about the choices I'm going to make for my wedding.

  3. This is a great way to approach wedding jealousy, as well as any reaction of rage/hurt/insult that you might have in other areas of life. Sometimes I have those irrational, immature feelings well up about something someone said or did, and I just have to let myself ride it out. I'll think nasty thoughts, cry, punch a pillow, let myself be a toddler for a little bit, and then it's over. Feel how you feel, and then you can move past it to acceptance and even joy.

  4. Yes, yes, and more yes! I've been thinking the same exact thing. My future sister-in-law just got engaged and will be getting married in January. My FH and I have been together for seven years, engaged for a year, and won't be getting married for another eight months, nearly two months after my FSIL's wedding. I've been struggling with my jealousy, feeling guilty. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one out there with these less-than-mature feelings.

  5. So much this!!

    My FH & I have been together since May of 2009 & we finally got engaged in November 2013 (wedding is set for Nov. of this year). In September of 2012, we introduced one of my best girlfriends to my FH's best friend & it was love at first sight. 2 weeks later, my friend wrote a note to herself that said "I am going to marry this man". Sure enough, they were engaged by the summer of 2013 & got married this past May. I was a bridesmaid & my FH was the best man. As soon as I saw how fast these 2 connected & how they were talking marriage so soon, I half-joking told them "you can't get married before me! I put y'all together. You owe me!!" But a big part of me was VERY jealous. My FH & I also knew very early on in our relationship that we'd be together forever, but the engagement took a LOT longer to happen (due to various issues). Every time she talked about planning her wedding, part of my heart would break. I'd say to myself, "it should be ME getting married first. I'm 12 years older than her. I've been waiting longer! I introduced them to each other, FFS!" Obviously I never said anything to either of them about my feelings & I could never say anything to my FH because I know that he really wanted to propose to me a year before he actually could & he felt guilty enough about that as it is. So I kept it all inside. It didn't mean I wasn't happy for my friends. I was (& still am) VERY happy for them.

    While I admit that I do still get jealous every time I see the wedding bands on their fingers, I at least learned some things from being a part of their wedding, like what sort of details we would never care about or what sort of music we'd really like. In fact, thanks to them, we were able to find a great DJ & photo booth service. Heck, we're going to the same honeymoon location (though a completely different resort) but that's really because the place we chose was the best deal for our money & came highly recommended by other friends. As my wedding nears, my jealousy is waning. Hopefully by the time that ring is on my finger, it will be completely gone.

  6. I've also felt guilty about the slight sinking feeling that usually follows a friend's engagement announcement. But jealousy is a natural emotion, what makes a person mature or not is how they choose to act on that emotion. I try to keep this in mind and not be to hard on myself, its the way you respect people and celebrate the good times in their lives that matters!

  7. When my cousin decided to move forward her wedding (so that it fell almost exactly 6 months before mine) she actually texted me, wanting to be sure that I was ok with it. At the time, I couldn't see why I wouldn't be fine. She is marrying the man she loves and adores and I am nothing but happy for them. Why would I be jealous or angry, her wedding will be fabulous, just as mine will be, regardless of timing.
    Now it's only a couple of months to her wedding, and there's talk of her hen do and planning and, I can't lie, I'm jealous! But it only makes me look forward to the day when I get to marry my man even more!

  8. You know this post rrrreally helps me to get through some hectic wedding planning emotions! My younger cousin (just one year younger) has always been 1 year ahead of me in everything except education. She started dating her Fiancé in Nov 2009, had their baby in Nov 2011, and got engaged in Dec 2012. I started dating my fiancé in 2010, no baby, and got engaged January 2014. Her fiancé is 3 years younger than mine. So all-in-all they both younger than us by a little, both don't have college education, and my fiancé and I are both college educated. We did things by the book, we didn't get engaged till I had completed my degree, but some how my cousin and her fiancé are doing better financially and are able to have their wedding this year Nov. Ours is 7 months later 4 July 2015. I have been ecstatic that things have worked out sooo well for her considering she had a tough childhood and she deserves her dream wedding. But now that her wedding is so close (about 2 months away) and mine is still 10 months away I am in a liitle pain about it. but hey they have been engaged almost two years, we have been engaged only 8 months. They have a baby together and need to be a unit, we have no responsibilities yet. They will be 5 years together by the time its their wedding day. We will be 5 years and 2 months together by the time its our wedding day. So it balances out, it is fair! and yes I wish mine was now now because I tend to act like a toddler, but I am also grateful that I have more time to plan it (as it is a wedding of 400 and the venue we picked is very exclusive so it was fully booked for one and a half years). I am also grateful I get to be her MOH then afterwards I can put all my finances into our wedding. Her day is soon, my day is next! and then all the attention will be on me for the next 7 months after her wedding, as her day will be over LOL us girls and our emotions!

  9. I would also like to add how annoying it can be when people say "oh your wedding day is still far" and don't realise how expensive weddings are! they cant just be planned in 2 months unless you just don't care about the finer details. most people in my family have shot gun weddings, no engagement sometimes, just " we getting married next month" (no official invites on paper or even electronically, just word of mouth) so they find it odd that I am having a big wedding and I have to plan for so long. They don't consider that their taste differs to mine, I wanted the venue I wanted and was not going to settle and I want everything… save the dates, invites, our amazing engagement photoshoot we just did (only people in my family or his family to have ever done an engagement photoshoot), custom made décor, great photographers etc. Initially I actually wanted an intimate wedding of 40 or so, max 100, so that I could do all those above mentioned little details and make my own favours etc, but my FH's mom insisted on 400 guests.istill insist on having every little fine detail taken care of, even if it's now everythingx400.

  10. I'm the woman on the other end. My FH's brother and girlfriend have been together for a couple years longer than us and have been engaged for almost an year longer. We have two kids, they have one. We're also getting married sooner. We get married next July. Once she found out, she went Into an panic mode practically trying to get married right before us. The cannot due to financial situations and time. The venue also does not have dates open. I was having a hard time dealing with her jealousy because we were pretty close and I couldn't understand why she was so negative, but this put it into perspective for me and I can now be more understanding of why she is acting this way. It's an exciting day for anyone and because she has to wait for hers, of course she's having and hard time! Thank you for the insight!!!

  11. I'm also a woman on the other side of this. My fiance's sister and her boyfriend had been dating for about three years, and Max and I had been dating for around six months when Max bought my engagement ring. When his sister found out, she flipped her lid. We hadn't even announced our engagement yet, so I'm not sure how everyone found out, but within a week of Max buying my ring, his sister and her boyfriend announced their engagement and so we waited to announce ours for two more months. The first thing she said to us was, "I get all the wedding money from Mom and Dad," and she sure as hell did, too. She was so desperate to upstage us and have the bigger, nicer wedding that she made her parents harass us until we moved our December wedding to June because she felt it was too close to her October wedding and we were stealing her spotlight, and she and her now hubby had a huge extravagant wedding, taking around $7 grand from her parents, $5 grand from his parents, and taking out a loan themselves for $15 grand. These are not wealthy people by any means. When all was said and done, they couldn't even afford to go on a honeymoon because they spent so much on their wedding.

    Plus, she wouldn't even let anyone talk about our wedding at family functions. Even at the engagement party that my mom threw for Max and I because our parents had never met before, his sister and his parents sat at the end of the table and discussed her wedding the entire time. She would always change the subject, "Well WE are doing x, y, and z because blah blah blah" when someone would ask me about my wedding plans. Even this past Christmas, with her wedding over and mine six months later, when someone asked me about our wedding plans, she broke out the slideshow from her wedding and made everyone sit around and watch a slideshow of the 1300+ photos from her wedding day.

    Her jealousy (and childishness) completely ruined my entire wedding planning experience. I felt unimportant, disrespected, and worst of all, I was treated like the bitter one for being angry that I wasn't getting my dream wedding because of her. We expected (maybe unfairly) some help from his parents in making our dream a reality, but all we could get them to agree to was to pay for our photographer and even then, they complained about how expensive all the ones we spoke with were. Our photographer cost around $700 less than his sister's dress ALONE did. The whole thing was so frustrating, and I grew to hate my wedding more and more with each passing day. It was scheduled for June 4 of this year (2016), but in February, I snapped and cancelled the entire thing. We are going to basically elope with just parents and grandparents there in order to tactfully avoid inviting his sister, her hubby, and all of their self-absorbed negativity, but it absolutely kills me – the final straw breaking the heartbroken bridal camel's back – that my sister and nieces, who were supposed to be my maid of honor and flower girls, will not get to attend because flying in from halfway across the country for a 10:30 am wedding ceremony on a Friday just is not feasible at all. Plus, I don't even get to have a reception, we are just going out to eat afterward.

    Just a crazy-long rant expressing what unbridled jealousy can do to someone else. My only memories of planning my wedding will be negative ones, and we won't ever get to have the wedding that we both dreamed of (which would have cost a fraction of what his sister's did).

    I'm still struggling every day to move past the jealousy, anger, and hurt that I feel, but I am trying. I've accepted it, and I am very excited to marry the love of my life two weeks from today. It won't be what I dreamed, but I know it will still be perfect, and we won't be in debt, so that is a plus.

  12. Oh, the feels this post gives me. Thank you for your pure, honest thoughts. I am also struggling with super wedding jealousy. I want to be happy for the newly engaged couple in my life, but it just so happens to be my twice divorced father tying the knot for the third time!?
    My fiancé and I have been together for nearly six years and our engagement was around Christmas time this past year. I really thought I would have the love and support of my only parent, my dad, since I am his only child. How wrong I have been.
    Since announcing my engagement, I've attempted to have serious financial conversations with my dad about what he would be willing to contribute. He has skirted around the questions and obligations for a while, claiming that the money just wasn't there and he needed time to help us out. No big deal, since my engagement would around a year and half. Plenty of time to scrape up some dough.
    Since our first conversation, my dad, who apparently is struggling finacially, has taken a lengthy vacation with his bride to be, (who could be my sister due to the three year age difference between us) thrown her a lavish birthday party, and bought her a big, diamond engagement ring. Oh, and he hasn't given me a cent toward my wedding. Period.
    I'm absolutely consumed with rage and jealously. It is eating me alive to the point where I cannot sleep or think of anything else. Where are my happy thoughts for the man who raised me? Shouldn't I want to share in his joy and excitement with my future step-mom! I. Just. Can't. One day, I'm hoping I will get over it. I'm glad to know I am not the only one dealing with wedding jealousy.

  13. Ugh how I relate to this post. It's not just wedding stuff, though. I've always struggled really bad with jealousy in general. My little sister's wedding 5 years ago basically sent me off the deep end with jealousy which actually had a lot of long term effects on my life due to my acting out. I've made a lot of changes in my life since then and am generally in a place where I'm happy with my own life, but that old feeling finds ways to creep up on me whenever it gets the chance. My now fiancee and I were planning to get engaged the end of July and then I found out my step sister got engaged the last week of June. She's sweet and we're very friendly with her and I am actually happy for her, but I found myself stalking her pinterest boards after that and just feeling absolutely awful whenever she pinned something that I had pinned or that I liked and wanted to pin. It's ridiculous. On top of it all, she is getting straight married and I am marrying a woman, something that our family is not okay with. All this to say that this article is a good reminder that it's okay to feel these things and that it's what I do about the feelings that matters.

  14. It is really hard to feel these feelings and i think where it all stems from is no one wants to be upstaged or feel as if their toes are being steeped on.
    Ive had the same thing happen to me with my brother in law to be, He has been with his partner since high school, absolutely no indication of getting married. then, my partner and i get engaged and decide to have a "long" engagement (two years) in the mean time they suddenly decide to get married. and say, oh well we probably wont get married before you guys, next minute the schedule their wedding a few months before ours, despite knowing that ours will be in the same season and knowing that weve had all our important bookings done for a whole year.
    I was really upset and angry, and the thing that im most upset about is they haven't factored in the fact that a lot of the same family will be coming to both and they will be coming from over seas, which will create a massive issue with in the family.

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