Embrace the jealousy of other people’s weddings

Guest post by Hannifer Jelly
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.

Comments on Embrace the jealousy of other people’s weddings

  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!!!

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