The top 5 post-wedding feels that have completely blindsided me, and what I'm doing about them

August 20 2014 | Guest post by Mary
It's Okay To Be Sad Vinyl Sticker

Or: "Mary goes through it so you don't have to!"

Or: "Married life is way less thrilling than I was anticipating so I'm going to write a post as if I'm giving someone else advice about the situation I happen to find myself in."

Obviously this post won't apply to everyone, but hey, maybe it will help someone in addition to helping me.

Loneliness

The feeling of loneliness is probably the most gnawing. When most people get married, they are in some fashion surrounded by the people who love them and who they love. For me, this tsunami of love started slow as the engagement began and continued to build until it finally crested on the wedding day. I was so overwhelmed by the love shown to my husband and I that it brought me to tears and made me speechless (both unusual situations for me). For a shining evening my entire tribe of people I love was in the same geographic area. And now the party is over and everyone has gone home. And now we're married and things are back to the status quo. But what even is the status quo anymore?

It's like on a milestone birthday, you don't necessarily feel any different but something is definitely changing. People treat you differently, they have different expectations for you and what you should be doing and how your relationships should work. Getting married is a rite of passage, and while you and your partner don't feel any different, other people may see you differently. They may want to give you and your partner time to adjust, which invariably distances you from them. Try to schedule time to hang out with the people who matter to you: your husband, your best friend, your mom, your cat, etc. Now is the time to start "dating" all your friends again, now that the frenzy of wedding planning is over.

Uncertainty

Speaking of the frenzy of wedding planning being over, people will probably ask you in the nicest way possible what you plan to do with yourself now that you are done planning a wedding.

If you are like me, the answer is probably something like, "Uh…"

I have no idea what to do with myself now. On top of using most of my energy over the last five months to plan the biggest nerdiest party I've ever been to, I've been battling with my depression over the winter, so I'm not even exactly sure what sorts of things I enjoy doing. Now that I have nothing to do, I'm feeling anxious and antsy and stuck and maybe even a little trapped. (Yes, trapped. Hell, I just said vows swearing to share the rest of my life with someone, I'd be surprised if that didn't make nearly everyone feel a little trapped).

So, in trying to behave as unlike an animal with its foot caught in a trap as possible, I've taken up gardening. And trying new recipes. And finally cleaning my apartment. Now if I could just do a little more taking care of myself I'd probably be feeling a lot better.

Regret

Now with all your newly freed up time, you have plenty of time to dwell on all the things you might have done differently or decisions you would have changed.

Stop.

Stop right now.

Stop it.

You can't change the events of the past, and dwelling on them will only increase your suffering.

Instead, try and learn something from each grey spot and think about how you might apply it to a future situation. If there was a communication breakdown, think about how you can stand up for or better explain yourself in the future. If a particular party element didn't work out, try something else the next time you throw a party. If someone said or did something hurtful, try to address it as quickly as possible, or at least try to accept that it happened.

Exhaustion

I seriously slept 16 hours each day for the first three days following my wedding. I was shocked by how utterly exhausted I was now that everything was over. I was lucky that we had planned a short honeymoon to give my brain and my body a chance to recover. This exhaustion may or may not have been because I was apparently fighting off the plague, but lord almighty was I tired.

Catharsis

Hey, it ain't all bad, right?

Deleting my wedding Pinterest boards, and getting rid of all of my planning spreadsheets and lists, and handing out all the favors that we collected, and getting rid of all the centerpieces, and oh my god finally being done felt SO GOOD. I think I got a buzz every time I was able to get rid of or put away something wedding related. Just let yourself ride it out, folks, and enjoy the good feelings, because HEY! You just got married! HOLY SHIT and CONGRATULATIONS and OMG! You looked so damn attractive and everybody loved it and it was a wonderful celebration.

Conclusion

Have compassion for yourself and for what you and/or your partner might be going through. This is probably going to be a weird transitional period of time, but just be patient while you let things happen. If the troublesome feelings persist more than a month or two you might want to think about talking to someone in a more professional capacity about it, but after talking this through with my married friends I'm pretty sure that these feelings usually level off — if not go away entirely — in a few months.

Getting married is just another life transition, and it comes with all the normal feelings that usually accompany something like that. You and your partner will be just fine.

Transitioning out of wedding planning? Come join us on our sister site, Offbeat Home & Life!

  1. Oh yeah, deleting my wedding Pinterest felt AMAZING. I made my account just for wedding planning (originally to show my thoughts to my seamstresses and later to bookmark sites), and getting rid of it somehow gave me more closure than the wedding itself.

    I'm struggling with regret. Over stupid little stuff. Like how I forgot to wear earrings (namely the earrings hubs bought me), or how nobody did their thumbprints right on the guest poster, or how nobody wanted to participate in the candy sand art favor making. I'm also sad that there is only 1 photo of our cat at our picnic, when we made such an effort to make sure she could be there. Getting the amazing photos back helped a lot, but I still get pangs of regret from some things when I think back.

  2. Yes to the exhaustion! We spent the first few days of our honeymoon in the mountains, and each day my new husband would say after breakfast "would you like to go for a hike?" and I'd reply, "actually, I think I need a nap." We'd do our own thing and rendezvous for lunch in the hotel restaurant. Then in the afternoon we might go swimming together or similar, then I would have a nap before dinner. It felt like heaven.

  3. I totally and completely relate to this. One week in and I have been struggling with these feelings everyday since our wedding. It's reassuring to read that I'm not the only one <3

  4. Yyyeeessss.

    There's a whole other bit to this I want to add as well:

    In the military, it is 100% common to get married at the courthouse while you can (because you will NEVER be guaranteed when he'll have off or not be off training or deploying) and then do a wedding later. We're one of the lucky ones who are actually following through with the wedding because he just got out. (Wooohoooo!!!)
    And let me tell you – after the courthouse two years ago, I had a serious meltdown realizing how big a deal it was to waltz up there and "sign some papers". And then all the fighting!! Holy hell! We really needed to learn how to communicate properly that first year. We both speak English but somehow speak completely different languages most of the time. And learning how to complement each other's way of thinking rather than fighting has taken A LOT of time, practice, and patience. You add that on top of how I wish I had done things differently at the courthouse….flown my dad in, changed our clothes into something nicer, gotten a picture (Yes!) – and I was a hot mess for a while. (He lovingly jokes I still am ๐Ÿ™‚ ). But it's done and over with and right after all the craziness of getting out of the military and a cross country move/roadtrip (CA to FL), now we're in neck deep with this wedding stuff (and we communicate MUCH better) and sometimes I think "holy fuck – WHAT is the point?? We're already married!!" And I have to slow down and breathe and remember it'll be a much bigger deal than I think to finally say our vows to each other and be surrounded by all our loved ones.
    Yes I'll be exhausted. Yes we'll be broke as hell. Yes we're sacrificing certain things to have this wedding. Yes I feel like if I threw up, tulle would just spill out. But this is what we decided and it WILL be worth it.
    And I will ride the hell out of that deleting-Pinterest wave!!!!!

    • OH THIS!!!! This is what I need yto read. My Hubba (donno why but "hubby" became Hubba) and I eloped and had a party (not quite a "wedding", but lots of family and friends)… but the communication thing! Its us right now … I thought it was just me/us and we were doing something wrong!!! Lynnze … you made me feel sooooOOOooo much better ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, as much as "your already married" … its amazing to celebrate with family and friends ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your wedding with everyone, and thank you to your husband for serving!!!

      • Aw thank you!! And I am also reassured someone else knows what I'm talking about! It DOES get better – but definitely takes so much effort to continually see the big picture. I heard once "if you're fighting about whether the cap is on the toothpaste, it's not really about whether the cap's on the toothpaste". It's so true. A small thing can be a big thing just because he needs "this" and you're giving him "that". (Because YOU need "that" when it's the other way around!)
        Learning how to give this and that at the appropriate times to meet each other's needs is hard if you "speak two different languages". But also totally doable when you've said "we're committed to this. We WILL make this work."
        There are often times we say "I don't like you right now, I need to cool down". Which sounds harsh but has actually become a liberating and now-sweet part of our relationship because we know it means we love each other unconditionally and will come back to hash things out; but in the moment, openly acknowledging it's hard to each other softens the moment. We don't HAVE to like each other every moment of our relationship. But loving each other still, being committed in the face of those moments – THAT'S what sets marriages apart. Someone said it's a continuous transition and I totally agree. Eventually my husband and I will be so beautifully in sync…we'll speak each other's languages fluently. And our marriage will be that much sweeter knowing how far we've come together.

  5. I think your last point about thinking of marriage as a life transition is so important, and it is what helped me through all the stages of the whole wacky world of dating to engagement to wedding to marriage. For a long time, I didn't totally get the whole idea of being engaged. I thought, "Why wouldn't we just decide to start planning a wedding and then have the wedding….???"

    In the week after the wedding, I totally realized the function of that year of our life together and the role it played in the transition into married life. I truly DON'T feel different now that the wedding itself is over (which yes, caused some anxiety — shouldn't I feel different??). But I realized that from the pre-engagement times through now, I/we have transitioned and learned a lot. And even now in the first few weeks of marriage, I just keep reminding myself that a relationship will likely never be a static thing. We will always be changing and transitioning into some other stage.

    So yes, lots of feels, but remembering the transient nature of it all helps!!

  6. I am looking forward to deleting my pinterest boards, and all of my lists! ๐Ÿ™‚ But this was a huge eye opener for me… I guess I just assumed things just naturally changed after the wedding. My oh my, I am in for a post wedding wake up call. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I really needed to see this. My anger and frustration at vendors has stupidly overshadowed the joy I should be feeling in this 3-weeks-out honeymoon phase. All I do is pour over my pictures and constantly Hulk out about how "that asshole never got the shot of my ring that I wanted" (and proceed to grab my shirt at the middle and rip it in two while rage spittle flies from my mouth) or "the fucking corsages were supposed to have wristbands…not pins. WRISTBANDS". You're right. Stop. Just stop.

  8. Hey everyone! I am so glad that so many of you have already felt helped by our relate to this post. Just so everyone who is going through this now knows, I wrote this post like four months ago and YES, things are ABSOLUTELY feeling better. So while your mileage may vary, the advice I wrote for myself here – and some professional counseling – did help me a lot!

  9. Sarah and I went through the same – there was so much family infighting (on my side, embarrassingly enough) that after it was over, we both felt uncertain of what to do next, rather than just enjoy ourselves.

    Afterwards, we had money problems, employment problems, we were stuck in an airplane on 9/11 when we tried to redo our honeymoon a few years later, bankruptcy as a result, etc etc. But then I realized something: I wasn't facing these problems alone.

    Sure, I was bitching and complaining, but I had someone to bitch and complain with. For a little while, that became our common ground. While you may think "that's no way to build a foundation for a marriage", when things got better, we laughed together. When tragedy struck again, we cried together.

    It's a big transition going from single to married and the road will never be completely smooth (unless you win the lottery, in which case you're my new best friend), but remember that you've now got someone to lean on (and gross out with your impressive farts!)

  10. Oh god, thank you. The last three weeks have been a rollercoaster of everything you just described. I have such a feeling of relief right now, that I'm not the only one!

  11. Yes, this and so much more. Thank you for putting it into words. I've been struggling with this every since our wedding day a month ago.

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