How to Deal with the Post-Wedding Blues
After the wedding, newlyweds are supposed to be feeling marital bliss. Instead, though, many brides and grooms feel a kind of sadness sometimes called “post-wedding blues.”
“The post wedding blues [are] the aftermath of all the fun and excitement. The focus is no longer on you and your fiancé – it comes to an abrupt halt. The party is over, and you're now into the reality of life as a married couple,” explains Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based marriage and sex therapist and author of “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.”
Symptoms of post-wedding blues can vary from sadness and loneliness to even anger. If left unaddressed, these feelings can fester and actually cause issues with your relationship and prevent you from actually settling into your new marriage.
“If you don't recognize this sadness, it can become prolonged and make you feel like you're unhappy being married, because you won't focus on building your shared life with your partner and giving married life the attention it needs. It keeps you looking backwards instead of moving forward,” says Dr. Greer.
If you’re feeling a bit down after you say ‘I do,’ here are seven proactive steps you can take to beat the post-wedding blues.
1. Let Go of the ‘What If’s’
No matter how much planning you did, no wedding is perfect. Maybe it rained, or a guest didn’t show up or the DJ had technical issues. The key is to accept those mistakes and stop wishing you could do it over again.
“Be aware of the sadness of ‘what if’s’ around the wedding – the things that didn’t go well. I encourage people to go through a tiny little bit of mourning around that,” advises Allison Moir-Smith, founder of Emotionally Engaged: Counseling for Brides. “You have to face that reality and just weave it, over time, into your wedding story.”
2. Think About the Future
As you let go of the wedding that was, turn your attention toward everything you have to look forward to as you start your new lives together.
“Look past the wedding,” advises Dr. Greer. “Where will you go on the honeymoon? How will you line up your mutual goals in your shared future? Where will you vacation next? What intriguing things are ahead?”
3. Start New Rituals as a Couple
Life should be different now that you’re married rather than just dating – so act like it. Start a ritual that initiates the beginning of your time as life partners, such as a weekly date night, taking up a new sport, enrolling in a cooking class or joining a book club together.
4. Hang Out with Other Married People
While you shouldn’t just ditch your single friends, it can be helpful to find new friends who can relate to what it’s like to be married.
“As a married couple, you have different interests than people going out to bars and dating. You don’t fit into that world anymore,” says Moir-Smith, who also authored “Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the ‘Happiest’ Time of Her Life.”
5. Start Building Your Nest
Another way to settle into this new chapter of your life is to focus on creating a home together. That can mean looking for a new house, renovating the one you already have or simply making a few changes with new décor or furniture. This kind of collaborative project can not only help you move on from the last project (your wedding), but also allows you to bond over your future as a couple.
6. Talk to Each Other
The last thing you should do is bottle up your feelings from your spouse. “The most important thing in a marriage is to talk to each other,” says Moir-Smith. “It’s likely you’re both feeling something similar having been the center of attention for a year and all of a sudden having the spotlight move off.”
7. Consider Consulting a Professional
If you’re struggling for a significant period after the wedding or are having trouble making the transition to married life, you may want to consider counseling.
Marital counseling can help couples “build up their toolkit of listening and communication skills. They'll get these skills in place before things build up and become too problematic, which could lead to regretting getting married,” says Dr. Greer.
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