Mrs. Noire: Post-Wedding Blues Are Real…And They’re Normal
My wedding was one of the best days of my life. Ever. That sounds sickening and cliché, but it truly was. The celebration went off almost perfectly after two years of long hours, hard work, saving, budgeting, last-minute changes, shifting design ideas, bridal party shakeups, family politics, and guest management. My new husband and I were surrounded by friends and family. The decorations were simple and fairytale-inspired at the same time. The food was good. The champagne flowed. And the DJ kept everyone on their toes all night. It was truly a day filled with love and fun. In short, our wedding was everything.
But, while looking over our wedding pictures and thinking back on the day, mixed in there with all the newlywed bliss was a touch of something different. It didn’t feel the same as all the warm, happy feelings that thinking about our wedding and honeymoon usually brought up for me. This was distinctly different, and I couldn’t place my finger on what it might be at first. I didn’t want to think that I was feeling sad after one of the happiest days of my life because it just didn’t make sense on the surface.
As it turns out, post-wedding Blues seem to be something that a lot of brides experience. A 2015 study, with a small sample size of 28 brides, showed that about half of its participants experienced some level of sadness after their wedding. Some even had what would be considered clinical levels of depression. A study released earlier this year showed that of 152 recently married women, 12 percent of them reported feelings of depression after they tied the knot.
But what exactly causes this sadness? Is it regret over the decision to wed? Did the wedding not live up to their dreams? Probably not. In fact, those blues likely have nothing to do with the wedding or the marriage at all. Clinical psychologist Jocelyn Charnas, also known as The Wedding Doctor, told NBC News that post-wedding blues are actually a natural reaction.
“It absolutely is a real thing. I’ve felt it in my own life and I see it in my office every week,” she said. “Any life event that we look forward to, we run the risk of having a little bit of the blues after. It’s sort of a normal human experience.”
Your emotions may not be on 10 leading up to your wedding, but they’re certainly hovering somewhere around 7 or 8 for months on end. Everyone you talk to seems so thrilled about the upcoming nuptials. It almost feels like the world is celebrating with you, and festivities in the build-up to the wedding (like showers and bachelorette/bachelor parties) add even more excitement. Not to mention, getting married is something many people look forward to their whole lives until it happens. We build weddings up to epic proportions, and that proves to be a bit of a set up because, as Charnas explains, “the more pressure and expectations, the harder the letdown can be.”
When the day is over–no matter how it went–you still have to come down from the emotional high. Think of it like a wave: Once a big wave hits the shore, the tide spreads out and then draws itself back into the ocean. Post-wedding blues are like that drawing back. It’s necessary for our emotions to even out, so our mood may take a dip in order to reach equilibrium. This doesn’t just apply to weddings. Holidays, graduations, and any other number of major life events are subject to causing this type of feeling.
As Charnas explained to The Washington Post, “Like any milestone, we look forward to, a certain degree of difficult feelings, whether it’s emptiness or loneliness or sadness, is not uncommon after the fact.” This means that many brides and grooms may already have experienced something similar to post-wedding blues before. Here are a few ways to handle them:
1. Embrace And Anticipate Post-Wedding Blues
Knowing that you could experience some sort of slump after your wedding makes it a little easier to prepare yourself for it.
2. Put The Honeymoon On Hold
Traditionally, couples leave for their honeymoon the day after they say “I Do.” However, waiting a few days or weeks could save that newlywed getaway for when you most need it. What better way to soothe your blues away than on a luxurious trip with the person you love most?
3. Seek Help
Post-wedding blues may be commonplace, but they shouldn’t stick around for long. Dr. Jane Greer told WaPo that if yours last more than six months that it is time to see a therapist.
I’m glad to say that my tinges of sadness were not as deep as other women have experienced. Thankfully, I’ve since shaken them off, and my husband and I are enjoying our Happily Ever After. Still, it is a comfort to know that what I went through is not as unusual as I had once thought it might be.