September 28, 2021
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes depression. Wait … that’s not how it’s supposed to go. Unfortunately, for some, that is how it goes. While many newlyweds are blissed out, others are hit with the post-wedding blues, and it can be debilitating.
“When the wedding was over, I was in a lot of pain,”
Anna Shevel-Vreeland tells me of her 2012 nuptials.
Laura Stafford, professor and director of Bowling Green State University’s School of Media and Communication, and Allison Scott Gordon, associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Communication, have conducted two studies on depression in newly married women. In a study of 28 women they conducted in 2016, nearly half of the participants indicated they felt let down or depressed after their wedding, and some participants reported clinical levels of depression. In a 2018 study of 152 women, 12 percent reported feeling depressed after their wedding.
And a bad wedding isn’t to blame. In Scott Gordon and Stafford’s first study, none of the “blue” brides linked their feelings of depression or letdown to the wedding itself. “For even blue brides, the wedding appears to have lived up to their expectations,” they wrote.
Still, Jocelyn Charnas, a psychologist in New York who has been dubbed “the wedding doctor,” has found that almost everyone experiences some form of a letdown after the big day.
“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,”
A wedding can put tremendous pressure on the couple, “and the more pressure and expectations, the harder the letdown can be,” Charnas says. Here are some tips, from newlyweds and psychologists, to help soothe the post-wedding blues.
Recognize that a post-wedding slump is unavoidable.
Charnas stresses that couples should expect a letdown after the planning bonanza is over. When Shira Andres was engaged,
“everyone was interested in … asking me questions about my upcoming nuptials. Once I was married, people weren’t as interested in my life,”
she says. She also pined for the planning. “Having something so huge to look forward to is a real motivator.”
“It flashes by in a second, and that hits you like a ton of bricks,” Andres says.
Pre-wedding stress doesn’t help.
“Oftentimes we use wedding planning as an excuse to put off other things that might be anxiety-provoking, like going back to school or getting a new job, and when the wedding is over, we’re then faced with those things, and that can contribute to a sense of disappointment or stress,”
Charnas says. One of the stressors could be the financial responsibility.
“For brides and grooms who pay for the wedding themselves, now the fun is over, and they just have the bill.”
While planning their wedding, couples should pick one night a week to not discuss it.
That way, Charnas says, they can remember what it feels like to be a couple without a big event on the horizon. For example, by shifting their focus from wedding planning to discussing their expectations of married life, couples can deepen their relationship.
“Focus on the beginning of the marriage, as opposed to the end of the wedding,”
It’s not just brides who suffer from a newlywed nose-dive.
Of the people I spoke to, the worst off was a groom.
“I was so depressed, I honestly didn’t know what to do,”
Brian Lambert recalls. Even the honeymoon, which he and his wife, Nicole, took a few days after the wedding, couldn’t lift his spirits.
“We had no appointments with vendors, no centerpieces to put together, nothing to try and design. I found myself going to the office on the weekends more to try and keep myself busy.”
They got married in September 2017, and he’s “still not over it,” he says.
His loved ones began to worry about how his spending habits had changed because of the depression.
“They wanted to take my debit card away,”
“I was buying things for no reason at all, including animals. Our apartment is now a zoo as I kept bringing creatures back; now I have 12 different fish tanks set up.”
To read more on this article, you can visit The post-wedding blues are real. Here’s how to handle them.
July 11, 2018