The time leading up to your wedding is exciting. You’re busy, full of emotion, and likely living on an incredible high. It may not surprise you that this high will have to end eventually, but it may surprise you that it can result in a psychological crash.
Post-wedding depression affects many newlyweds. It refers to a temporary comedown period after the wedding itself. It’s characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, boredom, and lack of purpose. You can think of it as an emotional hangover.
These after-wedding blues usually last only a few months. However, they can linger beyond six months in some cases, which may require professional intervention. Fortunately, post-wedding depression is avoidable and resolvable. Even if you think it won’t happen to you, understanding how to prevent and cope with it is important.
(If not you, your knowledge might one day help a friend.)
Who Do Post-Nuptial Blues Affect?
Post-wedding depression can happen to anyone, both brides and grooms. It’s estimated to affect about 12% of brides. While there is no current data on grooms, it is known to be quite common with men, too. These blues also hit those on the professional side of things. If a wedding planner is heavily involved with a couple, they can feel a sense of loss after it’s all done and over with.
What Causes Post-Wedding Depression?
In the days, months, or maybe years leading up to your wedding, you’re probably preoccupied with the planning process. No matter how big or small your celebration, there’s a lot to keep you busy. (A good busy, but busy nonetheless!) Not to mention, the wedding also gives you purpose. You’re working on a big project while watching the stunning results of your hard work. There’s nothing more satisfying than that!
Once the big day arrives, you’re feeling on top of the world. But after that passes, reality hits. You’re back to living the normal life, which can seem bleak in comparison. For example, you realize that you have too much time on your hands. You’re not striving towards a goal. If your spouse was planning things with you, you might not be spending as much time together anymore.
In addition, as a newlywed-to-be, you may have been used to being the center of attention, which is incredibly addictive. Now, you’re no longer in the spotlight, and that alone can be depressing for some. There is also the issue of living in an alternate reality and having false expectations. In preparation for your wedding, you may be in a fairy tale state of mind. Right now, you’re focused on the biggest celebration of your life. You’re not thinking about the bills you’ll have to pay afterward. You may also have certain expectations about your spouse or married life in general that won’t be as you imagined.
How to Cope with Post-Wedding Depression
The best way to deal with post-wedding depression is to focus on the bigger picture. The happiest newlyweds don’t view marriage as the end goal—they see it as the start of a new chapter in life. Now that you’re married, there will be other milestones to conquer. This may be buying a house, having kids, or maybe just planning your future travels. At the same time, it’s important not to rush things. Jumping into a big project too soon can actually backfire. Make sure to take some time to settle into your married life and get to know each other as husband or wife before taking on a serious task.
Find a New Project
Because you’ve been living in “go-go-go” mode for so long, you’re probably not used to having so much free time. But now that you do, take advantage of it! Staying busy will help distract you from depressive thoughts. Consider starting a new hobby or restarting an old one. Take a language class, join a gym, or learn a new skill. Choose something that is defined by a goal, so you have a picture to focus on. As a preventive measure, it’s even better to plan what you’re going to do before the wedding day even happens. That way, you have something to look forward to and be excited about once the honeymoon period fades.
Don’t Stop Dating
…each other, that is. Too many newlyweds change after the wedding because they feel a sense of security after saying, “I do.” This can make married life really boring after a while. Have regular date nights, no matter how busy you are, and find activities to do together. Alternatively, plan a future vacation with your spouse, or your honeymoon if you haven’t done that already.
When you’re feeling down, sometimes nothing feels better than catching up with friends. A strong support system is one of the keys to curing depression. Even if you feel like a hypocrite (you just got married—you should be happy), don’t be afraid to speak to your pals or your spouse about how you feel.
In addition, don’t lose touch with your besties once you tie the knot. Too many people, often inadvertently, lose touch with their friends after marriage. Although it’s important to spend quality time with your spouse, it’s equally as important to not neglect yourself in the process, and this can mean connecting with others besides your spouse.
Think Beyond the Wedding
Lastly, as a preventative measure, you should avoid obsessing over the wedding all the time. Have days off where all wedding-related business and talk is forbidden. Make sure to have something else to do that takes your mind off the big day. Keep up with your hobbies and hang out with your friends without discussing marriage topics. Your wedding should never become your entire life. You may feel extremely empty once the celebration is over.