14 Tips To Beat The Post-Wedding Blues
Dear April Masini,
The wedding is over, the thank you notes are written. It's too soon to be in a rut -- right? So, why do I feel so down?"
Wedding Wind Down
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Wedding Wind Down:
Post-partem, the blues women get after having a baby, are the most famous, and legitimized kind of depression because there is a physical event associated with them, so it's easy to rationalize. But many events, like weddings, funerals, and divorce can leave "post" blues after the event the same way having a baby can, and they are harder to diagnose. Even soldiers suffer post-traumatic-stress, which is tragic, but not unrelated. It took a long time for the professional world to recognize post-traumatic stress syndrome in soldiers. It even took a long time for the medical world to recognize post-partem depression as a condition that is temporary and treatable. Any event that is stressful has the potential to trigger a post-event depression.
Even an event as joyous as a wedding. But don't run to a divorce attorney -- that would be the wrong direction! In fact, don't run at all. Just because you got married and now feel down in the dumps, probably has nothing to do with your choice of mate. It has more to do with the stress you underwent in the year or more it took to plan and execute your wedding. So relax. He or she is still Mr. or Ms. Right. You just need some advice from me to enjoy your new partner and your new life. So, read on.
Wedding Bell Blues: Don’t ignore ‘em. Beat 'em!
- Plan a mini honeymoon. I know -- you just came back from a romantic week or two at an extravagant resort where you celebrated your honeymoon in grand style. Well, that doesn't mean you can't have another! And it doesn't mean the next one has to be as tricked out as the original. In fact, weekends away are great refreshers that don't have to be extravagant or expensive. Even one night in a hotel or a camping trip will inject your new marriage with some spunk and spice.
- Do something out of the ordinary. Go hiking together. Have a double massage. Go to the zoo! Do things you don't normally do, and if you need help thinking of places and things to do -- take a look at my new book Romantic Date Ideas. It will help you fight off the ho-hum boredoms that can easily manifest themselves when we're all consumed in our every day, day to day whatevers. Trust me, you will feel that your life is not stuck in a rut.
- Invite friends over for a pot-luck dinner to re-connect and not have to talk about The Wedding. You probably don't even realize how much time and energy you've spent talking about The Wedding. Well, quit it! Talk about other things.
- Visit someone who is sick or needs help. Getting out of your "own head" and helping someone who really needs it, will give you the perspective to make your blues seem like nothing compared to someone else's.
- Get involved in your church or synagogue or wherever you worship in your community. Volunteer to help out. Become more than an individual and more than part of a couple. Become part of your community.
- Get physical. The blues may be a physical reaction to a big event that translates, simply, into exhaustion. Many times feeling blue and being exhausted can be closely related. If this is your case, try a spa! Either with your new husband or with a girlfriend.
If You're Still Having The Blues...You're Not Alone
Reconnect with your parents and your nuclear family for support. While love is here to stay, marriages are in a national state of distress. One of the reasons for this crisis is that families don't live close together any more, and new couples don't have the same support of their families that they used to when they lived in closer proximity to each other. While friends become a surrogate form of family, no one replaces a mother, father, and close siblings, and the support that they offer.
Toss Tabloids. Another reason that marriages are endangered is that divorce is now very easy and often glamorized. Rarely are celebrities who have divorced shown crying, eating pints of ice cream in depressive states or reading self help book after self help book. In fact, divorced celebrities are often shown out on the town with new guy and gal pals, living the high life. Quit reading the tabloids and get involved in your own community.
Seek Counseling. Marriage enrichment programs offer a valuable source of support for couples who are looking for some preventive help or some crisis intervention. Whether the help comes from an inspirational story, some tips on how to navigate the tough times or hearing other couples stories to make one feel not so alone -- there is help to be had in these groups and programs.
Tips For Staying Married:
- Make your marriage a priority. Don’t put it last behind work, children, pets, your church, the PTA, etc. Make dates with your husband (I’ve got a great book called Romantic Date Ideas that gives specific ways to keep your sex like sizzling – long term).
- Make your sex life a priority. Which means keeping yourself up. Stay sexy and sexually appealing. Do things that make you feel sexy and involve your husband. Sometimes that involves getting out of your normal routine – whether it’s a weekend trip somewhere luxurious or a night in a hotel without kids.
- Keep your boundaries at work. Men and women can’t be friends. Don’t have drinks or meals with your male colleagues unless there is a specific work agenda – and stick to the agenda. If you feel the two of you are veering off the agenda, excuse yourself and leave. If your male colleague starts confessing problems in his marriage or relationship, tell him in no uncertain terms, that you love doing business with him, but you’re not comfortable talking about his personal life, and he’d get better advice from a buddy or a shrink. Don’t go there.
- Perspective. If you endure a life changing event such as illness, death, an accident, or sobriety, get professional and community support. Communicate with your husband about what you are feeling, but also get help if you feel the relationship is in real danger.