A Wedding in the Eye of the Divorcee

The dissolution of marriage is often the only choice.  It's not an easy one and it's not one that feels good.  It's just the one that must be made for self-preservation.  It takes a large toll on a person.  The toll it takes on a person is smaller than the one that results from enduring countless more years in an unsupportable marriage.  Still, the toll is great. 

Sadness and loneliness is part of the toll, because an important connection was severed.  Your spouse is no longer your spouse.  The connection is gone.  And connection fulfills the need for love and belonging.  

Depending on the recency of your divorce seeing others embracing their relationship will have an affect.  No greater place to witness this connection is to attend a wedding.  Weddings are a time of enjoyment.  The couple is congratulated on their union.  Family and friends bear witness to this life event and it's a time of celebration. 

There's a myriad of possible reactions a divorcee will experience when bearing witness to such a celebratory experience.  Many divorcees don't prefer to attend weddings due to the discomfort it can cause.  Overall, many divorcees will feel a combination of the following:

  • Anxiety and discomfort at least before the wedding begins.
  • Intense happiness for the married couple.
  • Memories/images of their own wedding and ex-spouse.
  • Feelings of sadness and loss...even anger.
  • Thoughts about divorce rates and will this couple make it.
  • Being thankful for the honor of attending such an occasion.
  • Feelings of hope and love.
  • Feeling like you need a drink.

The more weddings a divorcee attends the less discomfort they will feel.  Whatever you experience in response to attending a wedding is completely natural.  Don't beat yourself up because of your reaction.  Instead use self-compassion and live your values. 

"I will release the old, embrace the new, and grow a vision of hope."
~ Shiv Adhikari

By Delicia Mclean, Ph.D., MHA