Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Postnuptial Depression

There's a Time magazine article about postnuptial depression, which is a new concept to me.

Here's how the article explains the phenomenon:

"The blues typically hit early in married life, psychiatrists say, as newlyweds begin recognizing that expectations of how their partner or relationship will change post-wedding are unrealistic. Worse, once the Big Day has come and gone, couples are suddenly forced to step out of their much-cherished, and often long-lived, 'bride' or 'groom' spotlight and just get on with real life."

It explains the role of disagreements in postnuptial depression:

"When [couples] start arguing about sex, money or time — issues that all married couples battle over — it can seem catastrophic. Gannon finds herself correcting patients all the time: 'Where did you get the idea that you weren't supposed to fight?' she says. 'You are. It's normal.' It's also normal to remain independent and to be responsible for your own happiness. 'It's unreasonable to assume your partner is going to be everything to you,' says Eagan.

I predicted that couples who live together before marriage might be less likely to experience the effects of postnuptial depression, but apparently not:

"Even couples who cohabit before marriage, and who have presumably tempered their expectations and reconciled their petty differences, are not immune to the day-after blues. 'People who have been living together think they're going to feel something different once they're married,' says Gannon. But there's no magical transformation that comes with signing a marriage certificate."

The wedding planning process itself seems to contribute to the depression:

"The problem may be that after months consumed by wedding preparations and feeling like the center of attention, the sudden shift back to everyday life can be a shock. 'I put a lot of time and effort into the wedding planning process,' says Erin Hastings, 28, who got married in 2006 after an 18-month engagement. 'Where do you redirect your energy once it's over?'"

Their advice for combating postnuptial blues?

"Doctors say couples should get adequate rest and exercise; communicate constantly; focus on the benefits of marriage, such as having a built-in support system; and start thinking about the future in terms of family or finance. Women especially should also stop thinking of themselves as The Bride: throw out those wedding magazines, then plan some social events for after the honeymoon, so you have other parties to look forward to."

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Anonymous said...

Does anyone else have a problem with the last line of advice:

"Women should stop thinking of themselves as "the bride" and throw out those wedding magazines, then plan social events for after the honeymoon, so they have other parties to look forward to."

Um... plan more parties? I can think of MANY fulfilling ways to get over the "blues," and it doesn't include planning more parties.

Ellen Mint said...

I really do kinda wonder just how common postnuptial blues really is, or if it's something that is kinda pushed to the forefront because of the stigma associated with how a bride turns into a crazed woman.

It seems like the media sure loves to push the idea that all women are completely insane and young adults just know nothing.

So far we've been acting pretty much the same before the wedding as after, no more or less fighting and no wild expectations for a happily ever after.

Marina said...

I would be worried about feeling at loose ends after spending over a year on a single huge project, but I have never in my life had trouble finding big projects to latch on to, and I don't expect that to change now.

cara said...

I agree with blablover and find it really disturbing that the media are so very keen on promoting women who are getting married or just got married as emotionally unstable. But then I also think that a lot of people get married thinking that it is going to make something (or someone) change, and that is a recipe for disharmony.

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