After Getting Married, Your Mental Health Might Change — Here Are 5 Strategies To Cope
Getting married is a major life milestone that is sure to impact your mental state. With monumental moments such as a proposal, wedding preparations, and seeing loved ones gather for your special day, emotional turbulences ranging from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows (realizing the wedding and "excitement" is over) can influence and shape your mental health after getting married.
While I myself have never been married, it certainly seems like the build-up to a wedding is all-around a highlight for a couple. Both receive congratulations from friends and family, accumulate a hell of a lot of social media likes on a proposal announcement (thus activating "rewards systems" in your brain by releasing the chemical dopamine), and excitedly pick out wedding registries, ceremony and party venues, and a photographer. It seems to be a whirlwind of complete bliss — which means some people find that re-adjusting to "normal" life after the wedding can be tough.
To get a gist of how your mental health can vary after getting married, I spoke to psychotherapist and author Jeffrey B. Rubin Ph.D and licensed professional counselor Nicole Richardson. Here's what they had to say about how marriage can affect your mental health.
The marriage may not live up to your highest expectations.
"For some, there are a lot of expectations about self-esteem or life feeling really differently after marriage," Richardson tells Elite Daily. "Marriage is not magical. It is important and special, but it is also a lot of work. For some couples, they experience a deeper level of intimacy and connection after the wedding and others feel as though they would feel differently about themselves or life and that doesn’t typically happen."
Richardson suggests seeking pre-marital counseling to prepare the couple for the realities of married life.
"If one had fantasies that simply getting married will solve all of one's problems and provide instantaneous bliss, one may face a ride awakening and emotional disillusionment," Rubin tells Elite Daily.
Certain aspects may be more stressful than you think.
Planning a wedding can seem like a lot of excitement, but can easily turn into a stressful overload if you don't have enough help and support. Richardson recommends to try and minimize the level of change happening in your life. For example, you might not want to move to a new home or switch careers the same month you're getting married.
Richardson says, "If you can minimize other big shifts, that is a good idea. Change can be healthy, but too much can cause added stress."
If you have a mental health disorder, tell your doctor or therapist about your upcoming wedding.
"Expect that the stress from the shifts and changes in your life [may] cause a flare up," says Richardson. "You can do things to prepare yourself like planning and protecting time for self-care and self-soothing."
To plan ahead, talk through how your marriage may specifically affect you in regards to your mental health disorder with your therapist or psychiatrist. They'll be able to pinpoint anything you should look out for, and ensure proper ways to prepare you and your future spouse.
You can be sad the wedding planning is over, so prepare.
Richardson says it's crucial to remember other aspects of your life when in the planning phase of a wedding to avoid a potential crash-and-burn after the wedding is over.
"If you spend a big chunk of time and it is suddenly over, it can be like having a close friend removed suddenly from your life," she says. "It can be helpful while in the planning stage not to allow your entire life to be about the wedding or the planning. Be sure the you make time for other hobbies and self-care to keep you life as balanced as possible."
Speak to your partner about your struggles.
If you're dealing with something, go to your spouse for support.
"When couples work on understanding themselves and empathizing with each other there is the opportunity of further emotional growth and greater fulfillment," Rubin says.
He says that continuing to work on yourself and trying to understand and empathize with your partner are ways to maintain positive changes, and ward off negative ones.