After the wedding, maybe everything is happy, idyllic, and perfect....Or maybe not. In a funk, stressed, or depressed? Come sit on Dr. Plunge’s couch.
There’s an old legend about the ancient Greeks. When an athlete triumphed in a sporting event, to congratulate him, the fans would hoist him on their shoulders and yell, “Die Now! Die Now!”
The athlete was at his peak. The apex of his life. “Die Now” meant that he would never, ever be as happy as he was this moment; so to avoid the inevitable letdown, he should just go ahead and kill himself.
As perhaps you’ve noticed, this tradition has fallen out of favor. At weddings, when we shower the bride and groom with rice, we (usually) don’t scream out “Die Now! Die Now!”
No, we at The Plunge do not endorse newlywed euthanasia. And to clarify, we do not think that the wedding will be the apex of your life. You will have other triumphs. You will grow even happier and happier with your wife. Your children will bring you bankruptcy joy.
Still... the Greeks had their finger on something. After the wedding, some guys will feel a letdown, a funk, a hard-to-pinpoint sense of gloom. You can’t articulate it. You can’t talk about it with your buddies, and you probably can’t talk about it with your wife.
Sometimes it helps just to isolate and clarify your stress. Chances are, it stems from one of these 10 funk factors. If we’re missing something, just Ask The Expert and we'll get back to you, promise.
Also, in deference to your state of mind, we’ll be a little less snarky than usual. We’ll be delicate. (Because you’re acting like a pansy.)
Funk Factor 1: You’re no longer the star.
Truth time. Yes, we’ve both sworn an aversion to wedding planning. We mock it, you avoid it. Shhhhh... We promise we won’t tell anyone...but we know that you secretly enjoyed it. Or at least parts of it. You were the leading man in a lavish play that had a cast of 200. You were doted on, flattered, honored with gifts. And now? The gig’s up, the costumes are boxed in the closet, the audience has moved on to the next wedding.
Solution: Good news. This effect is temporary. Life will soon return to normal, and with it, your perspective and humor.
Funk Factor 2: You have idle hands.
For better or worse, the wedding sucked up a lot of time. And now you suddenly have your evenings free. Yes, you mocked it and yes, you were annoyed by much of it, but even on the bad days it was what you did. Without all the stress of planning—or putting up with your fiancée’s planning—you could find yourself bored. And boredom leads to depression.
Solution: Take up a new hobby with your wife. Tennis lessons, wine tasting, key parties, whatever. You had a life before. You’ll have a life again.
Funk Factor 3: You get the bill.
Student loans are a bitch. It sucks to have $60,000, say, that will burden you for the next decade. The silver lining, of course, is that college landed you a job, opened doors, and spawned your career. Student loans were necessary.
And then there’s this loan. If you have $30,000 of Wedding Debt, you might start to sober up and wonder...what the hell just happened? Student loans were an investment in my career, but did I really go into debt so that my wife’s uncle could snack on lobster? Really? And you wonder why you’re stressed.
Solution: Do your long-term financial planning. The scariest thing about debt is not having a plan for paying it back. Working with your wife to budget, make decisions, and set financial goals will restore your confidence.
Funk Factor 4: You can’t make out with Shannon from Marketing.
Yep. Get used to it. And Sarah, Jill, and even Monique with the hot-as-hell accent...all off-limits.
Solution: You know what? This is nothing new. They’ve been off-limits for months and probably years and somehow you’ve survived. As a pragmatic matter of fidelity, being married is no different than being engaged, and you handled that okay. If you’ve cheated?
Funk Factor 5: You were disappointed in the ceremony itself.
Solution: It’s a five-step program. 1) Go in the bathroom and lock the door. 2) Remove your pants. 3) Remove your boxers. 4) Check and ensure that you still have male genitalia. 5) If the answer is No, then you need a much different website. If the answer is Yes—you’re a male—then stop fretting about your ceremony.
For perspective, look at one recent bride wrote on a wedding message board:
“I just got back from my destination wedding in Belize and it was really beautiful, but I was severely dissapointed by the flower situation. I had a whole vision and had made all these meticulous plans with the hotel and florist about which flowers I would get, candles etc, and I did not get any of it. Even though I can say that my wedding was pretty amazing, I'm obsesseing about it to the point where I want to throw another party just to reverse that dissapointment (neurotic huh!?).”
This particular flavor of “post-wedding depression” is strictly the province of women. Just feel lucky you’re not this chick’s groom.
Funk Factor 6: You miss your buddies.
Solution: Let’s not over-think this: just hang out with those goofy bastards. Don’t be a slave to stereotypes; being married doesn’t mean you have to be home by 8pm. Spending time with your friends keeps you young, keeps you from becoming resentful, and gives your marriage a healthy dose of space. Ditto for her, so don’t freak out if she still wants to do Girl’s Night Out.
Funk Factor 7: Your life hasn’t changed.
You’ve thought about marriage for years. Here it is. And now...what, exactly? Nothing’s different. (For more on the differences between living together and being engaged, click here.)
Solution: Appreciate the subtle things. And realize that it takes time. At the risk of sounding Oprahy, your relationship is now stronger, richer, deeper. You won’t notice this at first but you’ll feel the change over time, sort of like adding vegetables to your diet.
Funk Factor 8: You’re seeing too much of the In-laws.
Solution: In-laws are the anti-viagra. So create boundaries, have your wife delicately set up some guidelines (i.e. long weekends are great—three week visits, not so much), and remember that she could be feeling this way about your parents, so act accordingly.
Funk Factor 9: You squabble about the dishes.
If you haven’t lived together before, this could be your first dose of reality. You’re still bickering over 2% or fat-free milk, whether you can watch TV during dinner, and if you really need to spray the shower tiles with Windex.
Solution: You’ll get through it. Everyone has their own quirks and peccadilloes; the key is patience. (Quick aside: if someone ever asks you for advice, just say, “The key to ___ is patience.” It always works. “The key to house-hunting is patience.” Or “The key to dealing with your mother is patience.” Or “The key to successful campaign finance reform...is patience.” Try it sometime. )
Funk Factor 10: Your wife’s post-wedding depression is spreading to you.
If she simply can’t let go of being the bride, perhaps this is sneakily, subtly wearing off on you. And maybe it just won’t end. Let’s look at what some wedding-porn advises for a bride in this funk:
“I find that one of the best ways to beat the post-wedding blues is to organize activities around the "big things" that happen after the wedding. Have your friends and family over to watch the video or invite your bridesmaids over for some wine when you get your proofs back. It's a good way to not only keep your planning skills honed, but it's a fun way to to celebrate and re-live the highlights without seeming like all you do is talk about wedding!”
Sigh. It seems like it will never end. The good news is that it will. This, too, shall pass.
Solution: The key is patience.
You ready for the really, really fun stuff? Click here for what you need to know about marriage and taxes.