A very personal post – on the post-honeymoon blues

*Yawn* good morning everyone. Sara here fighting jetlag to bring you today’s blog post. At the time of writing, it’s not even 5am in the Bahamas and I’ve not quite adjusted yet, so please forgive me for any odd phrasing or bizarre spelling mistakes (all emails will also be answered over the weekend, so keep an eye on your inbox if you’ve emailed me in the last fortnight and got my out of office)!

Over a month ago I wrote a post on beating the post-wedding blues. I have to be honest, when I wrote it, I was feeling rather smug. You see I wasn’t really feeling blue at all. I was feeling high on the post-wedding glow, loving the Facebook messages (and let’s face it, all the attention) loving the pictures coming in from all angles, waiting for the official photos, hearing everyone’s different accounts of the day…

Just days after the photos and good wishes started to dry up, all of our energy was thrown into the honeymoon and that became the focus instead. It wasn’t until the last day of honeymoon, packing up my suitcase and looking with an inexplicable sense of sadness around the empty hotel room that it hit me like a lead punch to the stomach – the end of the honeymoon signalled the end of my journey as a bride.

And what I did next was totally unexpected. I cried. I said goodbye to the room. The pool. The pizza restaurant. The little stray cat that kept coming for scraps and cuddles, the sea, the concierge desk, the gift shop… I hadn’t felt like that since I was about 12 years old leaving a holiday. I had to think more about what was behind it – because I figured that the only way to feel better was to understand it. So here goes:

Where do the post-honeymoon blues come from? 

The honeymoon is the very last stage of being a bride

Even though we had a month between the wedding and the honeymoon to get used to married life, it hadn’t hit me that the honeymoon was the last link to the year and a half I spent as a bride. Swanning around serenely telling people it was my honeymoon still afforded me some sort of bridal privilege – free champagne on the plane, approving smiles, enthusiastic congratulations. It meant we were still new and exciting to other people – and therefore to ourselves.

The next part of the journey is going to be totally different. I know that’s a good thing – and moving onto the new part of being a wife is exciting. I want kids – I want a marriage. But if I didn’t acknowledge the loss of that amazing period of my life, I’d be doing myself a disservice. Particularly as for me it created a whole new career and passion – being a bride changed my life beyond recognition, it was the biggest stage of self-growth and happiness and leaving it behind isn’t going to be easy.

The honeymoon was the last barrier to real life

A few of you know that, behind closed doors, things have been rather traumatic here. I’m not ready to really talk about it in public (and I’d like to respect my family’s privacy) but a few weeks before my wedding, an immediate family member was diagnosed with a very serious illness. This ongoing battle is bound to take its toll, but before the honeymoon, I guess we had the idea of the honeymoon as a buffer – a time to rest before we really faced things. My support for the family member in question is unequivocal – I would go to the ends of the earth to help them, but the situation is heartbreaking. The honeymoon was my time to slowly recharge and prepare – now that it’s over I’m left with the very scary prospect of having to be ready to be very strong. I know I can do it, but there’s a small part of me that feels like a wobbly-lipped five year old – clinging to the last of the celebration that shielded us from the sadness of it.

But even without this monumental change in our lives, the wedding, and by extension the honeymoon, was a convenient barrier to real life. It meant that I could deal with certain things “after the honeymoon”. It was the ultimate excuse to procrastinate – so procrastinate I did – and now I have to be honest I’m faced with the reality that I left all the unpleasant or difficult tasks until “after the honeymoon”. Now that it’s after the honeymoon at last I’m faced with my tax return, the difficult bit of research for a new Under the Vintage Veil project, making tough decisions about the blog’s redesign (and some new sections which I hope you’ll all find exciting). All these things are ultimately positive – but they’re also reality – something I’ve been able to put off for a while now.

The honeymoon was our time together

Planning a wedding is hectic – and something can be lost in your relationship when every single weekend is taken up sewing napkins and printing doily place settings. John and I both work long hours – by the time the evening comes around we can both feel so exhausted we barely feel like we’ve seen each other. We do make time together, but ten days of uninterrupted couple time was a rare and amazing thing. It’s hard to know we’re headed back to our ordinary routine – in a way it feels like a loss of that honeymoon closeness (in a practical sense).

Post-holiday blues are also normal

Just because I haven’t had post-holiday blues in a long time doesn’t mean they’re not normal. I used to get them all the time as a child – the safety of an all-inclusive holiday probably tipped me over the edge. Wandering around without money, getting up and leaving restaurants when I was done without waiting for the bill, jumping in the pool whenever the fancy struck me, a dip in the hot tub becoming part of the daily routine – oh, and a spa on my doorstep… those are wonderful  things. Coming home to cooking, cleaning, four hungry cats, bills, work, obligations – it all seems a bit mundane in comparison.

Don’t beat yourself up – take what you can from the situation

While the end of the honeymoon can feel like a huge loss, it also reminds you what’s important about your relationship and what you need to be changed about your lifestyle. Each relationship is different, so here’s what I took from the honeymoon that I hope will help me in the future.

♥ I need to seriously chill out. Before the honeymoon I was a tightly wound ball of stress. I’d get upset very quickly about the smallest things and beat myself up if I didn’t meet the high standards I’d set for myself. Now, having rested and got some perspective back, I can see that years of running around without a break had left me close to breaking point. I need to focus on keeping my body calm so I can get to the next point…

We need to make more time together. Time together isn’t just going to happen. It needs to be made, set aside and treasured. We need to really commit to going on dates and being a couple, instead of just a team of two people who work very well together. There’s so much love in our relationship and we’re extremely lucky to get on as well as we do – so we need to make sure we don’t lose that in every day life.

I need to face things as they happen. The honeymoon was a convenient excuse to put off anything difficult or scary. Now I’m left with a big pile of difficult and scary things – and while I lived a nice, oblivious life for a while, it wasn’t very kind to my future self to leave all the rubbish stuff for later. Life isn’t just blocks of good and bad times – it’s up and down and I need to get better at facing that head on.

So in conclusion – being a bride is an amazing time – but if you block out too much of reality while you’re planning your wedding and honeymoon, the comedown can be a bit of a bump back down to earth! Enjoy your time as a bride, but try to also deal with everyday life as it comes – and give yourself a bit of breathing room to return to normality! 

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