Attending a Loved Ones’ Wedding During Your Own Divorce.

A group of people at a wedding reception. It's dark and the crowd is holding sparklers.
Being happy at someone else’s wedding when your own marriage is crumbling around you can be very hard, but you may not be able to avoid the event.

You know the saying: Life goes on. Which is so true, but often so hard to internalize during times of great change and upheaval. We all know the world doesn’t actually come to a screeching halt during your divorce, it just feels like it. So what do you do when your marriage is falling apart and your best friend, or cousin, or favorite coworker are getting married? Do you plaster a smile on your face and show up at the wedding, ready to wish them all the best despite your broken heart? Or do you stay home and drown your sorrows in chardonnay, offering toasts to failed relationships and wishing you weren’t alone? 

Step one: Consider who the invite rightfully goes to.

If the invite is addressed to you and the spouse you’re busy divorcing, or to you and your recent ex, you’ll need to consider allegiances. Does the person who sent the invite know you’re getting divorced? Did they address the invite to you and your spouse/recent ex because the divorce is so recent, they assumed you guys were still together? If so, you’ll need to figure out which one of you should get the invite. If it comes from your spouse/ex’s family or friend circle, then pass it on to them and wash your hands of it. If it comes from one of your people, then the obligation falls to you, and you’re going to have to decide if it’s a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ situation.

Step two: Consider who the invite comes from.

Is it an old friend from high school that you hardly ever see and who probably won’t miss you too much if you don’t come? Or is it your best friend for 20 years and you’re in her bridal party so you CAN’T bail on her? If you really don’t feel up to going, and the invite is from someone who won’t be heartbroken if you skip out on their special day, then go ahead. But if the invite is from a close friend or family member, and your absence would make them sad on their special day, then you’re going to have to do the noble thing and put aside your personal pain and recognize that this day isn’t about you. (Yes, we know it’s hard to do, but it’s the right thing!)

Step three: Consider your “plus one” situation

Most wedding invites are for a couple. As in – you and your plus one. Sometimes that specifically refers to the spouse or partner you’re with who is named in the invite, and sometimes it’s left open ended because the person getting married isn’t sure what your relationship status is. So if you’re going to this wedding, you’ll need to figure out who your “plus one” is going to be, or even if you need a partner. Because let’s be real. You can totally go to wedding alone and have a blast. You don’t have to take anyone with you. Arriving alone DOES NOT make you a social pariah. But if you do decide to take someone, it can be any safe person you have fun with – your BFF, your brother, your cousin, your crossfit buddy, or whoever you think you’ll have a good time with.

Divorce is hard, but you’re a survivor!

Getting through the emotional turbulence that comes with a divorce is some of the hardest stuff you’re going to process. Loss and grief and pain are never pretty. But in the end, they do have the benefit of making you stronger if you let them. So while we know this is very hard, make a point of getting up and looking yourself in the mirror, and reminding yourself that you’re a survivor. You can get through this. In the end, you will be stronger, tougher, smarter, and better off. Oh, and don’t forget to join us next time for tips on how to get through the wedding day itself – because even strong, tough, smart people need help here and there!