Getting married is an exciting time in your life, but what happens if that blissful honeymoon period ends too soon? Are you just suffering post wedding day blues, or are things not as they should be?
The idea of divorce is hardly pleasant; having to move out of the home you shared, deciding what to do with the furniture and pets, dealing with the idea of new partners, and there may even be children involved.
It's normal to feel a bit low after all the wedding anticipation and planning, but, how do you know if you're simply going through a rough patch, or if it's not meant to be? If you mistook cold feet for things not being right, it may be that you need to resolve these problems, or accept that married life isn't quite right for you at this time.
It can be easy to become complacent when you get engaged or married. Your partner declares their undying love for you, shows commitment by accepting a proposal, or making one, and now you've signed the papers. You can relax with the thought that you have a partner by your side for the rest of your life; to love in sickness in health, for richer or poorer.
And that's often when things can start to go wrong. It's easy to make less of an effort when you're married, but for many, this is a downhill spiral to feeling less than satisfied.
You may need to look at what your expectations were in getting married and decide if you think these were too high? Perhaps you need to take a more realistic look and talk to your partner about ways you can make the relationship work," says Paula Hall, a relationship counsellor at Relate.
How can you improve things?
Perhaps you were childhood sweethearts and marriage felt like the next step to cement your love for one another. You may think you've learnt all you need to know about each other, but it's still important to make an effort and let each other know how much you love and need them.
Romantic gestures go a long way. Even a little note sneaked in your partner's bag can be enough to light up their day and make them feel wanted and sexy.
If you aren't still shagging like rabbits, that doesn't mean that sex has to go down the pan. It's all about quality, not quantity, so when you do get a chance to hit the sack, (or somewhere more adventurous!), make sure you still take time over each other's bodies until you're begging for more.
Sharing your day's experiences with each other is also important. You don't need to know every last detail, but it's nice to relate back to each other funny, annoying and stressful parts of your day. This can be helpful in gaining a better understanding of each other and not taking things personally if there's tension when you return home after a day's work.
You may need to look at what your expectations were in getting married and decide if you think these were too high?
If you're suffering from post-nuptial depression, the most important thing is recognising it and realising that it's a common phase that many people go through. It may not be a good idea to replace the honeymoon with an immediate buzz such as a holiday, but you could think about other things you have to look forward to, such as doing up the house, starting a family, and so on," says Paula.
When thing's aren't right
Marina, 26, got married at 23 to her boyfriend of eight years. After 18 months they separated and have now divorced. "Getting married felt the natural thing to do at the time. It was also a chance to focus on a happy event and provided much needed security. Still, it wasn't long before I felt I was constantly compromising my emotions and analysing my actions."
Marina initially felt it was easier to stay in a negative situation rather than make the decision to move away from it. "It took me a year to pluck up the courage to leave my husband. It gave me the chance to make sure I'd given the relationship 100% and to ensure that once I'd made a decision, to leave or stay, I'd never regret it."
Thinking about separating?
No one wants to have a failed marriage or experience the hurt it can cause. No doubt you would have had your reasons to marry, and a strong belief that you could make it work. If talking things through with your partner still isn't doing the trick, it may be a good idea to discuss your problems with a marriage counsellor.
You may find it easier open up in a more controlled environment, with someone who can help you both see where things may need improving.
Jamie got married when he was 19 and divorced aged 24. He decided to try counselling on his own, when he realised he wanted to end the marriage, but unfortunately it didn't change his mind. "I was young and had a lot going on at the time, says Jamie. "The relationship was the only constant thing I had in my life, but deep down I knew it wasn't making me happy. I've since learnt to trust myself and listen to my feelings properly so I can make small steps to make a situation better."
In 2003 3.4% (per 1,000) of the married population of husbands and 8% of wives under the age of 20 went through a divorce. In the 20-24 year-old age bracket, this figure increased to 25.7% of husbands and 29.7% of wives.
So you're not alone. For those of you who marry and divorce in your 20s, it doesn't mean that you're going to be left on the shelf. If anything, second time around, or when embarking on your next serious relationship, you'll have a far stronger knowledge of what you want and what feels right.
If you and your partner have decided that divorce or separation is the best way forward, then that decision lies with you. "You may get the 'I told you so's' from family and friends, but everybody makes mistakes, whatever age," says Paula. It's going to be a difficult time but as long as you get as much support as you can from loved ones, you'll get through it in the end."
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