Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Wedding Survival After Divorce

I just read a blog post that teaches you how to survive your first wedding after divorce. The very first wedding was for my brother.  I spent a few years getting plenty of practice as a single person when we had different ideas of a good time.  For this wedding, we were still very much together and he just wasn't interested in going. He probably had a concert. I don't remember what he was doing, I just remember he didn't want to go with me. This was in November of 2013. I stopped forcing him to go to family events.  It was easier to enjoy myself if I didn't have to entertain him, but it was my first stag wedding since we started dating. I was surrounded by my siblings, and good food, so I can't say it was a hard wedding.

The first wedding that I was invited to after I knew he was very much done, and I knew he would be in attendance . . .  I just skipped it.  I couldn't handle it.  I knew he would be there, and I knew the bride would walk down the aisle, and we'd both look at the groom.  We'd have moments throughout the ceremony where we used to look at each other and hold hands and smile.  We used to cry together at the same times.  I couldn't handle it and I refused to be a pathetic mess at this friend's wedding, in front of the husband that left me.

Our wedding was a planned elopement.  We met in early to mid April and married a the start of that September. We were talking marriage in the first few weeks we were dating, but I wore my engagement ring for about two weeks before we married.  We gave our family a week's notice and told them they could come if they wanted to, but I never asked anyone to be there.  His Dad, Step-Mom and sister came to the wedding.  His sister objected to our wedding in our guestbook.  It was a small wedding and I didn't expect the season shift in Big Bear.  The chiffon dress I tried on in warm Los Angeles couldn't block out the freezing winds in Big Bear in September.  They actually have a fall season. My next wedding doesn't have to be huge, but I want my family to be there.  I have siblings, parents, nieces, nephews and first cousins, local aunts and uncles, and maybe 5 friends that would have to be invited.  That's a large group whenever I get around to looking for my next husband.

When my sister married this past summer, I couldn't skip out on it.  The ceremony was beautiful, even as she stumbled through her vows, and I was a bitter harpy.  I was so stuck in my own feelings, I couldn't appreciate the ceremony they had.  I spent half the ceremony thinking of my husband.  We went to the penthouse of the hotel for the reception and it took a while, but I decided I was going to have a great time and I did.  I sipped champagne when they toasted.  I met my new nephews.  I told my new brother that I have never in my life seen my sister as confident as she was with him.  I took pictures with my nephews, brothers, and their cute friends. I danced.  I had two guys in their 20's give me 20 something year old attention that day.  The first was at the wedding.  The second at a friend's pool party later that day. It was a great day.

The wedding after that came out of nowhere.  I went to church, as I normally do. There was worship and announcements, our pastor started preaching, and then bam, here's a wedding.  A couple in the congregation decided it was time to get married and I cried through most of it, and got looks of pity.  It was beautiful.  I was just broken.  It's rare that I cry out loud.  It's usually tears and sniffles, but I hold the sniffles if I can.  I keep hearing about the catharsis in an ugly cry, but I haven't had an ugly cry since my teens. I spent last weekend trying to watch chick flicks to cry and had more luck watching Grey's Anatomy.

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I'm not going to pretend to know how to get through your first wedding after divorce.  I just know that one day I will go to a wedding, and I won't even think about my failed marriage. I'll again celebrate two people with absolute faith in each other, and dreams to share goals and a life, and maybe children.  I will be moved by how much they adore each other and love how for at least a day, in-law animosities can be put aside.  I'll take pictures of friends, and tablescapes because I'll want to remember the flowers the bride picked out and I'll spend too much time at the candy bar, if there is one.  I'll grab bags for my kids if they're not with me. I'll hit the photo booth without props because I'd rather not know what to do with my hands than hide behind something in front of me. I'll raise my glass and sip champagne.  I'll dance and laugh.  I'll go home with a keepsake that will gather dust on a shelf and I'll pick it up from time to time and say a little prayer for the couple.  And if I'm having an extrovert moment, I might even call the bride for a hello.

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