I had a wedding invite stuck to my fridge door and had been watching the date approaching with a sense of dread. I dreaded being sat on my own with no one to talk to or worse, repeatedly answering questions about where my spouse was. I also felt ashamed to celebrate a marriage when I had failed, almost as though as a soon-to-be divorcee, I was not allowed to be involved with anything marriage related.
I wondered whether I should ring up my friend and explain that it might be too difficult for me to go but decided not to. I did not want to let her down and besides, I knew that sooner or later I would have to face this experience and so I might as well do it now.
There were moments that were difficult. I did cry (silently) during the vows as it brought back memories of my own vows. I put a smile on my face so that people would think they were tears of joy and besides, no one noticed as the attention is always on the married couple. Sometimes I took toilet breaks when I felt it was getting a bit too much for me and I really focused on asking people about their lives to avoid talking about mine.
As for answering questions about my spouse, no one really wants to talk too much about this if you don’t want to. The conversation usually went something like this:
Wedding guest: “Where is your husband?”
Me: “We are not together anymore?”
Wedding guest: “I am sorry to hear that”
Me: “Thank you”. (pause) “So what have you been up to?”
I have been to several weddings since and I still get sad listening to vows and remembering moments of my own big day. However, I have learnt to share in the happiness of others and push away any bitter thoughts of the “It’s not fair”, “It won’t last”. It might not last but wedding days are lovely so just enjoy the atmosphere, nice food and dance!
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.