Q: I got married last month and, on paper, everything went well. But I can’t shake feelings of deep disappointment that my husband let me down on our wedding day.
Whenever we go to social events, I tend to “lose” him (he’s a social butterfly). He does his thing, I do my thing, and we meet up at the end to go home. Any other day, that’s usually fine, but on our wedding I really wanted to spend the night together. I talked to him about this several times, including the night before the wedding, saying that I wanted us to stay close, check in every half hour if we get separated, and “I don’t want to realize two hours have gone by and I haven’t seen you.”
Well… that’s exactly what happened. After dinner, I saw my husband for a grand total of five minutes. Two to three hours passed at a time where I didn’t see him at all. By the time I finally found him at the end of the reception, he was really drunk and headed to bed not long after. I was crushed. So many wonderful memories happened and he wasn’t there to experience them with me. All night I was constantly pushing down a feeling of deep loneliness, disappointment, and anger (though I didn’t let it show). I feel that my husband really let me down.
Normally if he hurt my feelings I would just talk to him about it, but the thing is, he loved our wedding! He has such a positive memory of it and I don’t want to ruin that by telling him I only feel sadness when I look back at that day. Especially since there’s nothing he can do now to change what happened. I’m positive he didn’t mean to avoid me or anything; he just got swept up in talking to everyone else and got a bit over-served and I guess… forgot about what I said.
How can I move on from these bad feelings?
Well, you talk about them.
I get it. You don’t want to tarnish his glowing memories. But in this case, it’s kind of necessary.
If you’re anything like me, letting your bad feelings fester while he’s got nothing but happy, shiny ones has the potential to build some resentment. He screwed up on your wedding day, ignored your requests, and now he’s got lovely rose-colored memories while you’ve got nothin’. One of these days he’ll be reminiscing about something awesome from the wedding day, and you’ll blurt, “NOT GREAT, BOB.” What’s more, if you don’t talk about it, there’s a chance this social abandonment scenario will happen again (more about that in a moment).
Whereas, if you do talk about these bad feelings, it’s likely that it’ll all feel a bit more resolved, and you’ll be able to genuinely move on from it. It might still bug you, but you talked about it! You hashed it out. Nothing more to see here, brain, now remember that delicious cake?
Yeah, he’ll have to sit with some gross feelings about the wedding, too. But in marriage, being honest is important, sharing burdens is important, and (especially in this situation) taking responsibility to make necessary changes is important.
So about these changes. Like I said, this is going to happen. You acknowledged that this is just who he is, he likes to socialize, he darts around and chats with everyone. It doesn’t sound like you want to prevent that, but it’s sort of my job to cover all the bases, so: don’t try to prevent that. Let him do his thing. Asking him not to just wouldn’t be fair.
But if there’s a night where you specifically want him to spend time with you—i.e., your wedding—there are a ton of ways to make compromises. Your check-in idea is exactly what I mean. And hey, he married you. I’m guessing he likes being around you. He just needs to shake this lifelong habit of darting around solo. He’s in a team now. It may take some adjusting to remember that.
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