Here, we walk through each month and try to give you the best advice on whether you need to postponeRead More
If you’re heartbroken over having to postpone your dream wedding due to the coronavirus, know that you’re not alone and that it’s OK to feel all the feelings.
After all that decision making, careful planning, money spent and loads of excitement leading up to the big day, brides who are delaying their nuptials may be feeling sadness, anger, disappointment and loss, which are all expressions of grief, says Dr. Rosalind S. Dorlen, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Summit who specializes in women’s issues.
“When I talk to women, a lot of them have their wedding plans down to the tiniest detail,” she says. “So the disappointment is great. It’s the loss of their beautiful fantasy and the disappointment of knowing that it won’t play out the way they had hoped. It can just make people sad.”
“The fantasies around a wedding are incredible,” she adds, and when that day gets postponed: “There is a grieving process.”
Although it may be difficult, Dorlen says, it’s important to recognize your feelings. “To acknowledge those feelings can be quite therapeutic,” says Dorlen, also a member of the medical staff in the psychiatry department at Overlook Medical Center in Summit. “It may be painful, but it certainly does help to process these emotions.”
“There needs to be some room to allow oneself to grieve what was a fantasied day of joy,” she says.
How can you acknowledge those feelings? Through self-talk, Dorlen says, or talking to yourself in a positive way. “It’s not condemning oneself for having feelings,” she says. “It’s acknowledging the right to have feelings.”
“It’s basically saying, ‘I’m feeling horrible. I have a right to feel this way, and I will work my way through this. I will be supportive of myself as I go through this because the feelings I’m having are normal feelings about loss and disappointment,’” Dorlen explains.
Everybody works through disappointment differently and at their own pace. “There are some people who have been able to be very creative about dealing with loss and dealing with disappointment, and then there are some other people who are not quite as resilient and may not be able to deal with it as well,” she says.
“Nothing is sequential emotionally, and everybody has her own unique way of dealing with disappointment and loss,” Dorlen says.
Sometimes when people go through a traumatic disappointment, they lack a perspective. “We do need a perspective because that enables us to create our own construct and our own path for moving forward,” she says.
You just can’t force it to happen quickly, though. “Just like you can’t hurry love, I don’t think you can hurry somebody going through some sad feelings,” Dorlen says. “They need to be acknowledged, they need to be respected, and they can’t be talked away. They need to be processed a little bit.”
When it comes to dealing with a postponement, she says: “The goal here is to become positive about it and manage it with good mental health.”
Here are Dorlen’s suggestions for working through your emotions:
Having to stay home during the pandemic, which can involve feelings of isolation and disconnection, plus the loss of a wedding date, may feel like a double whammy for brides, Dorlen says.