“Look, I am so…so happy for you guys, but you getting married just reminds me of the fact that I’m not. I’m not even close.”
(Rachel to Monica after being accused of ‘stealing her thunder’ over her engagement to Chandler).
Does this sound familiar??
It certainly did for me a while back.
Allow me to level with you for a minute.
As a 30-something woman who recently got engaged – and who’s also been a bridesmaid several times whilst single/ heartbroken - I feel it’s high time someone said out loud what so many of us have experienced during wedding season, but felt we couldn’t share for fear of being deemed a ‘bad friend’ to the Bride-To-Be:
Engagements & weddings are amazing, but BOY are they also triggering.
Even when you’re genuinely happy being single, all the drama that surrounds engagements & weddings can make it virtually impossible NOT to reflect on your own relationship status.
(Especially when it feels like it’s happening for everyone in your peer group, except you; you’re not even close).
Several years ago, a dear friend of mine got engaged two weeks after I got dumped.
Whilst I was overjoyed that she’d found someone to share the rest of her life with, the year between their engagement and wedding was a massive rollercoaster of emotions for me.
Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to shake the contrast between where she was in her love life, and where I wasn’t in mine.
It had amplified an internal contradiction that I’d felt trapped in for a while now - along with many of my single friends:
On the one hand, we resented our culture’s obsession with labels and relationship statuses as the predominant measure of a woman’s worth.
On the other, we had a deep longing for a healthy, soulful, lasting relationship with someone we could share the rest of our lives with.
As the inevitable barrage of Hen Whatsapp messages began rolling in, I found myself obsessing over the dreaded seating plan…
Was I gonna be plonked next to some random cousin no one had seen in over two decades, just because - without a plus one – there was nowhere else to put me?
On the morning of the wedding, when my stunning friend stepped out in her dress for the first time – hair & make-up impeccable, I felt a sudden stab in my chest that I may never get to experience that iconic look of adoration from the women closest to me.
During the Groom’s speech, my mind immediately conjured up images of my most recent Ex:
Should we have tried harder to make it work? Would he have said such lovely things about me in a speech? Would anyone? EVER?
I hated that I felt this inner conflict, and I tried to mask it as best as I could (because, you know, THE DAY WASN’T ABOUT ME).
But, I wasn’t the first woman to feel envious of a close friend’s happily ever after, and I certainly wouldn’t be the last.
It’s been said that love brings up everything unlike itself, and in my humble opinion, so too do weddings.
YES, we know it’s meant to be all about the happy couple.
But, believe it or not, it IS possible to feel two emotions at the same time:
JOY for the Bride & Groom’s happiness (and the hope that their union inspires within us).
And SADNESS that we don’t have what they have – yet.
Look. It’s summer.
You’re likely going to be attending a wedding/ celebrating an engagement in the not too distant future.
If you happen to be single, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience at least some degree of this inner conflict within yourself.
If you do, I implore you not to beat yourself up over it.
It doesn’t make you a bad friend, it makes you a very human human.
And from one very human human to another, I invite you to do what I did and choose to see this situation as an opportunity:
An opportunity to heal & release any old limiting beliefs about what’s possible for you in romance.
An opportunity to fall in love with yourself & your life so deeply that you won’t even care about your position in the table plan (because either way, you’ll still get to sit with YOU).
And, an opportunity to get really clear about what type of partner you’d want to see waiting for you at the other end of the aisle one day - without feeling anxious about HOW or WHEN they’ll show up in your reality.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever felt conflicted over a friend’s engagement or wedding?
What happened, and how did you handle the situation?
Tell me in the comments below :)