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Thursday, 29 March 2001

Wedding Disaster Causes Problems

Written by  Dr. Louise Klein

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QDear WholeFamily,

I have been married for almost three years. I had a difficult time planning the wedding because I have a bad relationship with my parents. My parents were physically abusive to me while I was growing up and even up to the time I moved out at 19, and I struggled with planning the wedding without my family.

My husband and I did not have much money to pay for the wedding, and although his family is wealthy and expected a lavish affair, they refused to contribute because they felt my parents should pay. I didn't want to tell them why I was reluctant to ask my parents for financial help. I worked overtime for a year and a half to rent an outdoor location for the wedding and host a modest reception with a sit-down dinner. I was having lots of problems planning the wedding, my husband was not interested in helping me, but when I asked him if we could call off the wedding, he said that he would never speak to me again. I went ahead despite my misgivings, and the wedding was a disaster. My mother pretended to faint and told most of the guests that I belong to a cult (because we had a non-denominational minister). Most of my relatives did not attend, although they RSVP'd, so we ended up with only 30 guests and still had to pay for catering for over a hundred. No one stayed for the dance - and the sound system I rented went unused.

The wedding was the worst day of my life and I am terribly ashamed. The day that was supposed to be the best day of my life was a nightmare. Sometimes I feel I have nothing to live for now that it's over. I am resentful of my husband for forcing me to marry him too soon and cheating me out of a real wedding. He says it's not very important and that I should just get over it. I want a divorce so that I can start over with a new marriage and a beautiful wedding. I am a successful professional and I would have no problem paying for a nice wedding now. I can't bear the thought of living the rest of my life with these painful memories.

What should I do?

ADear Wedding Disaster,

I have one question: How is your marriage? A wedding and a marriage are two different things. Yes, your wedding day sounds like a disaster but let's look at the underlying issues in your letter. You say that you were physically abused by your parents yet you invited them to your wedding. Okay, but that was only three years ago. Have you dealt with these issues? Do you have a relationship with them now?

Neither your family nor your husband's sound like they gave you any support at the time of your wedding. Have things improved now? How is your relationship with your husband? It sounds like you had some misgivings about going through with the wedding but went ahead because of your fear of losing him. Are you sorry that you married him? What attracted you to him in the first place? If, and I do say if, you don't feel that you have any connection to him now, then maybe you should get a divorce and chalk this up to experience.

BUT - don't divorce this man just so that you can get a second chance to have the wedding of your dreams. Almost everyone I know has some horror story about something that went wrong at their wedding. I like to think of those bridal magazines as another form of pornography - no one's wedding could ever match up to the fantasy in those photos! Ask yourself why this dream is so important to you. This may sound like I'm being hard on you. I'm not trying to be. I do hear how painful these memories are to you and I don't agree with your husband that you should "just get over it." You won't get over it until you face those feelings of shame and resentment and understand where they're coming from.

You say that you feel like you "have nothing to live for." I disagree. You sound like a strong woman who has made a success of her professional life. You state that you now have the ability to pay for a beautiful wedding. Please get yourself into therapy first and begin to deal with the pain in your life. If you don't, you are likely to make the same mistakes again. You've come so far in your life. Don't let this opportunity for real emotional growth pass you by. If you don't deal with these issues now, they will most likely keep coming back to sabotage your happiness until you deal with them.

Dr. Louise Klein, PsyD

Last modified on Sunday, 22 January 2012 20:22
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Dr. Louise Klein

Dr. Louise Klein

Louise Klein was born on the West Coast of Canada but lived for many years in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Widener University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Louise Klein is an experienced therapist in insight-oriented talk therapy. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups for many years. Her experience with families includes stepfamilies, adoptive families, nuclear families and families dealing with illness or death. Dr Klein is also trained in thought field therapy and regression therapy and has taught and worked internationally. Louise Klein lives in a rural community with her husband and St. Bernard and has a stepdaughter in college in New England.

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