What is post engagement depression?

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In this blog we will discuss what post engagement depression is.

We will also discuss why post engagement depression occurs and how one can cope with it. 

What is post engagement depression?

Post engagement depression refers to a common phenomenon that is experienced by individuals who have recently gotten engaged. 

It is not an official diagnosis but it is commonly a term that is used to refer to the sense of anxiety and grief over the loss of their singlehood that individuals who are engaged usually experience after they have been engaged to be married. 

Post engagement depression often occurs when the individual begins to realise that their life as a single person is over and they begin to grieve the loss. 

It is also possible that an individual experiences post engagement depression when they feel anxious about the marriage, particularly when they realise that they might be unhappy in the marriage. 

The depression that these people experience during this time is marked by 

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

Why does post engagement depression occur?

There are possibly two explanations as to why post engagement depression occurs and it is either because they are grieving the loss of their singlehood or they are anxious about the marriage and feel trapped in their relationship.

It is possible that people who are engaged recently, even after years of hoping for marriage and possible family in their futures, can become depressed.

For most people, it is because they have to let go of their single hood and their youth and have to turn over a new leaf for a life of a committed relationship, children, mortgages etc. 

Often times when people have not been able to live their life to the fullest in terms of being young and single, exploring themselves and the world- can often find themselves unhappy at the prospect of getting married.

The individual might be overcome with grief as they mourn for the loss of their youth, their chance at exploring the world, as well as the chance of getting to know themselves more. 

Another reason is that it can bring a lot of changes such as changes in family life- having to let go of one’s parents etc, changes in social relationships such as single friends, as well as changes in one’s occupation and career as well. 

This can lead individuals to become emotionally distressed over these many life transitions and changes that it is possible that they will come face to face with an episode of depression. 

You have to understand that getting emotionally distressed and grieving your single life after getting engaged is a very normal thing to happen. This change is part of you losing who you were and coming to terms of a future that is uncertain. 

Another reason why one experiences post engagement depression is because you are unhappy with the idea of marriage or marrying the person. 

It is very possible that a married life is not actually what you want in spite of you wanting to marry or wanting family- it is possible that once you are at that particular stage in your life- we soon realise that marriage is not what you want and the engagement can leave you feeling stuck and trapped. 

It is also possible that you are depressed about marrying the person you are marrying. Even if you have been with them for years, it is possible that once the idea of marrying them is put to view that you actually do not want to marry them.

This can make you feel trapped in a life and a future that you do not want which can be distressing and when you think you have no way out- it can lead to depression. 

How to cope with post engagement depression?

Here are a few things you can do to cope with post engagement depression:

Talk about it with your partner and other loved ones

Talk about what you are feeling with your partner- openly and honestly. You can also talk about it to your family members and friends who can make sense of what you are feeling. 

It is also possible that your partner or others in your family is also picking up on how you are feeling and talking about it can be an excellent place to start dealing with it. 

Accept the uncertainty

Getting comfortable with the uncertainty of human existence by accepting the way you feel and the fact that not everything has a definite answer is one of the first steps you can take to deal with this feeling of existential dread. 

Acceptance can help you be less judgemental over yourself about why you might be feeling sad. Instead of beating yourself up for yourself, you can look at the various choices you can make to feel better by taking the time to assess your symptoms and come to grips with it.

An open and honest conversation is what is needed to begin seeking clarity. Sit your partner down and tell them exactly what you are struggling with. Be honest about your doubts and your fears. 

When you are being open, seek to be assertive and take responsibility over your feelings, do not blame or criticise them nor yourself.

Acknowledge their feelings and yours

Your partner may react with shock, anger even. Or they may also express their own fears and sadness. Acknowledge the way they feel because it is difficult to hear someone you love tell you that they might not love you anymore. 

While you are taking their feelings and their own honest thoughts seriously, be mindful as to not blame yourself. You might have not been able to put effort into the relationship, but as we have discussed depression can be dilibelating. 

If they have expressed hurt, you can apologise for your behaviour while also asserting that your mental health have taken a toll on you to a great extent,

Figure out what both of you need 

If you think that you would like to work on the relationship but give yourself and your partner a second chance, it is time to assess the relationship itself. 

Assessing and evaluating the relationship means taking stock of a few things

  • What has worked in the relationship
  • What has not worked out
  • Both your emotional and physical needs
  • What can be done differently 

Working around these issues can be overwhelming, it will require patience and kindness from the both of you to discuss them objectively and in a realistic way.

Taking the time to make note of the things that worked in the relationship and doing more of them can be a step in the right direction. 

Develop a Support System

If you are struggling with depression, you will also want to develop a strong support system or have at least one person you can rely on for support. 

You might benefit from joining a support group specifically for depression and/or anger. In support groups, you’re likely to find yourself spending time with people who completely understand your situation.

In addition, if you join a group with a facilitator, you may find that you are offered helpful strategies to better manage your depression and anger. 

Therapy

Seeking professional help to manage and learn more about your situation can be the best thing you can do for yourself and your journey of recovering from depression. 

If you are already in therapy, talking to your therapist about your feelings and the confusion you feel and the times that this lack of grounding has hurt you and others can be a good place to start. 

Your therapist can help you learn strategies on how to deal with your emotions and also help you make lifestyle changes on how to manage them more effectively.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what post engagement depression is.

We have also discussed why post engagement depression occurs and how one can cope with it. 

FAQ related to post engagement depression

Is it normal to feel sad after engagement?

Yes. It is normal to feel sad after engagement. You have to understand that getting emotionally distressed and grieving your single life after getting engaged is a very normal thing to happen. This change is part of you losing who you were and coming to terms of a future that is uncertain. 

Are you supposed to feel different after engagement?

Not necessarily, it is possible that you might feel extremely ecstatic while at the same time you might feel nothing special- however it is not an indication of anything.

Is it normal to fight more after getting engaged?

Yes, it is possible that you and your partner might start fighting more after engagement due to wedding planning stress while it is also possible that you are experiencing anxiety and depression due to dissatisfaction in the relationship. 

Is it normal to feel unsure about getting married?

Yes, it is very normal to feel unsure about getting married. The best thing you can do si to talk to your partner openly and honestly about how you are feeling as well as see a therapist of a couples counsellor. 

References

Kelsey Borresen. People Rarely Talk About Post-Engagement Anxiety, But It’s Real. Huff Post. Retrieved on 25th April 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/post-engagement-anxiety-wedding-proposal_l_5c5b6d23e4b08710475a86dd

Kim Fusaro. Study Says Women Feel Sad After Getting Engaged. Huh? Glamour. Retrieved on 25th April 2022. https://www.glamour.com/story/study-says-women-feel-sad-after

One Thing Nobody Told Me About Being Engaged. Jamie Delaine Blog. Retrieved on 25th April 2022. https://jamiedelaineblog.com/post/21947/post-engagement-anxiety/

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