Summer is almost here, which means your schedule for the next few months will likely be full of weddings, whether you like it or not. Not that there's ever a convenient time to experience a breakup, but when you're thrust back into the single world
during peak wedding season — when you need a date practically every other weekend — it adds a layer of brutal inconvenience.
Weddings are supposed to be happy, but the whole fanfare surrounding these events can make you feel pressured to really
examine your own relationship status (particularly your lack of relationship). If you're newly single and faced with a calendar of weddings to go to without a partner, it can feel daunting. But no stack of RSVP cards with your ex's name on them could change the fact that your relationship ended, so the best thing you can do is think about next steps.
The good news is that having a plan makes things easier, says
Anita Chlipala, LMFT, a dating and relationship expert in Chicago. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you're struggling to figure out how to get through this year's wedding season without a partner.
When is the wedding?
Whether you have a wedding to go to in two days or two months, you should decide ASAP if you're going to go alone or with a date (whether that date is your old partner or a new flame), Chlipala says. It's tough, if not impossible, to forecast what your relationship status will be by the time the wedding actually comes around, so deciding and sticking to your plan is better than putting off a decision in hopes that things will change.
The one specific circumstance in which it might make sense to still go with your ex is if you're
not officially broken up and the wedding is very soon, she says. "If you want to avoid people's questions about how you and your significant other are doing, or you think you'd be an emotional wreck at the event [without them], bring your [ex] partner," she says. That might not make sense for you and your ex, but it's something to consider if the breakup is very fresh and you haven't gone public about it. More
Who else will be at this wedding?
For many people, attending a wedding means fielding questions from friends and family about their own love life, which can be "frustrating and painful," Chlipala says. "It can bring up doubts, self-worth issues, sadness, anxiety, and fear, and not just during the event, but leading up to it and afterwards," she says.
Prepare some neutral responses ahead of time for the questions about your dating life, like, "I’ve been dating around since the breakup, but I just haven’t found a good connection yet," she says.
If it's a friend's wedding, and you and your ex have lots of mutual friends that will be there, you might want to plan to go with a few friends as a group.
Seeing an ex for the first time after a breakup can be painfully awkward, but having people who care about you by your side can make it a little easier. But you should be courteous of the fact that you're going solo in front of friends who knew you in a relationship, and it's generally not a good idea to use a wedding as an opportunity to flirt with other people in front of your ex, Chlipala says. More
Is there someone new who you could casually bring?
Depending on how serious your past relationship was, and how close you are to the person whose wedding it is, you could potentially bring a casual date to the wedding, Chlipala says. But
introducing one of your many Tinder matches to your entire family on someone else's big day could cause more problems than it solves. "If it's a friend's wedding and the goal is to have fun, it might be okay," she says.
Also, consider how your date might view an invitation to a wedding, and where their comfort level is with big events. "Is he or she viewing it as having a fun night, or that your relationship is becoming serious?" she says. Your new person might be stressed to meet your family, and not want to answer relationship questions from your aunts just yet, so choose wisely and make sure they know what
your plan is for the evening.
You should also know ahead of time how your date tends to handle themselves at social functions, she says. "Will they
embarrass you by getting drunk? Do they expect you to be by their side the whole time, or do they feel comfortable talking to strangers?" More
How well do you know the couple?
Luckily, you don't have to go into a ton of detail about why your RSVP changed from a plus-one to solo, or from your long-term partner to a Tinder match, but you do owe the couple getting married a brief and generic explanation, Chlipala says. Something like, "It just didn't work out," or "We wanted different things," is more than enough, she says. If they keep prying, you can just be polite and tell them you don't want to bring up the past because you've moved on. And if you decided to bring a different date, Chlipala says you don't necessarily have to tell the couple, but it might be a good idea to fill them in — at least before they make the place setting cards.
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