Help in Heartbreak

You’re engaged, you’re all set to marry your best friend, and you couldn’t squeeze even another ounce of happiness out of your charmed life.

But while you and your fiancé are all sunshine and butterflies, your friends might not be having the same luck with love. How’s a bride-to-be to handle a friend who is dealing with a breakup during the stretch run to the wedding?

After the fact, I found out that happened with one of my friends who wasn’t able to attend my wedding. She’d gotten engaged nearly a year before I had, but as I was preparing to promise to love my husband forever, she was going through a painful breakup. And she didn’t tell me till well after my honeymoon because she didn’t want to cast a cloud over my happiness.

While I truly appreciated her thoughtfulness in not wanting to pass that burden on to me, I wished I could have been there for her when she needed support. If we’d been closer geographically, she probably wouldn’t have been able to keep it a secret – and chances are, your friends might not, either.

A bubbly bride may not seem like the best form of support for someone suffering through a breakup, though, so don’t take offense if your friends don’t come rushing to you for comfort. Instead, whether you find out about a friend’s breakup from the friend herself or by another means, take a step back and handle the situation with kid gloves.

  • If your friend wants you to know about her relationship struggles, she’ll tell you, but she might also not want to bring you down from your pre-wedding high. Don’t push her to talk – just let her know you’re there for her, in whatever capacity she needs.
  • Since weddings are all about love and romance, realize your friend might want to distance herself a bit from your festivities or lose interest in hearing all about your big day plans. Don’t take it personally. She isn’t trying to distance herself from you, just from the raw emotions wedding talk is sure to churn up – especially if she was already planning a wedding of her own.
  • Although you’re enjoying love in its fullest bloom, resist the urge to try to pair your friend up with someone new or point single men in her direction at your wedding reception unless she specifically tells you she’s ready to move on. Let her bounce back at her own pace.
  • Carve some time out of your busy schedule to focus on your friend. Grab lunch during the week or hit the beach or go shopping over the weekend. Make sure she knows for certain that you – the almost-married one – aren’t going to ditch her – the newly-single one – now that your romantic statuses are different.
  • Hard as it might be, try not to gush too much about your wonderful fiancé. Yes, he’s wonderful, and yes, your friend definitely wants you to think he’s wonderful. But if she’s nursing a bruised heart, try to keep the mushiness and PDA to a minimum.
  • While you don’t want to deluge your friend with details of your undying love, if she’s still showing interest in your wedding preparations, do not shut her out of the process. Just as she won’t want to lose your friendship because she’s suddenly being the single girl, she won’t necessarily want to be cut off from the fun because you’re worried she’ll be upset by anything wedding related. Take your cues from your friend.
  • If your other friends aren’t aware of the recent breakup, you might want to quietly clue them in – so they can be sensitive, not so you all have something to gossip about. Keep the information brief and as detail-free as possible, and let them know you’d appreciate it if they would be especially kind to your friend during this time.

Of course, every situation will be different and every friend will need to be treated differently. But she’s your friend. You know her – and this is one instance when you shouldn’t treat others as you’d want to be treated; make sure you treat her the way she wants. Yes, you’re the bride – but she’s the one who really needs support.

~ Laura

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