The Ultimate Guide to Your Younger Sibling Getting Hitched While You Stay Single
Updated: Jul 26, 2021
I am often stopped in the street by fans begging to know how I stayed so grounded and mature while watching my little sister get married while I had no prospects at all. Now that my little brother is engaged, it has become hard for me to leave my home as I am so besieged with those seeking my sage advice. That is why I have decided to put down the basics for surviving the engagement and marriage of your younger sibling here. Now, I'll be able to go to the grocery store in peace.
Your sibling is not getting married TO you.
Let me explain this. When I was 13 and sneaking episodes of Hannah Montana on the family computer when I was supposed to be doing my homework and my sister ratted me out so she could use the computer (to also sneak episodes of Hannah Montana) so then I ratted her out for stealing my clothes and we both got banned from the computer and she had a sleepover cancelled, those were things we did TO each other. We wanted to hurt each other because we were in a constant competition for friends, love from our parents and teachers, and who could be the skinniest (me!) and who could be the most stylish (her!)
When my brother chased me around the house with a baseball bat because I called him cute because I knew calling him cute made him crazy and he knew that chasing me with a bat made me scream, that was something he did TO me and I did TO him.
Your sibling is not getting married TO hurt you or to ensure that you can no longer watch Hannah Montana. If you suspect this is the actual reason why your sibling is getting married, they need serious help and you should call your local Rabbi to discuss.
But, in 99% of cases your sibling just happened to find someone that they love and they did it before you did. They didn't grab the back of your shirt to slow you down, like when you used to fight for shotgun in the car. They followed their path the same way you are following yours.
However it still might feel like your parents sent you to bed with no more episodes of Hannah Montana.
It's important to separate these feelings. I might feel like I missed out on Hannah Montana but that's not the siblings fault, that's just how it is. It's like if Disney Channel cancelled Hannah Montana and made a new show your sibling LOVES and you feel platonic in-law feelings for, and you blame your sibling. Your sibling didn't call Disney Channel and convince them to cancel Hannah Montana and make this new show. It happened and you are allowed to be sad because Hannah Montana was awesome. But it isn't your siblings fault. They were just living their life, and were willing to try shows that were not Hannah Montana and you know that you need Hannah.
2. You can be 100/100.
You know what they say about marriage: it isn't each side gives 50%, it's each side gives 100%. Both of you give 100% effort and that makes the real %100 that is marriage. While your sibling learns that crucial lesson, you'll learn one of your own, that you can be 100% happy for your sibling and 100% sad for your own situation at the same time.
Human beings are multi faceted creatures, Walt Whitman once said "I contain multitudes." A sibling's engagement is a great time to see some of these multitudes. I love my family and want them to be happy. Had I pictured the happy times coming in a different order than they actually did? Of course. That doesn't stop me from being happy for my sibling and love the joy they are going through. And the happiness for my sibling doesn't stop me from being sad for myself. I can be at a Vort and dance and smile and be totally happy. That doesn't mean I am not going to cry in my room later. The two experiences don't have to take away from each other. Allow yourself to feel it all.
3. Treat. Yo. Self.
During the wedding season everyone is getting treats There are showers and bachelorette parties and all sorts of other things where people give gifts to the couple. Give yourself your own gifts. Whether that's a massage, a day off of work where you find a nice pool, a $2,000 leotard made to look like an exact replica of Simone Biles', whatever it is, you have earned it and you deserve it. I like experiences so during the engagement I try to plan special things for myself to do once a week or so so I have something to look forward to.
4. Keep A Book
People are going to say some really (pardon my french) dumb shit. In the moment it will feel like the ground is disappearing from beneath you but tragedy+time=comedy and these comments will turn into comedy gold before your niece/nephew inevitably arrives on the scene (hopefully 9 months or more later ;-)) . Keep a book of these comments and you never know. One day you might be maintaining a popular dating blog and you'll need them. At least you'll be able to read them back and laugh.
5. Learn Who Your Real Friends Are
There are going to be people in your life who cannot handle what you will be going through. They will want a simple emotional response from you and you will not be able to deliver. Then there will be the people who wait 8 hours in an airport terminal during a rainstorm to be at the wedding for the two seconds that you are able to see them. Recognize the difference between these two and stick with the ones who show their loyalty and their kindness. And then let those friends know how much you appreciate them and their true friendship.
6. Look Great, Look Your Age
Do whatever you need to do to look amazing. And you will look amazing. Actually, since you aren't fasting and don't have to wear a washout color like white, you'll probably look better than the bride. Just don't dress in a sparkly dress for 14 year olds when you are edging 30. You want people to recognize that you are a mature adult, not a high schooler. You just want them to recognize it and go "Damn, she looks fantastic for someone who clearly has a job and a life!"
7. Be Buzzed, Don't Be Sloppy
Alcohol will dull the realization of "I am the only one in my family who can't find someone I am clearly broken and should just live out my days on a cliff and Ireland" just a little bit. HOWEVER. You do not want to be sloppy drunk. Sloppy drunk just looks sad. To get the perfect balance of buzzed but not sloppy you are going to have to test it beforehand. I suggest trying different quantities of alcohol every day from the engagement to the wedding, just to be safe and know exactly what you need wedding day.
8. Have A Wedding Day Friend
Find that one good friend who kind of knows the drama going on between your aunt and your dad about your cousin's inheritance from your grandma and can sort of navigate where you need to be at all times. Also, they always forget to feed the siblings at the weddings. Have this friend bring you food. Have them carry tissues and tampons because you will spontaneously get your period unless you are like me and used your sister's wedding to get a spontaneous yeast infection (true story.) Have your friend stay with you the night after the wedding and help you take the 1776 bobby pins out of your hair and watch a dumb movie (I highly recommend Space Jam followed by Space Jam 2) and try not to dwell in your sadness. Let your friend me your safety net for when you dwell a little too low.
9. Your Sibling Is Hopefully Only Getting Married Once
This is a rough day for you. But for your sibling, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a wedding (hopefully.) You may be in pain, but in your pain try to remember that your sibling can only wear that sweatshirt that says "bride" and costs $49.99 once. And you and your family can only take pictures with leather jackets that say "bride squad" and cost $128.67 each once. Let go of your pain for a few moments and make sure this day is so special for your family. They will do the same when it is your turn.
10. Do You Have To Go to Sheva Brachos?
Sheva Brachos are a beautiful and totally made up tradition meant to celebrate the couple and help them to build a foundation of happy memories upon which their marriage will live. People love to give speeches at Sheva Brachos. The theme of those speeches tends to include Why You Aren't A Full Person Until You Are Married, Why Marriage is the Only Way to Fulfill G-D's Will on this Earth, Why Marriage is the Greatest Mitzvah You Can Do, Marriage: The Happiest Thing Ever, Why Only Married People Can Achieve True Happiness, Single People Are Garbage Trash Monsters Who Are Selfish and Pathetic and other themes along that vein. It is not halachikally necessary for you to be at your sibling's sheva brachos. They also make airpods small enough that you can be listening to music or a particularly good podcast during the speeches and if you do your hair right, no one will notice. I recommend going to 0 of the sheva brachos. I did that by my sister's wedding and she is still married to this day so apparently it did not affect their marriage. You may feel 2/7 or 3/7 is more appropriate. Don't overdo what you can do emotionally during this time. You've just had a rough day (the wedding) and you need to recover. Plus you do not want to be around when everyone tells your sister how beautiful her sheitel is. You have suffered enough.
11. Make Yourself a Wedding, Afterwards. But Better.
I hear from my married friends that weddings are not actually that much fun. You spend the day fasting and nauseous from being nervous, you have to kiss all of your mom's friends on the cheeks, you see your chosson for 2 seconds and then you're under the chuppah and dizzy from walking in circles and then everyone is staring at you and then you're in Yichud but you just eat cause you're starving and then you are dancing with one cup of water and 3 meatballs in your stomach, and then you try to eat dry challah and chicken and potentially choke and then you dance more and then someone puts you in a car and you go to a hotel and you are both so sweaty that they have to fumigate the room when you are done with it-even if you had no sexual activities.
You know what sounds more fun than that?
A trip to Vegas. LA. San Francisco. Palm Beach. Cancun.
Make yourself a trip and have every detail planned before the wedding. Then, during the wedding while your brain is trying to yell pain thoughts at you, just focus really hard on your trip. Then, go on your trip. Take a zillion pics. Have an amazing time. Eat great food, get a massage, swim in an infinity pool, read a book and take a nap at 1 in the afternoon. Do whatever you need to fill up your bucket with fun. Your sibling may have escaped the horror escape room with no escape that is dating but you've still got lots of life to live. Enjoy it. And enjoy not having to kiss any of your mom's friends on the cheek.