1. People no longer congratulate you for getting married
The world has moved on. If people say congratulations to you now it’s because they’re astounded that you’ve managed to show up on time, or they like your choice of cardigan or because you’ve managed to clean your teeth without spilling any on your clothes (an achievement very much deserving of applause). And if they do congratulate you for having a spouse, it’s not for marrying them in the first place, but the fact that – in spite of your passive aggressive approach to deciding whose turn it is to take the bin out – you’ve managed to keep hold of them for a whole nine months since.
2. You haven’t been given a new piece of crockery for months
When you first get married you can’t move for plates, vases and ramekins laced with kind wishes for your future happiness from your nearest and dearest (as well as, in the latter item’s case, a legitimate excuse to eat nothing but chocolate mousse until your first anniversary). But the gifts have to stop some time. How many snack bowls can one couple realistically own? And when they do, you realise that you’re now going to responsible for replacing each and every one after you inevitably overfill the dishwasher and break them. It’s just a matter of time.
3. Remembering your new surname is now just another piece of admin
When you first get married, you can’t say your new surname without giggling. Every poor bastard who has the misfortune to serve you in a bank or a takeaway has to endure the “Oh sorry, it’s just I got married recently and I can’t seem to remember who I am!” banter that you think is hilarious but that they think is tedious. (Though, to be fair, you’d think the people at the takeaway would be on first name terms with me by now. I guess they must just call me: Number 6, 54 and a sticky rice.) But now that you’ve got used to it, your main concern is just getting people to spell it correctly. When my surname was Reeve I’d say: “It’s Reeve like Superman!” And now that I’m Buxton I say: “It’s Buxton like the water!” Because even though I’m married, I am still FUN.
4. The honeymoon period is over
As I said in this post, when you’ve been together for more than eight years, it’s not realistic to expect the honeymoon period to last any longer than the honeymoon itself. You’re under no illusions about what you’ve signed up to – he knows you consume an unhealthy level of processed cheese, you know that he consumes an unhealthy level of ball-based sport – so there are few surprises that married life can bring. And so once you’ve returned from the honeymoon, finished the last of the champagne and changed your name on Facebook, it’s not long before you’re back to discussing whether there’s room for a toilet roll holder in the downstairs bathroom. (Unfortunately the answer is no but I think our marriage is strong enough to get through this.)
5. Millions of other people have got married since you did
Despite what you might believe when you’re planning the wedding and swearing you’re the first person in the entire world to ask your guests to place the cards they’ve kindly written for you into a vintage birdcage (even though you saw the idea on Pinterest), you are not the only person to have come up with the idea of getting married. And though it might be tempting to show up at other people’s weddings wearing your own gown, just to prove that it still fits, please don’t. Paying to have that thing dry-cleaned twice would be madness.
6. People have even stopped asking when you’re going to have children
When you first get married, people feel a strange compulsion to ask when you’re going to start a family. Heaven forbid you should just enjoy the first few months of married life in front of the television with a bag of cheese puffs – no, you must start creating miniature versions of yourself, post-haste! But after a few months, they stop asking. And it’s either because they realise that the inner workings of your marital affairs is actually quite a personal subject, or everybody’s just got distracted by the World Cup. Either way, enjoy the silence while it lasts and get tucking into those cheesy snacks. Something tells me you’ve got just the bowl for them.