When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance
This was such a good story. I’ve been slowly working my way through Taylor Jenkins Reid’s backlist and she is a wonderful author. Each of her stories has such authentic characters with real feelings and real problems and it makes them all so relatable. After I Do is no exception. Our main characters, Lauren and Ryan, met when they were in college and fell madly in love. They get married and are so excited to begin their lives together. We get a few chapters of their love story and it is very sweet and nostalgic. These chapters were so smart for Reid to include because you get emotionally attached to their relationship and are heartbroken along with Lauren and Ryan when it starts to fall apart.
Eleven years after being married, their marriage starts to fall apart. They argue constantly, the resent each other, and they haven’t been intimate in months. How did they get to this point? They decide to separate for a year, with no contact in hopes of mending their relationship. The story is told through Lauren’s point of view, so we see how she deals with the separation. It is as emotional and devastating as you imagine breaking up with your partner would be. As Lauren learns how to live alone, she reconnects with her family, friends and learns more about her individual happiness.
I think anyone can enjoy this emotional, authentic story about a married couple that has grown apart, but if you are married or in a long-term relationship I think you will definitely appreciate this story. While Lauren and Ryan may be an extreme example, it was reassuring to see that all couples go through struggles and relationships are hard work. It made me think about my own relationship and how I can better appreciate the loved ones in my life.
If you are a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, you definitely need to read After I Do! Reid is an amazing author and I enjoy each and every one of her stories.