After I Do
Goodreads ratings
4.02 / 5

"After I Do" Summary

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

romance | 334 pages | Published in 2014

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?


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A couple takes a yearlong break from their marriage to rediscover themselves and the true meaning of love.


In "After I Do" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, readers are taken on a heartfelt and emotional journey of love, marriage, and self-discovery. Through the eyes of the main character, Lauren, we witness the ups and downs of a long-term relationship and the transformative power of taking a break to rediscover oneself. This thought-provoking novel explores the complexities of marriage, family dynamics, and the importance of communication and self-reflection.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in modern-day Los Angeles, where Lauren and Ryan have been married for ten years. What once was a passionate and loving relationship has now turned into constant bickering and resentment. Frustrated and exhausted, Lauren and Ryan make the difficult decision to take a one-year break from their marriage, hoping to find themselves and reignite the spark in their relationship.

During their separation, Lauren moves back into her childhood home, where she takes time to reflect on her life and rediscover her passions. Ryan, on the other hand, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, traveling to different countries and exploring new experiences. As they navigate their separate lives, they both encounter new people and scenarios that challenge their beliefs and offer fresh perspectives on love and commitment.

Main Characters

LaurenThe protagonist of the story, Lauren is a strong-willed and independent woman who is struggling to find happiness within her marriage.
RyanLauren's husband, Ryan, is a caring and ambitious man who is also feeling trapped in their stagnant relationship.
RachelLauren's younger sister, Rachel, provides a supportive and insightful presence throughout the story.
DavidA close friend of Lauren and Ryan, David offers guidance and perspective on relationships and personal growth.
AdamA potential love interest for Lauren during their separation, Adam helps her discover new aspects of herself.

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1-5: The Breaking Point

Lauren and Ryan reach a breaking point in their marriage and decide to take a year-long break. Lauren moves back home, reconnects with her sister Rachel, and begins to reflect on her life.

Chapter 6-10: Rediscovering Passions

Lauren realizes that she has lost touch with her passions and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. She takes up painting again and starts a blog to document her experiences.

Chapter 11-15: Ryan's Travels

Ryan travels to different countries, immersing himself in new cultures and experiences. He meets new people who challenge his preconceived notions about relationships and commitment.

Chapter 16-20: Unexpected Connections

Lauren meets Adam, a kind and understanding man who helps her see a different side of herself. Their connection grows, but Lauren questions whether it is merely a distraction from her marriage.

Chapter 21-25: Reevaluating Priorities

Both Lauren and Ryan start to reevaluate their priorities and question whether their marriage is worth saving. They confront their own flaws and insecurities, leading to moments of self-realization.

Chapter 26-30: The Road to Reconciliation

Lauren and Ryan decide to meet up after their year apart. They have honest and vulnerable conversations, realizing the importance of communication and compromise in a relationship.

Main Events

  1. Lauren and Ryan decide to take a one-year break from their marriage.
  2. Lauren moves back home and reconnects with her sister, Rachel.
  3. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, rediscovering her passions.
  4. Ryan travels to different countries, meeting new people and challenging his beliefs.
  5. Lauren meets Adam and questions her feelings for him.
  6. Lauren and Ryan confront their own flaws and insecurities.
  7. Lauren and Ryan meet up after their year apart and have honest conversations.
  8. Lauren and Ryan decide to work on their marriage and commit to better communication.

Themes and Insights

  • Marriage and Commitment: The novel explores the challenges and complexities of long-term relationships and highlights the importance of communication and commitment in maintaining a healthy partnership.
  • Self-Discovery: Through Lauren and Ryan's separate journeys, the story emphasizes the significance of self-reflection and rediscovering one's passions and desires.
  • Family Dynamics: The relationships between Lauren, Ryan, and their families delve into the impact of familial expectations and how they can influence personal choices.
  • The Power of Perspective: Meeting new people and experiencing different cultures allows both Lauren and Ryan to gain fresh perspectives on love, marriage, and personal growth.
  • The Complexity of Love: The novel delves into the intricate layers of love, showcasing the various emotions and challenges that come with it, including forgiveness, sacrifice, and vulnerability.

Reader's Takeaway

"After I Do" is an emotionally captivating novel that explores the complexities of marriage and the importance of self-discovery. Readers are likely to reflect on their own relationships and consider the significance of open communication, personal growth, and reevaluating priorities. This thought-provoking story serves as a reminder that love requires effort, understanding, and the willingness to confront personal flaws.


Taylor Jenkins Reid's "After I Do" takes readers on a poignant journey of love, marriage, and self-discovery. Through the eyes of the relatable characters, Lauren and Ryan, we witness the challenges and transformative power of taking a break from a stagnant relationship. This emotionally charged novel encourages readers to reflect on their own relationships and the importance of communication, personal growth, and reevaluating priorities. "After I Do" is a compelling read that offers valuable insights into the complexities of love and the resilience of the human spirit.

After I Do FAQ

  1. What is the book 'After I Do' about?

    After I Do is a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid that follows the story of a married couple, Lauren and Ryan, who are at a breaking point in their relationship. They decide to take a year-long break from their marriage to rediscover themselves and determine if they still want to be together.

  2. Who is the author of 'After I Do'?

    The author of 'After I Do' is Taylor Jenkins Reid.

  3. Is 'After I Do' a standalone book or part of a series?

    'After I Do' is a standalone book and does not belong to a series.

  4. What genre does 'After I Do' belong to?

    'After I Do' belongs to the contemporary fiction genre.

  5. Is 'After I Do' suitable for young adult readers?

    'After I Do' is intended for adult readers and may contain themes and content that may not be suitable for young adults.

  6. What are some similar books to 'After I Do'?

    Some similar books to 'After I Do' are 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' and 'Maybe in Another Life', both by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

  7. Is 'After I Do' a romance novel?

    'After I Do' does have elements of romance, but it is primarily a story about self-discovery and the complexities of relationships.

  8. What is the length of the book 'After I Do'?

    The length of 'After I Do' varies depending on the edition, but it is generally around 350-400 pages.

  9. Where can I purchase 'After I Do'?

    'After I Do' can be purchased from various online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository. It is also available in many physical bookstores.

  10. Has 'After I Do' received any awards or recognition?

    While 'After I Do' may not have won any major awards, it has received positive reviews from readers and critics alike.