Dear Wendy: “Our Wedding’s In 2 Weeks, But My Fiancé Is Still Thinking About His Ex”
I’m getting married to an amazing guy in two weeks. We’ve been together for about 2 1/2 years, and we’ve been long distance for about a year now. We only manage to see each other every few months for about two weeks as we live in separate countries but we’ve been handling the distance remarkably well. I am completely and overwhelmingly in love with this guy. But here’s what happened: I went on his Facebook (I randomly sign on when I’m exceptionally bored, which he knows I do) the morning after his his bachelor party and I saw that while he was pretty drunk (he was texting me around the same time, so I know) he sent a message to his ex-girlfriend of four years, giving her his number and telling her to call him anytime. Now, this is a girl that he was very much in love with, and it took him a really long time to get over her … at least, I thought he was over her.
I think I was always a little bit insecure about this particular ex, and wondered if he still harbored feelings for her. I don’t know if I’m overreacting but I’m seriously considering whether I should be marrying someone who may still be in love with his ex-girlfriend. I’m 23 and this is the first really serious relationship I’ve had and so I’m not at all sure about the myriad emotions people have about their exes. Can you experience regret over a relationship ending while you’re in love with someone else? And what then does that say about the current relationship? What is it really like to think you’re going to marry someone and then have that relationship end? Do those feelings ever completely go away? I guess in the end I just I don’t want to be anyone’s second choice. The message worries me, and also really, really hurts. So, I guess my question is: is it normal for a guy to do something like this? Should I be worried? And yes, I think I should stay clear of his Facebook from now on… — Wedding Bell Blues
There are a few things that concern me about your letter, and it’s the combination of all of them, rather than just one thing in particular, that makes me hope you’ll think long and hard about walking down the aisle with this man. The first thing is that you live in different countries and have only been seeing each other for a couple of weeks every few months. It’s unclear from your letter whether you plan to continue living separately, but if so, that seems like an awfully difficult way to begin a marriage. And even if one of you is moving to the other’s country, it would be hard to jump immediately into newlywed life after having spent so much time apart over the last year.
Perhaps I’d be less concerned about this issue if it weren’t for the fact that you’re only 23 and have never been in a serious relationship before. Without solid relationship — and life — experience under your belt, you’re taking a huge risk marrying someone you haven’t spent a great deal of time with as an adult. That you are asking me whether your fiancé’s behavior is normal is a perfect example of what kind of confusion your lack of experience can create. And for the record: it’s not “normal” to reach out to an ex — an ex you were once very much in love with — two weeks before you’re supposed to marry someone else and invite that ex to “call you anytime.” Yes, that is something to be worried about. Having jitters is normal. Having a little anxiety about making a lifelong commitment to someone is normal. I’d even say it’s normal to reflect on relationships past and the “could have beens” that never now will be. But to go so far as to reach out to one of those “could have beens” and invite him or her back into your life literally days before marrying someone else? Not normal, and not healthy.
You know what else isn’t really normal? That you check your fiancé’s Facebook when you’re “exceptionally bored.” I don’t buy that that’s your motivation for snooping — and, yes, it’s still snooping, whether he’s privy to it or not. I think you’re looking for something. I think there’s a part of you that doesn’t fully, 100% trust your fiancé, either because you are insecure about this particular ex or because you go months without seeing each other, so you check Facebook for any clues that he may be behaving inappropriately. And, of course, the weekend of his bachelor party would be the perfect time to keep tabs on him, wouldn’t it? You weren’t “exceptionally bored” when you logged onto his account. You were exceptionally suspicious and insecure about his drunken night out and wanted some clues as to what went down.
And now that you have some clues — or at least some clues about where his heart may be — you have to decide whether your suspicions are great enough to delay or even cancel your wedding. I’d say to add it all up. Add up all the nagging doubts you’ve had over the course of your relationship and ask yourself whether you trust that your fiancé is completely committed to you and harbors no feelings for anyone else. You should be able to answer that question for yourself two weeks before you marry someone. If you can’t, then you’re probably making a mistake getting married. You should be able to discuss this issue with your fiancé. Especially if he already knows that you check his Facebook, you should confront him about the message he sent to his ex and ask him why on earth he’d be reaching out to her right before his wedding (or at all, really). And if he can’t give you a satisfactory answer — if he can’t somehow convince you that your fears and insecurities about his feelings toward his ex are unfounded — you should postpone your wedding until he can. And you should do some deep soul-searching in the meantime about what kind of relationship you want, what kind of future you hope for, and whether this is truly the man who can give you those things. At 23-years-old you’re far too young to settle down with anyone you don’t feel completely certain about.